The institution offers one or more degree programs based on at least 60 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the associate level; at least 120 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the baccalaureate level; or at least 30 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the post-baccalaureate, graduate, or professional level. If an institution uses a unit other than semester credit hours, it provides an explanation for the equivalency. The institution also provides a justification for all degrees that include fewer than the required number of semester hours or its equivalent unit.

Compliance Judgment:  In compliance

Narrative 

The authority to plan and develop a coordinated system of higher education in North Carolina is vested in the University of North Carolina Board of Governors (hereafter, BOG) in accordance with Constitution of North Carolina Article IX, Section 8  General Statutes of North Carolina Section 116-11 authorizes the BOG to determine the functions, educational activities, and academic programs of the constituent institutions, such as ECU, and to determine the types and program length of degrees awarded.  UNC-GA Code Appendix 1, Section III - Delegations of Duty and Authority to Boards of Trustees confers authority to the 17 institutions such that each institution determines when an individual student has fulfilled the criteria to be awarded a particular degree authorized by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

At East Carolina University (hereafter, ECU or the institution), a minimum of 120 semester hours (s.h.) is required for completion of all baccalaureate degrees; a minimum of thirty semester hours is required for all masters degrees; and thirty or more semester hours are required for all degree programs at the doctoral and first professional levels.  Semester Credit Hours Required for ECU Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees details the semester credit hours necessary for completion of each undergraduate and graduate degree program included in the institution’s Academic Program Inventory. (Note:  semester credit hours required for each certificate program are provided on the second page of the table).

All degrees awarded by ECU require the completion of a minimum number of
semester credit hours; there is no other means of determining academic credit for degrees at ECU. A one-semester hour course requires 750 contact minutes (2.7.1 UNC Policy 400_1_6); therefore, a three-semester hour course requires 2,250 contact minutes.  In spring 2012, East Carolina University offered 102 baccalaureate degrees, 2 educational specialist certifications, 75 departmental certificates, 76 master’s degrees, 16 doctoral degrees, and 4 first professional degrees.

Note: UNC Policy 400.1.5 requires that baccalaureate degree programs be limited to no more than 128 semester hours of study.  Any semester hour requirement beyond 128 must be approved by the UNC Board of Governors (BOG).  Any program so authorized for more than 135 semester hours is officially designated as a five-year baccalaureate program.  At the time this regulation went into effect in 1995, two ECU programs exceeded 128 semester hours and were approved by the BOG to remain at that level.  The two programs were the BFA in art education (134 s.h.) and the BS in clinical laboratory science (131 s.h.).

Undergraduate Programs                                                                                                          

Course and program length requirements for all undergraduate degree programs are published in the undergraduate catalog.  The undergraduate catalog is provided in two formats, an HTML version, which is regularly updated, and a PDF version. Minimum baccalaureate degree length (120 semester hours) regulations are also found in the Undergraduate Catalog: Minimum Degree Requirements.  There are no undergraduate degrees with fewer than 120 semester hours.

Graduate Programs

General Requirements for all graduate degree programs, minors, and certificates, including masters’ degree programs, graduate level certificates, and doctoral programs, is published in the graduate catalog.  As with the undergraduate catalog, the graduate catalog is provided in two formats – an HTML version, which is regularly updated, and a PDF version. Specific graduate degree length regulations can be found in the Graduate Catalog: Minimum Degree RequirementsA minimum of 30 semester hours is required for all master of arts and master of science degrees.  There are no masters’ degrees with fewer than 30 semester hours. 

Minimum length for ECU’s doctoral programs is 30 semester hours (s.h.) in the subject area beyond the master’s degree. As noted in the section on UNC Program Length Regulations below, 30 s.h. is well within the UNC requirement of “at least 21 hours in the proposed program area at the doctoral level” (UNC-GA Policy Manual 400.1.1.1G (Page 2)).

The University offers four first professional degrees:


How Program Length is Established and Monitored

East Carolina University meets and adheres to the program length and program content regulations provided in the UNC-GA Policy Manual 400.1.1.1G (Page 2), which clearly indicate the minimum number of program-specific semester hours required for degrees at every respective level: 


As a general rule, in order to be considered for degree program status, a course of study should require at least 27 semester hours in the proposed program area at the undergraduate level; at least half the number of hours required for the degree at the master’s level; and at least 21 hours in the proposed program area at the doctoral level. Anything less than this within an existing degree program should be designated a concentration, a decision that can be made at the campus level. For teacher education programs, the President may issue regulations and/or guidelines setting parameters for required second academic concentrations.


New Programs and Review of Existing Programs


Departmental faculty recommend the length (number of semester hours) of all proposed new degrees in accordance with the UNC Policy 400.1.1.1G. The on-campus ECU review process is described in the ECU Faculty Manual, Part VI, Section VII (Academic Program and Curriculum Development), the Undergraduate Curriculum and Program Development Manual, the Graduate Curriculum and Program Development Manual, and the UNC Policy 400.1.1.1G.  Review of proposed new degree programs and final approval of new degrees is done at the UNC system level (UNC-GA Policy Manual (400.1.1.1G).

Additionally, every ECU academic unit undergoes periodic (7-year) external review of its degree programs.  Beginning with an internal self-assessment document, ECU faculty respond to questions about academic degree programs, and the curricula which constitute them; then, content and length of degree curricula are examined as one part of the Unit Academic Program Review process by faculty from ECU’s peer institutions.  Since program reviews began at East Carolina University, no academic unit has been cited by review teams for either insufficient or excessive curriculum degree hours. 
 

Documentation

Reference Title

Location

AUD/PhD joint degree

grcat1112

Catalog of the Brody School of Medicine

Brody Curriculum

Constitution of North Carolina Article IX, Section 8

Article IX of NC Constitution

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Doctor of Physical Therapy

ECU Faculty Manual, Part VI, Section VII

Part V - Curriculum Development

General Statutes of North Carolina Section 116-11

GS116-11

Graduate Catalog: Minimum Degree Requirements

4.4 grad

Graduate Curriculum and Program Development Manual

Graduate-Curric-Prog-Devt-Manual-2011-2012-Web-2

General Requirements for all graduate degree programs, minors, and certificates

2.7.1 Degrees, Minors and Certificates

HTML Version (Graduate Catalog)

grad html

HTML Version (Undergraduate Catalog)

ugrad html

PDF Version (Graduate Catalog)

grcat1112

PDF Version (Undergraduate Catalog)

ugcat1112

Prospective Student information

Doctor of Dental Medicine

Semester Credit Hours Required for ECU Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees

Undergrad - GradDegrees hrs

 

UNC-GA Code Appendix 1, Section III – Delegations of Duty and Authority to Boards of Trustees

UNC Code Appendix 1 BOT authority

UNC-GA Policy Manual 400.1.5

UNC Policy 400.1.5

UNC-GA Policy Manual 400.1.6

2.7.1 UNC Policy 400_1_6

UNC-GA Policy Manual, 400.1.1.1G

UNC Policy 400.1.1.1G

UNC-GA Policy Manual, 400.1.1.1G (Page 2)

UNC Policy 400.1.1.1G

Undergraduate Catalog

Academic Programs

Undergraduate Catalog: Minimum Degree Requirements

4.4 Ugrad

Undergraduate Curriculum and Program Development Manual

Undergraduate Curric Prog Devt Manual 2011-2012

Unit Academic Program Review

UNIT-ACADEMIC-PROGRAM-REVIEW-6-10-2