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Residential and Online Program Comparability

Policy Information

Issuing Office

Office of the Provost

Affected Parties

All academic departments

Policy Language

Undergraduate program core course offerings shall be the same across delivery formats.

Policy Rationale

The Faculty Handbook highlights our need to make undergraduate programs that are offered both online and residentially as standardized as possible. In order to ensure comparability of our online programs with residential programs, we must ensure equivalency in content, sequencing, and rigor of the programs. In fact, policy mandates that programs and courses with both online and residential offerings must be assigned the same program learning outcomes, course descriptions, course rationales, and course leaning outcomes.

Core courses shall be identical between residential and online offerings of the same program.

Definition of Glossary Terms

None specified

Procedural Information


Note that shared online and residential programs must maintain identical program learning outcomes, see the Program PLO Comparability Policy.

Please send suggestions on changes or improvements to this policy to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness


As decided by Provost


Any necessary differences in core courses due to the delivery formats should be rare, well justified, and approved at the Provost level. The rationale for any differences must be documented in writing, and approved by designated representatives in the cognizant Provost’s office. In general, the threshold for approval of differences for graduate and doctorate programs will be more stringent than for bachelors or lower programs. If core courses differ by more than twenty-five percent (25%), rounded down by credit hour, between programs in residential and online delivery format, the programs cannot be considered the same. Examples of how to apply the limits: A program with 39 credit hours of major core course requirements may differ by up to 9 credit hours (25% of 39 credits hours is 9.75, rounded down).

Date Approved


Date for Review