B.A. students can use major as minor

Zack Sherman / Sun Star

Current UAF catalog language allows Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Arts and Sciences (B.A.S.) students to major and minor in the same discipline. Additionally, all students requiring a minor have the option to use a little known variation of the language minor to circumvent the divisional requirements and complete the minor in only 12 credits.

These options came to light during a meeting of the Faculty Senate’s Curriculum Affairs Committee on Oct. 14. During the meeting, faculty discussed perceived issues with the current catalog. While members of the panel debated their beliefs about the intent of the rules, the issue became very clear.

“There is no catalog requirement for a student’s minor to be different than their major,” Rainer Newberry, a professor with UAF’s department of geology and geophysics, said. Members of the committee initially refuted this assertion, but a reading of the relevant sections of the catalog led to the confirmation of the loophole.

“I haven’t been allowing it; I have been limiting the double-counting to only a few of the credits,” Ginny Kinne, the associate director of the academic advising center, said. Later, Kinne indicated she had been speaking specifically for the interdisciplinary studies minor that she oversees, and not for advising in general. However, Kinne said she was never given any guidance directing her to that rule, though she had asked for clarification in the past.

A search of the 2015-2016 UAF catalog confirmed that B.A. and B.A.S. students are required to have a minimum of a 15 credit minor. There is no mention of a need to differentiate the field of study for the major and the minor.

The catalog also showed that minors can also be fulfilled by a foreign language option. What isn’t readily shown is that the foreign language minor can be further altered by taking a single native language course and two years of additional study in a foreign language. The latter option does not include a course level requirement and lists the credits required for the option to be as low as 12, a three credit reduction from other minors.

While these options might allow for students to avoid certain degree requirements, they do not reduce the overall credit requirements for B.A. and B.A.S. degrees, and take away the diversity that pursuing a minor offers to students. Additionally, Kinne advised that while minors are not listed on diplomas, they are on transcripts, which are used to determine graduate school entry.

The options are currently available within the 2015-2016 catalogbut that might not be the case for long. Members of the Curriculum Affairs Committee authorized their chair to “poke around” in the language and change it to close the loopholes as quickly as possible. Changes of majors or minors are conducted through the UAF Office of Admissions.

Excerpt from the UAF course catalogue:

  1. MINORS A minor is a component of a bachelor’s degree. The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degrees require a minor. You must satisfactorily complete the requirements for a minor before a B.A. or B.A.S. degree can be awarded. A minor is optional for Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Business Administration, and Bachelor of Emergency Management degrees.A minor from UAF consists of a minimum of 15 credits, at least 3 of which have to be earned at UAF. Students must earn a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 (C) in the minor and follow minor requirements from the same academic catalog used for their bachelor’s program. An Associate of Applied Science degree or certificate of at least 30 credits earned at any regionally accredited college or university may be used to meet requirements for a minor in B.A. and B.A.S. degree programs.Some minors require more than 15 credits and approval from the department. Refer to specific requirements listed in the Bachelor’s Degree Program section. Students seeking minors can use DegreeWorks to review their options. Results in DegreeWorks will be more accurate after submitting a declaration of minor form to the Office of Admissions and the Registrar by the beginning of the senior year.
  2. Complete one of the following:
    • Minor complex* (at least 15 credits)
    • Foreign/Alaska Native language/American Sign Language option–12-18 credits
      Two years study of one foreign or Alaska Native language or American Sign Language at the university level (high school language credits or native language proficiency may allow students to begin at the intermediate or advanced level)

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