13B.02.02.16

.16 Graduation Requirements.

A. Associate Degree.

(1) Credit Hour Requirement.

(a) An associate degree requires the satisfactory completion of not less than 60 or more than 70 credit hours, representing a planned sequence of learning experiences.

(b) Beginning with the Fall 2015 academic year, the standard number of credit hours required for an associateís degree from a public community college is 60 credit hours.

(c) The standard number of credit hours required under §A(1)(b) of this regulation does not apply if:

(i) The degree program is defined as more than a 2-year associateís degree;

(ii) Professional accreditation requires a higher number of credit hours or requires course work that cannot be completed in 60 credit hours; or

(iii) Certification requirements result in a need for credit hours in excess of 60.

(d) In consultation with the Commission, the governing board of a public community college may approve additional exceptions to the credit hour requirements of this subsection.

(2) An in-State institution shall require a minimum average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale for graduation for both degree and certificate programs.

(3) A student shall earn at least 15 credit hours at the institution granting the degree.

(4) An institution may not include credit awarded for remedial education towards the credit hours required for graduation.

B. Baccalaureate Degree.

(1) Credit Hour Requirement.

(a) An in-State institution shall require the satisfactory completion of not less than 120 credit hours, distributed according to the requirements of the curriculum, for a baccalaureate degree.

(b) The standard number of credit hours required for a baccalaureate degree from a public senior higher education institution is 120 credit hours.

(c) The standard number of credit hours required under §B(1)(b) of this regulation does not apply if:

(i) The degree program is defined as a 5-year baccalaureate program;

(ii) Professional accreditation requires a higher number of credit hours or requires course work that cannot be completed in 120 credit hours; or

(iii) Certification requirements result in a need for credit hours in excess of 120.

(d) In consultation with the Commission, the governing board of a public senior higher education institution may approve additional exceptions to the credit hour requirements of this subsection.

(2) An institution shall require a minimum average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale for graduation for both degree and certification programs.

(3) A student shall earn at least 30 credit hours, of which at least 15 credit hours are upper divisional credit hours, at the institution awarding the degree.

(4) An institution may not include credit awarded for remedial education towards the credit hours required for graduation.

C. An in-State institution shall have appropriate policies concerning students who do not make adequate progress toward a degree or certificate.

D. Credit Hours.

(1) An in-State institution shall award 1 credit hour for:

(a) A minimum of 15 hours, of 50 minutes each of actual class time, exclusive of registration, study days, and holidays;

(b) A minimum of 30 hours, of 50 minutes each of supervised laboratory or studio time, exclusive of registration, study days, and holidays;

(c) A minimum of 45 hours, of 50 minutes each of instructional situations such as practica, internships, and cooperative education placements, when supervision is ensured and learning is documented; or

(d) Instruction delivered by electronic media based on the equivalent outcomes in student learning in §D(1)(a) of this regulation, and may include a combination of telelessons, classroom instruction, student consultation with instructors, and readings, when supervision is ensured and learning is documented.

(2) One quarter hour of credit is awarded for instruction equivalent to 2/3 of the contact hours required for 1 credit hour.

E. General Education Requirement.

(1) An in-State institution shall provide to its students, within the required curriculum for graduation, a general education that is designed to provide the student with the skills and knowledge necessary to:

(a) Communicate effectively in oral and written English;

(b) Read with comprehension;

(c) Reason abstractly and think critically;

(d) Understand and interpret numerical data;

(e) Understand the scientific method;

(f) Recognize and appreciate cultural diversity;

(g) Understand the nature and value of the fine and performing arts; and

(h) Demonstrate information literacy.

(2) A private institution shall satisfy the general education requirement by:

(a) Requiring each associate degree program to include not less than 20 credit hours and that each baccalaureate degree program shall include not less than 40 credit hours of required arts and science core courses, with at least one 3-credit hour course from each of the following five areas:

(i) Arts and humanities;

(ii) English composition;

(iii) Social and behavioral sciences;

(iv) Mathematics; and

(v) Biological and physical sciences;

(b) An integrated and structured general education experience required of all students, adopted by the governing board of the institution, which shall be demonstrated to the Commission at the time of initial approval or reaffirmation of approval, to achieve the goals of general education as defined in §E(1) of this regulation; or

(c) A process to measure competencies and to award credit in the areas of general education adopted by the governing board of the institution, which shall be demonstrated to the Commission to achieve the goals of general education in accordance with guidelines approved by the Commission.

F. General education requirements for public institutions are governed by COMAR 13B.06.01.

G. Credit for Practica, Clinical Experience, Internships, and Cooperative Work Experiences.

(1) An in-State institution awarding credit hours for practica, clinical experiences, internships, and cooperative work experiences shall ensure that the credit hours are being awarded for actual academic learning.

(2) A student shall demonstrate competence through testing or through other appropriate evaluative measures.

(3) An institution granting baccalaureate or higher degrees may not award more than 45 credit hours of the minimum 120 credit hours required for the baccalaureate degree or a proportional amount of a greater number of credit hours for practica, clinical experiences, internships, and cooperative work experiences.

(4) An associate degree-granting institution may not award more than 30 credit hours of the minimum 60 credit hours required for the associate degree or a proportional amount of a greater number of credit hours for practica, clinical experiences, internships, and cooperative work experiences.

H. Credit for Competency-Based Education.

(1) An institution may award credit hours for competency-based education, such as credit for prior learning or demonstration of skills and knowledge in specific areas, based on:

(a) Successful completion of an acceptable standardized examination such as the College Level Examination Program;

(b) An examination developed by the institution;

(c) A portfolio assessment; or

(d) Another assessment method approved by the Secretary to demonstrate competencies.

(2) An institution that awards credit for competency-based education shall follow nationally accepted standards for the notation of such credit on a studentís transcript.

(3) Institutional Policy.

(a) An institution that awards credit for competency-based education shall submit to the Secretary a written policy that articulates standards for the assessment and awarding of credit hours to students.

(b) The institution shall:

(i) Develop and approve the policy through appropriate governance channels, including seeking input from students and faculty;

(ii) Submit the policy to the Secretary for approval;

(iii) Review and update the policy at least every 3 years to ensure that it reflects current practice; and

(iv) Resubmit the policy to the Secretary for approval when changes are made.

(c) The Secretary shall:

(i) Review the institutionís policy;

(ii) Approve the policy if the Secretary determines that the policy is complete and that all assessment methods will be effective for assessing studentsí competencies; and

(iii) Maintain the written policy on file at the Commission.

(d) An institution may not implement its policy until it receives the Secretaryís written approval.

(4) Faculty of the institution in the appropriate discipline shall conduct each assessment.

(5) Maintenance of Copies.

(a) An institution shall maintain copies of all examinations, test results, portfolios, portfolio assessment reviews, and other methods approved by the Secretary to assess learning for the award of credit hours for competency-based education.

(b) The copies shall be maintained for 1 year after a student graduates or for 5 years after a student was last enrolled, as applicable.

(6) Report to Secretary.

(a) Where graduates of an institution earn more than half of the credit hours toward their degree or certificate program through competency-based education, the institution shall submit an annual report to the Secretary.

(b) The report shall be:

(i) In the form required by the Secretary; and

(ii) Submitted by October 1st of each year for the prior academic year.

(c) The report shall detail:

(i) The number of degrees and certificates awarded in this manner;

(ii) The number of credits for competency-based education granted per degree or certificate awarded; and

(iii) The methods used for assessing and awarding credit for competency-based education.

I. An in-State institution shall require satisfactory completion of the requirements of a program of studies representing a planned sequence of learning experiences that consists of:

(1) At least 12 credit hours at the freshman or sophomore levels, or both, to confer a lower division certificate;

(2) At least 12 credit hours at the junior or senior levels, or both, to confer an upper division certificate;

(3) At least 12 credit hours at the graduate or upper divisional level, the majority of which are at the master's or specialized postgraduate level, to confer a post-baccalaureate certificate;

(4) At least 30 credit hours or the equivalent of graduate-level courses to confer a master's degree;

(5) At least 12 credit hours of graduate study or the equivalent beyond the master's degree, to confer a post-master's certificate;

(6) At least 30 credit hours of graduate study or the equivalent beyond the master's degree, to confer a certificate of advanced study;

(7) At least 2 years of study beyond the master's level, including completion of a thesis or dissertation, to confer a doctoral degree; or

(8) All institutional requirements for becoming a practitioner in a field such as law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, or theology, to confer a first professional degree.

J. An in-State institution may award an informal award certifying satisfactory completion of a course or sequence of courses that are either noncredit or less than 12 credit hours.

K. An in-State institution may not award transfer of course credit hours for courses completed:

(1) By correspondence, unless credit for these courses was earned at a college or university accredited by an organization recognized as an accrediting agency by the United States Department of Education to grant institutional accreditation and would be accepted by that institution as credit toward a degree; or

(2) In institutions or organizations that are not legally authorized to grant standard college degrees, unless the courses have been evaluated and recommended by the American Council on Education or other nationally recognized bodies, or are a part of an articulation agreement approved by the Commission.

L. An in-State institution may accept transfer credit hours for courses that are:

(1) From another in-State institution approved by the Commission;

(2) From an in-State institution that is:

(a) Exempted by law from approval by the Commission, and

(b) Accredited by an organization recognized as an accrediting agency by the United States Department of Education to grant institutional accreditation;

(3) From an out-of-State institution that is accredited by an organization recognized as an accrediting agency by the United States Department of Education to grant institutional accreditation; or

(4) Part of an articulated agreement with a high school for which course competencies are specified, with copies of the agreement being maintained on file.

M. COMAR 13B.06.01 governs the transfer of credit hours from public associate degree-granting institutions to public institutions granting baccalaureate or higher degrees.

N. Second-Degree Students.

(1) Students newly enrolling at an in-State institution who are seeking an associate degree or a baccalaureate degree and who hold a baccalaureate degree from a college or university accredited by an organization recognized as an accrediting agency by the United States Department of Education to grant institutional accreditation may be deemed to have satisfied the Maryland general education requirement under §E of this regulation, but not necessarily the total general education requirements of the institution.

(2) Students newly enrolling at an in-State institution who are seeking an associate degree and who hold an associate degree from a college or university accredited by an organization recognized as an accrediting agency by the United States Department of Education to grant institutional accreditation may be deemed to have satisfied the Maryland general education requirement for the associate degree under §E of this regulation, but not necessarily the total general education requirements of the institution.

O. Instruction Delivered by Distance Education. An in-State institution delivering instruction in Maryland by distance education shall provide evidence to the Secretary of compliance with the C-RAC guidelines.