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Academic Common Market (ACM)

The Academic Common Market (ACM) is a tuition-savings program designed for college students who live in the 16 Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) member states. The ACM allows students to pay in-state tuition to study in a program not offered in their home state, provided they have been accepted into an approved degree program at a participating ACM institution. More information can be found at the following link: http://www.sreb.org/page/1304/academic_common_market.html

Academic Program

An academic program is a coherent set of courses leading to a credential (degree, diploma, or certificate) awarded by the institution.

Academic Unit

An academic unit is equivalent to a department, division, college or school.

Area of Emphasis

A grouping of courses that provides a focus to the students' time and course selection in a specific area of the discipline. 


A center is an instructional site located geographically apart from the main campus. A center is permanent in nature and offers courses in educational programs leading to a degree, diploma, certificate, or other recognized educational credential.  A center requires a full time director per the THEC policy.  An example is the Austin Peay Center at Fort Campbell.

Certificate Program

A certificate program is a credit bearing, standalone program. If a proposed certificate program is 24 credit hours or less in length at the undergraduate or graduate level, it requires APSU approval and notification to THEC. If a proposed certificate is more than 24 hours in length, submission and approval of the full THEC new program process (i.e., Letter of Notification, New Academic Program Proposal, etc.) is required.

Online Courses

An identical course that is offered under two different sections and has two different Course Registration Numbers (CRN's) and then merged into one D2L section for instruction.

Collaborative Program

Two or more institutions share resources and capitalize on the strengths of each institution to create one program, not duplicate programs with duplicate resources. All participating institutions are involved in decisions about the curriculum, course assignment, evaluation, admissions standards, and exit requirements. Applicants will apply to the institution of their choice and will be awarded the degree from that institution they are accepted to and attend.   An examples is the Mid-Tennessee Collaborative Master of Social Work Program.


“An instructional unit within a university that usually includes several academic departments and is usually administered by a dean or director. As defined here, the term “college” does not pertain to separate institutions known as colleges, such as community college or technical college” (THEC Policy A 1.3.1A). Also see School.


A concentration is an approved grouping of courses that provides a focus to the students' time and course selection in a specific area of their major. A concentration is included on a student's transcript.

According to APSU program guidelines, concentrations must be 9 or more SCH for undergraduate programs and 12 or more SCH for graduate programs. If a concentration is successful for a minimum of five (5) years with regards to THEC enrollment expectations, APSU is eligible to propose that the concentration become a major. APSU is responsible for gathering and tracking enrollment data. 

Cooperative Program

Two or more institutions work together to offer identical yet independent programs. Each institution has full control of their respective program, independently admits students and awards degrees.


A course with the same subject matter and is taught by two distinct departments and is able to fulfill a major, minor or program requirement. (course may require a substitution to be utilized in your specific major) MGT 3410 and ENGT 3610 Production Operations Management is an example.


A degree is an approved program that results in the award of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Doctorate degree.

Degree designation

Degree designations include the following: AA, AAS, BA, BS, BBA, BFA, MS, MA, MFA, EdD, PhD, etc. Degree designations are not necessarily related to any specific subject matter.

 Department "An instructional unit encompassing a discrete branch of study or organized around common and similar academic areas and is usually administered by a department chair" (THEC Policy A 1.3.1A).
 Division "An instructional unit that usually included two or more departments within a college or university which may be administered by an assistant or associate dean" (THEC Policy A 1.3.1A).

A course that covers the same content but is offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level or the graduate and doctoral level. For courses being dual-listed at the graduate and doctoral level, they should be within 1000 numbering of one another, exceptions may be made by the Graduate Academic Council on a case by case basis. (EDUC 4720 Problems in Education and EDUC 5430 Advanced Problems in Education)*

General Education Core

APSU’s vision is to create a collaborative, integrative learning community, instilling in students habits of critical inquiry as they gain knowledge, skills, and values for life and work in a global society. This is the basis for the general education core requirements. General education courses deliberately offer students the opportunity to prepare in these broad ways: effective communication, analytical thinking, and approaching unstructured problems through a broad base of knowledge in multiple disciplines that may be unrelated to the technical aspects of a specific degree program. The general education core consists of 41 hours from a variety of areas including Communications (9 credit hours), Mathematics (3 credit hours), History 6 credit hours), Humanities/and or Fine Arts (9 credit hours), Natural Science (8 credit hours), Social and Behavioral Sciences (6 credit hours). These courses are consistent with the recommended Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) general education core guidelines to allow for consistent transfer of credits to count toward the general education core from other schools within the state of Tennessee. A more detailed list of the general education core requirements and possible courses that can be taken to fulfill the core requirements necessary for both a bachelors and associates degree can be found at University Wide Degree Requirements in the Academic Bulletin.

Hybrid Program

This program, may be delivered using a mixture of instructional delivery methods for courses required in the program. A hybrid program: 1) utilizes at least two of the following course instructional delivery methods: face-to-face, online or hybrid or 2) utilizes all hybrid courses. Please refer to the schedule of course offerings and their delivery method.   

Inactivation (program)

Inactivation of a program or concentration changes the program to a dormant status with no student admittance. SACSCOC approval is required prior to inactivating a program. The program will remain inactive for 3 years and if not reactivated, will be terminated by THEC without notice to APSU. APSU is responsible for tracking inactive program timelines.

Instructional Delivery Method of Courses
  • Hybrid/Blended: Course must have both face-to-face (classroom) and online components (learning management system). Hybrid/blended courses must deliver at least 50% of course content and interaction (instructor-to-student, student-to-student) online but less than 100%, leading to reduced scheduled course meetings in the classroom.
  • Fully Online/Web: All course content, interaction (instructor-to-student, student-to-student), and exams must be delivered 100% online via the learning management system and online proctoring.
  • Face-to-Face Web Enhanced: A face-to-face traditional course with additional materials/coursework/activities that are completed online via the learning management system. The online components must account for less than 50% of the course and not lead to reduced time in the classroom.
  • Face-to-Face Traditional: A course in which the instructor and the students are in the same classroom at the same time.
  • Restricted Online/Web: All course content and interaction (instructor-to-student, student-to-student) must be delivered 100% online via the learning management system. Students must report to campus or an approved testing site for proctored exams.
  • Two-way Interactive Video: Course content is delivered synchronously through two-way interactive audit and video allowing instructor-to-student and student-to-student interaction instantly. Participants are not in the same physical location (classroom).
  • Desktop Video Conferencing: Video-conferencing (potentially through ZOOM) where course content is delivered at a scheduled time.
Interdisciplinary Program

An interdisciplinary program is one in which multiple field of study combine to create a new field or discipline both in coursework and research endeavors.  Frequently, this is talked about in relation to living on the edges of disciplines as it grows new fields of knowledge.


A major indicates a degree awarding program at the Associate or Bachelor level. A major is designed to demonstrate coherence. “The term “coherence”…. reflects an expectation that, as a student progresses through a program of study, the content of the program demands increasing levels of integration of knowledge. Coherence is a critical component of a program and should demonstrate an appropriate sequencing of courses, not a mere bundling of credits, so that student learning is progressively more advanced in terms of assignments and scholarship required and demonstrates progressive advancement in a field of study that allows students to integrate knowledge and grow in critical skills” (SACSCOC Resource Manual, Standard 9.1, p. 76).

 Major Core Courses common to all students in the major, regardless of any concentration that a student may declare. The Major Core at the undergraduate level should be at least 18 credit hours in length and no more than 42 credit hours in length. The Major Core at the graduate level should be at least 9 credit hours in length and no more than 18 credit hours in length. 
Major Guided Electives

A list of courses in the discipline or related discipline of the major that a student can select from to count toward credit hours in the major. Departments are not required to include Major Guided Electives in the program requirements. If the department chooses to include Major Guided Electives in the program requirements, the Major Guided Electives should be less than or equal to 30 credit hours in length. Major Guided Electives at the graduate level should be less than or equal to 21 credit hours in length 

Major Prerequisite from Gen Ed Core Specific courses in the General Education Core that serve as prerequisites to the Major. These courses count as part of the General Education Core, within the limits of the General Education Core requirements. 

A minor indicates a degree awarding program at the Associates or Bachelors level.  A minor requires approval from the Provost and does not typically require THEC approval unless a new minor will cost money to launch and/or sustain.

Multidisciplinary Program

A multidisciplinary program (commonly referred to general studies) incorporates coursework from any number of disciplines into a single curriculum. Students may have the ability to customize coursework to align with their personal interests and educational goals. Interdisciplinary is not the same as multidisciplinary. See interdisciplinary program definition.

Online Program

All course content is delivered completely online. While online courses may require proctored exams, students should never be required to report to campus or other physical locations. If proctored exams are required, faculty must use virtual proctoring which is provided by the Distance Education department.

Optional Electives Any university-wide undergraduate course with a course number at the 2000, 3000, or 4000 level. These courses are not a part of the discipline of the student's declared major.
Program Development

 The Faculty development of new academic majors, concentration, and certificates in alignment with the University mission and THEC master plan and their subsequent approval by the appropriate entities. 

Reactivation (program)

A program that has been inactivated may be reactivated within three (3) years from the date the program was made inactive. If an inactive program is not reactivated within the three-year time period, THEC will terminate the program without notifying APSU.

 School "An Instructional unit within a university that usually includes several academic departments and is usually administered by a dean or director. As defined here, the term "college" does not pertain to separate institutions known as colleges, such as community college or technical college" (THEC Policy A 1.3.1A). Also see College.

A site is an instructional location geographically apart from the main campus, however is not independent. A site offers courses in educational programs leading to a degree, diploma, certificate, or other recognized educational credential.  APSU must seek prior approval from SACSCOC before offering 50% or more of the credit hours leading to a degree or certificate program at the site.

Termination (program)

Termination of an academic program completely removes the program from the APSU's academic offerings and from THEC's records. SACSCOC approval is required before a program can be terminated. If APSU desires to offer the program at a later time, a full program application (i.e., Letter of Notification, Letter of Application, etc.) and THEC approval is required.

TN eCampus

Launched in 2016, TN eCampus is a single website portal that offers over 500 online degree options delivered by public institutions in Tennessee and coordinated by the staff of the Tennessee Board of Regents. Online programs include certificate programs, associate degrees, bachelor and master's degrees and doctorate degrees. All programs and courses are equivalent to those offered at physical campus locations. No differentiation is made between online and on-ground delivery on transcripts or diplomas.