Navigation

Search IRA

Glossary of Terms

Please email any questions to accreditation@virginia.edu.

Articulation (Transfer) Agreement:

A pathway that clarifies how courses taken at another institution apply toward completion of a baccalaureate degree at UVA.  These can be formed between a system and individual UVA schools (e.g., VCCS and School of Engineering; VCCS and College of Arts and Sciences) or between a specific school (e.g., Richard Bland College) and a UVA school (e.g., College of Arts and Sciences).

Go to Organizational Structure or Other Change form


Branch Campus:

A location geographically apart and independent of UVA’s main campus in Charlottesville that is:

  1. permanent in nature;
  2. offers courses in educational programs leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential;
  3. has its own faculty and administrative or supervisory organization; and
  4. has its own budgetary and hiring authority. 

Go to Organizational Structure or Other Change form


Center or Institute:

An organization other than an academic department or administrative unit within a school or a unit reporting to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost (EVPP) created to enhance the educational, research, and/or service missions of the University.  Organizations created outside a school or unit reporting to the EVPP are also considered an academic center or institute if their activities will involve academic faculty members and their mission is to enhance the educational, research, and/or service missions of the University.

Go to Organizational Structure or Other Change form


Credit Certificate Program:

An academic program offered by one of the University’s schools in which instruction offered is on a for-credit basis and culminates in the conferral of a certificate. Certificates require a minimum of 12 credits and a maximum of 24 credits. Exceptions may be granted in the case of curricular requirements established by a licensing board, state agency, or other oversight entity. There are three types of credit certificates at UVA:

Undergraduate: Curriculum is composed of undergraduate-level courses and is typically pursued by students who do not have an undergraduate degree.

Post Baccalaureate: Curriculum is composed of undergraduate-and graduate-level courses and is pursued by students who have an undergraduate degree.

Graduate: Curriculum is composed of graduate-level courses and is typically pursued by students who have an undergraduate degree.

In addition to internal UVA approvals, a proposal for a new credit certificate program must also be submitted as a notification to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) for review.  Depending on the nature of the proposal, a certificate program also may require Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges approval. See policy on Establishing Certificate Programs.

Go to New Credit Certificate form


 Professional (Non-Credit) Certificate Program:

A professional certification is a credential offered by one of the University’s schools in which no credit is earned for instruction and/or coursework and which culminates in the conferral of a professional certificate by the University that is recognized by a relevant professional organization. Non-credit certificates are designed for students who want to learn a new skill, upgrade existing skills, integrate professional training into their degree program, or enrich their understanding about a wide range of topics. 

SCHEV notification is not required to establish a non-credit certificate. See policy on Programs

Go to Non-Credit Certificate Request form


Concentration, Minor or Track:

Minors, concentrations, and tracks are collections of coursework through which students gain specialized knowledge in a particular field or discipline. The number of credits required for concentrations, minors, and tracks are determined by the faculty within each school. Minors, concentrations, and tracks appear on the official transcript of the University.

Go to Existing Degree Program: Add, Change, or Close a Minor, Track or Concentration form


Degree Program:

A degree program is a curriculum leading to the award of a bachelor’s, master’s, professional, or doctoral degree listed on the student diploma. A listing of the University's approved degree programs by the approved CIP code is maintained by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

Per Southern Associate of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requirements, a bachelor's degree must consist of at least 120 semester credit hours or the equivalent. Master's and doctoral degrees must consist of at least 30 semester credit hours or the equivalent.

Per SCHEV requirements, individual degree programs must share a common core of courses. Bachelor's degrees must share a common core of 25 percent of total credit hours (excluding general education credit hours); master's degrees must share a common core of 50 percent of total credit hours; doctoral degrees must share a common core of 25 percent of total credit hours (excluding dissertation).

In addition to internal UVA approvals, a proposal for a new degree program must also be approved by SCHEV. Depending on the nature of the proposal, a degree program also may require SACSCOC approval.

Go to New Degree Program form


Collaborative Degree: 
An agreement between two UVA schools designed to facilitate completion of two existing degree programs through some reciprocity of credits.  

Go to Non-Credit Certificate Request form


Dual Degree: 
An agreement with another university designed to facilitate completion of two existing degree programs through some reciprocity of credits.  The agreement results in separate program completion credentials each of which bears only the name, seal, and signature of the institution awarding the degree to the student. 

Go to Non-Credit Certificate Request form


Joint Degree: 
A single program completion credential bearing the names, seals, and signatures of each of the two or more institutions awarding the degree to the student.  

Go to Organizational Structure or Other Change form


Degree of instruction at existing offsite location:
If 25-49% of a degree program will be delivered at an off-campus site, UVA must notify SACSCOC in advance of instruction taking place.

If 50% of more of a degree program will be delivered at an off-campus site, UVA must obtain SACSCOC approval before instruction at the site may occur.


Change to CIP Code:

CIP Codes are the US Department of Education’s national taxonomic system for reporting of institutional data. All degree programs and for-credit certificates are assigned a CIP Code, and consistent with SCHEV requirements, an institution may only have one degree program and one for-credit certificate per 6-digit CIP Code at each level (undergraduate, graduate, doctoral).  A list of UVA’s current degree and certificate offerings and their assigned CIP Codes  is available on SCHEV’s degree inventory page.

In addition to internal UVA approvals, CIP Code changes must also be approved by SCHEV.

Go to Existing Degree Program: Change Not Related to a Major, Track, or Concentration form 


Change degree/certificate program length:

Changing the length of a degree or certificate program involves changing the number of credits offered or the time allowed for a student to complete the degree or certificate.

In addition to internal UVA approvals, changes to the total length/credits of a degree or certificate may need to be approved by SCHEV.

Go to Existing Degree Program: Change Not Related to a Major, Track, or Concentration form


Delivery format (e.g., distance, executive)

The University offers the following three delivery formats: 

  • 100% Face to Face:  Students will be able to complete the entire program (i.e. the total credit hours required for the degree program) in a traditional, Face to Face format with no online coursework.
  • 100% online: Students will be able to complete the entire program online, with no face-to-face coursework. 
  • Hybrid: Students will be required or able to complete the program via a combination of Face to Face and Online courses. 

Changing the delivery format(s) for an existing degree requires internal UVA approvals, and may also require SCHEV approval. 

Go to Existing Degree Program: Change Not Related to a Major, Track, or Concentration form


Percent of New Courses:
This question pertains only to the core required courses that all students in the proposed degree will be take (see box below). For example, for a 120-credit bachelor’s degree, you would count only the 18+ credits of core coursework (and omit the rest of the General Education courses, restricted electives, courses taken towards a minor or second major, open electives, etc. that a student would take to complete the rest of the 120-credit degree). 

Common Core Requirements

Under SCHEV Policy, every degree program must have a common core of courses that ALL students complete. The minimum size of the core depends on program level: 

  • Bachelor’s degree: 25% of the total credit hours required for the degree, excluding credit hours of General Education requirements
  • Master’s degree: 50%* of total credit hours required for the degree (Consideration will be given to degree programs that adequately justify a core curriculum of less than 50%).
  • Doctoral degree: 25% of total credit hours required for the degree (excludes dissertation).