I. Executive Summary
This policy defines what is considered an undergraduate major, minor, major concentration, and certificate. In the development of new -- and revision of existing -- programs, these guidelines provide a framework for each classification.
II. Policy Statement
A major represents a degree-seeking student's primary field of study. A major is a structured plan of study requiring a minimum of 30 credit hours. It must be feasible for students to complete degree requirements within 120 credit hours (except for programs that have applied for and received a waiver to exceed 120 credit hours from the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees). The major appears on the official transcript.
A minor represents an optional, secondary field of study for a degree-seeking student; no student may declare a major and a minor in the same discipline. A minor is a structured plan of study requiring a minimum of 15 credit hours and no more than 29 credit hours exclusive of student teaching. A minor should require significant additional coursework beyond what is already required for a related major. The minor appears on the official transcript.
A concentration is a structured plan of study within a major. The number of credit hours for a concentration varies, but is included within the credit hours for the major. The concentration appears on the official transcript.
An undergraduate certificate is a structured set of professionally oriented courses designed to provide recognition that the student has completed coursework in an applied area of focus. For degree-seeking students, a certificate program may either complement or be concurrent with a traditional program of study. The certificate appears on the official transcript.
Note on terminology: The following terms should not be used: "area of concentration" (just use "concentration"), "track," "option," "specialty," "emphasis," or "focus."
Required coursework: Requirements may include courses bearing the same code as a major or minor, courses offered by the same department but bearing a different code, or related coursework offered by other departments.
Administration: Every major, minor, concentration, or certificate must be assigned to a responsible faculty group, most often a department.
- Certificate - A structured set of professionally oriented courses in an applied area of focus.
- Concentration - A structured plan of study within a major.
- Department – A unit within a college representing a discipline. For example, the Department of English is in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
- Major – A student's primary field of study.
- Minor – A student's optional secondary field of study.
IV. Policy Contact(s)
- Authority: Faculty Council [Faculty Academic Policy and Standards Committee]
- Responsible Office: Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
- Additional Contact(s): Office of the Registrar
- Approved: April 21, 1983
- Revised: April 4, 1985
- Revised: October 24, 2013 [redefined majors, minors, and certificates; created definition of concentration]
- Revised: November 29, 2018 [120 credit hour standard]
VI. Related Policies, Procedures, and Resources
VII. Frequently Asked Questions
- Where is this policy referenced?
The policy is published on the Academic Policies & Procedures webpage of the Provost website and in the Glossary section of the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs.
- Which students are covered under this policy?
This policy applies to all undergraduate students at UNC Charlotte.
- How many credit hours is an undergraduate certificate?
Undergraduate certificates are generally between 12-15 credit hours total.
- How many credit hours is an undergraduate concentration?
Undergraduate concentrations are generally between 9-12 credit hours total.