Skip to Content

Academic Advising

Program Design

In order to promote curricular cohesion among the various colleges at the University, a standard template for program components was created.  The Program of Study creates universal academic terminology that guides conversations between students, advisors, faculty, and staff.    This standard format for undergraduate programs is incorporated into the Bulletin, DegreeWorks, and Major Maps.

Program of Study

A program of study is a prescribed sequence of learning components comprising an academic program. Below are the components of a program of study. 

  1. Carolina Core: (required) The common core of knowledge, skill, and academic experience for all Carolina undergraduates.
  2. College Requirements: Foundational requirements for all majors within the college.
  3. Program Requirements: Requirements specific to an academic program that are not major courses.
    1. Supporting Courses: Courses related to and required in preparation for the major.
    2. Cognate: A series of courses that display a distinct curricular pattern in one or more disciplines different from the major.
    3. Minor: A series of courses that display a distinct curricular pattern in one discipline that is different from the major.
    4. Electives: (to reach required hours to graduate) Courses open to student selection or preference that are applicable to the program of study and are counted in the required hours to graduate.
  4. Major: (required) A program of study in a discipline that leads to a degree in that distinct specialty area at a particular level of instruction.
    1. Major Courses: Specific required courses in the distinct specialty area.
    2. Major Electives: Specific recommended courses that support the distinct specialty area.
    3. Concentration: A series of courses that display a distinct curricular pattern within the major.
    4. Thesis/Dissertation/Capstone: A culminating research experience in the distinct specialty area.

Best Practices

The following are guidelines in the development and revision of programs to promote clarity and transparency.  The intention is to avoid any delays in the curriculum approval process, make degree requirements explicit, and promote design that is compatible with our curriculum information systems, CourseLeaf and DegreeWorks.  The list below is not exhaustive and may be updated, as needed to reflect our University initiatives, policies, and procedures.

Guidelines for Programs 

  • No degree requirements should be assumed. Explicitly state all degree requirements, including minimum grades, GPA requirements, courses, and prerequisites, etc.
  • There should be a finite range of hours for each degree component, including electives.
  • All course options should be listed in the Bulletin (unless they are a range or open to all courses of a certain designator and level)
    • Students should never have to guess which courses will fulfill a requirement or be left wondering if their options are the same as those of others in the program.
  • Each degree requirement should only be listed in one location in the Program of Study.
  • Progression requirements should be listed on each program listing in the Bulletin.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.