Board of Regents Policy Manual

Official Policies of the University System of Georgia

3.8 Degrees

3.8.1 General

The faculty shall recommend to the president of the institution the candidates for degrees that the institution has been authorized by the Board to confer. A record of all degrees awarded shall be filed in the office of the Registrar of the institution conferring the degree.

Absent the approval of the USG chief academic officer, no degree program shall exceed the following credit hours, exclusive of physical education activity/basic health or orientation course hours that the institution may require:

  1. Associate degrees shall consist of 60 credit hours
  2. Bachelor’s degrees shall consist of 120 credit hours
  3. nexus degrees shall consist of 18 credit hours
  4. Graduate degrees shall consist of 36 credit hours

3.8.2 Associate Degrees

3.8.2.1 Transfer Degrees

Associate of Arts (A.A.) and Associate of Science (A.S.) 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 A.A. and A.S. degrees shall consist of 60 semester credit hours; 42 hours of the required core curriculum coursework as outlined in Board Policy, 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, or orientation. Associate degrees beyond 60 credit hours require the approval of the USG chief academic officer.

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.

3.8.2.2 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 primarily designed to prepare students for employment upon graduation. A.A.S. degrees are generally awarded through successful completion of a planned program of study at Technical College System of Georgia institutions. USG institutions that have been approved by the Board of Regents to offer career associate degrees must designate specific disciplinary areas of study (e.g., A.A.S. in Criminal Justice or A.S. in Nursing) that are considered distinct programs of study. Career degrees are subject to Board of Regents and USG policies on comprehensive program review and all relevant SACSCOC standards for a distinct program of study. Career degree programs of study may be advertised as available programs of study at the institution.


3.8.3 Graduate Courses

USG institutions shall award only such graduate degrees that they have been authorized by the Board to confer. Other USG institutions shall not offer graduate level courses unless approved by the Board upon recommendation of the Chancellor.


3.8.4 Ph.D. Programs

Ph.D. programs shall be limited to research universities. Comprehensive universities do not normally offer Ph.D. degrees. In exceptional cases, however, they may offer the Ph.D. when:

  1. The program supports the central mission of that university;
  2. There is demonstrated demand for the program;
  3. There is demonstrated need for graduates of the program; and,
  4. There is assurance of high academic quality.

All such program proposals will be subject to Board approval processes for graduate programs. The USG chief academic officer will seek counsel from appropriate USG leaders and other research universities, and then make recommendations to the Chancellor and the Board of Regents as to whether a comprehensive university has met these criteria.

In the case of applied doctorates, the Chancellor may recommend exceptions to the above policy under guidelines adopted by the USG chief academic officer.


3.8.5 Diplomas Earned at Institutions Under a Previous Name

Upon request, a USG institution may issue a certificate to a graduate who received a diploma under a previous name of the institution in line with the requirements set forth in the Academic & Student Affairs Handbook in order to memorialize the individual’s status as an alumnus or alumna of the institution.


3.8.6 Honorary Degrees

Honorary degrees are subject to approval by the Board of Regents. Honorary degrees may be conferred by USG research, comprehensive, state universities and state colleges to persons of notable achievement in an academic field, the arts and letters, the professions, or public service. An institutionally approved process for advancing candidates for consideration in a timely fashion shall include recommendations by a faculty committee and selection by the president of a candidate to be communicated to the Chancellor. Honorary degrees may be conferred upon candidates recommended by the Chancellor and approved by the Board of Regents.

Current elected or appointed national office holders or officials of the State of Georgia to whom the USG institutions are directly or indirectly answerable, as well as persons who are announced candidates for national or state elective offices are ineligible for honorary degrees. Current Regents and all current USG employees are also ineligible.


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