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100201

Academic Plans, Undergraduate (Definitions)

Type: Definitions
Effective Date: 6/15/2017

An academic plan is a particular course of study identified by Northern Arizona University, in accordance with standards recommended by the Arizona Board of Regents. 

Typically, as part of a student's degree program, the student will complete some combination of the following academic plans:

  • a Major, which is a set of required courses that provides a level of expertise in a particular field
  • a Minor (if the degree requirements specifically include a minor)
  • an Emphasis or Concentration—either of which is a set of required courses within a particular major (if the major specifically includes emphases or concentrations)
  • a Certificate (which may be taken as part of a degree program—or separately)
  • Beginning with the 2011-12 Catalog, NAU will no longer be using such terms as: extended major and focus. (Exceptions may occur in the BA/BS degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies—and elsewhere, in a few unique areas.)

Plan

Unit
Criteria

Other Characteristics

Appears
on
Diploma?

Major 

 

36 or more units

A planned group of courses within a specific subject matter area. Each discipline should offer only one major; unless there are distinct sub-disciplines that are commonly organized as separate majors/degree programs and there is sufficient student demand for the additional majors/degree programs.

A major is differentiated from another major by required course commonality: 18 units of the required units of a major must be unique, (i.e., not common or not dual use as a required element in another major), to that major. Alternatively, specialized degree paths can be judiciously created through the use of major emphases (sub-plans), of which 24 units of the major must be common to all plan/sub-plan combinations.

We require a student to choose a major by the time the student has completed 32 units of course work. If a student transfers to Northern Arizona University with more than 32 units, the student must declare a major before beginning a second term at NAU.

If a student's academic catalog is prior to 2014-2015, courses used for liberal studies may share the same prefix as a student's minor discipline but not their major discipline.

If a student's academic catalog is 2014-2015 (or a subsequent catalog), up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.  Courses used for the liberal studies distribution requirements can have the same prefix as a student’s minor.  

Yes

Minor 

 

18-24 units

A planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas consisting of at least 18 units and no more than 24 units; completed with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0. At least 12 units of the minor must be unique to that minor and not applied to any other minor.   

No more than fifty percent of the units used to satisfy minor requirements may be used to satisfy major requirements. A student may also use the same course or courses to meet both liberal studies and minor requirements as long as the student meets all requirements for the minor.  

*Minors must be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program. 

No

Emphasis 

 

18 or more units

A planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas. At least 15 units of the emphasis must be unique to that emphasis to differentiate it from other emphases.

Not all majors have emphases within them, but those that do, allow a choice between two or more emphases as a way of tailoring the major to a student's particular needs and interests.

*Emphases must be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program.

Yes

Concentration 15 or less units

A major may also label smaller groupings of courses as concentrations within the major. Concentrations are permitted for the purpose of communication clarity and convenience.

A concentration represents a lesser subdivision within an undergraduate major than an emphasis, but serves the same purpose of allowing a student to tailor the major to the student's particular needs and interests.

*Concentrations must be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program. 

No

  Certificate

15 or more units


A planned group of courses within a single discipline or selected from among two or more related disciplines containing a minimum of 15 units; completed with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0. At least 12 units of the certificate must be unique to that certificate. A certificate is best used when there is a compelling market-place need.

The following provisions must also be met:

- at least 60% of the course work must receive a letter grade (A,B,C,D,F),

- at least 60% of the course work must be resident credit (awarded by NAU).

*Certificates may be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program or as a stand-alone certificate, as specified by the Catalog to Use policy.

 

 


 

Certificates
are
printed
separately
from diploma
Related policies:

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