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5.113: Dual Degrees

Responsible Entity: N/A

Policy Language

A dual degree program is defined as a program of study offered collaboratively by two institutions (UHM and an external institution) that leads to the award of a separate degree from each of the participating institutions. Most dual degree programs must receive approval from WASC prior to the start of the program. Dual degrees with a partner institution that is accredited by WASC or another USDOE-approved accrediting agency are exempt from the WASC approval process only if both institutions are approved by their respective accrediting agencies to offer programs at the level at which the new degree program will be offered. This policy does not apply to dual degree programs involving two UHM programs of study.

Residency Requirements and Award of Credit:

In dual degree programs, WASC requires that at least half of the credit towards the degree awarded by UH Mānoa must be earned in courses offered by UHM and taught by UHM faculty. Dual degrees cannot be awarded for substantially the same body of work (meaning two degrees for completion of what would normally be the course of study for one degree). The dual degree program must be sufficiently extensive, unique in design, and must exceed the amount of academic work typically required for a single degree.

In dual degrees, no more than 25% of the credits being offered at the upper-division level of undergraduate degrees or at the graduate level may be double-counted or overlap.

UHM degree residency requirements must be fulfilled unless otherwise specified in the MOU.

Dual Degree Agreements (MOUs):

Dual degree agreements (MOUs) should include the following:

  • Description of the dual degree program.
  • Intended audience, expected numbers of students, and admissions criteria.
  • Required course of study for the program, identifying the courses that will be offered by each institution and any program requirements that are outside of the curriculum.
  • Admissions criteria, identifying who will review applications and make the admission decisions.
  • Description of resources and support for the program, including arrangements regarding student housing.
  • Public disclosure statement: When the partnering institution is not accredited by WASC, both institutions will make clear in all written communications with students and the public that UHM’s accreditation by WASC does not extend to the partner institution. The following disclaimer must be used: “The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. [Name of partner institution] is [accredited or approved] by [the name of the agency]”.
Visiting Graduate Student and Student Exchange Agreements

Student exchange agreements may extend visiting student status to participants. These students undertake a prescribed course of study at UHM without seeking a degree, therefore, no dual degree agreement is required to obtain this status. To host a visiting graduate student, the student submits a completed Visiting Graduate Student Admissions Application to the Office of Graduate Education, Graduate Student Services.

Relationship with Partner Institution(s):

Dual degrees may be offered by WASC-accredited institutions with many kinds of institutions. These include other WASC-accredited institutions, other regionally accredited institutions, other educational institutions with national or specialized accreditation that is recognized by the United States Department of Education, or educational institutions in another county. Dual degrees with unaccccredited entities in the U.S. are not allowed.

The agreement must insure that UHM has sufficient authority over the program in keeping with sound educational practices and the WASC Standards of Accreditation.

Partner institutions in another country must be appropriately licensed, approved, or otherwise recognized by an appropriate governmental or government-approved entity in the country where the coursework is being offered. Institutions must exercise due diligence in investigating potential partner institutions to assure themselves of the quality of their offerings and the integrity of their operations.

Approval Process
  • Preliminary discussions with the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate Division, for graduate programs, for suitability of partner institution and conformity with UHM strategic vision.
  • Proposal prepared by program, in conjunction with partner institution; program chair submits proposal to the department and to the dean for review.
  • After approval by school/college faculty and dean, the dean submits the proposal and draft MOU to the OVCAA for review. For graduate programs, the OVCAA will send the documents to the Graduate Division for review.
  • Upon approval by the OVCAA, the VCAA submits the proposal and MOU to the Chancellor for review and approval.
  • Upon approval by the Chancellor, the Chancellor returns the approved proposal to the OVCAA, and the OVCAA submits the proposal to WASC, if required, for the appropriate substantive change review. Dual degree programs must receive approval from WASC PRIOR to the start of the program.