Skip to:

Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

General Education Requirements and Degree Requirements : 2:01:00:00

Policy/Guideline Area

Academic Policies

Applicable Divisions

Community Colleges, Universities

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to specify the common general education requirements at the lower-division, for institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Policy/Guideline

  1. General Education Requirements
    1. Effective Fall Semester 2004, each institution in the State University and Community College System of Tennessee (hereafter identified as the Tennessee Board of Regents System) will subscribe to common general education requirements at the lower-division.
    2. These requirements consist of forty-one (41) semester hours in the following subject categories and are required for completion of the Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Science in Teaching (A.S.T.), and all baccalaureate degrees.
      1. Communication: 9 semester hours
        1. Six (6) semester hours of English composition and three (3) semester hours in English oral presentational communication are required.
      2. Humanities and/or Fine Arts: 9 semester hours
        1. One course must be in literature.
      3. Social/Behavioral Sciences: 6 semester hours
      4. History: 6 semester hours
        1. Students who lack the required one unit (one year) of American history from high school as an admissions requirement must complete six (6) semester hours of American History or three (3) semester hours of American History and three (3) semester hours of Tennessee History to fulfill the history requirement in general education. Otherwise, students may choose from among the history courses approved at a particular institution to fulfill the six-semester hour requirement in history.
      5. Natural Sciences: 8 semester hours
      6. Mathematics: 3 semester hours
    3. Total 41 semester hours.
    4. Courses specified as meeting general education requirements are published in the catalog of each institution and may be viewed at the following TBR link. https://www.tbr.edu/academics/transfer-and-articulation 
    5. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree shall be required to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to completion of two years of college-level work.
    6. Students pursuing an Associate of Arts degree shall be required to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to completion of one year of college-level work.
    7. Students pursuing as Associates of Fine Arts degree in Music as a Tennessee Transfer Pathway will complete all of the required General Education hours in Section B. above except for six hours of the humanities requirement, including one course in literature, which must be completed at a university upon transfer. Total 35 hours.
  2. Undergraduate Degree Requirements and Provisions
    1. All baccalaureate degrees offered by institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System shall require a maximum of 120 semester hours except in certain degree programs in which approval to exceed the maximum has been granted. The programs approved as exceptions to the maximum are identified in institutional catalogs.
    2. All associate of arts and associate of science degrees offered by institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System shall be designated on the THEC Academic Program inventory as University Parallel degrees and require a maximum of 60 semester hours except in certain degree programs in which approval to exceed the maximum has been granted. The programs approved as exceptions to the maximum are identified in institutional catalogs. For students who complete a Tennessee Transfer Pathway, the corresponding associate of arts or associate of science or associate of fine arts degree shall include the title of the pathway in the catalog and on the diploma. 
    3. Credit hours earned in remedial or developmental courses are institutional credit; they are not applicable to credit hours required for any certificate, associate, or baccalaureate degree.
    4. College courses taken to address course deficiencies in high school preparation and to meet minimum university admission requirements effective fall 1989 may be used concurrently to satisfy general education requirements specified above with the exception of foreign language.
    5. Relative to removing course deficiencies in foreign language, the following provisions apply:
      1. Students who pursue programs leading to the Associate of Science or Bachelor of Science degrees may apply foreign language courses taken to remove the deficiencies as electives, if appropriate, or otherwise as add-on hours.
      2.  Students who pursue programs leading to the Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees may apply foreign language courses taken to remove deficiencies toward fulfillment of degree requirements.
  3. Transfer Provisions of General Education and Tennessee Transfer Pathway Courses
    1. Students who complete the Associate of Arts or Associate of Science or Associate of Science in Teaching degree and transfer to a university within the Tennessee Board of Regents System will have satisfied all lower-division general education requirements.
    2. University to university transfer students and community college students who do not complete the Associate of Arts or Associate of Science or Associate of Science in Teaching or Associate of Fine Arts degree and transfer to an institution within the Tennessee Board of Regents System but who complete blocks of subject categories will have satisfied the general education requirements for the categories of note.
      1. For example, if the eight (8) semester hours of natural sciences are completed, then this block of the general education requirement is fulfilled upon transfer to an institution within the Tennessee Board of Regents System.
      2. When a subject category is incomplete, a course by-course evaluation will be conducted, and the student will be subject to specific requirements of the receiving institution.
      3. If a student is following a Tennessee Transfer Pathway, all courses contained within the curriculum of that pathway completed by the student prior to transfer shall be accepted by the institution and be applied either to the general education requirement or area of emphasis requirement as listed in that Tennessee Transfer Pathway.
    3. Institutional/departmental requirements of the grade of "C" will be honored.
      1. If credit is granted for a course with the grade of "D," any specific requirements for the grade of "C" by the receiving institution will be enforced, except as provided in Section B of Calculation of Grade Point Averages (GPAs) for Courses Transferred and Related Applications.
    4. In certain majors, specific courses must also be taken in general education.
      1. It is important that students and advisors be aware of any major requirements that must be fulfilled under lower-division general education.
      2. In cases where specific courses are required as a part of general education for certain majors, the student is responsible for enrolling in the correct courses.
      3. Failure to fulfill specific major requirements in lower-division general education may result in the need to complete additional courses.
  4. Calculation of Grade Point Averages (GPAs) for all Courses Transferred and Related Applications
    1. Upon receiving courses for transfer, the receiving institution will exclude grades in the calculation of Grade Point Averages (GPAs).
      1. Credit will be given for all courses in which passing grades are achieved, including the grade of D.
      2. All grades, including F's, W's, etc., must be included on the transfer record.
      3. The entire record of transfer students will be considered for eligibility of admission into programs that require attainment of specific grade point averages or where external entities stipulate consideration of the entire student record.
    2. Specific application regarding the grade of D pertains as follows:
      1. Community college students who complete approved Tennessee Transfer Pathways (TTPs) or parts thereof, the grade of D will be honored and affected courses will not be subject to repetition, except in certain cases where requirements stipulate specific courses must be achieved with a grade of C (2.0) or higher.
      2. In routes of transfer outside the TTPs, institutional practices regarding the applicability of the grade of D will be honored.
    3. Institutions will follow prescribed state practices in evaluating continuing eligibility for the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship Program, which requires inclusion of calculating the cumulative GPA on all courses taken after graduation from high school.
    4. Institutions have the prerogative to develop criteria for honors designations.
    5. In cases where a student repeats a course at another institution, the receiving institution should utilize its own repeat policy to exclude the grade/credit originally earned.
    6. The provisions noted above will be effective for course work presented for transfer to enroll in summer 2015 and thereafter.
  5. General Education Requirements for the Associate of Applied Science Degree
    1. The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree is not designed to transfer to baccalaureate programs; however, a general education component is required.
    2. The following distribution of general education courses is required for the A.A.S. degree in all community colleges within the Tennessee Board of Regents System.
      1. English Composition: 3 semester hours
      2. *Humanities and/or Fine Arts: 3 semester hours
      3. *Social/Behavioral Sciences: 3 semester hours
      4. *Natural Science/Mathematics: 3 semester hours
        1. One additional course from the categories of Communication, Humanities and/or Fine Arts, Social/Behavioral Sciences, or Natural Science/Mathematics 3-4 semester hours
    3. Total 15-17 semester hours
    4. *Specific courses satisfying these requirements must be the same courses that satisfy the general education requirement for the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, or baccalaureate degrees.
  6. Graduate
    1. Graduate Degree Requirements and Provisions
      1. Graduate degree requirements vary by discipline and level. Generally, master and doctoral programs require a 3.0 GPA or higher for graduation as stated by the institution.
    2. Transfer Provision for Graduate Courses
      1. Transfer credit provisions are set by the institutions in keeping with best practice guidelines. As such, transfer of graduate credit is limited in a number of areas.
        1. For example,
          1. the number of hours that may be transferred,
          2. in equivalency of requirements,
          3. the procedures for acceptance of graduate transfer credits,
          4. the period in which courses may be taken and time limits on graduate work varies by institution,
          5. department and academic program.
      2. In general, courses are eligible for transfer if the grade earned is a "B" or better.

Sources

TBR Meetings, June 25, 1976; June 25, 1982; March 20, 1987; June 24, 1988; December 5, 1997; June 29, 2004; September 24, 2004; March 27, 2008; TBR Board Meeting September 25, 2009. TBR Board Meeting, December 2, 2010; September 21, 2012; December 21, 2014 ( Removed language in Section I.D. refering to finding the course information on the TBR and/or Policies & Guideline website. This information will now be on the individual institution's website.);(Added a new link for pathways information.) TBR Meeting March 30, 2016.

Contact

Mickey Sheen
615-366-4437
mickey.sheen@tbr.edu