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Educational Programs: Undergraduate:Terminal degrees of faculty
At least 25 percent of the course hours in each major at the baccalaureate level are taught by faculty members holding an appropriate terminal degree—usually the earned doctorate or the equivalent of the terminal degree.

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Off-site Committee Comments


For most programs at the baccalaureate level, at least 25 percent of the credit hours are taught by individuals holding a terminal degree. The programs in Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences and Nursing do not comply with this standard. For many individuals teaching in those programs, certifications and professional experience were cited as equivalent qualifications, particularly for intensive clinical courses.


Institutional Response


To address the Off-Site Committee's preliminary finding of non-compliance with Comprehensive Standard 3.5.4, course data for programs in Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences and Nursing are presented by type (clinical and non-clinical courses, with non-clinical further divided into traditional and online courses). These course designations are assigned in Banner, the student records system, by program staff.


Clinical Courses

Clinical training requirements are essential to the undergraduate programs in the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences and the School of Nursing. Approximately 15% of credit hours required for degrees in Nursing, Respiratory Therapy and Nuclear Medicine Technology and 10% for the B.S. in Medical Technology are clinical courses. (No courses in the B.S. in Biomedical Sciences curriculum are clinical.) As shown in the table below, a majority of these courses are taught by instructors without terminal degrees who possess current practical clinical knowledge.


Non-Clinical (Didactic) Courses

Data for the non-clinical courses offered by the Department of Clinical and Diagnostics Sciences and School of Nursing are presented in the table below. Didactic course offerings in traditional and online modes of delivery in the School of Nursing exceed the minimum requirement of 25% of credits taught by faculty with terminal degrees.


Percentage of Undergraduate Credit Hours Taught by UAB Faculty with Terminal Degree, Fall 2013 and Spring 2014



 Non-Clinical (Didactic)    


Traditional Courses



School/Department  Non-Terminal  Terminal Non-Terminal Terminal Non-Terminal Terminal Non-Terminal Terminal Degree Degree offered online
School of Health Professions    

Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences
 100.0% 0.0%  79.9% 21.1% 74.7% 25.3% 100.0% 0.0% BS1 No
School of Nursing    

 82.6  17.4% 53.8% 46.2% 74.0% 26.0% 34.2% 65.8% BSN No

1 BS in Biomedical Sciences, BS in Medical Technology, BS in Nuclear Medicine Technology, and BS in Respiratory Therapy


Detailed analysis of course offerings in the curricula for the Bachelor of Science degrees in Biomedical Sciences, Medical Technology, Nuclear Medicine Technology, and Respiratory Therapy are provided. When reviewed by program, Biomedical Sciences and Respiratory Therapy meet the requirement of 25% of coursework taught by faculty with terminal degrees. A majority of faculty who teach in the Medical Technology and Nuclear Medicine Technology programs hold the master's degree which is the highest degree in their respective fields. Additionally, these two undergraduate programs have received accreditation by their respective accrediting bodies.



In line with SACSCOC guidelines, courses numbered 100-499 were included in the analysis, with the following exceptions: 

  • Courses fulfilling the general education requirement (these courses were identified by having an Area I-IV identifier in Banner Course Attributes, which indicates a general education requirement area at UAB)
  • EH 091 – Introduction to College English and MA 098 – Basic Algebra 
  • Courses in the English language program which focus on English as a Second Language for students who do not meet TOEFL score requirements at the time of acceptance to the University

Data was prepared by:

  1. Calculating the total credit hours generated in undergraduate courses during the review period.
  2. Disaggregating data by course prefix and attached to department.
  3. Disaggregating data further by online courses and traditional (non-online) courses. 
  4. Identifying the instructors of record for each course and their corresponding percent responsibility for the course.
  5. Identifying the highest degree held by each instructor.
  6. Identifying all instructors whose highest degree is the terminal doctorate or appropriate terminal masters-level degree.
  7. Identifying the course format (online or not online).
  8. Calculating the percentage of credit hours taught by those faculty members. For example, in courses where two professors shared instructional responsibility (50% and 50%), half of the generated credit hours were tied to one professor and half the other professor. Further, where one professor had a terminal degree and the second professor did not, the resulting credit hour percentages would be 50% taught by a terminal degree faculty and 50% taught by a non-terminal degree faculty.


For purposes of this calculation, discipline course hours are organized by teaching department and split between online and not online. Courses included are identified as contributing to an undergraduate major and excluding courses which are marked as fulfilling the general education requirement. In most disciplines, UAB defines the terminal degree as a doctorate-level degree, which includes the Ph.D., D.A., D.D.S., D.M.A., D.M.D., D.N.P., Ed.D., J.D., M.D., and O.D., as appropriate. In addition, the following masters-level degrees are considered terminal in their respective disciplines:

  • M.F.A. - Master of Fine Arts
  • M.L.S. - Master of Library Science
  • M.S.W. - Master of Social Work
  • Nuclear Medicine Advanced Associate (Master's level)*
  • M.S.C.L.S. - Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science*
  • M.S.M.L.S. - Master of Science in Medical Laboratory Science*

(* degrees have been added since submission of the Compliance Certification in September 2014)


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