Academic Policy  1500.00 

Eight-Semester Degree Completion Policy

  1. Introduction
    The University of Arkansas is committed to helping all of its students identify and achieve their educational goals. The many U of A programs of study and activities provide opportunities to students to follow varied career and learning paths and enjoy educational experiences of different kinds. Plans for degree completion are available in the Catalog of Studies, from colleges, schools, and departments, and at the University web site. Academic advising services in each college and school assist students in making plans for their own degree completion and in carrying them out consistent with students’ abilities, circumstances, and preferences.

    Beginning with the fall of 2006, a new program, the Eight-Semester Degree Completion Program (DCP), will make it possible for qualified degree-seeking freshmen to express their intention--and assume the associated obligations--to complete identified bachelor’s degree programs of study in four academic years. The list of majors and degrees designed to be completed in eight semesters and for which the DCP is available is maintained by college and school and may be accessed from the DCP web site. The list and degree completion plans for the programs are also made available in the Catalog of Studies (the complete on-line catalog), through schools, colleges and departments, and at the DCP web site. Before registering for their first semester of study, all freshmen entering the University must accept participation, decline participation, or acknowledge ineligibility for participation in the DCP by completing and signing the Participation Document. A student’s participation or non-participation in the DCP will not affect scholarship eligibility.

    Students who are admissible to the DCP and who choose to participate have the responsibility for meeting all requirements specified by the University and their degree completion plan and the responsibility for complying with the DCP policy. The University has the responsibility to provide advising support and the opportunity for students to enroll in and complete all required courses and all other university and program requirements as scheduled in the program plan within eight sequential semesters. The University will also provide students with timely notifications to the student’s official University e-mail address regarding advising, registration, and other requirement completion information.

    Students who qualify and choose to participate in honors programs do so in addition to meeting degree program requirements in the major. The honors curriculum requires a high level of performance and encourages study abroad, research, and personalized learning options that require an individualized plan of study. For these reasons, while degree completion can be guaranteed for majors in the eight-semester program, and while students in the honors program typically complete their degrees with honors in four years, graduation with honors cannot be guaranteed in eight semesters. Honors advisers in each college as well as in the Honors College are available to answer questions regarding all aspects of honors study and to assist students in choosing options and identifying requirements so that they can complete the eight-semester program and graduate with honors.

    A student may choose at any time to discontinue participation in the DCP without penalty. Students are encouraged to discuss such choices with an authorized academic adviser for the program of study. Participation and subsequent withdrawal from the DCP will not in themselves jeopardize the student’s opportunity to complete the degree program, to do so in a timely manner, or to complete another degree program or major by fulfilling program requirements.

    In some circumstances it may be in a student’s best interest to decline participation or withdraw from the DCP. Examples include students who are not prepared to choose a major before enrolling for the first semester and students who feel that a full semester class load of 15 or 16 hours will be too heavy given other responsibilities. Other students may plan to study abroad for a semester in an institution where the required courses are not offered or to participate in a semester-long internship program not included in the program plan. A decision or need to work or participate in certain time-intensive curricular and extra-curricular activities such as band and intercollegiate athletics may make it impossible to schedule all program requirements in some programs. A student may be required to withdraw from the DCP as a result of illness or other personal circumstances that make it impossible to do his or her best work, continue as a full-time student, or complete requirements in the time available. There are also acts and events that will cause the DCP agreement to be voided, and these are identified below in section C.

  2. Requirements for Admission to the Eight-Semester Degree Completion Program (DCP)
    1. Participants must begin their program of study in the fall semester as first-time, full-time freshmen and must be committed to be full-time students able to enroll in and successfully complete at least 31 - 36 hours each academic year.

    2. Participants must have chosen a major included in the DCP, must meet all admission requirements for the chosen program of study including applicable program grade point average and other grade requirements, and must have been admitted to programs requiring formal program admission.

    3. Participants must be qualified to begin enrollment in the fall semester without being required to take remedial courses in math, English, or reading or other course prerequisites to entry-level courses in the chosen program of study

  3. Requirements for Continuance and Completion of the Eight-Semester Degree Completion Program
    1. Students must follow exactly the degree completion plan for the chosen major and must meet all the specified requirements in their degree plan each semester unless an alternative is approved by an authorized academic adviser for their program or they have already met the requirement.

    2. Students must be continuously enrolled in and successfully complete at least 31-36 semester credit hours of appropriate course work each academic year as outlined in their degree completion plan.

    3. Students must make satisfactory academic progress as defined by the University and degree program and must maintain the grade point average required by the University and the program of study.

    4. Students must monitor their own progress in meeting the requirements identified in their degree completion plan, consistent with the program plan.

    5. Students must register for classes at the first/earliest assigned time during their designated registration period each semester for the following term. For courses required for graduation, students must accept any available course or class section that does not conflict with other required courses. Students should understand that special scheduling accommodations cannot be guaranteed for work or other activities including athletics and band.

      Students must seek assistance from an authorized academic adviser for their chosen program of study if they are unable to identify or register for any course(s) required for that semester in their degree program. For situations in which an authorized academic adviser for the program cannot identify a required course for the student to take, the adviser must notify the department chair and dean for the student’s program of study that it has not been possible for the student to complete registration for a required course for the next semester of enrollment. Notification must be made in writing immediately following the unsuccessful attempt to register. Consistent with the terms of the degree completion program, the chairperson or dean will identify an alternate course, in writing, to fulfill graduation requirements or will make possible an override to allow the student to enroll in the required course(s).

      Students must complete registration no later than the last official day of class for the fall or spring term preceding the next term of enrollment, unless the identification of an appropriate course to complete the student’s registration is still in progress.

    6. Students must have prior written approval by an authorized academic adviser before enrolling in any course at another institution (such as concurrent enrollment, enrollment during a summer term, or study abroad) if the student wishes to transfer the course and have the course included in the coursework submitted for the degree completion plan.

    7. Students must confer with an authorized academic adviser for their program before withdrawing from a required course as such a withdrawal will void the DCP agreement.

    8. Students must at all times maintain an accurate local address, e-mail address, and telephone number in official university records. Students may make changes to such information in the Student Information System Self Service component as needed and should make them immediately following any change. Students may also make changes by written notice to the Registrar.

    9. Students must respond in a timely way to any official notice or message from an authorized academic adviser and to any official notice regarding registration, degree progress, financial obligations or aid, or any other university requirement.

    10. Students must make timely application for all necessary financial assistance, consistent with deadlines.

    11. Students must meet all University degree requirements (including formal application for graduation consistent with deadlines and requirements as established by the Registrar for the semester in which the student is scheduled for graduation).

  4. Student Acts and Other Events That Will Void the Degree Completion Plan Agreement
    1. Withdrawing from (“dropping”) a required course

    2. Receiving a failing grade in a required course or receiving a grade below that required by the program

    3. Changing one’s major or degree program

    4. Withdrawing from the university

    5. Failure to meet any degree requirement(s) as specified and in the time specified

    6. Unauthorized non-payment or delayed payment of any tuition or fees

    7. Incurring a disciplinary action affecting the student’s enrollment

    8. Failing to comply with any other requirement of the Eight-Semester Degree Completion Policy.

  5. Appeal Process
    A student may appeal the voiding of the DCP to the dean of the college or school in which the student is enrolled. The appeal process requires that the student submit a statement of the basis for the appeal to the dean in writing within 30 days following notification of the voiding of the program, with a copy to an authorized academic adviser for the program. The dean will notify the student and the adviser of the outcome of the appeal within 60 days after receiving the statement, and the student’s status in the program will be adjusted as necessary.

Reformatted for Web October 2, 2014