Academic Program Definitions
The University of Cincinnati (UC) proudly offers more than 400 degree programs, and more than 200 certificates. Students can browse our program catalog to find the best program suited for their personal and professional goals.
UC’s commitment to Academic Excellence means that our academic programs meet high standards for quality. This ensures that our programs provide students with the people, tools, and experiences needed to be successful. It also ensures that each program will transform students by equipping them with new knowledge, skills, and abilities to pursue a career and professional life after graduation.
This page contains the definitions for each type of program offered at UC.
Visit the UC Accreditation page for more information accreditation. UC maintains affiliations with more than 40 recognized accrediting agencies in specific disciplines to ensure quality in each field.
UC is an Ohio Public Institution, and each of its programs are approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). UC’s academic program definitions conform to minimum standards stated in ODHE’s Guidelines and Procedures for Academic Program Review.
Any recognition or award for completion of a prescribed course of study in an institution of higher education designated by the customary titles of associate, bachelor, master, specialist or doctor.
An undergraduate award that requires completion of 60 semester credit hours.
- Associate degree programs cannot exceed 65 semester credit hours unless it can be shown that the additional coursework is required to meet professional accreditation or licensing requirements. Programs requiring hours beyond the 65 hour maximum in order to meet accreditation or licensing requirements are expected to align similarly to like programs at other two-year public institutions and shall not exceed 73 semester credit hours.
An undergraduate award that requires completion of at least 120 semester credit hours.
- Bachelor’s degree programs cannot exceed 126 semester credit hours unless it can be shown that the additional coursework is required to meet professional accreditation or licensing requirements.
- Bachelor’s degrees may be awarded for general areas of study, such as those recognized by the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science degrees or in specialized professional and technical fields such as these recognized by the Bachelor of Fine Arts, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, the Bachelor of Education, and so on.
- Although bachelor’s degrees require completion of a specified number of credit hours, the length of the program can vary. For instance, bachelor’s degrees may be conferred for a five-year cooperative (work-study plan) program, which provides for alternate class attendance and employment in business, industry or government. They may also be conferred in instances where the full complement of credits is obtained in three years.
A graduate award that requires the successful completion of at least 30 semester credit hours of work beyond the bachelor’s degree.
The highest award a student can earn for graduate study. Doctoral degrees generally require the successful completion of at least 90 semester credit hours of work beyond the bachelor’s degree or at least 60 semester credit hours beyond the master’s degree. Deviations from these credit hour guidelines require proper justification and state approval.
- The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research degree and involves preparation for the conduct of independent research and the discovery of new knowledge.
- Doctoral degrees may also recognize preparation for professional practice. Examples of professional practice doctoral degrees include the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Doctor of Education (EdD) and Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).
A formal award certifying the satisfactory completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level. Certificates should be designed as building blocks toward future degrees and with the intent of articulating the program into the next degree
An award that requires completion of an organized program of study at the postsecondary level (below the baccalaureate degree).
- At UC, Undergraduate Certificate programs should require 12 - 18 semester credit hours. Any variation must be explained and justified for approval.
Certificates awarded for the completion of an organized program of study in at least 30 semester credit hours with the majority of the coursework completed in a prescribed technical area. While the certificates are designed to have value apart from a degree, these certificates should serve as building blocks to an associate degree. The technical certificate is designed for an occupation or specific employment opportunity. These certificates should prepare students for a valid occupational license or third-party industry certification, if available, related to the field of study.
Certificates awarded for the completion of an organized program of study in less than 30 semester credit hours that are designed for an occupation or specific employment opportunity. These certificates should prepare students for a valid occupational license or third-party industry certification, if available, related to the field of study
An award that requires completion of an organized program of study beyond the bachelor’s degree; designed for individuals who have completed a bachelor’s degree but have not necessarily met the requirements for a master’s degree.
- At UC, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate programs should require 12 semester credit hours. Any variation must be explained and justified for approval as a graduate program.