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Last modified: Friday, February 15, 2013

Indiana University reducing credit hours required for undergraduate degrees

Feb. 15, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University is reducing the requirements for all but a handful of its degree programs to 120 hours for baccalaureate degrees and 60 hours for associate degrees. The action comes in response to a law enacted last year by the Indiana General Assembly.

John Applegate, executive vice president for university regional affairs, planning and policy, told the Board of Trustees today that IU faculty and administrators evaluated degree programs against a tight deadline and eliminated course requirements in order to comply with the law.

John Applegate

John Applegate

Print-Quality Photo

More than 90 percent of undergraduate degree programs will meet the legislature's target of requiring no more than 120 credit hours for a bachelor's degree or 60 credit hours for an associate degree. A few degrees will require more credits for reasons of accreditation or the quality and competitiveness of the programs, exceptions permitted by the law.

"Faculty and academic administrators put forth a tremendous effort to undertake such a comprehensive review in a very short period of time, and to make reductions in more than 85 percent of the degrees that required adjustment," he said. "Moreover, campus faculty and administration used the opportunity, wherever possible, to re-evaluate and update degree requirements. IU takes great pride in their efforts."

Of Indiana University's 409 associate and baccalaureate degree programs, 137 already met the credit-hour limits before the state law was enacted. The review by faculty and administrators resulted in reducing another 233 programs to the 120-hour or 60-hour limit. Also, requirements were reduced for six of the 39 programs that continue to require more than 60 or 120 credit hours for completion.

Altogether, requirements are being reduced by a total of 813 credit hours for 239 degree programs. The new requirements will be in effect for students entering IU in the fall of 2013.

House Enrolled Act 1220 required state colleges and universities to review their undergraduate degree requirements, report the results to the Commission for Higher Education and justify requiring more than 120 credit hours for any bachelor's degree or more than 60 hours for any associate degree. The law says the commission shall allow exceptions required for accreditation, and it may allow exceptions based on program quality or employer expectations.

Exceptions proposed by Indiana University include health-related programs that require additional credits for professional certification, education degrees that prepare graduates to teach in multiple areas, and several other degree programs that require more credits for accreditation.