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Undergraduate Studies

EMU’s undergraduate programs are expected to align with broadly accepted standards for post-secondary baccalaureate education with regard to rigor. The university does not offer undergraduate credit for courses or content that are intended to be developmental or remedial. As stated in the Academic Policies of the Undergraduate Catalog, first-year-level courses are numbered 100-199; sophomore, 200-299; junior, 300-399; and senior, 400-499. The university catalog further clarifies understandings regarding the increasing rigor of courses by level, from 100-499, via identification of curricular prerequisites and/or corequisites.

Graduate Level Studies

EMU’s graduate programs are designed to build upon the foundation of baccalaureate education. As such, they must represent greater depth and breadth of learning than undergraduate work on the same subject. Graduate-level (post-baccalaureate) programs must be structured to include knowledge of the literature of the discipline and to ensure engagement in research and/or appropriate professional practice and training.

Program Development

The university’s program and curriculum approval processes are designed to ensure that undergraduate-level and graduate-level programs meet appropriate standards for rigor, content and scope. Undergraduate programs are reviewed by the Undergraduate Council Executive, which is constituted of faculty members teaching at the undergraduate level across the university. Graduate-level programs are reviewed and approved by the Graduate Council, which is constituted of faculty members teaching at the graduate level across the university. Review by the respective governance body ensures that EMU curricula represent adequate depth and breadth.

New academic program development should follow the policies and procedures outlined in the New Program Proposal Process in addition to meeting curriculum standards policies outlined here and in the university policy on Credit Hour and Class Meetings Policy, which stipulates expectations with regard to credit (semester) hours. Proposals for curricular changes must be processed and approved as per the Academic Program Change Policy and its associated forms.

Degree Requirements

EMU associates degrees must require a minimum of 60 semester hours; bachelor’s degrees must require a minimum of 120 semester hours. Undergraduate majors at Eastern Mennonite University range from a minimum of 24 semester hours to a maximum of 64. Undergraduate minors generally consist of a minimum of 18 semester hours in the area of study. For specific degree requirements refer to the undergraduate catalog. EMU post-baccalaureate degrees must require at least 30 semester hours. For graduate degree requirements refer to the graduate or seminary catalogs.

Policy on Combined Instruction of Graduate and Undergraduate Students

Eastern Mennonite University permits combined instruction of graduate and undergraduate students in selected courses. Where combined instruction occurs, faculty are expected to give appropriate attention to both groups of students. For graduate work faculty members are expected to maintain a substantial difference in level of expectation.

This policy addresses the following scenarios:

  • Undergraduate and graduate instruction in courses cross-listed at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Graduate students enrolling in an undergraduate course desiring graduate credit through a directed study.
  • Undergraduate students enrolling in a graduate course to satisfy undergraduate degree requirements.
  • Undergraduate students enrolling in a graduate course prior to completing undergraduate course requirements.

A.  Cross-listing Graduate and Undergraduate Courses

In cases when an undergraduate course is listed at the graduate level and students are enrolled for graduate credit those students enrolled for graduate credit must engage in learning activities and general academic expectations commensurate with the generally accepted standards for graduate work. At EMU, these general standards are defined (in the institution's Credit Hour Policy as, 2.5-3 hours of study per hour in class for a total of 52.5-60 hours per semester hour of credit. Faculty members are expected to demonstrate, through separate course syllabi (one for undergraduates and another for graduate students), that graduate level expectations are substantially different. The graduate syllabus must articulate how the additional learning activities and/or requirements represent the increased rigor, content and scope to meet graduate-level standards

For courses cross-listed at both the undergraduate and graduate level, the faculty member must submit the request, with rationale, to the Executive Committee of the undergraduate council, graduate council or seminary academic committee for review and approval. Faculty are expected to demonstrate, through separate course syllabi (one for undergraduates and another for graduate students), that graduate level expectations are substantially different. All cross-listed courses must be approved through the regular curriculum approval process.

B.  Directed Study for Graduate Credit

When a graduate student, in consultation with the advisor, enrolls in a regular undergraduate course but for graduate credit, the student should negotiate a directed study with the respective graduate program director. On the directed study form the faculty member must specify additional expectations for graduate study that are substantially different from expectations of the undergraduate students. The student charge is at the tuition rate of the program in which he or she is enrolled and the tuition income is applied to that graduate program.

C.  Course Fee Payment

When a graduate student, in consultation with the advisor, enrolls in an undergraduate course, 100% of course fee goes to the undergraduate department account.

D.  Graduate Credit for Undergraduate Degree Requirements

In selected cases a junior or senior undergraduate student may be permitted to enroll in a graduate course to satisfy an undergraduate degree requirement. In order to qualify, a student must be at least a junior with a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA and a positive recommendation from their academic advisor. Approval must be obtained from the faculty member teaching the course and from the graduate program director or  seminary associate dean. The undergraduate student must meet the same course requirements as the graduate students. The student charge is at the undergraduate rate and subject to the 60%/40% split. Permission to enroll in a graduate course is not to be construed as admission to that graduate program. Once a graduate course is counted towards undergraduate degree requirements, the course cannot be applied toward a graduate degree should the student subsequently be admitted to the graduate program. In cases where the graduate course may be a core requirement for the graduate program, the director of the graduate program may choose to consider the core requirement “satisfied” and only require the student to take an additional elective to meet total graduate program requirements.

E.  Graduate Credit for Undergraduate Students

In selected cases a student may be permitted to enroll in a graduate or seminary course for graduate credit prior to completing undergraduate degree requirements. In order to qualify a student must be a senior with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a positive recommendation from their academic advisor. Approval must be obtained from the faculty member teaching the course and from the graduate program director or seminary associate dean. The student charge, if full-time without the graduate or seminary course and within 18 semester hours, is at the undergraduate rate. If the student is part-time without the graduate or seminary course, or if the course creates an overload (over 18 semester hours), the charge is at undergraduate rates, including overload rates, and subject to the 60%/40% tuition allocation. Permission to enroll in a graduate course is not to be construed as admission to that graduate program.

F.  Transcript Status of Graduate Credit

For cross-listed courses undergraduate and graduate students’ transcripts will reflect the appropriate level of course credit earned. Graduate students enrolled in an undergraduate course but receiving graduate credit through a directed study will have the graduate level course reflected on their transcript. Credits that undergraduates earn in graduate courses will appear on their transcript as graduate level credit. Graduate credits on a transcript that are not applied to an undergraduate degree are indistinguishable from the same credits obtained post-baccalaureate.

Independent Study/Directed Study

Undergraduate students beyond the first year may take independent or directed study under the direction of a faculty member. See the catalog for details. The student and supervising faculty member, using the following guidelines, mutually arrange independent studies. Faculty and student should mutually develop the learning contract. Use departmental grading scale and Writing Across the Curriculum Guidelines. Give course a number and an appropriate title (e.g., BIO 491/492). When planning the course, use the following formula:  1 Semester Hour = 45 hours of work

Courses should include two or more of the following components:

a)  Review of current state of knowledge on the topic area.
b)  Annotated bibliography.
c)  Observational experience or service-learning component.
d)  Project or Paper.  APA style required for written work.
e)  Oral Presentation.

University faculty may supervise several independent studies per year as part of their regular assignment but are encouraged to limit the number undertaken per semester to avoid an overload. University faculty supervising independent studies do not receive additional remuneration except during summer school. In that case students pay summer school tuition and the faculty member is compensated according to summer school salary policy for independent or directed studies.   See the Independent Learning Contract form

Proficiency or Credit Examinations

The university provides for a variety of means by which students may earn credit through examination (demonstration of proficiency). These provisions generally apply to undergraduate courses only. For more information, see "Credit Through Testing" in the Academic Policies section of the EMU Undergraduate Catalog.

Payments due faculty for administering proficiency and credit examinations are paid on June 30. For credit examinations, the professor who prepares and administers the test receives one half of the fee paid by the student up to a maximum of six semester hours. For proficiency examinations, the professor receives 75% of the student charge.

The above policy generally applies to undergraduate courses.

Revised by Academic Cabinet, April 8, 2015
Updated by Provost's Council, January 23, 2020