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Board of Regents Policy Manual

3.3 Curriculum

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3.3.1 Core Curriculum

The USG core curriculum was developed with the goals of assuring institutional accountability for learning, incorporating learning requirements in global perspectives and critical thinking, allowing institutions some flexibility in tailoring courses to their institutional mission, while ensuring that core curriculum courses completed at one USG institution or through eCore, the USG’s designated online core curriculum, are fully transferable to another USG institution. All core curriculum requirements must be completed as part of the associate of arts, associate of science, bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degree programs.

Each institution’s core curriculum shall consist of 42 semester credit hours, with minimum credit hours in each area of the core as follows:

Area Name Hours
Area A1 Communication Skills At least 6 semester hours
Area A2 Quantitative Skills At least 3 semester hours
Area B Institutional Options At least 3 semester hours
Area C Humanities/Fine Arts, and Ethics At least 6 semester hours
Area D

Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Technology
At least 4 of these hours must be in a lab science course.

*Given the importance of the STEM disciplines, any institution that wishes to drop Area D below 10 hours must make a compelling intellectual case that its core proposal will not lead to students knowing less about the natural sciences, math, and technology. [An example of such a compelling case might be if the institution proposed to put 3 or more hours of math in Area B and 7 hours of natural science in Area D.]

At least 7 semester hours*
Area E Social Sciences At least 6 semester hours

The specific learning outcomes for areas A through E of an institution’s core curriculum are approved by the Council on General Education.

In addition to Areas A-E, three additional learning goals, US perspectives, Global Perspectives, and Critical Thinking are added to the core. US perspectives and global perspectives are overlay requirements and each institution must designate some courses in Areas A-E that satisfy these learning requirements. Each institution must also develop a plan to insure that students who complete Areas A-E acquire foundational critical thinking skills. Courses designated as meeting the US perspectives and global perspectives overlay requirements, and institutional critical thinking plans, must be approved by the Council of General Education.

Students completing any core curriculum course at one USG institution or through eCore will receive full credit for that course upon transfer to another USG institution within the same major, even if a core area is not completed and even if it means giving transfer credit across areas (e.g., credit of a math course in Area C).

Assessment of the core curriculum by each institution is required as part of their accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and by the USG Comprehensive Program Review process.

(BoR Minutes, October 2009, October 2014, October 2015)


3.3.2 Learning Support Programs

Each institution that admits students required by USG policy to enroll in Learning Support courses before or as they attempt core curriculum courses shall have program designed, at a minimum, to meet the specific needs of students who, according to USG placement standards, must enroll in Learning Support. Institutions may set higher standards for placement, and the program may include other Learning Support components.

The USG chief academic officer will issue administrative procedures regarding the operation of these programs (BoR Minutes, 1972-73, pp. 533-37; 1978-79, p. 162; 1982-83, pp. 119-21; 1986-87, p. 102; 1992-93, p. 241; Feb. 2007; Aug. 2014).


3.3.3 Instruction Offered Externally

The USG will strive to provide educational opportunities sufficient to meet the needs of the state and the demands of Georgia citizens. USG institutions are encouraged to explore the possibility of external course and degree program offerings to meet these needs. The following policies will govern the operations of all USG external undergraduate and graduate credit offerings.

The Board of Regents recognizes two categories of external offerings: off-campus instruction and distance education. Off-campus instruction is defined as traditional face-to-face classroom instruction that occurs at a location away from the home premises of the institution. Distance education is defined as a formal educational process in which the majority of the instruction occurs when student and instructor are not in the same place and the instruction is delivered using technology.

Institutions wishing to offer courses and/or degree programs externally must adhere to the guidelines, criteria, and nomenclature contained in guidelines issued by the Chancellor or his/her designee. These guidelines are maintained in the Academic Affairs Handbook.

The designation of an off-campus instructional location as a campus, center, or consortium requires approval by the Board of Regents through its Committee on Academic Affairs.

It is desirable in most instances to have the closest qualified institution respond to off-campus credit course needs. In cases where requests for services exceed the qualifications or ability of the closest institution, attempts should be made to have such requests met by other qualified USG institutions. Prior to the offering of off-campus course work, the president of the institution proposing such work will notify the president(s) of any other USG institution(s) located in closer geographic proximity to the site proposed for the off-campus course work. In the event the involved institutions are unable to arrive at a mutual agreement on the offering of off-campus credit courses, the issues will be referred to the Chancellor for final resolution (BoR Minutes, February 2005; February 2007; October 2010).


3.3.4 United States and Georgia History and Constitutions

All colleges and universities sustained or in any manner supported by public funds shall give instruction in the history of the United States, in the history of Georgia, and in the essentials of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Georgia, and no undergraduate student in any college or university shall receive a certificate of graduation or a degree without successfully completing course work or previously passing a satisfactory examination on the history of the United States and the history of Georgia, and upon the provisions and principles of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Georgia (Acts 1975, pp. 1140, 1141).


3.3.5 University System and Technical College System of Georgia Articulation Agreement

The articulation agreement is based on the principles of serving student needs, avoiding duplication of mission, using state resources efficiently, and expanding opportunities for post-secondary attainment in Georgia.

A Post-secondary Oversight Council comprised of appropriate System Office staff from the TCSG and USG will meet on a regular basis to assure compliance with this articulation agreement, address other articulation issues if they arise, and encourage the development of programs and policies to support Georgia’s college completion goals.

3.3.5.1 Associate Degrees, Diplomas & Certificates

Associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates authorized to be awarded by public institutions in Georgia are defined as follows:

1.0. Associate of applied science (AAS) degrees are primarily for students who intend to enter specific career fields immediately upon graduation. These degrees are generally awarded through successful completion of a planned program of study at TCSG institutions. In order to minimize duplication of program offerings across the TCSG and USG, the following procedures will be followed for all new associate of applied science degrees.

1.1. All new associate of applied science degrees proposed for implementation at USG institutions after January 1, 2012, will be submitted through the following process:

  • The USG institution submits the degree proposal to the USG System Office. If the degree duplicates an existing AAS degree at a TCSG institution near the proposing USG institution, the proposed degree must have a letter of support signed by the respective TCSG college president.
  • USG System Office staff will present the proposal to the TCSG System Office for review by System Office staff.
  • If recommended by TCSG System Office staff, the proposal will be reviewed by the TCSG Board.
  • The TCSG Board will return the proposal to USG with a recommendation for support or non-support.
  • USG System Office staff will share the recommendation from the TCSG Board with the USG Board. The USG Board will take final action on the proposal.

2.0. Associate of arts (AA) and associate of science (AS) degrees are primarily for students who intend to transfer to another institution for completion of a four-year degree program. These degrees are generally awarded through successful completion of a planned program of study at USG institutions.

2.1. TCSG institutions will not offer associate of arts degrees.

2.2. All new associate of science degrees proposed for implementation at TCSG colleges, regardless of delivery system, after January 1, 2012 will be submitted through the following process:

  • The TCSG institution submits the degree proposal to the TCSG System Office. The proposed degree must have an articulation agreement signed by the respective TCSG and USG institutions’ presidents.
  • TCSG System Office staff will present the proposal to the USG System Office for review by System Office staff.
  • If recommended by USG System Office staff, the proposal will be reviewed by the Board of Regents (BOR).
  • The BOR will return the proposal to TCSG with a recommendation for support or non-support.
  • TCSG System Office staff will share the recommendation from the BOR with the TCSG Board. The TCSG Board will take final action on the proposal.
  1. Technical certificates and diplomas are generally awarded for the successful completion of a planned program of study through the colleges of TCSG. These programs are typically not designed for transfer.

  2. Bachelor’s degrees are offered only through USG institutions.

3.3.5.2 General Education Course Transfer

This policy assures students who transfer between TCSG and USG institutions that they will not be required to repeat the course work approved for transfer that was successfully completed at another institution.

USG institutions and TCSG institutions will accept the following general education courses for transfer between their respective institutions. Courses will only be accepted from institutions accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Both the USG and the TCSG are committed to and responsible for assuring that faculty teaching these courses meet the SACS comprehensive standard for faculty qualifications.

New TCSG general education courses proposed for transfer to USG institutions in Core Curriculum Areas A-E will follow the same review procedure required for new Core Curriculum courses proposed by USG institutions:

  • The TCSG System Office staff will present the proposed course(s) to the USG System Office.
  • The USG System Office will convene a meeting of the appropriate disciplinary Regents Academic Advisory Committee. Non-voting faculty designated from the TCSG will be invited to participate.
  • Course(s) approved by a Regents Academic Advisory Committee for transfer in Areas A-E will be recommended to the USG General Education Council for review.
  • Course(s) approved by the USG General Education Council will be reviewed by System Office staff who will submit the courses to the USG Board for final action.

Upon receipt of USG Board approval for the designated course(s), TCSG colleges will clearly publicize the designated approval categories to TCSG students.


3.3.6 Associate Degrees

3.3.6.1 Transfer Degrees

Associate of arts (AA) and associate of science (AS) degrees are primarily intended to be transfer degrees leading to the baccalaureate degree, although some provide students with a recognized two-year degree credential and employment opportunities upon graduation. All AA and AS degrees shall consist of 60 semester credit hours; 42 hours of the required core curriculum coursework in Board Policy 3.3.3.1, 18 hours of lower division requirements related to a bachelor’s degree field of study (Area F), and do not include institutional requirements in physical education, activity, basic health, orientation or pre secondary education courses. Associate degrees beyond 60 credit hours require the approval of the USG Chief Academic Officer.

To facilitate transfer from associate degree-granting USG institutions to baccalaureate degree-granting USG institutions, if the degree program is in a disciplinary area that has an existing USG Regents’ Academic Advisory Committee, then the 18 hours in Area F must adhere to the Area F curriculum guidelines approved by the appropriate Regents’ Academic Committee (see the Academic & Student Affairs Handbook for approved Area F requirements). If the degree program is in a disciplinary area that does not have an existing USG Academic Committee and corresponding Area F curriculum guidelines, then the 18 hours of Area F for the program should align appropriately with related bachelor’s degrees in the field.

In some associate degree programs, the required 18 hours in Area F are sufficiently coherent enough to be considered a major field of study at the associate level (i.e. 12 to 18 hours). These types of associate degrees are referred to as AA or AS degrees with a major in the appropriate disciplinary field. Associate degrees with a major field of study are subject to USG policies on comprehensive program review and all relevant SACSCOC standards for a distinct program of study. Distinct transfer associate-level degree programs of study must have appropriate student learning outcomes, must be assessed, must demonstrate continuous improvement based on assessment results, and may be advertised as available programs of study at the institution.

Other associate degrees allow greater flexibility in the Area F requirements and the required coursework is not coherent enough to be considered a major at the associate level. These latter associate degrees are not considered distinct programs of study and are referred to only as AA or AS, core curriculum degrees. AA or AS core curriculum degrees carry no disciplinary distinction in their name and are not considered distinct programs of study. See the Academic and Student Affairs Handbook for additional guidelines on transfer associate degrees.

(BoR Minutes, 1986-87, p. 370; December 1995; February 2005; October 2015)

3.3.6.2 Career Degrees

Career degrees include the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) and Associate of Science in allied health areas (A.S. in designated health fields).

Career degrees are not intended for transfer and are primarily designed to prepare students for employment upon graduation. AAS degrees are generally awarded through successful completion of a planned program of study at Technical College System of Georgia institutions (see BOR Policy 3.3.5.1 for additional information on AAS degree offerings at USG institutions). Career associate degrees may designate a specific disciplinary area of study (e.g., AAS in Criminal Justice or AS in Nursing) and are considered distinct programs of study. Career associate degrees are subject to USG policies on comprehensive program review and all relevant SACSCOC standards for a distinct program of study. Career associate-level degree programs of study must have appropriate student learning outcomes, must be assessed, must demonstrate continuous improvement based on assessment results, and may be advertised as available programs of study at the institution.

(BoR Minutes, 1989-90, pp. 368-371; December 1995; October 2015)


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