Programs, Courses & Credits

Programs:

  • Official Program Designations
  • Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Programs
  • Undergraduate Certificate Programs
  • Minors

Course INFORMATION:

  • Abbreviations Used in Course Listings
  • Plan for Numbering Courses
  • Common Course Numbers and Descriptions
  • Eligibility to Enroll in 500-Level Courses
  • Graduate Credit via Senior Petition
  • Final Exams
  • Last Week of Classes

Credits:

  • Classification of Students
  • Course Overload
  • Credit Hour Definition
  • Credit by Exam
  • Experiential Learning

In this section:

Official Program Designations

Degree program: A degree program is an area of study approved as such by the institution and the Board of Governors (BOG) and listed on the official inventory of degree programs. The degree, which is an award signifying a rank or level of educational attainment and which is conferred on students who have successfully completed a degree program, is represented by the official degree designation (e.g., B.A.—bachelor of arts, B.S.—bachelor of science, etc.)

Major: A major is a field of study within an approved degree program, having its own curriculum. A degree program may have more than one major.

Area of Emphasis: An area of emphasis is a specific subject area within an approved degree program and major. Normally, a minimum of 12 credit hours and no more than 18 credit hours are expected for an area of emphasis within a baccalaureate degree program. Normally, a minimum of 6 and no more than 12 credit hours would be expected for an area of emphasis within a graduate degree program.

Minor: A minor is an area of study outside of the major that encourages students to pursue a secondary field. Students may not earn a minor in the same field as their major. Requirements for a minor are set by the academic unit offering the minor and must include at least 15 hours of coursework, with a minimum of 9 hours at the upper division level (course numbers 300 or above). Minors are only available to students earning a baccalaureate degree.

Certificate program: A certificate program is a coherent, specialized curriculum designed for students in search of a specific body of knowledge for personal/career development or professional continuing education. Normally, a minimum of 12 and no more than 21 credit hours constitute a certificate program at the baccalaureate or graduate level.

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Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Programs

Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's degree programs (ABM programs) offer WVU students the opportunity to pursue both a bachelor's and a master's degree in the same discipline or in related disciplines in an accelerated time frame. Students in these approved programs are able to begin taking courses for the master’s degree prior to completion of the bachelor’s degree.

Admission to Abm programs

An Accelerated Bachelor's/Masters (ABM) program may directly admit first-year students (early admission), or may admit students after completion of at least 60 credits (regular admission), or both.

Early Admission:

  • For early admission, entering WVU first-year students must have a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 and SAT or ACT test scores above the 70th percentile, or higher, as determined by the program. Early admitted students must meet the standards described below for regular admission to continue in the ABM program after the completion of 60 credits

Regular Admission:

  • Only currently enrolled WVU students may be considered for regular admission to the program. Transfer students must complete at least 24 credit hours as degree-seeking students at WVU before applying to the program. ABM programs are not available to students seeking a second (or subsequent) bachelor's degree.
  • Regular admission may not be any earlier than the semester in which an undergraduate student is expected to complete 60 credits or any later than the semester after which the student needs two additional semesters to complete the bachelor’s degree. The minimum standard for regular admission is a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0, with no provisional admissions allowed. Additional admissions criteria (such as completion of particular courses, entrance exam scores, letters of recommendation, or personal statements) are determined by individual programs.

requirements for ABM Programs

Students in ABM programs complete all requirements for both degrees. Students are conferred both degrees simultaneously following completion of the requirements for both degrees. Acceleration of the time to complete the two degrees can be facilitated by allowing students to begin some of the work for the master’s degree prior to completion of the bachelor’s degree, and by allowing students to count up to 12 credits of specific courses at the 400-level or above toward both bachelor’s and master’s degree requirements. An ABM program may allow specific courses (at the 400-level or above) that are required for one degree to be substituted for specific course requirements for the other degree. The bachelor’s degree in an ABM program must require at least 120 credits and the master’s degree must require at least 30 credits, including any courses (up to 12 credits) that are approved to count for both degrees.

Programs are responsible for reporting to the Office of the University Registrar any courses completed by a student enrolled in an ABM program that are to be applied to both the student’s bachelor’s degree and the student’s master’s degree. Any course completed by a student in the ABM program that will be used to meet both bachelor’s and master’s degree requirements must be identified in writing to the Office of the Registrar by the ABM program director within 60 days following posting of the student’s grade in the course. Otherwise, the course will only meet requirements of the student’s primary curriculum at the time of course completion.

Enrollment in ABM Programs

Students accepted to an ABM program will be dually enrolled in the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs after completion of at least 60 undergraduate credits and admission to the master’s degree program. Students must complete a separate application for admission to the master’s degree program (including payment of an application fee).

Students enrolled in a master’s degree program as part of an ABM program may enroll in graduate-level courses approved for their program without completing a Senior Petition.

Unless given specific permission by the relevant dean, students admitted to an ABM program must maintain full-time continuous enrollment during fall and spring terms. Enrollment requirements in summer term are determined by individual programs.

Students who are admitted to an ABM program may not pursue a dual degree, double major, or certificate. They may pursue minors and areas of emphasis, as approved by their advisor. However, students admitted to an ABM program will not be approved for course overloads (more than 17 credits in any term that includes more than one graduate-level course, more than 20 credits in any term that does not include graduate-level courses).

Graduation

Students admitted to an ABM program will have their bachelor’s and master’s degrees conferred simultaneously upon completion of all requirements for both degrees.

tuition and financial aid

Students in an ABM degree program are charged undergraduate tuition and are eligible for undergraduate financial aid prior to completion (or near completion) of the minimum number of credits normally required for their bachelor’s degree. After that, students are charged graduate tuition and are eligible for graduate assistantships (with permission of their program) or other graduate student funding opportunities and financial aid. Changes in students’ tuition and financial aid status may be made only at the end of an academic year (May). Students will be charged graduate tuition during the academic year when they are expected to complete the program. Colleges/schools may choose to provide tuition scholarships to ABM students to reduce students’ college tuition charges.

continued eligibility and termination

Students in an ABM degree program must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (or higher, if specified by the program) in both their undergraduate and graduate courses throughout their enrollment. Grades in courses at the 400 level or higher that will be counted toward both the bachelor’s and master’s degree (maximum of 12 credits) will be included in calculation of both the undergraduate and the graduate GPA for the purposes of determining satisfactory performance.

Students' eligibility to remain in the ABM program will be evaluated at the end of each semester. Students failing to meet program or University standards will be placed on program probation for no more than one semester, after which they will be terminated from the ABM degree program. Terminated students as well as students who choose not to continue in the ABM degree program will be eligible to receive their bachelor's degree when they have completed the bachelor’s degree requirements. The credits earned by such students in graduate-level courses will apply to the minimum credits required by the bachelor’s degree program. The bachelor’s degree program may decide to allow such students to substitute graduate-level courses taken as part of the ABM program for specific undergraduate course requirements, but the program is not required to do so.

Approved ABM Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science/Master of Science in Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • Bachelor of Science/Master of Science in Physical Education Teacher Education

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Undergraduate Certificate Programs

For a complete list of certificates and information on WVU's undergraduate certificates, please see our Undergraduate Certificates page.

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Minors

For a complete list of minors and information on WVU's minors, please see our Minors page.

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In this section:

Abbreviations Used in Course Listings

Abbreviation Description
HR credit hours per course
Lec lecture period
Rec recitation period
Lab laboratory period
GLAB graded lab
WEB web-based course
CONC concurrent - listed with PR meaning the course may be completed at the same time as enrollment in the course for which it is listed
PR prerequisite - course must be completed in a term prior to enrollment in the course for which it is listed
Coreq co-requisite - courses must be taken in the same term
Consent consent of instructor required
CR credit but no grade

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Plan for Numbering Courses

For convenience, each course of study is designated by the name of the department in which it is given and by the number of that course. The plan for numbering courses is as follows:

Courses 1–99 Developmental and community college certificate courses (does not require WVU Faculty Senate approval) and undergraduate professional development courses (courses that are designed for professional development and require students to possess a high school diploma. These courses do not count toward graduation).

Courses 100 Freshmen/Lower Division: Intended primarily for freshmen, although upper-division students may take them if needed to complete degree requirements.

Courses 200 Sophomores/Lower Division: Intended primarily for sophomores. These courses may have 100 or 200-level prerequisites.

Courses 300 Juniors/Upper Division: Intended primarily for juniors. These courses may have extensive prerequisites or be limited to specific majors.

Courses 400 Seniors/Upper Division: Intended primarily for seniors and selected graduate students. These courses are typically limited to advanced undergraduates within a particular major or degree program and selected graduate students.

Courses 500 Undergraduate Seniors and Master’s Level: Courses intended for advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduates in any class carrying a 500-level course number must receive approval.

Courses 600 Master’s Level: Courses intended for master’s degree students (no undergraduates permitted).

Courses 700 Master’s and Doctoral Degree Level: Courses intended for doctoral students and advanced master’s students (no undergraduates permitted).

Courses 800  Master's and Doctoral Degree Level: Courses intended for students in graduate-level professional programs (no undergraduates permitted).

Courses 900 Professional Development: Courses intended for professional development. Students must possess a bachelor’s degree. These courses do not count toward graduation and are not applicable towards a graduate degree. Grading is S/U only.

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Undergraduate Common Course Numbers & Descriptions

199. Orientation to [subject/field]. 1-2  Hr. Orientation to degree programs and requirements, departmental resources, curriculum options, student responsibilities, and opportunities.

293. Special Topics. 1-6 Hr. PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

298. Honors, 1-3 Hr. PR: Students in Honors Program and consent by the honors director. Independent reading, study, or research.

393. Special Topics. 1-6 Hr. PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

490. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hr. PR: Consent. Teaching practice such as a tutor or assistant.

491. Professional Field Experience. 1-18 Hr. PR: Consent. (May be repeated up to a maximum of 18 hours.) Prearranged experiential learning program to be planned, supervised, and evaluated for credit by faculty and field supervisors. Involves temporary placement with public or private enterprise for professional competence development.

492. Directed Study. 1-3 Hr. Directed study, reading, and/or research.

493. Special Topics. 1-6 Hr. PR: Consent. Investigation of topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

494. Seminar. 1-3 Hr. PR: Consent. Presentation and discussion of topics of mutual concern to students and faculty.

495. Independent Study. 1-6 Hr. Faculty-supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

496. Senior Thesis. 1-3 Hr. PR: Consent.

497. Research. 1-6 Hr. Independent research projects.

498. Honors, 1-3 Hr. PR: Students in Honors Program with consent by the honors director. Independent reading, study, or research.

499. Global Service Learning. 1-3 Hr. PR: Consent. Theory and practice of global service-learning. The main objective will be to pair the experiential aspects of meaningful and sustained service in the host community with work from the student’s anchor course by offering a methodological framework for cultural immersion and community service as well as adding to the content of the anchor course.

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Eligibility to Enroll in 500-Level Courses

Advanced undergraduate students may request permission to enroll in a graduate course numbered 500-599. Undergraduate students may not enroll in 600 or above level courses unless they are enrolled in a master’s degree program as part of an ABM program. To qualify, students must be classified as either a Junior or Senior and have a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale. To enroll in 500-599 courses, students must complete an Undergraduate Application to Enroll in 500-Level Courses, found on the Office of the University Registrar’s website, and have it approved. Non-WVU students will also be required to submit an undergraduate application for admission and have his or her official transcripts sent to the Office of Admissions from all of the colleges and universities previously attended; the transcript cannot be one sent to the student or by facsimile (fax).

Graduate Credit via Senior Petition

Students classified as seniors may begin graduate study early through the University’s senior petition policy. Senior petition applies only to courses numbered 400–599, and students can receive only 15 graduate hours through the senior petition process. If a student is permitted to receive graduate credit, that credit cannot count toward the undergraduate degree. To qualify, students must be classified as seniors and have a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale. To be granted permission to earn graduate credit as an undergraduate senior, students must complete the Senior Petition to Earn Graduate Credit, found on the Office of the University Registrar’s website, and have this approved. Students enrolled in a master’s degree program as part of an ABM program may enroll in graduate-level courses approved for their program without completing a Senior Petition.

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Finals

The last week of each semester of the academic year is designated as finals week. Final examinations for the summer term are given on the last day of classes. The website http://registrar.wvu.edu/ gives the dates and times for final examinations. (See specific term Course Registration Information link for further information.)

Students who take a section of a multi-section course may be required to take the departmental final examination, given during the regular final examination period.

Last Week of Classes

Practical laboratory tests, make-up examinations, and regularly scheduled short quizzes are the only tests permitted for day classes during the week of classes preceding finals week unless the faculty member petitions the associate provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs and the petition is approved by the beginning of the second week of the semester in which the final exam is to be given. Evening classes have their final exams on the last meeting of the class preceding finals week. 

Final Examination Policy

No substantial examinations may be given during the last week of classes or during the study days preceding the final examination period. An examination is considered to be substantial if it counts for more than 30 percent of the final course grade. The only examinations permitted during the last week of classes are final examinations for evening classes (classes meeting at 6 p.m. or later, or classes meeting at 4 p.m. or later if the class meets once a week), quizzes or non-substantial examinations, and bona fide make-up examinations.

The study days preceding final examinations are not to be used as dates on which papers are due, quizzes or examinations are administered, or for any other class-related activity, other than office hours

The final examination period is reserved for scheduled final examinations. No other class-related activity, with the exception of office hours, may be scheduled during the final examination period. No final examinations may be given before the examination period begins, and no change in time from that published in the official examination schedule is permitted without approval. An instructor with a compelling reason to change the time of an examination must obtain the approval of the dean of the college or school and the Associate Provost for Graduate or Undergraduate Academic Affairs before announcing an alternative examination procedure to the students.

In a course extending over two semesters, when the subject matter is continuous, the second-semester final examination may include the subject matter of the first semester.

The final examination schedule for each academic term is determined by the Office of the University Registrar. The final examination date and time for a class is determined by the class meeting time.  Common examinations are scheduled for certain courses that administer examinations at the same time for all students enrolled in the course. Common examinations may only be administered during the specified common examination time slot in order to minimize conflicts in the students’ schedules and help ensure room availability. No courses other than those listed on the final examination schedule may use a common examination time. Common examinations may only be administered for courses in which the total course enrollment exceeds 500 students or there are more than 20 sections of the course. Finals are held in the location of the regularly scheduled class meeting unless students are otherwise notified.

If a student has more than three final examinations on any one calendar day of the final examination period, the student may make arrangements to take the last examination of the day during the make-up examination time period. If a student has two final examinations scheduled during the same common examination time period, the student must contact the departments administering the common examinations to make arrangements for a make-up examination.

A student may address complaints related to the final examination procedures in a course to the dean of the college or school in which the course is offered, or to the Associate Provost for Graduate or Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

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In this section:

Classification of Students

WVU undergraduates are classified as freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors. These classifications are based upon the number of hours completed. The classifications are as follows:

Classification Hours
Freshman 1-28 Earned Credit Hours, Inclusive
Sophomore 29-58 Earned Credit Hours, Inclusive
Junior 59-88 Earned Credit Hours, Inclusive
Senior 89 or More Earned Hours

Note: Classification of students will be updated starting Summer 2018.

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Course Overload

Undergraduate students are not permitted to enroll in more than 20 credits in a fall or spring semester or 14 credits in a summer semester without approval. The student's dean or dean's designee may approve requests of 21 credits in the fall or spring semester or 15 credits in the summer semester. Requests to enroll in credits higher than this limit must be approved by the student's dean or dean's designee and the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

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Credit Hour Definition

West Virginia University courses offered for credit are based on semester hours. Semesters are fifteen weeks long plus one week for final exams. A single credit hour is equivalent to fifty minutes of guided instruction within the classroom. An hour of preparation, or related activity outside of the classroom, is equivalent to sixty minutes.

Face-to-Face Classroom Learning

One credit hour is equivalent to one hour of guided instruction (fifty minute class) and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time such as during the summer academic term, when courses may vary in duration. One credit hour in other academic activities, as established by the institution, such as laboratory work, internships, practicums, studio work, study abroad, experiential learning opportunities, and online learning, must include an equivalent amount of required work.

Online Learning

One credit hour of online learning is equivalent to fifteen hours of direct instruction and thirty hours of additional student work. Direct instruction can occur via computer-assisted (modules), multi-media interaction, discussions, and/or completion of exams/quizzes/assessments as documented in the course syllabus and approved to meet best practices in online learning. Student work includes activities like readings and supplemental home work. Students must fulfill these hours to complete the course requirements as set forth by the course instructor. Online courses developed from existing face-to-face instruction adhere to the defined learning outcomes and assessments of the original face-to-face format for the course. All WVU online programs are reviewed for nationally accepted standards for online learning.

Experiential Learning

In experiential learning, including opportunities representing laboratory/lecture courses, undergraduate research (with or without laboratory), professional development internships, and service learning, a total of three hours of classroom and preparation time per week over a period of fifteen weeks for one credit hour or the equivalent amount of work over a shorter period of time is required. Courses must incorporate adequate opportunities to document student progress and student completion of the stated learning objectives for each experience.

Study Abroad

One credit hour is equivalent to fifteen hours of guided instruction and thirty hours of cultural, linguistic or other types of engagements as described by the syllabus and approved by the faculty, department Chair, Dean, and Associate Provost. Exceptions to this general rule would need to be justified and approved on an individual basis.

Studio/Ensemble Work

In studio courses in the arts, design, and theatre, one credit hour is equivalent to one and a half hours of guided instruction and three hours for studio class practice or projects each week for fifteen weeks as defined by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). In accordance with the National Association of Schools of Music standards, one credit hour of ensemble work in the music field represents three hours of practice each week, on average, for a period of fifteen weeks plus the necessary individual instruction as defined by the major subject.

Variable Credit Offerings

Variable credit courses often represent student experiences that range in credit hours based on the focus and discipline of the experience. Practicums (teaching and research), field experience, undergraduate and graduate research and laboratory rotations and credit, and independent studies offer a range of contact. One credit hour is equivalent to fifteen contact hours of guided instruction (e.g., student progress meetings, mentoring) and thirty hours of student work to complete the requirements set forth by the advisor or course instructor (e.g., team meetings, review sessions, thesis/dissertation preparation) over a fifteen week period. Instructors/mentors and students should discuss the appropriate number of total credit hours for a given course based on the time needed to attain outcomes of the particular endeavor.

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Credit by Exam

A student who is currently enrolled may receive credit for a course or courses upon demonstration of competency in the course content at the discretion of the department. The department offering the course determines evaluation standards for the student’s competency. If skill and cognitive abilities are components of the course, then both are evaluated. A college, school, or department may ask a student to prepare a self-evaluation statement. The purpose of the statement is to determine competency and the methods by which the student achieved it. Students interested in pursuing credit by exam should begin by consulting with the department offering the course. A fee is required to pursue credit by exam.

Credit is given only when a satisfactory degree of competency is shown. While WVU administered credit by examination and placement credit will be excluded from WVU residence credit, it does not interrupt the final thirty credit hours in residence if earned during this period.

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Experiential Learning

Each academic unit has a policy of general applicability controlling the allocation of credit for ad hoc experiential learning. No credit shall be granted for ad hoc experiential learning that is not sanctioned by an approved policy. At a minimum, each discipline shall adhere to accreditation standards of that discipline with respect to credits given toward student advancement based on experiential learning. There should be an equivalence in quantity and quality of ad hoc experiential learning effort and conventional academic effort for a set amount of credit within a discipline. Credit awarded for experiential learning will be posted as transfer work to West Virginia University with the course number of three zeros (000). The course prefix will vary by department granting credit. Credits applied to a student’s record through experiential learning will count in degree (or earned) hours. No formal grade will be entered. While WVU administered experiential learning credit will be excluded from WVU residence credit, it does not interrupt the final thirty credit hours in residence if earned during this period.

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