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Update from the provost regarding credit changes

by Brian Schmisek

February 9, 2021

Cardinal Update News Newsletters

Based on recommendations from the Educational Standards Committee at the College and the Academic Policy Committee at the SGPP, and in consultation with the deans and academic administrative teams, I am pleased to announce that the total number of required credits to graduate with a B.A. or a B.S. from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota will be 120 credits, effective fall 2021. This change will apply to all Saint Mary’s bachelor’s programs, including on-ground, online, and bachelor’s completion programs.

In addition, the total number of “in residence” requirements for the B.A. will be 30 credits (the equivalent of one average academic year or two average semesters). The number of maximum allowed transfer credits for B.S. completion will be 84 credits.

Current students will be allowed to shift to the 120-credit requirement without changing the catalog for their degree requirements. This change will also not affect the core number of credits required for a major.

Background and context

This proposal stems from ongoing conversations regarding review of transfer credit policies across the College and Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs (SGPP).

Rationale

  1. At the College: Graduation requirements to complete a major and general education program, with minimum GPA and upper level credit requirements and restrictions on number of elective credits earned in performing arts, sufficiently ensure the academic integrity of the degree, even if the total number of credits is decreased by two and the number of credit hours earned in residence is reduced.
  2. Saint Mary’s increased the B.A. total credit count to 122 when physical education was made credit-bearing, but the credits were not subsequently reduced when PE became non-credit-bearing. The change was made for B.S. completion programs in Minneapolis to ensure consistency.
  3. This change will bring Saint Mary’s into alignment with credit requirements at other schools in the area.
  4. Lowering total credits, including lowering “in residence” credit requirements, will help recruit transfer students.
  5. If credit reduction can be applied retroactively to existing students, lowering total credit requirements may lessen the load to graduate for students experiencing missed opportunities due to COVID-19.
  6. 120 credits for a bachelor’s degree aligns with Minnesota Academic Program Standards (as dictated by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education) and by Saint Mary’s accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission.