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PDFWAC 250-61-100

Academic requirements.

(1) Educational programs. Each program shall require the completion of a prescribed program of study leading to the attainment of competence in an interdisciplinary area or specific field of study. Programs shall generally meet the guidelines or standards of an accrediting association recognized by the council and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education that accredits similar programs of study.
(a) Associate degrees:
(i) An associate degree shall require at least ninety quarter credits or sixty semester credits.
(A) An associate degree intended for occupational preparation shall require, as a minimum, general education requirements that comprise a recognizable body of instruction in three program-related areas:
(I) Communications;
(II) Computation; and
(III) Human relations.
(B) The general education requirements of all other associate degrees shall be consistent with the current guidelines of Washington's direct transfer agreement associate degree.
(ii) The following associate degree designations shall be acceptable:
(A) The associate of arts (A.A.), and associate of science (A.S.) for programs which emphasize the liberal arts and sciences. These programs generally satisfy the general education requirements for a baccalaureate degree and are transfer oriented.
(B) The associate in applied technology (A.A.T.), associate in applied science (A.A.S.), associate of occupational science (A.O.S.) and other such applied or technology-related degree designations for programs which emphasize preparation for occupations at the technical level. These programs generally do not satisfy the general education requirements for a baccalaureate degree and are not transfer-oriented.
(b) Baccalaureate degrees: A baccalaureate degree shall require at least one hundred eighty quarter credits or one hundred twenty semester credits. The degree shall require a distinct major and, as a minimum, twenty-five percent of the program shall be in general education curricula.
(c) Master's degrees:
(i) A master's degree program shall require at least thirty-six quarter credits or twenty-four semester credits, specialization in an academic or professional area, and a demonstration of mastery.
(ii) The following master's degree designations shall be acceptable:
(A) The master of arts (M.A.) and master of science (M.S.) for programs which advance study and exploration in the discipline. The majority of credit for M.A. and M.S. degrees shall be at the graduate level in the major field.
(B) The master of business administration (M.B.A.), master of fine arts (M.F.A.), master of education (M.Ed.), etc. for programs which emphasize professional preparation.
(d) Doctoral degrees:
(i) Doctoral degree programs shall provide a broad range of advanced course offerings, faculty in ancillary and supporting fields, access to adequate laboratory and research facilities, and a wide range of current reference materials in the subject field. A doctoral degree shall require at least three full academic years of specialized postbaccalaureate study. To obtain a doctoral degree a student shall be required to demonstrate, through comprehensive examination, the ability to perform research at the level of the professional scholar or perform the work of a professional that involves the highest levels of knowledge and expertise.
(ii) The following doctoral degree designations shall be acceptable:
(A) The doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree for programs which are oriented toward original research and require a dissertation.
(B) A professional doctoral degree (J.D., Ed.D., etc.) for programs which emphasize technical knowledge and professional competence and require either a research thesis or a project involving the solution of a substantial problem of professional interest.
(e) Distance learning program(s) shall meet the following guidelines:
(i) Online learning is appropriate to the institution's mission and purposes;
(ii) The institution's plans for developing, sustaining, and, if appropriate, expanding online learning offerings are integrated into its regular planning and evaluation processes;
(iii) Online learning is incorporated into the institution's systems of governance and academic oversight;
(iv) Curricula for the institution's online learning offerings are coherent, cohesive, and comparable in academic rigor to programs offered in traditional instructional formats;
(v) The institution evaluates the effectiveness of its online learning offerings, including the extent to which the online learning goals are achieved, and uses the results of its evaluations to enhance the attainment of the goals;
(vi) Faculty responsible for delivering the online learning curricula and evaluating the students' success in achieving the online learning goals are appropriately qualified and effectively supported;
(vii) The institution provides effective student and academic services to support students enrolled in online learning offerings;
(viii) The institution provides sufficient resources to support and, if appropriate, expand its online learning offerings; and
(ix) The institution assures the integrity of its online offerings.
(f) Prior experiential learning.
(i) Credit for prior experiential learning may be awarded when validated through a portfolio or similar assessment procedure. The institution shall maintain copies of examinations, portfolios, and evaluations used in this process.
(ii) Credit awarded for prior experiential learning at the undergraduate and graduate level must be consistent with the minimum standards as published by the institution's accrediting association. This subsection applies to institutions that meet WAC 250-61-085 (1), (2), or (3).
(iii) Prior experiential learning credit shall constitute no more than twenty-five percent of an undergraduate or graduate degree program. This subsection applies to institutions that meet WAC 250-61-085(4).
(2) Faculty.
(a) Faculty shall be professionally prepared and graduates of accredited institutions and, as a group, the institutions from which they earned their degrees shall be diverse.
(b) Faculty shall be sufficient in number and kind and in the proportion of full-time and part-time positions to sustain rigorous courses, programs, and services.
(c) Faculty teaching academic courses at the undergraduate degree level shall have, as a minimum, a master's degree in the assigned or related program area from an accredited institution. Faculty assigned to teach in vocational-technical subjects shall have educational credentials and experience compatible with their teaching assignment. Faculty assigned to teach general education courses within any undergraduate program shall have, as a minimum, a master's degree in a related area from an accredited institution.
(d) Faculty teaching at the master's degree level in programs which emphasize advanced study and exploration in a discipline shall have an earned doctorate in a related field from an accredited institution and experience in directing independent study and research. Faculty teaching in master's programs which emphasize professional preparation shall have, as a minimum, a master's degree from an accredited institution and documented achievement in a related field.
(e) Faculty teaching at the doctoral level shall have an earned doctorate in a related field from an accredited institution and experience in teaching and directing independent study and research.
(3) Admissions. Admission requirements shall be based on the institution's objectives and consistently applied to each program of study. Through preenrollment assessments, testing and advising, the institution shall determine the readiness and ability of each student to succeed in his/her degree program. Institutions shall use only those tests reviewed and approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
High school graduation or the equivalent shall be required for undergraduate admission. A baccalaureate degree or the equivalent shall be required for admission into graduate programs. Special undergraduate admission may be granted, based on the applicant's general educational development.
(4) Enrollment contract. If an enrollment contract is utilized, the institution shall discuss all terms and provisions of the contract with the student prior to the student's execution of the contract. The contract shall contain an acknowledgment section directly above the student's signature blank for the student to acknowledge that the institution discussed all terms and provisions of the contract with the student and that the student understands all financial obligations and responsibilities.
(5) The institution's educational offerings shall be limited to students located in the United States and its territories until such time as it has achieved accreditation by an accrediting association recognized by the council and the U.S. Department of Education.
(6) Evaluation. The institution shall provide evidence that it has procedures for continuing evaluation and improvement of educational programs, quality of instruction, and overall operations of the institution.
(a) Student, alumni, and employer evaluations of the effectiveness of the curricula shall be considered in these evaluations.
(b) The institution's chief academic officer or designee shall periodically evaluate all areas of the institution to determine their effectiveness in fulfilling institutional objectives and meeting the standards set forth in these regulations or implied in the statute. The results of those evaluations shall be submitted to council staff upon request.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 28B.85.020. WSR 20-07-008, § 250-61-100, filed 3/5/20, effective 4/5/20. Statutory Authority: RCW 28B.76.120 and 28B.85.020. WSR 19-03-020, § 250-61-100, filed 1/4/19, effective 2/4/19; WSR 17-09-041, § 250-61-100, filed 4/14/17, effective 5/15/17; WSR 15-02-021, § 250-61-100, filed 12/30/14, effective 1/30/15; WSR 12-09-037, § 250-61-100, filed 4/11/12, effective 5/12/12; WSR 09-20-033, § 250-61-100, filed 9/30/09, effective 10/31/09; WSR 09-02-008, § 250-61-100, filed 12/29/08, effective 1/29/09. Statutory Authority: RCW 28B.80.370. WSR 95-01-003, § 250-61-100, filed 12/8/94, effective 1/8/95; WSR 86-24-003 (Order 7/86, Resolution No. 87-34), § 250-61-100, filed 11/20/86.]
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