The educational programs advance the philosophy and purposes stated for the institution, including appropriate admission requirements, a curriculum of high quality and effective instruction.


The following criteria are used by professional staff members and evaluation committees as indicators of compliance for the standard.


  1. The institution’s admission criteria compare favorably with those of generically similar programs.
  2. The degree-granting institution ensures that its admission requirements for all degree programs:
    • are clearly described and published;
    • require each applicant, at a minimum, to be high school graduate or equivalent;
    • include a policy for the collection of a score on a recognized standardized entrance examination;
    • include evidence of the ability to do college work for each admitted student.
  3. The degree-granting institution’s policy to allow special admissions to designated programs has been approved by the NPEC.
  4. The degree-granting institution accepts only students who meet the basic entrance requirements.
    • OR
    • The degree-granting institution provides a noncredit special development program approved by NPEC for any student it accepts and enrolls who does not meet the entrance requirements.
  5. The degree-granting institution’s requirements for the granting of college-level credit for credit by examination and credit for life experience:
    • are defined, published and strictly enforced;
    • limits the maximum amount of credit that can be awarded by examination, life experience and transfer credit to 75% of the total credit requirements for undergraduate degrees; 66% for graduate degrees; or some higher amount for either if recognized by a US-based national or regional accrediting body recognized by the Secretary of the United States Department of Education.
  6. The graduate level degree-granting institution ensures that its admission requirements for graduate programs include:
    • possession of a baccalaureate degree;
    • transcripts of previous educational records;
    • grade point average;
    • course prerequisites (if any);
    • evaluation by professionals in the field (if any);
    • nationally recognized measures of aptitude and/or academic achievement; and
    • interviews or an appropriate alternative.


  1. The institution’s curriculum is:
    • related to institutional purposes and is in keeping with financial and academic resources;
    • established through a procedure that includes participation by the governing body, administration, faculty and advisory committees;
    • continually evaluated with appropriate enhancements.
  2. The certificate-granting institution’s curriculum guide:
    • and lesson plan are available and used by each instructor for each course taught in a program of study;
    • specifies sequential instruction beginning with basic information and progressing in depth;
    • specifies objectives, content outline, instructional approaches, materials and equipment, number of hours of lecture, laboratory (hands on instruction) and practicum time, and method of evaluation;
    • contains the program description published in the institutional catalog and includes the hours of instruction and credit.
  3. The degree-granting institution’s:
    • degree requirements for each level of study are clearly stated including a systematic means of awarding credit;
    • degree designations are appropriate to the academic requirements of the program of study and are equivalent to those for generically similar programs of study.
    • The degree-granting institution’s:
    • program objectives are appropriate to the kind and level of degree offered as compared to generically similar programs (e.g., the development of skills, the provision for job-related training, the acquisition of knowledge and information, instruction in the application of knowledge and the level of competency expected.);
    • programs are designed to develop intellectual and creative capabilities as well as vocational skills.
  4. The degree-granting institution:
    • demonstrates that individual courses are clearly recognizable as appropriate to the level of education they support (associate degree, baccalaureate, master’s level, doctoral level and are equal to those offered in generically similar programs);
    • ensures that an identifiable sequence of courses exists for each program offered and implemented, including appropriate prerequisites and hours required for each course;
    • ensures that well developed course syllabi and instructional guides have been developed and reviewed by established academic control authorities (e.g., department chairpersons, faculty committees, academic dean).
  5. The institution:
    • offers evidence that appropriate exit criteria (as compared to generically similar programs) have been established for determining successful completion of course work and programs of instruction;
    • assesses the student’s ability to apply the skills, competencies, knowledge and techniques that its program of instruction purports to teach as compared to generically similar programs;
    • makes provisions for the student to design and execute, under faculty supervision, a project equal to those required in generically similar programs.
  6. The institution:
    • has established a grading system (e.g., 4.0);
    • provides a readily available catalog that accurately describes the curriculum offered;
    • demonstrates that safeguards are taken to maintain the integrity of examinations given at the end of courses;
    • provides a permanent file for both credit and noncredit course descriptions.
  7. The degree-granting institution offering an associate degree ensures that a minimum of:
    • 15 semester hours or 23 quarter hours are required in the specialty area for which instruction is offered;
    • 15 semester hours or 23 quarter hours are required in general education and that at least one course must be required in:
      • Mathematics such as algebra, trigonometry, analytic geometry, calculus, statistics and other higher-level mathematics;
      • Science such as biology, botany, chemistry, ecology, physics;
      • Humanities such as English, literature, philosophy, logic, history of arts and sciences, philosophy, communications, composition, speech and drama, and combinations of such courses;
      • Social Science such as history, psychology, government and sociology.


  1. The institution budgets for its instructional programs.
  2. The institution:
    • ensures that instruction is related to the objectives of each course;
    • ensures that the instructional programs provide for the development of knowledge, skills and attitude appropriate to the objectives stated for those programs;
    • incorporates teaching methods and procedures to provide for individual differences of students to include meaningful interaction between students and faculty;
    • ensures that skill proficiency on the part of students is provided using sufficient simulated practice with appropriate equipment and surroundings similar to those encountered in actual practice.
  3. The institution ensures that:
    • instructional materials are adequate to support the programs offered;
    • textbooks and resource materials used in the instructional program are current;
    • equipment used in the instructional program is current with industry standards and is in good working order with routine maintenance and safety checks;
    • textbooks, resource materials and equipment are in sufficient quantity to meet the maximum enrollment of the class.
  4. The institution demonstrates that any program, or program component, that is offered via an online, distance or correspondence medium is equivalent to programs offered through on-ground instruction.
  5. The instructional programs:
    • for the on-ground institution require direct student – faculty interaction through classroom instruction, seminars, lectures, workshops, or residence on campus.
    • OR
    • for the online, distance, or correspondence education institution require direct student-faculty interaction through an NPEC approved, formal plan by e-mail, internet, fax, telephone, videoconferencing or other real time means.
  6. The institution ensures that the size of classes is governed by criteria such as the nature of the course and the characteristics of the students involved.
  7. The institution:
    • as needed, provides corrective and remedial assistance as part of its instructional programs;
    • ensures that any developmental studies program is approved by NPEC.
  8. The institution:
    • periodically evaluates and documents its long-range instructional outcomes through methods such as a follow up of graduates or a sampling of opinion of former students;
    • has a fully implemented system in place for evaluating and documenting student achievement such as periodic examinations and standardized achievement tests;
    • ensures that assignments are evaluated and returned to students within a stated time and with appropriate comments;
    • ensures that an ongoing method of evaluating student progress toward a program of study is:
      • explicit and  readily available to each student;
      • is maintained as part of each student’s permanent file.

Duration and Intensity

  1. The institution:
    • ensures that course and time requirements in each program of study are clearly stated and adhered to, including major or minor concentrations, where applicable;
    • schedules courses so that students can complete their total program of study during the contracted length of time.
  2. The degree-granting institution ensures that:
    • the academic year approximates a plan of two semesters of 15 to 18 weeks of instruction or three quarters of 10 to 12 weeks of instruction;
    • a credit hour is defined as credit for work in a class which meets for at least one 60 minute period (including ten minutes for change of classes) weekly for instruction and/or testing;
    • two hours of laboratory work count as the equivalent of one hour of instruction and/or testing;
    • the maximum number of hours allowed in specialized degree programs is specified;
    • AND/OR
    • a credit hour for online, distance, or correspondence education requires comparable work to that required for a credit hour in a traditional class.
  3. Degree-granting institutions offering Associate Degree programs:
    • require a minimum of 60 semester or 90 quarter hours or the equivalent in courses or through appropriate testing procedures.
  4. Degree-granting institutions offering Baccalaureate Degree programs:
    • require a minimum of 120 semester or 180 quarter hours or the equivalent in courses or through appropriate testing procedures.
  5. Degree-granting institutions offering Graduate Degree programs:
    • require work beyond the baccalaureate level for a minimum of 30 semester or 45 quarter hours or the equivalent in courses or through appropriate testing procedures.

Credential for Satisfactory Completion of Program of Study

  1. The institution awards an appropriate education credential for satisfactory completion for each program of study.
  2. The certificate granting institution provides students who successfully complete the prescribed program of study with a certificate with the following components:
    • the authorized name of the institution along with the city and state of the institution or the corporate owner of the institution;
    • the students full name;
    • the title of the program completed;
    • the signature of the institution’s director;
    • the date the certificate was issued;
    • the official seal of the institution.
  3. The degree-granting institution provides students who successfully complete the prescribed degree with a diploma with the following components:
    • the authorized name of the institution or the corporate owner of the institution;
    • the students full name;
    • the title of the degree completed;
    • the signature of the institution’s president;
    • the date the degree was issued;
    • the official seal of the institution;
    • the city and state of the institution (required for unaccredited schools only).
  4. The institution does not use the official State Seal of Georgia on its certificate/diploma.
  5. The institution which is neither graduate degree-granting nor nationally or regionally accredited by a national or regional accrediting body recognized by the Secretary of the United States Department of Education awards honorary degrees or titles only with approval by NPEC.