The Fifth-Year Interim Report

Part III: The Fifth-Year Compliance Certification


4.4 Program Length

The institution demonstrates that program length is appropriate for each of the degrees offered.

Judgment of Compliance

Compliance

Narrative

Alcorn State University (ASU) offers one Associate’s degree, 29 Bachelor’s degrees, 11 Master’s degree, and one Specialist’s degree. The length of each educational program is in compliance with Policies and Bylaws, State Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees which state IHL policy dictates that all undergraduate degree programs must have a minimum of 120 hours and a maximum of 124 hours unless the Board has granted an exception.  All baccalaureate degree programs at ASU are 120 credit hours with the exception of the Bachelor of Music (BM), which requires 124 credit hours to satisfy National Schools of Music accreditation standards. The Associate Science of Nursing (ASN) requires a minimum of 64 to graduate from ASU. The program length for Master’s degree program range from 33-60 hours, and the Specialist’s degree requires 39 credit hours. Those programs who hold discipline specific accreditations are aligned with standards set forth by those accrediting agencies. Program length is the same for all programs regardless of delivery method.

Undergraduate Program Length

The Associate Science Nursing (ASN) degree curriculum requires a minimum of 64 semester hours for degree completion. The ASN program is designed to be completed in two years. The competencies and skills required by the degree program are accomplishable with 64 credit hours. 

ASU offers 29 Bachelor’s degrees, and the ASU General Catalog 2016-2018 details the curricular requirements for each degree program. Academic credit is only awarded for the successful completion of all course work. As stated in the ASU General Catalog 2016-2018, candidates for the Bachelor’s degree must earn 120 credits for each degree program with the exception of the Bachelor of Music program where a student must earn 124 credit hours to satisfy accreditation standards.

Graduate Degree Program Length
ASU offers 11 masters degree and one specialist degree programs that vary in program length, which is recommended by departments. Most of the programs at the master’s and specialist’s level requires 33-39 hours. Those programs that require more than 39 hours are generally based on accreditation standards. For instance, Secondary Education with the endorsement areas of School Counseling requires 51 hours and Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires 60 hours based on standards set forth by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP). The university has designed these two curriculums in anticipation towards seeking accreditation through CACREP for these endorsement areas. Also, the Master of Nursing program requires students to complete 44 credit hours. This curriculum is made up of both clinical and practicum components, and is consistent with the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accreditation requirements. 

This table provides the program length for all of the graduate programs offered at ASU. The Master of Science degree plans provides different degree plans and total required hours for thesis and non-thesis options, while the Master of Arts in Teaching degree require internship hours to complete degree requirements.

The program lengths at ASU are consistent when compared with peer institutions and discipline specific accreditation standards.

University Curriculum Committee

The University Curriculum Committee reviews all new program proposals and strives to recommend that all baccalaureate programs are 120 hours. The University Curriculum Committee and Graduate Council (for graduate programs) review all new program proposals to ensure that program lengths are discipline appropriate and satisfy accreditation standards.