3.36.1 – Procedure – Academic Programs

MnSCU Policy

Part 1: Purpose and Applicability

Subpart A: Procedure Purpose. The purpose of academic program procedures is to establish standards, processes and conditions that enable consistent implementation of academic program policy.

Subpart B: Applicability. These procedures apply to Policy 3.36 – Academic Programs.

Part 2:  Definitions. The following definitions have the meanings indicated for all Board policies unless the text clearly indicates otherwise.

Subpart A: Academic Award. Academic award means a certificate, diploma or degree.

Subpart B: Academic Program

Academic program means a cohesive arrangement of college-level credit courses and experiences designed to accomplish predetermined objectives leading to the awarding of a degree, diploma, or certificate.  Most academic programs include a general education component.  The purpose of an academic program is to:

  1. Increase students’ knowledge and understanding in a field of study or discipline,

qualify students for employment in an occupation or range of occupations, and/or

prepare students for advanced study.

Subpart C: Academic Program Characteristics

Academic program characteristics are attributes that operationally describe an approved academic program and include:

  1. Name
  2. Academic award
  3. Federal Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) code
  4. Credit length
  5. Location(s)
  6. Emphases, if any
  7. Articulation or collaborative agreements, if any, among institutions and parties, and
  8. Status (active, suspended, closed).

Subpart D: Academic Program Closure. Academic program closure means a change in status which permanently closes the academic program to new enrollment.

Subpart E: Academic Program Curriculum Component. Academic program curriculum component is a program element with set requirements. Often may be described as having emphasis in a particular area. Components can also often include electives, required courses, and general education a program necessitates.

Subpart F: Academic Program Inventory. Academic program inventory means the official list of academic programs offered by system colleges and universities.

Subpart G: Academic Program Redesign. Academic program redesign is a change to an academic program characteristic.

Subpart H: Academic Program Reinstatement. Academic program reinstatement is a change from suspended to active status.

Subpart I: Academic Program Relocation. Academic program relocation occurs when an active academic program is closed at its present location and approved for delivery at a different location.

Subpart J: Academic Program Replication. Academic program replication occurs when an active academic program is offered at an additional location.

Subpart K: Academic Program Suspension. Academic program suspension is a change in status which temporarily closes the academic program to new enrollment.

Subpart L: Advisory Committee. Advisory committee means a group established to provide guidance on academic program development and improvement including need, design, accountability, and closure.

Subpart M: Articulation Agreement. Articulation agreement means a formal agreement between two or more educational entities to accept credits in transfer toward a specific academic program.

Subpart N: Collaborative Agreement. Collaborative agreement means a formal agreement between two or more parties, at least one of which is a system college or university, to co-deliver an academic program. One or more colleges or universities signing the agreement may confer the award.

Subpart O: Course. Course means a set of designed learning experiences with defined outcomes.

Subpart P: Credit. Credit means a quantitative measure of instructional time assigned to a course or an equivalent learning experience such as class time per week over an academic term.

Subpart Q: Curriculum. Curriculum means a coherent set of instructional experiences designed through established procedures to achieve desired student learning outcomes. Curriculum may refer to an academic program, an academic program element such as the major, an instructional unit, the general education component, or the entirety of offerings of the college.

Subpart R: Fine Arts. Fine arts include disciplines of creative writing, dance, music, theatre or the visual arts in which artistic purposes are primary.

Subpart S: General Education. General education means a cohesive curriculum defined by system college or university faculty to develop general knowledge and reasoning ability through an integration of learning experiences in the liberal arts and sciences.

Subpart T: Liberal Arts and Sciences. Liberal arts and sciences include the humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, and social sciences.

Subpart U: Location. Location means a geographic place where an institution has been approved to deliver an entire academic program.

Subpart V: Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. The Minnesota Transfer Curriculum comprises transferable general education courses that reflect competencies adopted by the public higher education institutions in Minnesota.

Subpart W: Mission Statement. A mission statement conveys an institution’s broad intentions and distinctive character; describes its primary educational programs and their purposes; recognizes the diversity of its learners; identifies the students to be served, including particular constituents; defines a primary service area and communicates a commitment to the advancement of society’s values and common purposes and the advancement of excellence in higher learning. Use of this definition is restricted to this procedure and related guidelines, if any.

Subpart X: New Academic Program. New academic program means an academic program identified by curricular content and an academic award that is significantly different from other academic programs at a system college or university.

Subpart Y: Online Academic Program. Online academic program means an academic program that is delivered entirely or almost entirely over the Internet. When pedagogically necessary, limited portions of an online academic program may require face-to-face instruction, professional practice or applied activities that are not appropriate for online delivery.

Subpart Z: Preparatory Course. Preparatory course means a lower-division college level course, outside of an academic program, that compensates for insufficient high school or equivalent preparation.

Subpart AA: Prerequisite Course. Prerequisite course means a college level course within an academic program that all students must complete before enrolling in another college level course or a major.

Subpart BB: Task Analysis. Task analysis means a process used to identify the knowledge, skills, tools, and abilities needed to perform an occupation.

Subpart CC: Undergraduate Course Level. Course level reflects the degree of difficulty, the breadth and depth of learning expectations or the sequential learning required of knowledge. Course content and level are determined by system college and university faculty through established procedures.

Subpart DD: Developmental. Developmental course content prepares students for entry into college level courses. Developmental level course credits do not apply toward a certificate, diploma, or degree.

Subpart EE: Lower-division. Lower-division course content prepares students for specific academic program outcomes.

Part 3: Authorized Academic Awards

Subpart A: System College and University Award Authority. A system college or university may change its institution type or confer academic awards for which it is not authorized by submitting an application to the chancellor and obtaining approval from the Board of Trustees. The application shall include demonstration of system college or university readiness and capacity to deliver the new award.

Part 4: Academic Awards

Subpart A: Associate in Arts (AA)

An AA degree is awarded upon completion of 60 credits in the liberal arts and sciences without a named field of study. A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better is required.

It is designed for transfer to baccalaureate degree-granting institutions. The degree requires completion of at least a 40 credit general education curriculum that fulfills the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MNTC) goal areas.

An AA degree may have one or more emphases of at least 9 credits each in liberal arts and science fields, provided there is an articulation agreement with a baccalaureate major offered by at least one system university.

At least 20 semester credits shall be taught by the faculty recommending the award. This requirement may be decreased upon recommendation of the faculty and approval by the president of Lake Superior College. Petitioned course substitutions cannot exceed 25% of the total program planner credits.

Subpart B: Associate in Applied Science (AAS)

An AAS degree is awarded upon completion of a 60 credit academic program in a named field of study in scientific, technological or other professional fields. It prepares students for employment in an occupation or range of occupations. An AAS degree may also be accepted in transfer to a related baccalaureate program. The degree requires a minimum of 15 general education credits selected from at least three of the ten goal areas of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. At least 30 credits shall be in the academic program’s occupational or technical field of preparation. An AAS program proposed with greater than 72 credits requires special approval by the chancellor. An AAS degree may have one or more emphases of at least 9 credits each when there are at least 30 credits in the major that are common to the emphases. At least 20 credits shall be taught by the faculty recommending the award. This requirement may be decreased upon recommendation of the faculty and approval by the president of Lake Superior College. Petitioned course substitutions cannot exceed 25% of the total program planner credits.

A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better is required.

A waiver of approval may be granted to an AAS degree of more than 60 credits in length when the academic program prepares an individual for employment and the length is based on:

  1. Industry and Professional Standards
  2. Required by an employer, licensing body or other regulatory agency, accrediting association, or board
  3. Based on a formal task analysis conducted within the previous three years and the results endorsed by an advisory committee.

Subpart C: Associate in Science (AS)

An AS degree is awarded upon completion of a 60 credit academic program in scientific, technological, or other professional fields designed to transfer in its entirety to a related baccalaureate program by way of an articulation agreement. A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is required. An associate in science program proposed with greater than 64 credits requires special approval by the chancellor. Petitioned course substitutions cannot exceed 25% of the total program planner credits.

AS degrees may be awarded in either a broad or specific field of study:

  1. Broad Field. A broad field associate in science degree transfers to all system universities offering related baccalaureate programs through a statewide articulation agreement. Broad fields may include areas such as
  2. Agriculture
  3. Business
  4. Computer and information sciences
  5. Education
  6. Engineering
  7. Engineering technologies
  8. Environmental sciences
  9. Health sciences
  10. Natural sciences.
  1. Specific Field. Specific field AS degrees may be designed for both transfer and employment. A specific field associate in science degree requires at least one articulation agreement between a community college, community and technical college, or technical college and a system university awarding a baccalaureate degree in a related discipline, unless the chancellor grants an exception. The AS degree requires a minimum of 30 general education credits selected from at least six of the ten goal areas of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. An AS degree shall not have emphases. At least 20 credits shall be taught by the faculty recommending the award. This requirement may be decreased upon recommendation of the faculty and approval by the president of Lake Superior College.

Subpart D: Associate in Fine Arts Degree (AFA)

An AFA degree is a named degree awarded upon completion of a 60 credit academic program in a particular discipline in the fine arts. A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is required. An AFA degree is designed to transfer in its entirety to a related baccalaureate degree program. At least one articulation agreement is required between the community college or the community and technical college and a system university awarding a baccalaureate degree in a related fine arts discipline, unless the chancellor grants an exception.

The degree requires a minimum of 24 general education credits selected from at least six of the ten goal areas of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. The chancellor may increase this minimum for selected disciplines. Petitioned course substitutions cannot exceed 25% of the total program planner credits.

AFA degree concentrations:

  1. Art. An AFA degree in art requires the minimum of 24 general education credits selected from at least six of the ten goal areas of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum.
  2. Music. An AFA degree in music requires at least 30 general education credits selected from at least six of the ten goal areas of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum.
  3. Theatre arts. An AFA degree in theatre arts requires at least 40 general education credits and completion of the entire Minnesota Transfer Curriculum.

An AFA degree shall not have emphases. At least 20 semester credits shall be taught by the faculty recommending the award. This requirement may be decreased upon recommendation of the faculty and approval by the president of the college or university.

Subpart E: Diploma

A diploma is awarded upon completion of a 31 to 72 credit undergraduate academic program that prepares students for employment. A minimum of 24 credits shall be in occupational or technical courses. A diploma may have one or more emphases of at least 9 credits when there are at least 30 credits in the major that are common to the emphases. A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better is required.

A diploma may be individualized according to the standards outlined in MnSCU Board Policy 3.36.1, Part 5. Subpart C, to provide a student an opportunity to design an academic program to meet specific occupational goals that cannot be met by current program offerings. At least one-third of the credits in the academic program shall be taught by the faculty recommending the award. This requirement may be decreased upon recommendation by the faculty and approval by the president of Lake Superior College.   Petitioned course substitutions cannot exceed 25% of the total program planner credits.

A diploma program of more than 72 credits in length may be approved when the diploma program prepares an individual for employment and the length is (1) required by an employer, a licensing body or other regulatory agency, accrediting association, or board or (2) based on a formal task analysis conducted within the previous three years and the results endorsed by an advisory committee.

Subpart F: Undergraduate Certificate

An undergraduate certificate is awarded upon completion of a 9-30 credit academic program. A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is required. An undergraduate certificate program may have an occupational outcome or address a focused area of study. An undergraduate certificate shall not have an emphasis.

At least one-third of the credits in the academic program shall be taught by the faculty recommending the award. This requirement may be decreased upon recommendation by the faculty and approval by the president of Lake Superior College. Petitioned course substitutions cannot exceed 25% of the total program planner credits.

An undergraduate certificate program less than 9 or more than 30 credits in length may be approved when the certificate program prepares an individual for employment and the length or the designation as a certificate is:

  1. Required by an employer, a licensing body or other regulatory agency, accrediting association, or board or;
  2. Based on a formal task analysis conducted within the previous three years and the results endorsed by an advisory committee.

Part 5: Honors at Graduation

Associate degrees, diplomas and certificates will be awarded with “high honors” to those students graduating with an LSC cumulative grade point average of 3.75 or greater. Associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates will be awarded with “honors” to those students graduating with an LSC cumulative grade point average of between 3.50 and 3.74.

Cumulative grade point average after fall term of the year in which the student graduates is used to determine a student’s honors designation as displayed in the commencement program.

Subpart A: Graduation Program Planner Selection. Students may graduate under their catalog of entry or exit; if they have been out of college for more than one year, they must follow the catalog of re-entry or exit. In addition, some programs may have more stringent requirements; any variations from a published catalog, or more recent planner, must be documented by petition.

Part 6: Credit Life. General education and elective credits have no transfer limit. Occupational course credits earned more than five years prior to the time of request need program faculty approval to fulfill current program requirements. Certain occupational areas may have more stringent requirements. If occupational credits more than five years old are not approved to fulfill program requirements, students may demonstrate course content mastery by utilizing the Credit for Prior Learning process.

Part 7: Student Options when Academic Programs are Suspended, Closed, or Changed. Lake Superior College shall establish plans to address students’ opportunities to complete an academic program when it has been suspended or closed or when the requirements have changed.

Subpart A: Academic Program Suspension and Closure

Lake Superior College shall develop a plan to serve students who were admitted to an academic program proposed for suspension or closure. The plan shall identify admitted students who are covered by the plan and their options to complete the academic program. Lake Superior College shall notify students about their options and assist them with their individual plans. Students covered by the plan shall maintain full-time enrollment status unless Lake Superior College makes other provisions.

Subpart B: Academic Program Changes. Lake Superior College shall notify students who have been admitted to an academic program of any changes to the academic program. Students shall be given an opportunity to graduate under the catalog requirements at the time of their admission to the institution or under any subsequent catalog requirements.

Part 8: Academic Review

Subpart A: Academic Review Criteria

Where applicable, the review shall address:

  1. Contributions to the mission and plans of Lake Superior College
  2. Assessment of student learning outcomes
  3. Academic Program Assessment
  4. Compliance with accreditation, licensure or certification requirements; or other requirements
  5. Advisory committee or other appropriate industry or professional input as determined by Lake Superior College through established procedures,
  6. Compliance with Minnesota Transfer Curriculum requirements and other factors as appropriate.
  7. Articulation agreements, where appropriate
  8. Labor market information when preparation for an occupation or profession is stated purpose of the program

Date of Implementation: May 3, 2001

Date Updated: April 30, 2014