Why limit non-degree credits?
Where do our policies come from? We propose policies that are consistent with other graduate colleges. Limiting acceptance of non-degree credits is very much the norm. The University of Arizona is much more lenient than most top universities in accepting 12 credits toward a degree. Many of our peers and our aspirational peers accept fewer. U Minn allows only 8; Ohio State 10, for example. All of our policies must be approved by the faculty, via the Graduate Council and the Faculty Senate. Since this policy has been established by the faculty, endorsed by the Graduate College, and is consistent with good practices at other universities, we cannot simply disregard it. Any exceptions need to be based on exceptional circumstances.
There are lots of reasons why universities limit the number of credits that can count toward a degree:
- -We don't want the non-degree status to be a back door to admission and degrees. We don't want students taking courses as non-degree until they reach a 3.0 GPA and then expecting a degree.
- -The non-degree status is supposed to be for people NOT seeking a degree or as an opportunity for students with poor undergraduate records to be given a second chance. Twelve credits are enough to demonstrate their academic ability.
- -A graduate degree should include advising and socialization and is more than just earning credits. Non-degrees typically lack these opportunities.
- -Degree-seeking students are evaluated at least annually; non-degrees aren't.
- -Here at UA, for example, more and more programs have differential tuition or program fees. Non-degrees can work the system and avoid these.
- -We need to know who's in programs for our internal counting, etc.
- -Being non-degree really is a second class status and we want those who are really seeking a degree to 'count' as seeking a degree, to be treated the same as others seeking the degree.
- -Being in a degree program offers students protections and benefits.
- -We want our policies to move students toward degree programs and out of non-degree status.
Read more about non-degree policies.