Purpose: To establish standards, processes and conditions that enable consistent implementation of academic program policy.

Applicability:  These procedures implement Policy 3.36 Academic Programs.

Undergraduate Certificate:  An undergraduate certificate is awarded upon completion of a 9 to 30 credit academic program. An undergraduate certificate may have an occupational outcome or address a focused area of study. An undergraduate certificate shall not have emphases. At least one-third of the credits in the undergraduate certificate shall be taught by the faculty recommending the award. This requirement may be decreased upon recommendation by the faculty and approval by the president of the college or university. An undergraduate certificate less than 9 or more than 30 credits in length may be approved when the academic program prepares an individual for employment and the length or the designation as a certificate is (1) required by an employer, a licensing body or other regulatory agency, accrediting association, or board, or (2) based on a formal task analysis conducted within the previous three years and the results endorsed by an advisory committee.

Diploma: A diploma is awarded upon completion of a 31 to 72 credit undergraduate academic program that prepares students for employment. A minimum of 24 credits shall be in occupational or technical courses. A diploma may have one or more emphases of at least 9 credits when there are at least 30 credits in the major that are common to the emphases. A diploma may be individualized according to the standards outlined in Part 5. Subpart C, to provide a student an opportunity to design an academic program to meet specific occupational goals that cannot be met by current program offerings. At least one-third of the credits in the diploma shall be taught by the faculty recommending the award. This requirement may be decreased upon recommendation by the faculty and approval by the president of the college. A diploma of more than 72 credits in length may be approved when the academic program prepares an individual for employment and the length is (1) required by an employer, a licensing body or other regulatory agency, accrediting association, or board, or (2) based on a formal task analysis conducted within the previous three years and the results endorsed by an advisory committee.

Associate of Arts Degree: An associate of arts degree is awarded upon completion of a 60 credit academic program in the liberal arts and sciences without a named field of study. It is designed for transfer to baccalaureate degree-granting college or university.
An associate of arts degree requires completion of at least a 40 credit curriculum that fulfills the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum goal areas.
The associate of arts degree program is named Liberal Arts and Sciences. An associate of arts degree may have one or more emphases of at least 9 credits each in liberal arts and science fields, provided there is an articulation agreement with a related baccalaureate major offered by one or more system universities.
At least 15 credits in the associate of arts degree shall be taught by the faculty recommending the award. This requirement may be decreased upon recommendation of the faculty and approval by the president of the system college or university.

Associate of Fine Arts Degree: An associate of fine arts degree is a named degree awarded upon completion of a 60 credit academic program in particular disciplines in the fine arts. An associate of fine arts degree is designed to transfer in its entirety to a related fine arts
discipline baccalaureate degree program. An articulation agreement with a related baccalaureate degree program at a regionally accredited university is required. A system college shall pursue an articulation agreement with a system university before establishing an articulation agreement with a non-system university. An associate of fine arts degree program may be individualized according to the
standards outlined in Part 5, Subpart F. Associate of fine arts individualized studies degree programs do not require an articulation agreement. An associate of fine arts degree requires a minimum of 24 credits selected from at least six of the ten goal areas of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. Requirements for the following disciplines have been adopted.

  • Art. An associate of fine arts degree in art requires the minimum of 24 credits selected from at least six of the ten goal areas of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum.
  • Music. An associate of fine arts degree in music requires at least 30 credits selected from at least six of the ten goal areas of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum.
  • Theatre Arts. An associate of fine arts degree in theatre arts requires completion of the entire Minnesota Transfer Curriculum with a minimum of 40 credits.

An associate of fine arts degree shall not have emphases. An associate of fine arts degree program may be individualized according to the standards outlined in Part 5, Subpart F, to provide a student an opportunity to design an academic program to meet specific academic or occupational goals that cannot be met by current program offerings.

At leave 15 credits in the associate of fine arts degree shall be taught by the faculty recommending the award.  This requirement may be decreased upon recommendation of the faculty and approval by the president of the system college or university.  A waiver may be granted to exceed a length of 60 credits when (1) the waiver criteria in Part 3, Subpart C, are met and (2) an articulation agreement specifies the transfer of a greater number of credits.

Associate of Science Degree: An associate of science degree is awarded upon completion of a 60 credit academic program in scientific, technological, or other professional fields.

The associate of science degree is designed to transfer in its entirety to one or more related baccalaureate degree programs. A college shall pursue an articulation agreement with one or more system universities before establishing an articulation agreement with a non-system university.


An associate of science degree program may be individualized according to the standards outlined in Part 5, Subpart F. Associate of science individualized studies programs do not require an articulation agreement.

An associate of science degree may address a single specialty or a set of allied specialties such as, but not limited to, (1) agriculture, (2) business, (3) computer and information sciences, (4) education, (5) engineering, (6) engineering technologies, (7) environmental sciences, (8) health sciences, and (9) natural sciences.

The associate of science degree requires a minimum of 30 credits selected from at least six of the ten goal areas of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum.

An associate of science degree shall not have emphases.

An associate of science degree may be individualized according to the standards outlined in Part 5, Subpart F, to provide a student an opportunity to design an academic program to meet specific occupational goals that cannot be met by current program offerings.

At least 15 credits in an associate of science degree shall be taught by the faculty recommending the award. This requirement may be decreased upon recommendation of the faculty and approval by the president of the system college or university.

A waiver may be granted to exceed a length of 60 credits when (1) the waiver criteria in Part 3, Subpart C, are met and (2) an articulation agreement specifies the transfer of a greater number of credits.

Associate of Applied Science Degree: An associate of applied science degree is awarded upon completion of a 60 credit academic program in a named field of study in scientific, technological or other professional fields. An associate of applied science degree prepares students for employment in an occupation or range of occupations. An associate of applied science degree may also be accepted in transfer to a related baccalaureate program.          

An associate of applied science degree requires a minimum of 15 credits selected from at least three of the ten goal areas of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. At least 30 credits shall be in the academic program’s occupational or technical field of preparation.

An associate of applied science degree may have one or more emphases of at least 9 credits each when there are at least 30 credits in the major that are common to the emphases.

An associate of applied science degree program may be individualized according to the standards outlined in Part 5, Subpart F, to provide a student an opportunity to design an academic program to meet specific occupational goals that cannot be met by current program offerings.

At least 15 credits in an associate of applied science shall be taught by the faculty recommending the award. This requirement may be decreased upon recommendation of the faculty and approval
by the president of the system college or university.

A waiver may be granted to exceed a length of 60 credits when (1) the waiver criteria in Part 3, Subpart C, are met and (2) an articulation agreement, where applicable, specifies the transfer of a greater number of credits.

Definitions: Available in MnSCU Board Policy 3.36.1

Date & Subject of Last Revisions:   March 23, 2018

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