At McNeese State University guidelines for degree programs follow generally accepted higher education standards and University of Louisiana System and Board of Regents policies. One semester credit hour is assigned to each approximately 750 minutes of meeting time per semester. Web based courses follow appropriate distance learning standards for awarding credit.
- Academic programs at the associate degree level contain 60-72 credit hours with at least 28 credit hours of general education core requirements.
- Academic programs at the baccalaureate level must have a minimum of 120 credit hours with 40 credit hours of general education core requirements.
- Academic programs at the graduate level must have a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours.
- Undergraduate academic programs must include a senior capstone experience designed to measure students' competency in their major field.
- Academic programs seeking to offer 50% or more of the course work via distance learning must obtain prior approval from the Board of Regents and Commission on Colleges.
- Use of the terms major, minor, concentration, bachelor of science, bachelor or arts, etc. must be in accord with Board of Regents Approved Degree Designations.
New Programs-Undergraduate and Graduate
Proposals for new degree programs are discussed with the Vice President of Academic Affairs. During initial discussions, questions about the program's fit in the institution's role, scope and mission, the demand and/or need for the program, the resources required to offer the program, the admission requirements, the potential for enrollment and completers, and other relevant factors are considered.
Letters of Intent (LOI) for new programs proceed through the departmental committee, college committee, University Curriculum Committee or Graduate Council, and Academic Advisory Council for campus approval. (See Board of Regents Academic Affairs Policy 2.04 for LOI format.) Once approved at the campus level, the Letter of Intent is submitted to the University of Louisiana System for approval. Once approved at ULS it is forwarded to the Board of Regents for review and approval. If approved at the Board of Regents, a Degree Program Proposal is submitted to the University of Louisiana System and Board of Regents within the allotted timeline. Once approved by the Regents the program is included in the University Catalog and electronic registration system.
Proposals for concentrations within existing degree programs do not require board approval. Relevant factors for new concentrations are discussed with the Vice President of Academic Affairs before being submitted to the University Curriculum Committee.
Curricula revisions originate at the faculty level and are usually based on program assessment and evaluation data compiled for the Master Plan process. Regular review and evaluation of curricula offerings and programs begin each spring as faculty and administrators review program outcomes assessment data for inclusion in the Master Plan. In some cases, curricula revisions are necessary to comply with accreditation or professional agency criteria. The process is as follows:
- Program coordinator or faculty identify needed changes and discuss at the departmental level.
- When approved by the department head, the proposals are submitted to the dean for discussion at the college level. This step may include review by a college committee or review with the department head and dean.
- When approved by the dean, the materials are sent to the appropriate university-wide curriculum committee. Undergraduate materials are reviewed by the University Curriculum Committee (UCC). Graduate program materials are reviewed by the Graduate Council.
- When approved by the UCC or the Graduate Council, the materials are presented to the Academic Advisory Council for review. The Graduate Council and UCC monitor distance learning initiatives at their respective levels.
- Proposals then approved by the Vice President of Academic Affairs are forwarded to the Registrar for inclusion in the University Catalog and electronic registration system.
- The University Curriculum Committee monitors the integrity of the general education core requirements and distance learning initiatives, ensures affected departments are notified of curricula or course changes, and identifies core coursework related to communication, computer literacy, and international education requirements.
Curriculum terminology conforms to a list of standardized catalog entries and format. When a course number or course name is changed, a duplicate credit statement must be included. A duplicate credit statement is also required when adding a new course with content similar to an existing course. Once a course is deleted that course number cannot be used for 10 years. All curriculum material submitted to the UCC or the Graduate Council must include the college's curriculum committee approval date, plus signatures of the appropriate department head, dean, and curriculum committee member. After review by the UCC or Graduate Council, the materials are submitted to the Academic Advisory Committee with the additional signature of the UCC chair or Dean of the Graduate School.
In general, curriculum changes are reflected in the next printing of the University Catalog and are effective with the next summer session. Under justified and extenuating circumstances curriculum changes may be included as addenda to the current Catalog.