Curriculum and Graduation Standards

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I.            POLICY

Curricula and graduation standards at Salt Lake Community College shall be developed and implemented with significant and meaningful involvement of SLCC faculty, whose role is central, both as individuals and through their departments and representative bodies. All courses and programs developed and implemented by Salt Lake Community College shall be designed and enforced in accordance with prescribed procedures. These procedures are based upon policies and standards of the Utah State Board of Regents and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

II.            REFERENCES

A.    Definitions, 34 C.F.R. § 600.2.

B.    Eligible program, 34 C.F.R. § 668.8.

C.     Approval of New Programs, Program Changes, Discontinued Programs, and Program Reports, Utah State Bd. of Regents r. 401.

D.   General Education, Common Course Numbering, Lower-Division Pre-Major Requirements, Transfer of Credits, and Credit by Examination, Utah State Bd. of Regents r. 470.

E.     Standards for Granting Academic Credit for CTE Course Work Completed in Non-Credit Instructional Formats, Utah State Bd. of Regents r. 473.

F.     Standards and Policies for Accreditation, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

III.            DEFINITIONS

A.    Academic Year: The period of time beginning with the start of Summer Semester and concluding at the end of the following Spring Semester.

B.    Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree: Program of study approved by the board of regents that is primarily intended to prepare students for direct entry into careers. A minimum of 63 and a maximum of 69 credit hours are required. Additionally, a minimum of 14 credits of general education including instruction in the areas of communication, composition, quantitative studies, and human relations are required. Based on compelling reasons, exceptions to the maximum credit hour requirement may be granted by the regents.

C.     Associate of Arts (AA) / Associate of Science (AS) Degree: Program of study approved by the board of regents that is primarily intended to encourage exploration of academic options and prepare students for upper-division work in baccalaureate programs and/or for employment. A minimum of 61 total credits, including a minimum of 34 credits of general education course work and 27 credits of additional course work, are required for completion of this degree. Individual programs may specify in their general catalog entries whether general education credits beyond the 34-credit minimum can be counted toward the 61 credits of coursework necessary to earn the associate’s degree; where not specified, excess general education credits can be counted. The Associate of Arts degree requires successful completion of any language course at the 1020 level or higher as part of the 27 credits beyond general education. Associate’s degrees are no more than 63 credits in length unless an exception has been granted by the board of regents. Pre-majors are defined in a variety of areas as outlined in the annual general catalog.

D.   Catalog Year: The course and program requirements, admissions standards, and academic policies in effect during a single academic year. This has reference to printed college catalogs that were published once each year and did not change for the duration of that academic year. The requirements published annually in the electronic college catalog likewise do not change and remain in force for the duration of a given academic year.

E.     Certificate of Achievement (CA): A program of study not requiring approval by the board of regents that results in a certificate issued by an individual department/division/school and not under the authority of the board of regents. These are typically designed to meet immediate workforce training or community education needs. Certificates of achievement are not recorded on an SLCC transcript, do not become part of a student’s permanent academic record, and are not eligible for federal financial aid. A certificate of achievement has no minimum or maximum length requirements or minimum general education requirements.

F.     Certificate of Completion (CC): Program of study approved by the board of regents that is typically one year in length (30-33 semester credit hours or 900-990 clock hours). Certificates of completion may be entry-level or may require prerequisites of related industry experience and/or previous course work or degree attainment. Certificates of completion include clearly identifiable instructional components in communication, computation, and human relations. These components can either be standalone general education courses or embedded within other program courses. Based on compelling reasons, exceptions to the maximum credit hour requirement may be granted by the regents.

G.    Certificate of Proficiency (CP): A program of study approved by the board of regents that is less than one year in length (16-29 semester credit hours or 600-899 clock hours). Certificates of proficiency may be entry-level or may require prerequisites of related industry experience and/or previous course work or degree attainment. Certificates of proficiency may not be eligible for federal financial aid.

H.   Clock Hour: A period of time consisting of a 50- to 60-minute class, lecture, or recitation in a 60-minute period; a 50- to 60-minute faculty-supervised laboratory, shop training, or internship in a 60-minute period; or 60 minutes of preparation in a correspondence course. An equivalent amount of work represented by achievement of comparable learning outcomes in an online, hybrid, competency- based, or other format.

I.       Corequisite: A course that must be taken concurrently with another course. In some cases, two specific sections are corequisites; in other cases, students may enroll simultaneously in a section of the corequisite courses.

J.      Credit Hour: Except as provided in 34 C.F.R. §§ 668.8(k) and (l), a credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is equivalent to not less than 45 hours of student work as follows: one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of‐class student work each week for 15 weeks or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; three hours of student work each week for 15 weeks or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time in other activities including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, etc.; or some combination of the above culminating in 45 hours of student work per semester. An equivalent amount of work represented by achievement of comparable learning outcomes in an online, hybrid, competency- based, or other format.

K.    Emphasis: A collection of courses within an Associate of Applied Science degree that gives the student a specific focus in a particular sub-area related to the identifiable core of courses required for the degree. Both the name of the AAS degree and name of the emphasis within that degree are noted on the SLCC transcript and diploma.

L.     Exception: Any adjustment made to a program’s requirements for an individual student. Exceptions can take the form of a substitution (a single course taken by a student takes the place of a single course required for program completion), a waiver (one or more program requirements are waived for an individual student), or another type of exception (such as multiple courses meeting the program requirement normally fulfilled by a single course). In some cases, exceptions are made to satisfy reasonable accommodation requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

M.  Full-Time Equivalent (FTE): A full-time equivalent is equal to the following unless otherwise specified by an individual agency (such as federal financial aid reporting requirements) 15 credit hours per semester / 30 credit hours per year, or 450 clock hours per semester / 900 clock hours per year.

N.   Graded Course Credit: Credit that carries a grade and has an impact on student GPA. Graded course credit also fulfills program requirements, the total credit requirement for academic degrees, and (if the grade meets a prescribed level) prerequisites in which a grade is specified.

O.   Major: The discipline in which a program resides. For an Associate of Applied Science degree, the major may include one or more emphases to describe sub-units of the degree.

P.    Non-Repeatable Course: A course that can only be repeated for grade replacement. Only one instance counts toward a student’s total credits and GPA. Most academic courses are non-repeatable. Current federal financial aid regulations specify how many times a course can be repeated using financial aid dollars.

Q.   Prerequisite: A course that must be successfully completed or a test score that must be earned to qualify for placement into an ensuing course. In some cases, certain prerequisite courses may be taken concurrently with the ensuing course.

R.    Pre-Major: A collection of lower-division courses beyond general education requirements that prepares students for upper-division courses in a baccalaureate major. Courses contained in a pre-major in an AA or AS degree should be the same or similar to courses offered at four-year institutions as determined by the faculty discipline majors committees. When a pre-major is designed for transfer to a four-year program, it must follow statewide articulation agreements where such agreements have been formulated subject to (r. 470) or, if this is a specialized program, have a formal, written, articulation agreement for the courses transferring.

S.     Program: A coherent series of courses leading to a certificate or degree with defined learning outcomes and requirements for completion.

T.    Repeatable Course: A course that may be retaken multiple times for additional credit. Each instance counts toward a student’s total credits and GPA. Examples include fitness classes, music ensembles, special topics classes, etc. Current federal financial aid regulations specify how many times a course can be repeated using financial aid dollars.

U.    Specialized Associate Degree: Program of study approved by the board of regents that includes extensive specialized course work, such as the Associate of Pre-Engineering (APE), and is intended to prepare students to initiate upper-division work in a baccalaureate program. A Specialized Associate Degree contains a minimum of 68 and a maximum of 85 credit hours, which include a minimum of 28 credit hours of preparatory, specialized course work and general education requirements that may be less extensive than in typical AA or AS degrees. Because students might not fully complete SLCC’s general education requirements while completing a specialized associate’s degree, they are expected to satisfy remaining general education requirements in addition to upper-division baccalaureate requirements at the receiving institution. Generally, specialized associate’s programs are articulated from two- to four-year majors. In some cases, articulation may be system-wide.

V.    Ungraded Course Credit: Credit that carries no grade and has no impact on student GPA. Ungraded course credit can, however, fulfill program requirements, the total credit requirement for academic degrees, and prerequisites in which a grade is not specified if allowed by an individual program.

IV.            PROCEDURES

A.    Program, Course, and Credit Hour Requirements

1.      Academic programs and courses are designed and delivered by appropriately qualified teaching faculty in consultation with other faculty, academic administrators, staff, business and industry partners, professional associations, and other relevant stakeholders.

2.     Where programs are designed to prepare students for transfer to another academic institution, program requirements are designed in consultation with the transfer partner and appropriate articulation agreements are created and enforced.

3.     Program length, credit hour assignments, and other requirements conform to the policies of the Utah State Board of Regents and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

4.     The school, college, and general education curriculum committees ensure that faculty and academic departments have made accurate credit hour assignments as specified in the definitions above during the development, approval, and periodic review of programs and courses.

5.     The SLCC Curriculum Handbook and General Education Handbook contain current procedures for developing, approving, and periodically reviewing programs and courses.

B.    Catalog Year

The following standards determine a student’s catalog year for graduation purposes.

1.      A student’s catalog year is assigned at the time of admission (he/she uses the catalog in effect during the term for which he/she is admitted).

2.     If a student must re-apply for admission due to a lapse in enrollment of two or more years, he/she will be assigned to the catalog in effect at the time of readmission.

3.     A student’s catalog year is updated when a student declares a new program of study (he/she uses the catalog in effect at the time the new program of study is declared).

4.     A student can elect to either use his/her assigned catalog year or any subsequent catalog up to the current catalog (subject to the limits outlined in sections IV.B.2 and IV.B.6) at the time he/she applies for graduation.

5.     A student may not use a catalog year prior to his/her assigned catalog year.

6.     No student can graduate under the requirements of a catalog more than six years old.

7.     Students must graduate under the requirements of a single catalog.

8.     Exceptions may be granted on an individual basis. Procedures for requesting an exception can be found on the Curriculum website.

C.     Graduation Standards

1.      A student may graduate from SLCC by completing all of the requirements for a degree or certificate as outlined in the applicable catalog year.

2.     The following standards also apply.

a.     Student Eligibility

A student must be a current, matriculated (degree-seeking) student to apply for graduation.

b.    Program Eligibility

(1) Students may only graduate in an approved program contained in their designated catalog year.
(2) Applications for graduation in a discontinued program will not be accepted.

c.      Graduation Residence

(1) A minimum of 25 percent of the credit or clock hours necessary for graduation from SLCC must be earned at SLCC. This can include credit earned through SLCC concurrent enrollment.
(2) Credit awarded by SLCC for experiential learning or through challenge examinations, Advanced Placement (AP) examinations, the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations does not count as in-residence credit.

d.    Cumulative GPA

(1) A student must have earned a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher to graduate.
(2) When a student repeats a course, the parameters in section IV.C.4 will be followed.
(3) A student’s cumulative GPA may be recalculated by the receiving institution when a student transfers to another institution.
(4) Grades earned in courses numbered 0001-0999 will not be included in the cumulative GPA for graduation purposes.

e.     Incomplete Grades

Incomplete courses (grade of “I”) necessary for graduation must be completed and a grade posted for a student to be eligible for graduation.

f.      Developmental Education Courses

Credits earned in courses numbered 0001-0999 do not satisfy graduation requirements.

3.     Exceptions

a.     Exceptions to the requirements of a program are granted only upon documented approval by the administrator of the relevant academic unit (department, division, and/or school) in consultation with appropriately qualified teaching faculty and, where appropriate, program-specific academic advisors.

b.    Exceptions for satisfying general education requirements or substituting a course from one discipline for a course in another discipline are granted only upon documented approval by the academic administrator assigned by the provost to oversee the general education and general studies programs (in consultation with other relevant academic administrators where appropriate).

c.      The Graduation office is the only entity authorized to input approved exceptions in the student’s academic record.

d.    Exceptions may either be approved on a one-time or ongoing basis. A list of ongoing exceptions is maintained by Curriculum & Articulation and, together with an annual report of all exceptions granted over the previous year, is reviewed and ratified annually by the relevant academic unit(s) and the general education and college curriculum committees where appropriate.

e.     A student may not request an exception unless he/she has been admitted as a matriculated student. Exceptions will not be granted to students not seeking a degree or certificate from SLCC.

f.      Procedures and timelines for requesting an exception are outlined on the SLCC Curriculum website.

g.    Students seeking exceptions under the reasonable accommodations requirement of the ADA should work through the Disability Resource Center.

4.     Course Repeats

a.     SLCC follows board of regents, federal financial aid, and Department of Veterans Affairs policies regarding course repeats.

b.    Non-Repeatable courses

(1) Students may repeat a course to earn a higher grade.
(2) All grades remain on the academic record; however, only the highest grade received in the course will be used to calculate the student’s cumulative GPA.
(3) Only one instance of the same course may be included in the total credit hours earned toward graduation.
(4) Federal financial aid and Department of Veterans Affairs guidelines restrict the number of times a course repeat can be funded by federal aid.
(5) Only direct repeats are counted; a grade earned in a higher course in a series does not replace a grade earned in a lower course (e.g., an A in MATH 1010 does not replace a C in MATH 0990).

c.      Repeatable courses

(1) Students may take a repeatable course multiple times.
(2) All grades remain on the academic record, and all will be used to calculate the student’s cumulative GPA.
(3) All instances of the course are included in the total credit hours earned toward graduation subject to individual program requirements.

d.    Transfer courses

Courses accepted from other institutions under SLCC’s transfer evaluation policies may be used for the purpose of posting a repeat of a course already taken at SLCC if the courses are articulated.

5.     Transfer Credit:

a.     Acceptance of Transfer Credits

(1) SLCC accepts credit transferred from other institutions within the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) without expiration.
(2) In most cases, SLCC accepts credit transferred from other regionally accredited postsecondary institutions according to the same guidelines followed for USHE credit.
(3) Credits from non-regionally accredited institutions are generally not accepted unless approved by the administrator of the relevant academic unit (department, division, and/or school) in consultation with appropriately qualified teaching faculty.

b.    Applicability of Transfer Credits

(1) In consultation with the appropriate academic unit(s), the Transfer Evaluation Office reviews courses taken over the prior 15 years and makes a determination of applicability to current requirements of a credential or degree based on the appropriateness of course content, rigor, and standards.
(2) Students may petition the Transfer Evaluation Office for an exception to the 15-year limit, and that office will consult with the appropriate academic unit(s) before making a decision.
(3) Transfer credits not applied to a student’s current program may be counted as elective credits.

6.     Expiration of Credit

a.     SLCC Credit

(1) Unless specified by individual academic units (departments, divisions, or schools), credits successfully completed at SLCC either on campus or through concurrent enrollment or distance education do not expire. However, credit for prior versions of courses may not be equivalent to the current version of the same courses for completion of program requirements or satisfaction of current course prerequisites.
(2) Credits awarded by SLCC through challenge exams, proficiency measures, experiential learning, and other means likewise do not typically expire, though they may be reevaluated if a student changes his/her program of study or reapplies for admission after a lapse in enrollment of two or more years.

b.    Transfer Credit

(1) Once accepted by SLCC, transfer credit does not expire and can be applied toward a program of study as specified in section IV.C.5.
(2) If a student must reapply for admission due to a lapse in enrollment of more than two years or if a student changes his/her program of study, transfer credit may be reevaluated.

7.     Academic Renewal

a.     Students admitted to Salt Lake Community College may petition to have poor grades and credits discounted from the GPA calculation of previous coursework.

b.    Academic renewal may not be accepted by transfer institutions and may not satisfy federal financial aid satisfactory academic progress requirements.

c.      To petition for academic renewal, the student must have an interruption in their education at Salt Lake Community College of at least five consecutive years and meet the policy requirements in sections IV.C.7.f.(1) through (8).

d.    The Academic Renewal Policy allows a returning student the opportunity to improve academic standing at Salt Lake Community College.

e.     Academic renewal permits returning students to discount previous poor grades and associated credits from grade point calculations under the following conditions:

(1) Returning students must have an interruption in their collegiate education at Salt Lake Community College of five or more consecutive years.
(2) The grades and associated credits to be discounted must be at least five years old.
(3) Academic renewal applies only to courses with grades of D+, D, D-, E or UW.

f.      Conditions Under Which Academic Renewal Will be Considered

(1) The applicant must be enrolled at Salt Lake Community College at the time of application for academic renewal and upon return to Salt Lake Community College, the applicant must have completed at least six credits of graded Salt Lake Community College coursework with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above.
(2) Academic renewal may be applied only once during a student’s academic career at Salt Lake Community College and it is irreversible.
(3) Not all graded coursework described in section IV.D.7.e.(3) must be discounted. Students may request specific courses for academic renewal.
(4) Repeated courses and credits are not eligible for academic renewal.
(5) Grades and credits approved for academic renewal will no longer count toward Salt Lake Community College program or graduation requirements.
(6) Courses approved for academic renewal and the course grades will remain on transcripts with an academic renewal notation.
(7) Students will not receive a tuition adjustment or refund for courses granted academic renewal status.
(8) Academic renewal applies only to courses and credits taken at Salt Lake Community College.

8.     Posthumous Degrees

All degrees, certificates of completion, and diplomas awarded by Salt Lake Community College may be issued posthumously under the following conditions:

a.     The deceased student has completed a minimum of 80 percent of program and credit-hour requirements for his/her major field of study.

b.    The deceased student is in good academic standing and has earned a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 at Salt Lake Community College.

c.      The deceased student must have been enrolled at the college within the past two years.

d.    A deceased student not eligible for a posthumous degree, certificate of completion, or diploma, may be awarded a certificate of academic achievement at the discretion of the college.

D.   Admissions, Registration, and Financial Aid Policies

Policies and procedures regarding admissions, registration, and financial aid are maintained and published by Academic Affairs in collaboration with the appropriate stakeholders.


Date of last cabinet review: October 22, 1013

The originator of this policy & procedure is the director of Curriculum Articulation and Governance Support. Questions regarding this policy may be directed to the originator by calling 801-957-4563