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Office of the Provost, Division of Academic Affairs, University of Maryland

Leadership Areas

Degree Programs

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Institutional requirements are a minimum of 120 semester hours; the fulfillment of all general education program requirements; the final thirty hours of course work in residence (However, credits from University-approved study abroad programs, and a maximum of 6 credits that are not part of such programs, may be included in the final thirty if approved in advance by the dean of the academic unit from which the student expects to receive the degree); and a cumulative grade point average of 2.00. A minimum of 30 credits must be taken for the major. 15 of these credits must be at the 300 or above level. There may be additional College requirements, which must also be reflected in any proposal for a new or revised curriculum. Students must have a minimum 2.00 cumulative grade point average across all courses used to satisfy the major degree requirements.


Minimum semester hours required to graduate. A curriculum requirement over 120 will require justification


Minimum credits for the major; Minimum 15 credits at 300 level


Credits of free electives. Fewer than 12 credits of free electives in a 4-year program should be justified


Maximum credits for a freshman semester. More than 16 credits in a semester should be justified

  • It is important not to overload credits during the freshman year; too heavy a load during that year might substantially reduce students' chances for success.
  • A curriculum that requires more than 120 total credits will require careful justification.
  • All prerequisites should be included in the count of program requirements, including courses offered by other departments. There should be no "hidden" prerequisites.
  • Students should have the opportunity to take a reasonable number of free electives; fewer than 12 credits of free electives in a four-year program should be justified (e.g., by reference to similar programs elsewhere, or to accreditation requirements).
  • The course load for the freshman year should be reasonable. More than 16 credits in a semester should be justified.
  • The program should not include more than two lab or studio courses in a single semester.
  • General education courses should be scheduled for appropriate times. Ideally, most General Education requirements should be completed by the end of the student's sophomore year. Some minimal delays may be acceptable if necessitated by the program.

Variations from these guidelines - for example, low numbers of free electives - should be justified by statistics on similar programs at other universities, or by accreditation requirements. If appropriate, the curriculum of the proposed program should reflect the requirements of any accrediting or certifying body. Conformance with accreditation standards should be illustrated by reference to the certifying body's criteria.

Approval Route For A New Program

  1. Circulation to Other Colleges for Comment
  2. Graduate School Dean via Graduate PCC Committee (for all Graduate Programs)
  3. Senate PCC Committee
  4. University Senate
  5. President
  6. USM Board of Regents via Board of Regents Education Policy & Student Life Committee
  7. Maryland Higher Education Commission
  8. Verification from Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Programs

Relevant Policies

Use CIM to Propose a New Degree Program