AA109-H General Education Requirements Policy – Academic Affairs

UT Health Science Center:

AA109-H General Education Requirements Policy – Academic Affairs



Approval Body: CASA

Effective Date: 10/12/2015

Category: Academic

Last Review: 12/07/2021

Next Review: 12/07/2024

Contact: Maryann Clark, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

 901-448-4930


Related Policies & Information:

Credit for Prior Learning Policy

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission published the Articulation and Transfer in Tennessee Higher Education Annual Report, 2014-15 Academic Year on October 1, 2015.

In 2012, the Tennessee Prior Learning Assessment Task Force published a report titled, Recommended Standards in Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Policy and Practice for Tennessee Public Colleges and Universities. Available at: https://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/files/Recommendations%20for%20Standards



All baccalaureate degrees conferred by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) require a minimum of 120 credit hours of which a minimum of 25% (30 credit hours) must meet general education requirements per standards set forth by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), and the University of Tennessee.


General Education Requirements

All baccalaureate degrees offered require a minimum of 120 credit hours of which at least 25 percent (30 credit hours) must meet designated general education requirements and must be completed at regionally accredited institutions of higher education and accepted as transfer credit by the UTHSC. Specifically, the general education requirements must be comprised of at least one course from each of the following areas: humanities/fine arts; social/behavioral sciences; and natural science/mathematics, as well as elective courses to total 30 credit hours. All transfer credit hours must be designated as transferrable credits by the institution originally awarding the credit and thus of college-level quality in terms of knowledge acquisition and rigor. Credit is not typically awarded for any courses designated as non-transferrable credit by the original awarding institution. Under certain conditions, a program may seek to accept courses that are considered non-transferrable if it can be demonstrated that the content and learning outcomes are not focused on basic skills.

Furthermore, the UTHSC reserves the right to not accept requested transfer credit based on the level or scope of a particular course based on a review of the course syllabus. Additional degree requirements for each academic program (i.e., additional pre-requisites and electives) are to be provided in the UTHSC academic catalog. Failure to fulfill general education courses (or required electives or pre-requisites as defined by the specific program) will result in the need to complete additional courses at an accredited postsecondary institution prior to completion of the degree program. Students may not transfer courses where they have not received a passing grade, i.e., only courses where a grade of C or better was earned may be used as transfer courses.

Transfer students1 must receive a passing grade of C or higher on all general education courses transferred toward the baccalaureate degree. Credit earned through Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and official Cambridge A or AS Level may be used to satisfy general education and/or elective course requirements pending review and approval. Where appropriate, UTHSC accepts armed services course credits using the guidelines developed by ACE2 (American Council on Education) to satisfy general education and elective requirements. UTHSC also accepts credits for learning gained outside the traditional academic environment in accordance with the guidelines and recommended standards for Tennessee Public Universities3 pending the review and approval of the request.

Credit hours earned in remedial or developmental courses are not applicable to credit hours required for the baccalaureate degree. Applied Science courses may not be used to satisfy general education credit or the transfer credit requirements for the baccalaureate degree. Credit for tests taken through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) program does not satisfy general education or elective course credit requirements.


  • English: 6 credit hours

(3 semester credits of composition and 3 semester credits of literature). Courses in literature can be used to fulfill the Humanities/Fine Arts requirement.

  • Humanities and/or Fine Arts: 3 credit hours

Note: Courses in basic composition that do not contain a literature component, courses in oral communication and introductory foreign language courses are skill courses and cannot be used to fulfill the humanities/fine arts requirement.

  • Social/Behavioral Sciences: 3 credit hours
  • Natural Science/Mathematics: 3 credit hours
  1. For purposes of this Policy, a transfer student is a person who enrolled as an undergraduate at the receiving institution (transfer-to institution) for the first time (that is, was not returning or readmitted) and brought in credits earned at another postsecondary institution.
  2. The Military Guide may be found at http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/Military-Guide-Online.aspx.
  1. For more information, see Recommended Standards in Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Policy and Practice for Tennessee Public Colleges and Universities.
    • History: 6 credit hours

Students lacking the required one unit (one year) of American history from high school as an admissions requirement must complete six (6) credit hours of American History or three (3) credit hours of American History and three (3) credit hours of Tennessee History to fulfill the history requirement in general education.

For students who have successfully completed one unit (one year) of American History in high school will need to complete six (6) credits of electives to have thirty

(30) semester credits in General Education.


  • 9-15 credits of general education elective courses are required to complete the 30- semester credit general education requirement for admission to the UTHSC.

In addition to the 30 general education credit hours, transfer students are required to complete college-level elective semester credit hours for a minimum of 60 transfer credit hours toward baccalaureate degree. All elective credit must be designated as transferable from the home institution.

Approval, Waivers, and Substitutions

General education credit hour requirements are approved by the UTHSC Office of Admissions. Substitutions and waivers of general education courses are permitted in extremely rare circumstances and are subject to the approval of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in consultation with the Chief Academic Officer and the academic program.


When candidates apply to transfer into the undergraduate programs at the UTHSC, the Office of Admissions assists the six colleges by providing review and final determination of general education requirements and electives. The review of pre-requisites is done in collaboration with the colleges. The colleges are responsible for notifying the Office of Admissions of curriculum changes.

The colleges have final decision-making authority regarding student admissions from the pool of applicants who meet all the prerequisite requirements: general education, elective and program-specific prerequisite courses. The UTHSC Office of Admissions procedures and processes for transfer student admissions and course review are outlined in the Transfer Credit Review Procedure – AA118 Transfer Credit Policy.


Effective: October 12, 2015

Approved: October 6, 2015, Committee on Academic and Student Affairs (CASA) Approved: October 12, 2015, Chancellor

Revised: December 4, 2018, CASA

Approved: December 5, 2018, Chancellor

Approved: December 7, 2021, CASA

Approved: January 25, 2022, Chief Academic Officer

AA109-H General Education Requirements Policy – Academic Affairs
Version: // Effective: 10/12/2015
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