UNC System reduces number of hours needed to graduate

Emily Broyles, Reporter

The UNC System reduced the number of required credit hours for all undergraduate programs from 128 to 120, which gives App State students an easier route to graduation. The change in credit hours will start Fall 2019.

All undergraduate programs required a student to take between 128 and 130 credit hours to graduate, depending on the program before the change. Now, students who have enrolled before Fall 2019 have the option to elect into the change. All students after only need 120 credit hours.

All degree programs will have eight credit hours cut, so students can graduate timely and successfully if they take 15 credit hours per semester, middle grades education professor Chris Cook said.

Cook said the new credit hour requirement could attract more students to a wide range of fields because of the possible decrease in content that is taught to students. Students would have less to do in the field than before. The downside is fitting in other required aspects of programs, such as student teaching for education majors, a requirement that is outside the credit hours.

“We’ll have to be forced to make some difficult choices,” Cook said. “You’re kind of forced to really reflect and figure out, ‘How do we make these changes in a way that our students will be extremely well prepared?’”

Because portions of general education cannot be cut, program directors will decide what work will be minimized or removed.

Tracie Salinas, mathematical sciences professor and director of secondary teacher education and engagement, said elective options within majors will be limited. Students may also face n “either-or” option when deciding which courses to take.

“This does not keep a student from taking additional elective courses if they’re interested,” Salinas said. “It’s just that those hours are not required for them to complete their degree.”

Salinas and Cook agreed that programs are handling the change smoothly and will allow students to graduate on time.