Academic Excellence Standards For Private Faith Based Institutions

FCPC Academic Excellence Standards

1. Private faith based degree granting institution academic excellence standards are patterned after our early historical U.S educational institutions of higher learning. They equal or exceed the minimum standards of many State Departments of Education.

2. A faith-based degree granting post secondary education institution may offer distance learning programs to students via nontraditional classroom-based education. These programs may include digital learning or any type of learning that is facilitated by technology. The institution shall evaluate and approve all instructional materials provided to students through various modalities, along with structured units of information, assigned exercises for practice, and examinations to measure achievement. The academic year for distance learning may be continuous throughout the calendar year.

3. A faith-based degree granting post secondary education institution may offer blended learning which combines online learning with other modes of instructional delivery including onsite instruction; it involves a shift in delivery to an online or computer-based environment for at least a portion of the course with the goal of improving learning, staffing, and/or facilities productivity.

4. As a prerequisite for entering an institute, college, university or seminary, associate of arts, associate of science, bachelor of arts, or bachelor of science degree program at a faith-based post secondary education institution, a student must hold a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma, unless the institution has a written ability-to-benefit admissions policy exempting the student from the prerequisite.

5. One academic hour equals 50 minutes of scheduled instruction by a professor during an institution-approved class session or live streaming via Skype or a similar mode of distance or blended learning instruction. One semester credit hour of study equals 15 academic hours or its equivalent.

6. The minimum credit hours for institute, college, university, or seminary degrees are as follows:

a. For an associate degree, 60 semester hours
b. For a graduate of theology degree, 90 semester hours
c. For a bachelor degree, 120 semester hours.
d. For a master degree, 30 semester hours above the minimum credit hours required for bachelor degree, including a research thesis or project of 6  additional semester hours
e. For a doctorate degree, 30 semester hours above the credit hours required for a master degree, including a research dissertation or project of 6  or more additional semester hours.
f. Each degree program will require total credit hours within the established practice for degree programs in this sector of institutes, colleges, universities, and seminaries.

7. The degree programs offered by faith-based post secondary education institutions for institute, college, university or seminary must include liberal arts and general education courses that include humanities and/or fine arts, social and/or behavioral sciences, English and/or communications, history, philosophy, science and/or mathematics, and computer literacy.

8. An institution offering institute, college, and university degree programs without liberal arts and general education courses must use the word “in” instead of “of,” such as “Associate in Bible,” “Bachelor in Bible,” or “Master in Bible,” without the terms “Arts,” “Science,” or “Doctor in Bible,” and degrees without the terms “Philosophy,” “Theology,” or “Education.” and shall not use degree titles that the sector of institutes, colleges, universities, or seminaries use.

9. A minimum of 30 semester credits must be earned at the institution before the awarding of any earned degree or diploma.

10. Life experience credits applied to transcript at graduation only and are limited to 12 semester credits, 3 credits per academic year, for undergraduate degree programs only with administration approval.

11. Master Thesis is a minimum of 50 pages 8 ½ X 11 typewritten double spaced in size 14 type or less.

12. Doctoral Dissertation is a minimum of 120 pages 8 ½ X 11 typewritten double spaced in size 14 type or less.