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Compliance Certification Report
Federal Requirement 4.2


Last Updated August 13, 2004
(static edition)


Federal Requirement 4.2:

The institution maintains a curriculum that is directly related and appropriate to the purpose and goals of the institution and the diplomas, certificates or degrees awarded.

The Institution Certifies Compliance: Yes

Compliance report completed by: Audit Team 15

Statement of Rationale for Judgment of Compliance:

The University of Memphis is authorized to offer baccalaureate through doctoral degree programs by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), the coordinating board for all Tennessee higher education institutions. The university's mission, goals, and programs are approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), the policy board for the State University and Community College System. [1]

All aspects of the educational programs, when considered together, are clearly related to the mission and purpose of the institution. In addition, the complement of academic degree programs is consistent with the UofM's mission and purpose. The TBR and THEC program approval processes ensure that each degree program is consistent with the mission and purpose of the institution. [2]

Accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs are assessed on different cycles depending on the accrediting agency. All undergraduate and graduate degree programs at the UofM that are eligible for accreditation are currently fully accredited, with the exception of the recently established program in computer science. [3] Both undergraduate and graduate academic programs in disciplines without an accrediting body are evaluated by peer reviewers once every seven years. The university selects reviewers who have distinguished themselves in their discipline, who are highly respected throughout higher education, and who will also challenge the university with their insights. [4]

The peer reviews, similar to accreditation assessments, are based on standards established by the Tennessee Board of Regents, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and the Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools. [5] At the undergraduate level, reviewers are asked to evaluate the presence or absence of 25 quality standards on a review checklist and also to prepare a written narrative about the curriculum, students, finances and resources, faculty, and administration. [6]

At the graduate level, programs are measured against formal and qualitative standards established by program-specific, professional organizations, the Council of Graduate Schools, and the Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools.  Formal standards, which are either met or not met, include items related to the screening and supervision of students, core curriculum, sophistication of course work, methodology and techniques of the discipline, extra-disciplinary experiences, comprehensive examinations, culminating experiences, communication skills, and the application of knowledge. Qualitative standards, measured on a 0 to 3 rating scale, are reviewers' judgments of the overall quality of students' learning experiences, faculty, teaching-learning environment, and program evaluation.  A narrative report similar to the undergraduate report is also prepared by the reviewers. [7]

Undergraduate Programs

Completion requirements for undergraduate programs are identified for each degree program in the Undergraduate Bulletin. The Bulletin specifies the total number of credit hours (minimum of 120 hours) to be earned for graduation, any specified distribution of general education credits needed, minimum grade point average required for graduation and other requirements that students must meet in order to receive a degree (varies by degree program). As a residency requirement, the university stipulates that 25% of the total hours needed for the baccalaureate degree be earned through coursework taken at the UofM. [8]

Individual academic programs specify requirements for each major and area of concentration, the number of upper division credit hours within the major or concentration, residency requirements, and requirements for demonstrating satisfactory progress. Requirements for prerequisite and corequisite coursework also are contained in the course description section of the Bulletin and are included in the sample course sequences. Typical 4-year sequences are provided for each major, and in some cases, each concentration. [9] To ensure timely notice of any required coursework still needed to meet degree requirements, a student may request a program review by the graduation analyst at the beginning of the student's senior year, or the student may access the electronic degree audit while completing requirements for the degree. [10]

Graduate Programs

The University of Memphis offers master's degrees in 48 majors, the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in 16 majors, the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.), the Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.), and four graduate certificates (Graduate Teaching, Museum Studies, Community College Teaching, and Instructional Computer Applications). The College of Education also awards the degree of Education Specialist (Ed.S.) with a major in education. The Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law awards the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree.

The University of Memphis has established policies governing all aspects of completion requirements. Master’s degree programs consist of at least 30-36 hours of coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree. [11] Doctoral degree programs consist of at least 72 hours of coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree, although many programs require more. [12] Thesis and dissertation requirements vary according to degree program and credit is posted only upon completion and acceptance of the thesis or dissertation (see individual program descriptions in the Graduate Bulletin for degree and graduation requirements). In order to receive a master’s or doctoral degree, students must have an overall 3.0 GPA (Grade point Average) and pass some type of comprehensive examination. Examinations are given in various methods and are administered only to students who are in good academic standing (Comprehensive Examinations). [13]

Law School

The Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law offers a program of instruction leading to the degree of Juris Doctor. The law school offers both a full-time day program and a part-time day program. The curriculum reflects a commitment to traditional legal education, with academic emphasis on fundamental lawyering skills and areas of knowledge. In order to earn the Juris Doctor degree, students must complete 90 semester hours of coursework within six calendar years from the date of the student’s initial enrollment in the law school. [14]


Relevant Organizational Unit(s):

Provost; Vice Provost for Academic Affairs


Supporting Documentation and Evidence:

[1] TBR Policy 6:03:00:00 Enabling Legislation
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[2] TBR Policy 2:01:01:00 Program Review and Approval
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[3] Accreditation Bodies
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[4] Peer Reviewers
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[5] Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools Publications

Components of Quality in Master's Degree Programs

Components of Quality in Doctoral Degree Program

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[6] Undergraduate Program Peer Review Checklist Peer Review Checklist
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[7] Graduate Program Review Checklist
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[8] UofM Undergraduate Bulletin, Residence Requirements
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[9] UofM Undergraduate Bulletin, College and Degree Programs
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[10] Degree Audit (example)
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[11] UofM Graduate Bulletin, Master's Requirements
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[12] UofM Graduate Bulletin, Doctoral Requirements
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[13] Thesis and Comprehensive Examinations
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[14] UofM Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
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