Academic Programs and Curricula

An academic program is an organized plan of study which, when successfully completed, is recognized by the awarding of a degree. It includes all courses and related activities required by the university and those required by a school, college, department or interdisciplinary program. At Auburn University, the minimum number of semester hours in an undergraduate academic program is 120, including 41-2 semester hours of the Core Curriculum. The academic program must include the University Core Curriculum and the major. It may also include a school or college core curriculum, a minor, and supporting course work. For undergraduates, the academic program is the most general term describing the formal course of their baccalaureate education. Students not completing an approved academic program do not qualify for baccalaureate degrees. Students who are completing an academic program may take courses in addition to those required by it, including a minor or free electives beyond those required for graduation by their academic programs.

An undergraduate program option is a formal variation of an academic program by the offering department which meets objectives that may be more specifically focused. These additional objectives are integrated with the basic program. Some academic programs are structured only in the form of several formal program options. A program option is designated on the transcript. Other variants, which may carry the name of “track,” “concentration,” “emphasis,” or similar terms, will not be designated on the transcript, but must meet the same minimal requirements for overlap as formal options. At Auburn University, all formal program options, like all academic programs, must include the Core Curriculum. Moreover, a formal program option must preserve the integrity of the academic program of which it is a variant by requiring at least half of the specific course work required by the program above and beyond the Core Curriculum. (In majors that are largely “menu-driven,” with few specific course requirements, the menus of courses must contain sufficient overlap that a student in one option is not excluded from having half or more courses in common with students in any other option in that degree program.) All academic programs and designated variations (whether called options, tracks, concentrations, or any other name) must be approved by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE).

A graduate program option is a formally approved variation of an academic program by the offering department which meets objectives that may be more specifically focused. These additional objectives are integrated with the basic program. A formal graduate program option must preserve the integrity of the academic program of which it is a variant. Specifically, the formal program option must 1) be in a recognized sub-field of the discipline; and 2) share at least half of the total credits of the degree program. Only formally approved graduate program options are designated on the transcript. Other less formal variants, which may carry the name of “track,” “concentration,” “emphasis,” or similar terms, are not designated on the transcript; however, all academic programs and designated variations (whether called “options,” “tracks,” “concentrations,” “emphases” or some similar term) must be approved by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE).

A curriculum model is the schematic organization of an academic program that is listed in this Bulletin. A curriculum model is outlined for all undergraduate academic programs and program options and must be represented in the Auburn University Bulletin.

A major is usually the largest part of an academic program which differentiates it from other programs. The term designates that portion of the program which consists of a specified group of courses offered by a particular academic department or interdepartmental program. The major may include lower-division courses and always includes specified upper-division courses or choices among courses offered by the department or interdepartmental program. The major may include course work from other departments. The major does not include other components of the academic program: the Core Curriculum, a school or college curriculum (if any), a required second major (if any), a required minor (if any), supporting course work (if any), or free electives. At Auburn University, all majors must represent substantial academic concentration in a well-defined discipline or interdisciplinary field. The minimum number of hours required for an undergraduate major is 30 hours of course work in the discipline or in a closely allied field. Of these hours, a minimum of 20 must be taken in upper-division (numbered 3000 or above) courses in the major. Departments must have the consent of other departments before requiring their courses in a major.

A minor is an organized sequence or cluster of courses, including both lower- and upper-division courses, offered by a department or interdepartmental program. It is more restricted in scope than the major but may also have a somewhat different focus and objective that make it appropriate for students whose principal concentration is in another discipline. Not all departments or interdepartmental programs offer a minor. At Auburn University, the term minor designates those sequences or clusters of courses that have been formally proposed as minors by departments or interdepartmental programs and approved by the University Senate Curriculum Committee. The minimum number of semester hours in a minor is 15. Of these, six hours may be lower-division courses. The remaining semester hours in the minor (a minimum of nine hours) must be courses numbered 3000 or above. At least nine semester hours required for the minor must be completed at Auburn University. Courses a student has taken in fulfillment of the university Core Curriculum, the school/college core curriculum (if any) or the courses designated as “in the major” (e.g. counting toward the GPA “in the major”) may not be used to fulfill a minor. Elective courses (not in the major) and required supporting courses (e.g. required courses in the academic program that are not used to fulfill the university Core Curriculum or the school/college core and which are not counted toward the GPA in the major) may be used toward a minor. Some academic programs may require students to earn a minor. Students whose academic programs do not require a minor are free to earn one, though in such cases they should recognize that fulfilling the requirements for a minor may delay their graduation. No academic program is required to allow for a minor in its curriculum model. Students must follow announced university procedures and deadlines for declaring a minor. In addition, students may not be awarded a minor after the degree for the major has been awarded. No course taken under the S/U option may be counted toward a minor. Students must earn a minimum overall grade average of C (2.0) on all course work in the minor. Individual colleges, schools and departments may have higher grade-point requirements.

The phrase ”supporting course work“ designates courses that are required for the completion of a specific academic program but not included in the University Core Curriculum, the major, the school or college core curriculum (if any), the minor (if required), and free electives. At Auburn University, academic programs may require courses that are not specific to the major but support the general education and preparation of students in that program. Because these courses are usually outside the department of the major area of study, departments must have approval of the departments offering the courses they designate as required supporting course work. Supporting course work may be used in satisfying the requirements for a minor if a minor is not required by the academic major.

An undergraduate certificate consists of 12-21 hours of courses in an integrated structure that demonstrates competency in specific skills or knowledge designed to enhance the professional preparation of Auburn students. Completion of the certificate appears on the official Auburn University transcript. At least 50% of the credits should be at the 3000 level or higher. The offering academic unit may choose to count towards the undergraduate certificate credits taken as part of Auburn University’s general education requirements, an academic minor, or major.  Academic units may specify a set of required courses or a combination of required courses and electives in the design of certificate programs. In keeping with Auburn policy, no more than 50% of course credits required for a certificate may be obtained through transfer credit. Courses applied to the requirements of an undergraduate certificate program may follow either standard or S-U grading (as appropriate), but at least 50% of courses counted toward the certificate must follow standard grading and the student must have completed all courses with a minimum overall Grade Point Average of C (2.0) or better. Individual colleges, schools, departments or academic units may have higher requirements. 

Second Baccalaureate and/or Concurrent Degrees

To earn a second baccalaureate degree, a student must complete all the additional requirements for the second degree (including course work in the major fields, college/school core requirements and courses in support of a major). At least 30 semester hours of the second degree must be unique to the second degree and may not be used as major, supporting or core courses for the first degree. In addition, the total number of hours to complete both degrees must total at least 30 additional semester hours. If 30 unique hours or 30 additional hours cannot be identified, the student is not eligible to receive a second baccalaureate degree. Students who are completing a second degree must comply with all the same grade-point requirements and residency requirements as other students. Students may elect to pursue and to receive the two degrees simultaneously if college and departmental requirements can be met simultaneously. A student completing a degree within the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering who wishes to complete a second degree in a major outside of that college must complete the additional social science and humanities requirements of the university core curriculum. All students should consult with their advisor concerning eligibility for a second degree, and if eligible, complete appropriate paperwork to declare the second degree. It is recommended that students declare the second degree prior to the beginning of the senior year. The student must meet with the prospective academic advisor in each college associated with their degrees to ensure proper enrollment in the UNIV 4AA0 graduation course for each college along with a review of degree requirements. Students completing a second or two degrees concurrently receive a diploma for each degree. The transcript will list each degree and each major. Eligibility for graduation with academic honors for the second baccalaureate degree requires a minimum of 60 semester hours above the requirements for the first baccalaureate degree. Students earning the second baccalaureate degree must earn the minimum overall grade average required for the honors distinction on the 60 additional hours for the second degree and must be achieved on Auburn University courses. Honors calculations for the second baccalaureate degree follow the same procedures as graduation honors for the first degree (see Graduation Honors).

Students who completed a first baccalaureate degree at an institution other than Auburn University and subsequently pursue a second degree at Auburn University are not required to fulfill Auburn University’s Core Curriculum. However, they may be required to take some classes listed as fulfilling the Auburn University Core Curriculum if these classes are pre-requisites to major classes.

Double Major

To earn a double major, a student must complete all requirements for one degree program, all the major courses in a second major (courses bolded in the curriculum model), and other requirements for the second major such as grade-point requirements. College/school cores or other supporting coursework associated with the second major are not required unless they serve as course prerequisites for second major courses.

At least 20 hours in the second major must be unique and not courses that have been used as major, supporting, or core courses in the degree program. If at least 20 hours of unique courses do not exist between the second major and the major, supporting, and core courses in the degree program, a double major is not possible.

To declare a double major, the student initiates the process by meeting with an academic advisor in the college of his/her current degree program. The advisor, in conjunction with the advisor in the second major, will determine if a least 20 hours of unique courses as noted above exist and, if so, provide instructions for declaring a double major. The student is responsible for ensuring that the appropriate process is completed, approved by the appropriate college(s), and submitted to the Registrar’s Office prior to the senior year.

The student who completes the requirements for a double major is awarded one degree, e.g., BS or BA. The degree is determined by the degree program declared on the submitted form. If the second major is embedded in a degree program that leads to the same degree as the declared degree program, both majors will appear on the diploma and on the transcript. If the second major is embedded in a degree program that leads to a degree that is different from the declared degree program, the declared degree program dictates which degree and which baccalaureate major will appear on the diploma; the declared degree and both majors will appear on the transcript.

If a student changes his/her decision to pursue a double major, it is his/her responsibility to notify the Office of the Registrar and the dean’s office of his/her college(s). Additional majors, beyond a double major, are allowed if the student can complete all the requirements outlined above, including 20 unique hours for any additional major not used as major, supporting, or core courses in the degree program or any of the other majors. A double major or additional majors may not be awarded after the degree for the first major has been granted.

Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Plan

The Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Plan allows Auburn students in some academic programs to count up to nine approved hours (in a 30-35-hour master’s program) or 12 approved hours (in a 36-hour or greater master’s program) toward both a bachelor’s and a master’s degrees. These hours must be at the graduate level.

To be considered for admission, students must have completed at least 45 credit hours and no more than 96 credit hours, including advanced placement credits. Transfer students must have completed at least 24 credit hours at Auburn University. All students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0/4.0 or higher on course work completed at Auburn. Individual graduate programs may set higher standards or require additional criteria for admission to the accelerated degree program.

Students must complete an “Application for Admission to the Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Plan,” and work with a graduate advisor in the degree-granting department to complete an approved Plan of Study, including: a) a list of the courses that count toward both the undergraduate and graduate degree; and b) the projected dates for the completion of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Students in the Honors College remain eligible to graduate with Honors while participating, and should consult with an Honors advisor.

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA (CGPA) of 3.0/4.0 or higher on Auburn University coursework; if the student completes the bachelor’s degree requirements with a cumulative GPA of less than 3.0/4.0 at Auburn, the student cannot double-count credit hours and is terminated from the program.

Students must apply for admission to the Graduate School by the prescribed deadline. Admission to the Accelerated Degree Plan does not guarantee admission to the Graduate School. Students cannot opt to bypass the bachelor’s degree.

Students may withdraw voluntarily from the Accelerated Plan at any time. Students must notify, in writing, the graduate program officer and the coordinator/director of undergraduate studies in their respective departments. Students who withdraw from the program voluntarily or because they do not meet program requirements will not be awarded graduate credit for double-counted courses. Students may contact their major program to see if it participates or visit the Graduate School’s website for a listing of current ABM plans: http://grad.auburn.edu/abm.html.

Residence Policy. Percentage of Course work Earned in Residence at Auburn University Policy

A minimum of 25 percent of the total semester hours are required for the baccalaureate degree and at least 50% of the course work in the major must be earned at Auburn University (sometimes referred to as "in residence"). As a general rule, these hours must be taken in the final year and in the school/college curriculum of graduation. The student’s dean may waive the final year’s residence and may also allow course credit to be earned at another institution during the final year. However, the minimum of 25 percent of Auburn University course work is a firm requirement.

Undergraduate Online Learning

Campus-Based Students

All regularly admitted campus-based students are eligible to enroll in online course sections that are not part of Auburn Online programs. A campus-based student may not exceed the maximum class hour load by adding an online course.

Auburn Online Programs

All Auburn Online students must apply and meet Auburn University’s minimum admission requirements. Auburn Online students will be permitted to register for Auburn Online program courses only. Admission requirements for Auburn Online programs are available at http://www.auburn.edu/online/.

Information on all available online courses may be obtained from Auburn Online: Online1@auburn.edu. 

Credit For Military Science and Physical Education

A student may be allowed a maximum of 6 credits in military science courses toward graduation. All undergraduate curriculum models must accommodate these 6 credits in military science either through elective hours or substitutions. In addition, students may count additional hours of military science credits toward graduation if their curriculum model provides for additional free elective hours. A student may be allowed four credits of physical education activity courses toward graduation. A student who has served on active duty in the Armed Forces may receive physical education credits as follows: for less than six months of service, no credit; for six months to less than a year, two hours of credit for Physical Education; for one year or more in the service, three hours of credit. Application for credit for military experience should be submitted to the Office of the Registrar.

Auburn University awards academic credit for courses that are part of an enrolled student’s military training or service, provided that the military training credits accepted are at the collegiate level and have resulted in learning outcomes comparable to those students would achieve through the Auburn University's own instruction. In determining the academic credit to be awarded, Auburn University uses as a guideline the standards and recommendations of the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services published by the American Council on Education.

Change of Major or Curriculum

 Students must have their dean’s approval to change to another major within the same college or school. To change Colleges or Schools within the university, students must complete a Change of Major Form.

Internal Transfers and High-Demand Majors

Transfer applicants (from on and off campus) to certain high-demand majors must meet specific requirements for admission to the major.

In the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, the following programs have been approved for special admissions requirements based on space available in the major: Bachelor of Architecture, Bachelor of Interior Architecture, Bachelor of Science in Building Science, Bachelor of Industrial Design, and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design.

In the College of Education, the following programs have been approved for special admissions requirements based on space available in the major: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.

In the College of Human Sciences, the following programs have been approved for special admission requirements based on space available in the major: Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, and Bachelor of Science in Nutrition (Dietetics Option).

In the College of Liberal Arts, the following programs have been approved for special admissions requirements based on space available: Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders, Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Bachelor of Arts in Health Administration, Bachelor of Arts in Music, Bachelor of Music Performance, Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater.

In addition, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing has been approved for special admissions requirements based on space available. 

Students wishing to transfer into a high demand major should contact the school or college advising office for details on the criteria for admission and the application process.

Curriculum Model Change

When the university changes a curriculum model, students in the altered curriculum may be required to complete the subjects and hours placed above the level to which they have progressed. They will not, however, be required to complete additional subjects placed in the curriculum below the level they have achieved. Courses shifted from one class level to another are exempt from this latter provision. Students’ deans will determine the revised subject requirements, and the registrar will determine the revised total hour and grade-point requirements. In no case for students who are continuously enrolled, however, will the changed curriculum compel them to accumulate additional hours and grade points to graduate. In other words, students must complete the university core requirements in place during the term that they first enroll, and in general they must complete the school, college or major requirements in place when they declare a major. Undergraduate students who have not been enrolled at Auburn University for a period of five years or more and who are returning to the same curriculum may be subject to different university, college, school or departmental requirements than those which existed at the time of their initial entry, as well as those which existed at the program level when continuous enrollment ceased.

Academic Program Assessment

Auburn University is committed to fostering the academic achievement and personal development of its students. To carry out that commitment, the university continuously gathers information about the effectiveness of its academic programs, about the progress of its students toward educational and personal goals, and about the achievements and perspectives of its alumni. This information is used to monitor program effectiveness, to recognize educational trends and opportunities, and to develop a sound, factual basis for academic planning.

Each Auburn student is expected to participate in the university’s assessment efforts. Academic programs use various means to gather assessment information, including portfolios, performances, achievement tests, comprehensive examinations, surveys, interviews, focus groups, evaluation forms, and other methods. While enrolled, a typical student can expect to take part in one or more of these assessment activities. The total time spent on assessment activities is not likely to exceed 15 hours over the course of four years of enrollment. Participation in these activities may be a completion requirement for some degree programs.