Development of Graduate & Undergraduate Overlap Programs
In instances where the faculties of existing graduate and undergraduate programs wish to create an overlapping program (often referred to as a 4-1 or a 3-2 program) in which upper level undergraduate and basic level graduate courses may be taken simultaneously, an Articulation Agreement between the two programs must be developed, written, and brought to the Graduate Council for assessment and input. The Associate Provost/Dean of Graduate Studies will forward the Council's recommendation to the Provost. Following the Provost's acceptance, the overlapping program may be implemented.
The Articulation Agreement should be developed in consultation with the Office of Graduate Studies and signed by the chairs of the undergraduate and graduate programs involved, as well as by the dean(s) of the college(s) in which the programs reside. The written agreement should include:
- An overview of the purpose and goals of the overlap program.
- A detailed description of the planned curriculum, including the sequence of undergraduate and graduate courses.
- An explicit plan for admission to candidacy for the graduate portion of the program, conditional admission to graduate study, and matriculation as a graduate student following completion of the bachelor's degree.
- A summary of credit distribution: the number (or range) of 100-400 level credits, the number (or range) of 500-600 level credits, and the maximum number of credits that will be counted toward both degrees. (See guidelines below.)
Guidelines for the Overlap
The following guidelines from the Graduate Council are intended to protect the integrity, quality, and rigor of graduate education at USM and to provide a reasonable but not restrictive level of consistency among overlapping undergraduate-graduate programs.
- Undergraduates may not enroll in 600 level courses.
- A maximum of six 500 level credits may be counted toward both the undergraduate and graduate degrees.
- When overlap programs are developed within professional programs, the requirements of the appropriate accreditation agency will be honored.
Rare exceptions to this policy may be made in the case of students in overlap programs who are in their last semester of undergraduate status. They are required to have permission of their program director and the Dean of Graduate Studies to enroll in specified 600 level courses, which will apply to their graduate degree only.