Guidelines for Undergraduate Emphasis Areas

Emphasis areas allow students to focus their studies on a defined area within a discipline. Typically, emphasis areas consist of specific number of credit hours and coursework that enable the student to gain expertise in a defined area. Each academic unit lists areas of emphasis in the Registrar’s Catalog of Course Descriptions. The emphasis area will be noted only on a student’s transcript, not the diploma. The emphasis area and the degree must be awarded simultaneously.

Only degree-seeking students can choose an emphasis area. Individual academic units may stipulate course prerequisites or GPA requirements for emphasis areas.

The process for establishing an emphasis area begins with the department curriculum committee and requires the approval of the division curriculum committee, the dean, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and the campus undergraduate curriculum committee, prior to the approval by both the Provost and the Chancellor. Once approved by the Provost and the Chancellor, the Office for Undergraduate Studies will prepare paperwork for transmittal to Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Adding an emphasis area requires that at least 50% of courses be common to all such emphasis areas within the discipline. However, CBHE would like to see “some reasonable degree of uniqueness” between the programs. While Board of Curators approval is not needed, CBHE does need to approve the request. Implementation of the emphasis area, once approved, will be tied to the Registrar’s Catalog Description of Courses deadlines of January 10 and will take effect in the fall semester.

For information on emphasis area program proposals, consult Academic Program Approval and Change Processes.

To propose a new undergraduate emphasis area, complete a New Program Proposal using the Curriculum Inventory Management (CIM) Programs system

To propose a change to an existing undergraduate emphasis area, complete a change proposal (edit proposal) using the Curriculum Inventory Management (CIM) Programs system.

(Reviewed and accepted by the Committee on Undergraduate Education and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, May, 2006).