Jun 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Degree and Graduation Requirements

ETSU Graduation

Undergraduate Degree and Graduation Requirements Policy & Procedures



Degree requirements for programs of study initiated under provisions of this catalog shall remain in effect for six years. Students must use a single catalog for all graduation requirements, and cannot use a combination of catalogs. The six-year limitation may be extended for interruption by military service where enrollment is resumed within one year after release from service.

If graduation does not occur within six years of the catalog of record, students must (1) shift to a catalog that falls within the six-year timeframe, or (2) receive a catalog extension from the dean of the college of the major. Students are strongly encouraged to submit Catalog Year Change Request form as soon as possible for the purpose of obtaining accurate progress-to-graduation. Failure to change or extend the catalog year can delay graduation.

Degree-seeking students are assigned to the current catalog at the time of first entrance into ETSU. Students who are readmitted are assigned by default to the current catalog.  High school students enrolled in ETSU courses will be assigned to a catalog after they become degree-seeking students. Transfer students may receive a no obligation change back to the catalog in effect upon their first entrance into higher education by request to the graduation office in the Office of the Registrar. Such requests should be filed using the approved Catalog Year Change Request form.

The course offerings and requirements of ETSU are continually under examination and revision. This catalog presents the offerings and requirements in effect at the time of publication, but is no guarantee that they will not be changed or revoked. However, adequate and reasonable notice will be given to students affected by any changes. This catalog is not intended to state contractual terms and does not constitute a contract between the student and East Tennessee State University.

ETSU reserves the right to make changes as required in course offerings, curricula, academic policies, and other rules and regulations affecting students to be effective whenever determined by the institution. These changes will govern current and formerly enrolled students. Enrollment of all students is subject to these conditions.

Current information may be obtained from the following sources: Admission Requirements-Office of Admissions; Course Offerings-department offering course; Degree Requirements-Office of the Registrar; Fees and Tuition-Office of the Comptroller.

ETSU complies fully with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. The complete statement of policy may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar. East Tennessee State University is fully in accord with the belief that educational and employment opportunities should be available to all eligible persons without regard to age, gender, color, race, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation.

ETSU provides the opportunity for students to increase their knowledge by offering programs of instruction in the various disciplines and programs through faculty who, in the opinion of ETSU, are qualified for teaching at the college level. The acquisition and retention of knowledge by any student are, however, contingent upon the student’s desire and ability to learn while applying appropriate study techniques to any course or program. Thus, ETSU must necessarily limit representation of student preparedness in any field of study to that competency demonstrated at that specific point in time at which appropriate academic measurements were taken to certify course or program completion.

Tennessee U.S. History Requirement

Tennessee Law (TCA 49-7-110) requires students to submit proof of one unit (one year) of American History completed in high school or earn 6 credits of American History prior to the awarding of a bachelor’s degree from any Tennessee public institution of higher education. Either provide a high school transcript showing one unit of American History or complete 6 credits of American History.

Undergraduate Degree and Graduation Requirements Policy

  1. Undergraduate Degree Requirements
    1. Grades
      1. Minimum overall Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0
      2. Minimum GPA of 2.0 in each of the following at ETSU
        1. All courses
        2. Major
        3. Minor (if applicable)
      3. Other published grade requirements for the degree program
    2. Credits
      1. All baccalaureate degrees require 120 credits unless approved by the ETSU Board of Trustees
      2. At least:
        1. 50 of the credits required for the degree must be earned at four-year colleges or universities
        2. 25% of the total credits required for the degree must be earned through instruction offered by ETSU
        3. Six credits in the major must be earned at ETSU
        4. One foreign language course with a number of 2020 or higher with a grade of at least C- for the Bachelor of Arts degree. Prerequisites could include courses numbered 1010, 1020, and/or 2010 to prepare for success in 2020.
      3. Credits earned in remedial or developmental courses do not fulfill ETSU’s baccalaureate degree requirements.
    3. General Education Requirements
      1. Complete (41-42) semester hours in the following subject areas

Credits Areas

  • Written Composition (6 credits) 
  • Oral Communication (3 credits)
  • Literature (3 credits)
  • Fine Arts (3 credits)
  • Humanities Electives (3 credits)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (6 credits)
  • History (6 credits)*
  • Natural Sciences (8 credits)
  • Mathematics (3-4 credits)

*Six (6) credits of American history or three (3) credits of American history and three (3) credits of Tennessee history. This will also meet a high school unit deficiency in history.

Students who have completed an associate degree designed for transfer at a regionally accredited college or university have satisfied ETSU’s general education requirements.

Transfer students from Tennessee Board of Regents community colleges without associate degrees who completed blocks of general education requirements at those schools have satisfied the corresponding blocks in ETSU’s general education core.

  1. Other Requirements
    1. Double Major
      1. Meet the total requirements of each major
      2. Minor not required
    2. Double Degree
      1. Meet the total requirements for each degree
      2. Minor not required
    3. Second Degree
      1. Meet the requirements for the second degree program of study developed by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the appropriate academic department or college
      2. Minimum of 30 credits post-baccalaureate through instruction at ETSU
      3. Minor not required
  1. Graduation Requirements
    1. Graduation application
    2. Any required exit and major field exams
    3. Successful completion of CSCI 1100 or equivalent (not applicable to second degrees)
    4. Documentation of any course substitution or waiver if applicable

Students who do not complete the degree within six years from the date he or she first registered at ETSU must complete the new requirements if the program of study has changed.

Updated: 9/4/2018

University Procedures

Double Majors

A double or multiple major is the simultaneous completion of two or more majors leading to the same degree designation (e.g., completion of a B.S. degree with majors in History and Political Science.) Students may qualify for multiple majors by meeting the total requirements of each major. Double majors are not required to have minors. See policy for additional information. 

Double Degrees

Students may concurrently receive double or multiple undergraduate degrees at a single degree level by satisfying the total requirements for each degree (e.g., B.A., B.S., B.B.A., etc.) and major. Students earning double degrees are not required to have minors. See policy for additional information. 

Second Bachelor’s Degree Requirements

To complete a second bachelor’s degree at ETSU, students must complete the following:

  1. Apply for a second bachelor’s degree through the Office of Undergraduate Admission, which will create a second degree outline for the student.     
  2. Complete the requirements specified by Admission, including a minimum of 30 additional hours post-baccalaureate ETSU credit, requirements for the new degree, and all East Tennessee State University Board of Trustees undergraduate degree requirements.
  3. File a Graduation Application at least two semesters before the term in which the student plans to graduate.
  4. Clear financial and other obligations to the university.

See policy for additional information. 

Graduate Level Hours

Undergraduate students may not use graduate level hours to satisfy undergraduate degree requirements with the exception of students admitted into accelerated programs by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Graduating with Honors

Baccalaureate degree candidates receive honors distinction at graduation based upon the cumulative college-level grade point average as follows:

Cum Laude 3.50 - 3.64
Magna Cum Laude 3.65 - 3.84
Summa Cum Laude 3.85 - 4.00

The grade point average used in conferring academic honors at graduation includes work at ETSU as well as all other college work attempted.

ETSU International Studies Distinction

Successful completion of the following components will provide the notation, with International Distinction, on the ETSU transcript:

  • TWO general education courses (6 credits), one selected from each of the following:

Select ONE from:
ANTH 1240 - Introduction to Cultural Anthropology  or GEOS 1012 - Introduction to Cultural Geography  

Select ONE from:
ENGL 2330 - World Literature  or ENGL 2430 - European Literature  

OPTION: Transfer of an approved equivalent course from another regionally accredited U.S. higher education institution. Approval must be obtained from the Chair of the ETSU Political Science Department, who will forward the approval to the International Advisory Council.

  • Proficiency in a foreign language as indicated by ONE of the following:

Grades of B or better in at least two semesters of formal language instruction at the college sophomore or higher levels; courses must be included on the students’ ETSU transcript, whether taken at ETSU or transferred from a different accredited university.

  • Documentation of B grades or attainment of ACTFL Intermediate-Mid or ILR Level 2 language acquisition as evaluated by examinations offered from specialized language schools or programs; costs associated with examinations or programs are the responsibility of the student.

ETSU international students meet this requirement by pursuing a foreign language other than their native language or English. English proficiency is an admission requirement to the university and cannot be used. It also is recognized that international students will receive benefit from this program only if the requirements contribute to a strong and distinctive experience beyond their current international experience at ETSU.

NOTE: Alternative formal tests of language proficiency may be approved by the International Advisory Council in the future, depending on student needs in diverse languages. Costs associated with approved language proficiency tests are provided by the student.

  • A minimum of two ETSU courses (3000 or 4000 level) in the area of major designated as having significant international content (6-8 credits). These courses must be taken at ETSU and have been previously approved by the department.

Independent Studies can be used to satisfy one of these course requirements if a description of the course of study is provided by the Faculty member and approved by the Department Chair. A copy of the course description and Chair approval should be forwarded to the International Advisory Council.

  • An international study experience of at least 28 contiguous days abroad in an approved study abroad or exchange experience. This academic experience must be documented on the student ETSU transcript by enrollment in ETSU Study Abroad or by transfer of enrollment from other higher education institutions (minimum 3 credits). Study Abroad for language is encouraged, but credit must be at the junior/senior level of language study. The international study requirement may NOT be met with language study at the freshmen or sophomore levels. ETSU international students must complete a study abroad experience in a country other than their native origin.
  • A minimum overall GPA of 3.0 at graduation
  • Student Declaration: Students will complete a Graduation Application no later than one year prior to their expected graduation date. Early advisement and declaration are recommended (Office of Undergraduate Advisement and/or advisors in the degree program). The Honors College will host a website describing the program requirements; listings of appropriate courses identified in degree program areas; advisor contact information for those program areas; and a downloadable Intent form. Students who successfully meet all requirements will be approved jointly by the Honors College and the appropriate degree program. Names of approved students will be submitted to the Office of the Registrar, who will be responsible for adding the notation “with International Distinction” to student transcripts and/or diplomas.

Eligibility for Participation in Graduation Ceremonies

Only students who have received approval from the Graduation Office may participate in graduation ceremonies. There are two ceremonies each year. Students who finish requirements in the Spring semester are invited to attend the May Ceremony. Students who finish requirements in the Summer or Fall semesters are invited to attend the following December ceremony.

Tennessee Transfer Pathway

A student who completes a Tennessee Transfer Pathway (TTP) at a Tennessee community college is guaranteed that ETSU will accept those courses taken in fulfillment of the TTP.

Courses that have no direct ETSU equivalent will be transferred as either lower division or upper division general elective credit and may, as appropriate, be applied as elective credit toward the student’s degree.