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CWUP 5-50-030 Definition of Curriculum Terms

5-50-030(2)Certificate Program
5-50-030(3)Cross-listed Courses
5-50-030(6)Degree Program
5-50-030(7)Degree Title
5-50-030(8)Layered Courses
5-50-030(9)Major Description
5-50-030(10)Minor Description
5-50-030(11)New Degree
5-50-030(12)Off Campus Degree Program
5-50-030(13) Pilot Test
5-50-030(14)Specialization Within a Degree Program
5-50-030(15)Student Learning Outcomes


(1) Assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning.  It involves making our expectations explicit and public; setting appropriate criteria and high standards for learning quality; systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well performances match those
expectations and standards; and using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve performance. When it is embedded effectively within larger institutional systems, assessment can help us focus our collective attention, examine our assumptions, and create a shared academic culture dedicated to assuring and improving the quality of higher education.  - AAHE Bulletin, November 1995.

(2) Certificate programs are programs of study that normally require less than 25% of the credits required for a degree program at a similar level.  Successful completion of the program results in a certificate.  Certificate programs may also be noncredit.

(3) Cross-listed courses are courses offered by two or more departments or by the same department.  Any crosslisted course offered by two or more departments must bear the  identical course description, credit, title, and numbering, only the departmental prefix will be different in the case of two or more departments.  Cross-listed courses within the same department bear the identical course description, credit and title but may differ in prefix and number.

(4) Curriculum refers to individual courses and academic degree programs offered by the university.  An academic degree program is a combination of courses (major, minor) related to a common theme, all of which contribute to a common purpose and lead to a specific goal which results in receiving a degree.

(5) Degree means a title or rank awarded by a college or university to a student who has successfully completed a required course of study.

(6) Degree program means a set of educational requirements, identified jointly by the department or other degree-granting unit and the college or university, which leads to a degree.  Baccalaureate program requirements involve a combination of general education courses, courses in the major field of study, and elective courses. Graduate program requirements involve intensive study in the major field, preparation in the use and conduct of research, and/or a field or internship experience; professional programs generally prepare individuals for professional fields (e.g., law, medicine).

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(7) Degree title means a full designation of the degree including level (e.g., bachelor, master), type (e.g., arts, applied science, science, education, fine arts), and major (e.g., mathematics, music, history).  These distinctions are illustrated below.  For the activities outlined in these guidelines, these definitions of a degree title will be used.


Degree DesignationLevelTypeMajor
B.A. EnglishBachelorArtsEnglish
B.S. Business AdministrationBachelorScienceBusiness Administration
B.F.A. Graphic ArtsBachelorFine ArtsGraphic Arts
B.A.S. Industrial TechnologyBachelorApplied ScienceIndustrial Technology
M. MUSMasterMusicMusic
M. Ed. Master TeacherMasterEducationMaster Teacher

A layered course is one that has different number designations for undergraduate and graduate students who take the same course.  For graduate students, the course will be taken at the 500 level or higher.  Layered courses provide faculty the opportunity to augment course material with graduate-level content and expectations in a way that meets the intellectual rigor graduate students need and enhances the teaching of upper-division undergraduates.  Distinctions expected between these corresponding
levels typically focus on differences in content and assessment stemming from each graduate program’s specific educational objectives.  In general, these distinctions require a greater depth of study and increased demands on student intellectual or creative capacities that would be expected at an undergraduate level.

The distinctions must be clearly indentified in the content and assessment methods outlined in each course syllabus, as well as new course proposal forms.  Examples of potential content differences include, but are not limited to: additional readings or additional writing expectations, additional laboratory, field, performance or studio work.  Examples of assessment distinctions include, but are not limited to: different grading scales and assessment of additional work.

(9) Major means that part of the curriculum where a student concentrates on one subject or group of subjects and which comprises the largest number of units in any given discipline.  Its contents are usually defined by one academic department but also may be defined jointly by two or more departments, as in the case of an interdisciplinary major.

(10) A minor is defined as a program consisting generally of less than one-half of the total credits needed for a major.

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(11) New degree means any proposed degree which differs from any other offered by the proposing department or unit in one or more of the three degree title specifications (level, type, or major). A program leading to a new degree (as defined above), even if constituted entirely of existing courses, requires review and approval  of the HECB. Though a program to that location and requires HECB approval.

(12) Off-campus degree program means a degree program offered away from the main campus of the institution (in-state, out-of-state, or in another country).

(13) A pilot test allows an institution to offer a maximum of two courses in a new location in order to test whether sufficient interest in the program exists to offer an entire degree program.

(14) A specialization is a coherent, focused subfield within a degree program.  A specialization can be distinguished from a new degree in that the full designation of the degree title – including level, type and major – does not change when a new specialization is added.  Specializations in an undergraduate major must share a core, defined as a group of courses shared by all specializations within a major, which
consists of no fewer than 25 credits for an undergraduate program or 15 credits for a graduate program.

The courses constituting the specialization must consist of no fewer than 20 credits for an undergraduate program or 15 credits for a graduate program.

Programs may offer options in satisfying core course requirements as long as they provide evidence that the options have equivalent student learner outcomes.

A new specialization must be reported to the HECB as an informational item.

(15) Student Learning Outcomes are statements of what a learner should be able to know, do, or value after the successful completion of a program and/or a course.  Outcomes focus on the ends rather than means, describe product rather than process, and reflect terminal performance rather than course content.  The outcomes are
what the department wants each student to achieve each time the course is offered regardless of who the teacher may be.  For assessment purposes, learning outcomes should be stated in observable or measurable terms.

The FSCC and the CWU Policy manual recognize only the following types of programs:

Certificates (Types A-C)

The terms option, emphasis, concentration, and track are not program distinction recognized or defined by the
CWU Policies manual and such designations do not appear on transcripts or diplomas.


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