2024-2025 - degree requirements and academic planning (2024)

Where Can I Find Help Understanding My Degree Requirements?

These services are included in your tuition and fees.

Academic Advising Center, University College |University College Academic Advising supports students who have not yet offiially declared a major in the identification and achievement of their educational goals, as well as those students who have declared the Professional Studies major. An advisor is an important resource for academic success but students are ultimately responsible for their educational plans.

Academic Departments & Colleges | Once you officially declare your major, you will be advised directly in your College or academic department. Make sure you know how to find academic advising resources for your specific major.

DegreeWorks Online Degree Audit System |DegreeWorks is a comprehensive, easy-to-use, web-based academic advising and degree audit tool that helps students and their advisors successfully navigate curriculum requirements.

Four-Year Guides | You can find a Four Year Guide on each program of student within the Bulletin. Look for the FYG icon at the top of each Program of Study. These guides contain suggested courses and how to sequence them for each major to finish your degree within four years or sooner if you are transferring credit to Appalachian. The guides are only meant to be examples— you will need to adapt your major’s four-year guide to fit your plans and your transfer credits!

General Education Office |Your liberal arts education at Appalachian begins with the General Education Program. About one-third of the courses, you will take during your college years will be General Education courses from across the university. Their website assists you with understanding the General Education requirements and course options.

Transfer Admissions & Engagement (TAE) | This office supports students through all stages of their transfer journey, including admission counseling and pretransfer advising, credit evaluation, transitional assistance as they begin at App State, and through involvement and retention efforts during their App State education. TAE serves undergraduate transfer students studying on the main campus in Boone as well as App State Online students who complete their classes fully online or at an off-site location.

Undergraduate Bulletin & Programs of Study | This online reference is your user’s manual for college, helping you understand university requirements, course descriptions, and policies. Click on the Undergraduate Bulletin that corresponds with your catalog year. In most cases, your catalog year is the academic year in which you started at Appalachian. Once you have opened your Undergraduate Bulletin, click on Programs of Study to find the requirements for your major.

Bachelor's Degree Requirements

Academic departments at Appalachian are organized into seven degree-granting colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Hayes School of Music, the Beaver College of Health Sciences, the Reich College of Education, the Walker College of Business, and University College.

Appalachian offers several types of Bachelor’s degrees, but the two most common are the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science (BS). A major difference between the two is that all BA degrees require a foreign language and a minor in another subject. BS degrees typically do not require a foreign language (there are a few exceptions), and they usually require a career-oriented concentration. Always consult the Program of Study for the major and degree you are interested in earning to find out the exact requirements. You can access these online. Remember that you need to take an average of 15-16 hours of coursework each semester in order to earn the 120-126 hours required to graduate in four years!

Understanding the Different Parts of your Bachelor’s Degree:

2024-2025 - degree requirements and academic planning (1)

Free Electives

These are courses that do not fit into any of the above categories, but they help you earn the minimum number of hours you need to graduate. You can take virtually any class as an elective, but some majors require you to take some of your free electives at the 3000-4000 level. Sometimes AP, IB, CLEP or transfer credits may count as electives if they do not fit into the major or General Education requirements. The number of required free electives will vary widely depending on your major, so examine your Program of Study and DegreeWorks carefully.


These courses provide you with in-depth knowledge in at least one field of study. The number of major-specific requirements for a degree can vary widely (from 30 to over 70 hours), although the total number of hours required for a degree is still 120-126. The Program of Study for your major will give you a breakdown of how many hours are required for each part of your specific degree.


All Bachelor of Arts degrees require a minor as well as a few Bachelor of Science degrees. If a minor is required, it will always be indicated on your major Program of Study. A minor is typically about 18 hours of coursework in a particular subject. For a list of minors offered by Appalachian and what courses to take to complete them please refer to the Undergraduate Bulletin.


Some majors require a concentration, a grouping of courses from several disciplines with a specific career-oriented focus. Sometimes you can choose the courses in your concentration (in consultation with an advisor in your major area) and sometimes they are already determined for you. Always check your Program of Study to find out what you need to do if you have a required concentration.

General Education

These courses form the broad foundation of your academic program. General Education includes 44 hours of interdisciplinary courses in a variety of areas in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematical sciences.

2024-2025 - degree requirements and academic planning (2)Final Gen Ed 2024-2025 checksheet page 1.pdf

2024-2025 - degree requirements and academic planning (3)Final Gen Ed 2024-2025 checksheet page 2.pdf

Resources for Academic Planning

The Undergraduate Bulletin

The Undergraduate Bulletin (also called the Undergraduate Catalog or General Bulletin) is available exclusively online! It can answer almost any question you have about prerequisites, majors, minors, General Education, course descriptions, and more. Go to the Bulletin online, then click on the Undergraduate Bulletin that corresponds with your catalog year. In most cases, your catalog year is the academic year in which you started at Appalachian. Once you have opened your Undergraduate Bulletin, click on Programs of Study to find the requirements for your major. This catalog will provide you with details on courses including whether it is typically offered during a specific semester, what the course entails, and what prerequisites you need in order to take the course.

Programs of Study (POS)

Your major Program of Study is one of the most important tools you will use in planning your classes each semester. The POS is the faculty-approved document that spells out the courses you are required to take for a particular major. Programs of Study vary, but they typically outline how many hours you will take for Gen Ed, the major, a foreign language (if required), a minor or concentration, and free electives. Get familiar with your POS and ask your advisor if you have any questions about it. Remember to always use the Bulletin and Program of Study that corresponds with your catalog year—that’s the academic year in which you started at Appalachian.


DegreeWorks is an important online tool you will use to track your progress toward graduation. Although you’ll still need to use your Advising Planner, the Undergraduate Bulletin, and your Program of Study, DegreeWorks offers some interactive features that you will want to take advantage of like a GPA calculator and a “What If ” option that lets you compare requirements for different majors. Your advisor will also make notes in DegreeWorks that you can access later.

Choosing your General Education Themes

In order for DegreeWorks to work best for you, you need to choose your General Education Integrative Learning Experience (ILE) theme and your Science Inquiry theme in AppalNet Self Service. It’s easy! Login to AppalNet Self Service; then choose the “Student” tab and look for the “General Education Theme Selection” option. You can always change your selections later if necessary. DegreeWorks is a valuable tool, but remember it is not an official graduation audit or an official transcript.

Starting your own academic plan is a great way to make sure you can graduate on time. Here are some tips for planning your time at Appalachian:

  • Review your major’s Program of Study.

  • Use your major’s Four-Year Guide to start creating your personalized FYG! Look for the FYG icon at the top of the Program of

  • If you know your major, you can take a combination of major and General Education courses.

  • If you aren’t sure of your major, focus on taking General Education classes in your first semester.

  • The math you will take may depend on your major. See your POS for math requirements. If you are unsure of your major, discuss math options with your advisor.

  • It is recommended for students who need both UCO 1200 and RC 1000 to take one of these courses in their first semester and one in their second semester.

  • Deciding on your major early is key to finishing in four years! Take advantage of the campus resources that can help you make the decision.

Some of the factors that might increase your length of time to graduation are:

  • Taking fewer hours than advised per semester

  • Changing majors

  • Dropping, failing, or repeating courses

  • Taking unnecessary or inappropriate courses

  • Transferring from one institution to another

  • Adding a second major or minor

  • Delaying entry into specific degree-granting programs

  • Withdrawing from school for a semester or more

  • Entering Appalachian with an incomplete academic background, therefore, requiring developmental courses.

Four-Year Guides

Four-year Guides are meant as examples of how a degree can be completed in four years. Individual guides will be developed for each student in consultation with the academic advisor. Prior credit, course availability, and student needs must be considered in developing your individual guide. By using a Four Year Guide, your major Program of Study, and DegreeWorks, you can begin to map out your first few semesters at Appalachian.

Academic Standards

Maintaining Good Academic Standing

To continue at Appalachian in good academic standing, you must maintain a 2.0 or higher cumulative GPA. Students who fall below this standard will be placed on academic probation and will have two regular semesters in which to regain good standing before being academically suspended. (Exception: see 0.0 GPA Policy on the "working with your advisor page", under the "quick guide to academic policies" drop-down).

There Are Lots of Reasons to Stay Above “C” Level!

Keep in mind that the more hours you earn, the harder it will be to raise your cumulative GPA if it falls below a 2.0. Some majors at Appalachian require an even higher GPA for admission or to stay in the program, and of course, employers want to hire students with evidence of strong academic performance, so maintaining a solid GPA is always a good idea. If you plan to go to graduate or professional school, you will likely need a very high GPA. Talk to your advisor if you are concerned about your GPA.

Making Satisfactory Academic Progress

In addition to maintaining a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA, students must make satisfactory academic progress by earning at least 67% of the hours they attempt. Attempted hours include credits from courses you took and completed at Appalachian (regardless of the grade earned), courses from which you withdrew or dropped after the drop/add period (the first five days of the semester), courses you repeated at Appalachian and developmental courses (MAT 0010). Students who fail to achieve this ratio will receive an academic probation warning notice at the end of the semester. Failing to make satisfactory academic progress alone does not result in academic suspension, but it does signal that you may soon be in academic difficulty or indicate that you are not on track to graduate in four years. You should always consult with your academic advisor if you are on academic probation for a low GPA. Also consult with your advisor if you are on academic probation warning because of your ratio of earned hours to attempted hours. You can view your grades and cumulative GPA at the end of each semester by looking at your final grade report or your unofficial transcript in AppalNet. DegreeWorks also displays your overall GPA and grades for each class you have completed.

Academic Probation and Suspension

To continue at Appalachian in good academic standing or to return to good standing after being on probation, undergraduate students must maintain a:

1. 2.0 cumulative grade point average

2. 67% ratio or higher of cumulative earned credit hours to cumulative attempted credit hours

If you do not meet the cumulative 2.0 GPA requirement, your grade report will indicate one of the following:

  1. Academic Probation (First probation semester)

  2. Continued Probation (Second probation semester)

  3. Suspended (Suspension from Appalachian)

If you use both of your probation semesters and your grades are still not high enough to meet the academic standards or if you make a 0.0 GPA during your first semester, you will be suspended. If you fail to achieve the 67% ratio of earned to attempted hours, you will receive a warning, which should prompt you to make some changes to avoid future academic difficulty.

0.0 GPA in the First Semester Policy

The exception to the two-semester probation policy is that any undergraduate, degree-seeking, full-time student enrolled in his/her first semester (fall or spring) at Appalachian will be academically suspended if he/she receives a GPA of 0.0 (including “I” Incomplete grades) for that semester. Full-time students are defined for these purposes as students who are registered for 12 or more hours at the end of the drop/add period. A student who is suspended under the 0.0 in the first-semester policy does NOT receive the two semesters of probation and, upon his/her return, must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA or will again be academically suspended.

Students who are academically suspended under either of these policies can return to Appalachian for summer sessions or under one of the Forgiveness policies but should first meet with an academic advisor (Refer to the “Academic Regulations” section of the Undergraduate Bulletin.

How to Predict my GPA

An online GPA calculator is available in DegreeWorks via the Term Calculator option.

Effective Strategies for Students on Academic Probation

  • Reflect and Be Proactive | Examine the factors that led to your academic situation and reflect on ways to adopt positive behaviors.

  • Meet with your academic advisor | Develop a plan for academic improvement that might include repeating a course, taking a study skills course, limiting the number of hours in your job, or taking a reduced course load if necessary. In your first semester of probation, you will be required to attend an Academic Success Workshop (ASW) and meet with your academic advisor.

  • Utilize the resources on campus | Refer to the resources in this Mountaineer Advising Planner and ask your advisor for recommendations on where to get help.

  • Use the Grade Forgiveness Policy | You may retake up to four different courses in which the new grade replaces the initial grade in your GPA. This is the fastest way to improve your grade point average. Discuss retaking courses with your academic advisor; they can help you crunch the numbers to see how many courses you should retake and how soon.

  • Attend summer session(s) at Appalachian | Summer sessions do not count as probation semesters for GPA purposes. You may always (even if you’ve been suspended) attend summer sessions at Appalachian to try to improve your grade point average. But take note: consult with your academic advisor before enrolling in summer school to regain good standing because it might not be a good idea in your case. Also note that courses taken at other schools do not affect your grade point average because only hours transfer, not grades. All courses retaken to replace the initial grade must be retaken at Appalachian. Even though grades from other schools don’t affect your GPA here, some majors at Appalachian do consider all grades from all institutions when determining admission to their program.

  • Know important dates and deadlines | You may access the Academic Calendar. It is important to be familiar with information posted in the academic calendar: last day of drop/add and the final day to use a career drop or withdraw from the University.

2024-2025 - degree requirements and academic planning (2024)
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