Article Index

The following applies to all institutions governed, supervised, or coordinated by the Board of Regents:

a. Definitions of Terms

i. “Office” means the Office of the Kansas Board of Regents, as represented by the administrator or designated agent.

ii. “Program” means an academic plan that is approved by the appropriate governing board and leads to an award, for example, a degree or a career/technical certificate. 

iii. “Graduate degree program” or “post-baccalaureate degree program” means a program leading to a master’s or doctor’s degree conferred upon completion of a course of study for which admission can be gained only through possession of a bachelor’s degree satisfactory to the university offering the graduate instruction.

iv. “Professional practice degree program” means a program leading to a master’s or doctor’s degree conferred on completion of a course of study for which admission into some schools may be gained with less than a baccalaureate, but for which pre-admission and professional study together invariably require more time than is required for a bachelor’s degree alone, regardless of how many matriculants already have a bachelor’s degree.  While these degrees may contain doctorate in the title, they are not considered research doctoral degrees.

v. “Lower-division instruction” means course content and teaching at a level appropriate for first and second-year postsecondary students generally, but available to more advanced students who have no prior experience in the subject, and “upper-division instruction” means course content and teaching appropriate for third and fourth-year students or others with a strong background in the subject.

vi. "Full-time student" means a student who is engaged in academic study as the primary occupation, thus ordinarily requiring 36 to 48 hours per week divided between interaction with teachers and independent preparation. A full-time student receives "full-time instruction," ordinarily 12 to 18 teacher hours weekly.

vii. “Part-time student” means a student who is not engaged in academic study as the primary occupation, thus ordinarily requiring less than 36 hours per week divided between interaction with teachers and independent preparation.  A part-time student receives “part-time instruction,” ordinarily less than 12 teacher hours per week.

viii. “Academic Year” means a period of time approximately 9 months in length commencing with the fall term during which full-term instruction is provided.  An academic year is generally divided into two equal length semesters.

b. Standards

In order to receive and hold authorization to offer a given degree, an institution must remain open to inspection at all times and continuously satisfy each of the following standard requirements as written, except where the Office approves modification in writing.

i. Quality

(1) All institutions shall justify a degree offer by assuring the quality of all attendant teaching, learning, and faculty-student interaction.

(2) The quality and content of each course or program of instruction, training, or study shall be such as may reasonably and adequately achieve the stated objective for which the course or program is offered.

ii. Curriculum

The curriculum shall have a structure that reflects acceptance of responsibility by the faculty at the degree-granting institution for what is to be learned overall, as well as in each course, and thus for the logical sequence and increasing difficulty of subjects and instructional levels.  The curriculum shall reflect the distinction between the liberal disciplines and the occupations and professions, the nature of specialization in study and work, the contribution of liberal arts and sciences, and the relationship between teaching and faculty creativity.  A graduate curriculum shall reflect a concept of the graduate school as a group of scholars, the faculty members of which have had extensive collegiate teaching experience and are engaged in the advancement of knowledge.  Periods of study and other fundamental requirements for the five levels of academic degree are as follow:

(1) “Associate degree” means a degree consisting of courses totaling a minimum of 60 semester credit hours.  Additional requirements for specific types of associate degrees follow:

(a) “Associate in arts degree” means a transfer-oriented degree:

(i) Granted to those who successfully complete programs equivalent to the freshman and sophomore level requirements for a bachelor of arts degree; and

(ii)  In which not less than 30 semester credit hours in general education are required.

(b) “Associate in science degree” means a transfer- or professional-oriented degree:

(i) Granted to those who successfully complete programs equivalent to the freshman and sophomore level requirements for a bachelor of science degree: and

(ii) In which not less than 30 semester credit hours in general education are required.

(c) “Associate in applied science degree” means a degree:

(i) Granted to those who successfully complete programs which emphasize preparation in the applied arts and sciences for careers, typically at the technical or semi-professional level; and

(ii) Consisting of a minimum of 60 semester credit hours and a maximum of 68 semester credit hours, in which not less than 15 semester credit hours in general education and not less than 30 semester credit hours in the area of specialized preparation are required. An exception/waiver to the 68 semester credit hour limit may be granted to meet specific criteria such as external program accreditations or other special requirements.  Selected courses may transfer to a college or university upon validation of applicable coursework.

(d) “Associate in general studies” means a degree:

(i) Granted to those who successfully complete programs with an emphasis on a broad range of knowledge; and

(ii) In which not less than 24 semester credit hours in general education and not less than 36 semester credit hours in a program of college-level work are required.

(e) Other specific types of associate degrees may be offered upon approval by the Board office.

(2) “Baccalaureate degree” means a degree:

(a) Requiring the equivalent of at least four academic years of full-time postsecondary study consisting of courses totaling a minimum of 120 semester credit hours in the liberal arts, sciences or professional fields.

(b) Incorporating in its program design the equivalent of two or more academic years of full-time study consisting of courses totaling a minimum of 60 semester credit hours from institutions that have a majority of degree conferrals at or above the baccalaureate level, and a minimum of 45 semester credit hours in upper division courses.  Institutions are not permitted to make programmatic exceptions.  Institutions may make a limited number of exceptions from the 60-hour requirement for individual students, up to a maximum of 6 hours.

(c) The degree shall require distinct specialization, i.e., a “major,” which should entail approximately the equivalent of one academic year of work in the main subject plus one academic year in related subjects, or two academic years in closely related subjects within a liberal arts interdisciplinary program.

(d) The equivalent of the first two academic years of full-time study (associate degree programs ordinarily require 64, but in some cases may extend up to 72, semester credit hours) may be from institutions that have a majority of degree conferrals below the baccalaureate level.

(3) “Master’s degree” means a degree:

(a) Granted to those who successfully complete an educational program in the liberal arts and sciences or a professional field; and

(b) Requiring not less than one year of academic work or the equivalent in part-time attendance beyond the baccalaureate degree.

(c) The curriculum shall specialize in a single discipline or single occupational or professional area and culminate in a demonstration of mastery such as a research thesis, a work of art, or the solution of a practical professional problem.

(d) A professional practice master’s degree may be authorized for study beyond fulfillment of undergraduate requirements approved by the Office if the total period of study is at least five academic years.

(4) “Educational specialist degree” means a degree granted to those who successfully complete an educational program requiring not less than one year of academic work or the equivalent in part-time attendance beyond the master’s degree in the field of education.

(5) “Doctor’s degree” means a degree:

(a) Granted to those who successfully complete an educational program requiring three or more academic years of full-time study or the equivalent in part-time attendance beyond the baccalaureate degree and may be either a research degree or a professional practice degree.  For the research degree and the professional practice degree:

(i) Study for a closely related master’s degree may be counted toward doctoral requirements.

(ii) The doctor’s degree shall represent a student’s ability to perform independently basic or applied research at the level of the professional scholar or to perform independently the work of a profession that involves the highest levels of knowledge and expertise.

(iii) Requirements for the degree shall include demonstration of mastery of a significant body of knowledge through comprehensive examination, unless a graduate must pass a similar examination in order to be admitted to professional practice in Kansas.

(b) In addition, for the research degree:

(i) Evidence of competence in independent research, usually in the form of a doctoral dissertation, is required.

(ii) The curricular program shall be appropriately broad and shall manifest full understanding of the level and range of doctoral scholarship, the function of a dissertation and its defense, the nature of comprehensive examination, and the distinction between matriculation and degree candidacy.

(6) “Honorary degree" is a degree that is awarded as an exceptional honor bestowed upon a person without the fulfillment of the usual requirements.  State universities may award honorary degrees upon approval by the Kansas Board of Regents and only in accordance with the following:

(a) Criteria

(i) Honorary degrees may be conferred only upon persons of notable intellectual, scholarly, professional, or creative achievement, or service to humanity.  A candidate’s qualifications must be deeply grounded in a career of scholarship, research, creative activity, service to humanity or other profession consistent with the academic endeavors of the University awarding the degree.

(ii) Honorary degrees will be awarded only to exceptional candidates.  Awarding this degree need not be considered an annual occurrence.

(iii) An honorary degree shall not be awarded for philanthropic activity or service to the University or the State of Kansas.

(iv) An honorary degree shall not be conferred upon any faculty member, administrator, or other official associated with the University until at least five years after such individual has been separated from the institution.

(v) An honorary degree shall not be conferred upon any holder of a Kansas elected or appointed public office until at least five years after such individual has vacated office.

(b) Process

The chief executive officer of the state university shall nominate to the Board for consideration, in accordance with K.S.A. 76-716, the name of any candidate for an honorary degree at least two months before the commencement at which the degree is to be conferred.  The nomination shall include such statements or materials demonstrating that the nominee’s achievements and/or service are of such exceptional character as to merit the award of an honorary degree.

(c) At the time the agenda item is submitted, the name shall not be included; however, the state university shall send the proposed nomination, statement and materials individually to Regents and the President and Chief Executive Officer at the same time the state university sends its agenda material requests to the Board office for the Board meeting at which the nomination is to be considered.  No public communication of a proposed nomination shall be made until the name is presented for consideration to the open meeting of the Board.

(7) "Posthumous degree" is a degree that is awarded after the death of a person when the usual requirements have not been completed. Individual institutions may award posthumous degrees consistent with an institution's degree granting authority (e.g., a regional institution normally will not award doctoral degrees). It is the responsibility of each institution may establish procedures that will identify and evaluate persons nominated for a posthumous degree. The only systemwide requirement is that, normally, the local procedures shall ascertain that the deceased was a degree-seeking student (e.g., declared major, filed plan of study).

iii. Degree and Program Inventory Procedures, Policies, Definitions

(1) Only programs listed in the Program Inventory may be listed as majors or publicized as degree programs offered by the institution.

(2) The program classification code as used in the NCES document: Classification of Instructional Programs shall be used as the basis of identifying degree and certificate programs at the Kansas public postsecondary education institutions.

(3) Institutions shall report their degrees conferred each year on the Higher Education General Information Survey under the same codes as in the Degree and Certificate Program Inventory.

(4) Institutions retain the choice of “major” nomenclature, but concurrence by the Board office must be obtained in the choice of the CIP code under which majors are listed.

(5) Programs listed in the Inventory are subject to minimum degree productivity standards adopted by the Board of Regents.

(6) Additions to the Inventory require approval through the regular Board procedures for approval of new programs.