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Federal Requirements 4.4

The institution demonstrates that program length is appropriate for each of the degrees offered.



Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) is in compliance with this federal requirement. Basic parameters for the length of degree programs are established by the North Carolina Administrative Code and reflected in the statewide Curriculum Standards published by the North Carolina Community College System Office. These standards are reflected in descriptions of all degree programs contained in the Cape Fear Community College Catalog and Student Handbook. Changes to programs of study must be approved locally by the College’s Curriculum Committee and Board of Trustees, then reviewed and approved by the North Carolina Community College Curriculum Review Committee and the State Board of Community Colleges where these programs of study are maintained in electronic form. The College provides documented examples of this process at work.


The North Carolina Administrative Code (NCAC), in 23 NCAC 02E.0204 stipulates parameters for the length of all North Carolina community college academic programs (23 NCAC 02E.0204). Certificates require 12 to 18 semester hours of credit. Diplomas require between 36 to 48 semester hours of credit and associate degrees are awarded for 64 to 76 semester hours of credit. The NCAC further directs the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) Office to establish curriculum standards, which further define degree program content and length, and directs compliance with these standards by all North Carolina community colleges. The NCAC also directs the establishment of a Common Course Library (CCL) which standardizes course length and content for all community colleges. To quote from the NCAC:

“Each institution shall select curriculum program courses from the Common Course Library to comply with the standards for each curriculum program title the institution is approved to offer. The selected courses shall comprise the college's program of study for that curriculum program.
(a) Each institution shall maintain on file with Community College System Office a copy of the official program of study approved by the institution's board of trustees.
(b) When requesting approval to offer a curriculum program title, an institution shall submit a program of study for that curriculum program title.
(c) A copy of each revised program of study shall be filed with and approved by the Community College System Office prior to implementation at the institution.”

In compliance with 23 NCAC, the North Carolina Community College System Office has standardized program length and content by establishing curriculum standards for all curriculum programs offered by each community college. Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) programs of study and related curriculum standards are attached for review (NCCCS Curriculum Standards). Also, the System Office has standardized course length and content by creating a Common Course Library (CCL). A sample of the CCL is attached (Common Course Library). CFCC meticulously follows those guidelines. The program length for each program is specified in the course descriptions in the Cape Fear Community College Catalog and Student Handbook (Course Descriptions pg 144).

All proposed new programs are presented by the appropriate department chair and/or dean to the college’s Curriculum Committee for a determination of feasibility and impact upon other college programs. An example is the Curriculum Committee’s 2003 review and approval of an Associate in Fine Arts (AFA) degree with a drama pre-major (Curriculum Committee Minutes pg 17). All program starts and terminations are then presented to the CFCC Board of Trustees’ Curriculum Committee. This committee evaluates the recommendations brought by the college’s committee and, if approved, carries the item to the full Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees votes on the recommendations of the Curriculum Committee for the establishment and/or termination of programs. Again, an example is the Board’s 2004 approval of the AFA degree (May 27, 2004 Board Minutes pg 4). The program is then sent to NCCCS for consideration by their Curriculum Review Committee and ultimately, review and approval by the State Board of Community College. NCCCS will then notify CFCC if the approval is granted. The program may then be entered electronically for final approval by NCCCS.

All community colleges’ programs of study are maintained electronically at the North Carolina Community College System Office. All CFCC Programs of Study (POS) have been approved by NCCCS. Samples of that electronic file are attached (Sample Vocational Technical Program of Study) (Sample College Transfer Program of Study). Changes to the programs of study also require approval by the NCCCS Curriculum Review Committee, which is spelled out in the State’s Curriculum Procedures Manual in Section 16, Curriculum Standard Revision Information (NCCCS Curriculum Standard Revision Information). The CFCC Curriculum Review Committee (Curriculum Committee) is also charged with the responsibility for making recommendations for program or course changes to the state Curriculum Review Committee. As an example of how this process works, in the meeting of October 6, 2004, the CFCC Curriculum Committee considered a recommended change to the Machining Technology Program of Study by proposing that a new capstone course, MAC XXX- Applications in CNC Machining, replace an existing course. The committee approved this change and forwarded it to the state Curriculum Review Committee for consideration (Curriculum Committee Minutes pg 3).


Source Location

23 NCAC 02E .0204,
Courses and Standards for Curriculum Programs
North Carolina Administrative Code
Title 23, Chapter 2 Subchapter E, Section .0204


NCCCS Curriculum Standards,
NCCCS Website


Common Course Library,
NCCCS Website


Course Descriptions,
CFCC Catalog and Student Handbook (pg 144)


Curriculum Committee Minutes,
December 8, 2003 (pg 17)

Board Minutes,
CFCC Board of Trustees,
May 27, 2004 (pg 4)

See bookmarks
Sample Vocational Technical Program of Study voctech_POS.pdf
Sample College Transfer Program of Study ct_POS.pdf
NCCCS Curriculum Standard Revision Information,
Section 16 June 4, 2003
North Carolina Community College System Website
Curriculum Committee,
Cape Fear Community College Intranet
Curriculum Committee Minutes,
October 6, 2004 (pg 3)

See bookmarks



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