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Curricular Information

Policies and Procedures for Academic Degree Program Approval

The policies and procedures for program approval are established by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) as part of its effort "to promote the development and operation of an educationally and economically sound, vigorous, progressive, and coordinated system of higher education in the state of Virginia" (Code of Virginia). These policies and procedures are intended to provide a systematic process for planning and initiating new academic programs.

           Details regarding program proposals and procedures for review are contained in the Curriculum Development and Change Policies and Procedures Manual which is available on the university's web site at www.odu.edu/ao/affairs/curric_manual_2007-08.pdf or from the vice provost.


-Approved by the provost and vice
president for academic affairs
September 5, 2003


Definition of the Credit Hour

In accordance with Federal regulations, a credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency reasonably approximating: A) Not less than one hour of faculty instruction (whether by classroom contact or by distance modes such as online podcasts) and a minimum of two hours of additional student work each week (such as reading or research) for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or B) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in item A of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.


-Approved by the President
November 11, 2011


Guidelines for Noncredit Courses Simultaneously Offered as Credit

Old Dominion University offers noncredit courses in a variety of areas. These courses may be evaluated by an academic department to determine whether or not they might also be offered for academic credit. When the department has deemed that the noncredit course is equivalent to a designated credit experience (including appropriate contact hours as stipulated by the U.S. Department of Education and achievement of suitable learning outcomes), the academic department will submit the class to the Office of the Registrar for scheduling during established class dates and times (or seek approval from the Office of Academic Affairs if they will not be offered during established dates and times).

           In addition, the academic department must evaluate the faculty member’s credentials for courses scheduled for academic credit. If a noncredit course is offered for credit at the graduate level, the faculty member must be certified to teach at this level. Questions about such credentials may be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment.

           Faculty should include a statement in the syllabus for all classes offered as both noncredit and credit coursework. This statement informs students that the course is offered in both formats and enrollment cannot be changed after the drop deadline. Further, the syllabus should state that the noncredit course will not meet undergraduate or graduate degree requirements.

           Full-time faculty in academic departments may teach such noncredit-credit courses outside their contractual teach load, with approval by the department chair and the dean. The College of Continuing Education and Professional Development will pay faculty for noncredit-credit offerings; the academic department offering the course for credit will not submit a payroll form for this instruction.

           Documentation related to noncredit courses meeting credit course offerings, as well as faculty credentials, will be maintained by the department offering courses for credit.


-Approved by the President
December 11, 2017


College and Department Curricular Recommendations

In order that appropriate faculty consideration be given to the instructional program, curricular matters that are to be considered at the university level, for example degree program proposals or recommendations concerning courses to meet university general education requirements, should be examined at the department and college levels by appropriate faculty groups and recommendations of these groups forwarded with the proposal for consideration by the Faculty Senate or the central administration.


- Approved by the president
May 17, 1982


Policy on Certificate Programs

Old Dominion University offers a variety of certificate programs that meet the same high-quality standards as its academic degree programs, while addressing the specific needs of students and professionals. Certificates may be pursued in conjunction with or independent from graduate or undergraduate degree programs.

Certificate programs offered by Old Dominion University include the following:

Credit-Bearing Programs

Certificate programs: These programs are available for those seeking a formal award certifying completion of undergraduate- or graduate-level work in academic or occupational fields of study. Such certificates are ideal for individuals who wish to explore areas of professional interest or for those who need to fulfill accreditation requirements. Such programs generally include a minimum of nine credit hours and a maximum of 21 credit hours. An overall grade point average of 2.0 or above in all courses specified as a requirement for the certificate is required for the award of an undergraduate certificate. An overall grade point average of 3.0 or above in all courses specified as a requirement for the certificate is required for the award of a graduate certificate.

Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS): The curriculum in such programs is designed for those seeking a formal award certifying completion of study beyond the master’s level in an academic or occupational field of study. These programs are usually intended for professional licensure or professional development, and may be completed prior to or concurrent with doctoral studies, for those interested in such pursuits. The programs generally require a minimum of 24 credit hours.

The Curricular Approval Form must be completed for all new, revised, or discontinued credit-bearing certificate offerings, and submitted to appropriate parties for approval within six months of program initiation or discontinuance. Final approval of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is required.

Faculty in departments offering certificates will identify residency requirements for all prescribed coursework. The Office of the University Registrar confers certificates to those who have met requirements for these programs.

Non-Credit-Bearing Programs

Certificate programs: Non-credit certificates in specific fields may be offered and awarded by colleges at the University upon approval by the appropriate faculty and administrators. These programs are designed to provide continuing education experiences to individuals or groups, usually in a specific profession or vocation. Content in these offerings alone will not meet the requirements of credit-bearing coursework, unless otherwise specified.

The design of all non-credit certificates must follow University guidelines as established by the Office of Academic Affairs.


- Approved by the president
October 17, 1978
Revised May 21, 2014
Revised February 27, 2017


Approval of Curricular Changes, New Courses and Course Changes

  1. Curricular Changes
    1. Significant curricular changes, such as creation of a major or minor, creation or deletion of emphasis areas, degree policies or changes that exceed the University's minimum, or other substantial changes in curriculum will neither be effective nor implemented without the approval of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
      1. Recommendations at the appropriate departmental, college, and University levels will precede the decision by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. This process includes department chairs, departmental and college governance committees related to curriculum, the dean of the academic college and the Faculty Senate (when applicable, such as for General Education requirements).

      2. In addition, all proposed changes in curriculum that rely upon the resources of another college or department will require consultation and agreement by the providing unit prior to approval by the Office of Academic Affairs.

    2. All curricular changes will be fully documented and indicate all approvals. At a minimum, this documentation will include a full description of the change, rationale, resources needed if applicable, and implementation process, which will include a plan for notification of students and a timetable.

    3. Approved changes will be effective with the publication of the next Catalog. Changes shall not normally be applied to students graduating under earlier Catalogs.

    4. Changes may not be accepted during the Catalog preparation period. The deadline for the submission of any curricular changes that are intended to be effective the beginning of the following academic year should be December 1.

  2. Credit-Bearing Courses
    All requests for new credit-bearing courses or course changes must be submitted in the proper format to the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs after review and approval by the appropriate department and college committee, the department chair and the dean.
    1. Changes in courses that are offered as service courses for majors in other departments should be discussed with the chairs of such departments prior to approval of the change. Proposed deactivation of courses that are offered as service courses for majors in other departments will require consultation and agreement by the affected department prior to approval by the Office of Academic Affairs.

    2. Requests for changes in existing courses to be active for the next academic year should be submitted before November 1. Approved changes in existing courses will be effective with the publication of the next Catalog. Requests for new courses may be submitted at any time to be effective no sooner than the next semester.

    3. The Office of Academic Affairs will identify courses not offered for five years and inform the affected department chair and dean that the courses will be deactivated. These courses will remain active only upon the request of the department chair and approval from the Office of Academic Affairs.

  3. Noncredit Courses
    1. All requests for new noncredit courses or course changes must be submitted in the proper format to the Office of the University Registrar after review and approval by the appropriate dean.


- Approved by the president
January 22, 1988
Revised August 4, 1996
Revised October 28, 2004
Revised April 9, 2007
Revised October 17, 2012

Policy On Accelerated Courses

This policy is based upon the following general principles:

  1. The University serves an urban area and a variety of adult, in-service, and military personnel and is committed to providing flexible methods for the delivery of instruction and cannot be limited to the traditional semester format. Development of nontraditional methods of instruction is encouraged.
    1. The University provides and supports the traditional semester credit courses of 15 weeks of instruction during the fall and spring semesters, eight weeks of instruction during the fall and spring, and courses of varying lengths during the summer sessions. Accelerated courses are defined as credit courses provided in a shorter time frame and must meet the following guidelines.

  2. Guidelines
    1. Accelerated courses should be clearly the academic equivalent of courses taken on the normal semester schedule.
      1. Traditional lecture courses require students to spend approximately two hours of preparation, research, or writing time outside of class for each one hour of class time.

      2. Laboratory courses usually require less out-of-class time, but the in-class time is greater, usually twice as many contact hours as would be expected in a lecture course.

    2. No more than one semester credit can be earned in a week or weekend of instruction if the entire work of the class is contained in that week or weekend.
      1. Under unusual circumstances, and only upon the approval of the Dean of the college, two hours of credit may be offered in a single week or weekend.

      2. The chair must provide the Dean with the proposed syllabus, a written evaluation of the proposed accelerated course comparison with the same or similar course that is conducted during the usual time-frame, and other evidence of its suitability for acceleration. Other evidence to be provided includes the following.
        1. The course is of a highly intensive nature and the students admitted to the course are carefully picked for ability to handle such an intensive program, or

        2. The course required graded work done prior to or subsequent to the week or weekend of classroom instruction so that the total amount of work required for the course is the clear equivalent of the same number of semester hours during a regular session.

    3. If any request is submitted for offering a course at a rate of more than two hours of credit per week or weekend of class sessions, prior approval of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is required. Such approval will only be given upon clear evidence that substantial work is required of the student outside of the week or weekend of classroom instruction and that the course is clearly equivalent to similar courses offered in the regular session.

    4. In cases of dispute, appeal may be made to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The decision of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is final.


- Approved by the Council of
Academic Deans and the vice
president for academic affairs
June 21, 1977
- Approved by the President
November 28, 2012


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