The University of Connecticut Senate approved changes to the existing bylaw requiring students to take an extra 30 credits in order to earn an additional undergraduate degree in an April 6 vote.
UConn students will now be able to earn an additional undergraduate degree outside their school or college for the “relatively small price of 18 credits,” according to Professor Hedley Freake, who served as Chair of the Scholastic Standards Committee from 2015 to 2017 and is a member of the Senate Executive Committee. Any student who is graduating after commencement on May 9 can benefit from the bylaw change.
Dr. Freake explained that there are two ways students are able to complete more than one undergraduate major. If both of a student’s majors are offered by a single school or college, then they can complete the double major in 120 credits by earning a single undergraduate degree from that school or college. Originally, UConn’s accrediting body, the New England Commission of Higher Education [NECHE], stipulated that earning an additional undergraduate degree outside of a student’s school or college should require a total of 150 credits — a fifth year at the university.
Dr. Freake said the Office of the Provost has been in negotiations with NECHE to make it easier for students to get two degrees “for the last year or so,” when they discovered most accrediting bodies don’t require those extra 30 credits for students to earn additional degrees outside of their schools or colleges.
According to the administrative services assistant to the Senate office, Cheryl Galli, the University Senate unanimously moved to relax the bylaw requirement because the option to complete two undergraduate majors in less than five years only existed in single schools or colleges.
“The University Senate didn’t think [the 150 credit requirement] was reasonable and wanted to encourage more students to diversify themselves in interdisciplinary studies,” Dr. Freake said.
Dr. Freake said he hopes that, since the Office of the Provost was able to reach an agreement with NECHE on lowering the total number of credits for two undergraduate degrees to 138, UConn students will be able to “recognize their interests in two different schools or colleges,” and meet the requirement more easily using credit from high school or summer courses.
Conner Caridad is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.