Dec 07, 2023  
2015-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
2015-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Information

Academic Policies and Requirements Registration Procedures

Any person who anticipates registering as a Tennessee State University student should be sure that the University requirements for admission have been met. Official enrollment is achieved by properly registering in each course, having a photograph made for an identification card, and paying of all fees. 

Normally, all students register for courses during the days on which registration is scheduled. Detailed instructions are made available by the Records Office as to time, places, and procedure for registration. 

A late registration period is provided for those who are unable to register during the regular registration days. However, students who register late are required to pay a late registration fee and often find it difficult to secure a satisfactory schedule of classes. The late registration fee is $100.00 If a student does register late for (or add) a course, he will be responsible for all material covered from the first class meeting and must, at the discretion of the instructor, be responsible for any make-up work or tests. 

Detailed procedures for registration are given each semester as a part of the schedule of classes. 

The following must be observed prior to registration to avoid delay: 

  1. Freshmen and transfers must be accepted for admission prior to registration. 
  2. All students are expected to register at their scheduled time for registration. No one will be allowed to register earlier than the scheduled time. Each student must observe registration procedures as specified at that time. A student is not officially enrolled until all of the requirements of registration, including the payment of fees, are completed. 
  3. Former students must submit a re-admission application and settle all prior accounts in the Business Office before registering. 

The following must be observed during the registration periods: 

  1. All freshmen must complete the testing program if appropriate. 
  2. All students must have a conference with a faculty advisor to arrange an approved schedule of classes. 
  3. All students must pay fees in full on the day they register. Students who do not pay will be purged. 
  4. All freshmen and first-time transfer students must have I.D. pictures made and automobiles registered. 

Course Numbering System 

Degree level courses are numbered from 1000 to 8990. Undergraduate courses are numbered from 1000 to 4999; courses which are primarily masters’ level are 5000 and 6000; doctoral level courses are 7000 and 8000 

Information for Veterans, Dependent Children and War Orphans 

Persons eligible to receive Veterans Educational benefits may obtain information and applications from the Records Office. 

Academic Common Market

The Academic Common Market is an interstate agreement among southern states for sharing academic in common programs. Participating states are able to make arrangements for their residents who qualify for admission to enroll in specific programs in other states on an in-state tuition basis.

To participate in the Academic Common market program, students must: 

  1. Be accepted for admission to the University and academic programs for which your state has obtained access for its residents through the Academic Common Market. 
  2. Obtain certification of residency from the Common Market Coordinator in your home state. Contact the State Coordinator in your state for Certification information. 
  3. Make sure that the program of which you intend to enroll is offered at TSU. 
  4. Submit certification information and/or form to the Office of Admissions and Records prior to the last day of registration of the semester in which you intend to enroll. 
  5. Students who take advantage of the Academic Common Market Program can not pursue a double major unless both majors are listed on an approved Academic Common Market Certification by the students’ state of residency. 

Students who are eligible for this program must pursue the appropriate major as designated on the Academic Common Market Certification that is submitted by the Department of Higher Education/Postsecondary Education of their state of residency. No other majors can be taken simultaneously with the selected major per academic common market. Students who violate this policy will be subject to payment of fees required of non-resident students. 

Retention Standards and Academic Probation:

Categories Quality Hours Attempted Required Cumulative GPA
One 0-15 hours attempted Not less than 1.5 cumulative GPA
Two 16-30 hours attempted Not less than 1.7 cumulative GPA
Three 31-45 hours attempted Not less than 1.8 cumulative GPA
Four 46-59 hours attempted Not less than 1.9 cumulative GPA
Five 60 and above hours attempted Not less than 2.0 cumulative GPA

At the end of the next term of enrollment, a student on academic probation who has failed to attain either the above cumulative standard or a 2.0 GPA for that term will be suspended. The first suspension may be appealed. If successfully appealed, the student must either earn a semester GPA of at least 2.00 or achieve the cumulative GPA required for the number of credit hours attempted as outlined in the preceding chart. Students failing to meet one of these standards must sit out for one semester, excluding summer sessions. Students must apply for re-admission for the semester in which they plan to return to the University. 

A student who believes that extenuating circumstances contributed to his/her suspension may appeal the case to the University’s Review Committee on Suspension and Readmission. To appeal, the student must explain those circumstances on a form submitted to the Chairperson of the Review Committee on Suspension and Readmission immediately after receiving notification of suspension. 

Auditing a Course 

Students who plan to audit a course must report to the Records Office located in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center, Room 305 during registration in order for the audit to appear on his/or her schedule. The regular registration procedure is followed. Students are not held to attendance or evaluation requirements for the course and no credits are earned. Audits may not be used to meet degree requirements. The audit fee is the same as the credit fee. 

Normal and Minimum Class Loads 

The normal class load for a full-time undergraduate student is 15 to 18 credit hours per semester, and the minimum class load is 12 credit hours per semester. One semester hour credit of required physical education or one semester hour credit of aerospace studies at the 100 or 200 level may be added to the normal load. 

Probationary Student Class Loads 

A student who incurs scholastic probation in any semester (see scholarship standards) will be allowed to carry a maximum of 13 semester hours. Course credits beyond the maximum load of 13 hrs. will be dropped from the student’s schedule. 

Maximum Class Loads 

Freshmen may not register for hours in excess of their normal course load. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors whose cumulative grade-point averages are 3.00 or above may register for as many as three credit hours in excess of the normal course load-up to a total of 21 credit hours. 

The minimum cumulative grade point average required by the University for awarding the baccalaureate or associate degree is 2.00 for all degree level work taken by the student as part of an approved program of study. The GPA is computed by dividing the total number of hours attempted into the total number of quality points earned (see Grading System) except for credit hours in courses for which the student received a of “W” or “I”, (see Adjusting Class Loads). Any enrolled student who meets the minimum academic requirements is in good academic standing at the University. 

Probationary status will be incurred by the student who fails to meet the standards listed below in any term. 

Graduating seniors who have applied for graduation and whose grade-point averages are 2.00 or above may register for as many as three credit hours in excess of their full curricular load up to a total of 21 credit hours. In all cases, the student must apply to his school dean, who may approve requests for such increases in class loads. The school dean must notify the Records Office in writing of each case approved. 

Twelve semester hours constitute full time status for undergraduate students for the Fall and Spring semesters. Course loads of 18 hours in the Fall and Spring and 15 hours in the Summer are permitted without special approval for undergraduate students in good academic standing-not on probation. 

A three-hour overload may be approved during the Fall and Spring for sophomores, juniors and seniors with cumulative grade-point averages of 3.00 and above. A three hour overload is permitted for graduating seniors (those who are certified by their advisors as prospective graduates for the current semester not just senior classification). The maximum course load for any undergraduate student during the Fall and Spring is 21 hours, including courses being taken at TSU and any other institution. 

All overloads must be approved prior to the student enrolling in the course. The maximum course load for undergraduate students for Summer is15 hours. 

Classification of Students 

All undergraduates must be classified in one of the following categories: 

1. Freshmen: Those who have completed less than 30 semester hours 

2. Sophomores: Those who have completed between 30 and 59 semester hours 

3. Juniors: Those who have completed between 60 and 89 semester hours 

4. Seniors: Those who have completed 90 semester hours or more. 

5. Specials: (A) Those who meet entrance requirements and who wish to pursue particular studies but not to qualify for a bachelor’s degree. Such students may be admitted with the permission of the Dean of Admissions and Records. (B) Those who are 21 years of age and who have not completed four years of high school work may enroll in such courses as they are prepared to take up to a maximum of 36 semester hours. 

English Proficiency Requirements 

All degree-seeking students must demonstrate English Proficiency by successfully completing (i.e., with a grade of A, B, or C) ENGL 1010  and ENGL 1020  (Freshman English). Students who earn a “D” grade in ENGL 1010  or ENGL 1020  are required to repeat Freshman English and earn a “C” or better. 

Students for whom transfer equivalence of A, B, or C in ENGL 1010  and ENGL 1020  has been accepted by the University will be determined to have satisfied the English Proficiency requirement. A transfer student with a grade of “D” in English 

ENGL 1010  or ENGL 1020  must repeat Freshman English and earn the grade of “C” or better. Any transfer student for whom there is a question of English Proficiency will be required to complete a writing sample which is scored holistically. Transfer students who have not met a comparable proficiency requirement elsewhere must remove the deficiency during the first semester of residence at Tennessee State University. 


Late Final Examinations: Students are expected to take all examinations according to the schedule except in very unusual circumstances, such as incapacitating ill health. If a student does absent himself from final examination without having first secured the written permission of his school dean, he must confer as soon thereafter as possible with his school dean concerning the reasons for having missed the examination(s). If after conferring with the teacher of the course, the Dean is satisfied that unusual, justifying circumstances prevailed, and the student is given permission to take a late examination. 

Class Attendance 

Students are expected to attend regularly all courses in which they are enrolled for credit and to complete all required work in such courses. Student participation in courses is mandatory, and monitoring of attendance and participation is ongoing by faculty teaching the course. Irregular attendance or any substantial number of unexcused absences may weigh adversely in the consideration of grades or any petition for a special academic privilege such as make-up assignments and/or examinations. To be allowed to make up work, students must present appropriate documentation to the classroom instructor. Students who have excused absences must arrange with the instructor to make up class and laboratory work immediately. Information on attendance and participation becomes a part of the student’s file. Attendance is also considered in the awarding of, and continued eligibility for, student financial Aid. 

Regular Monday, Wednesday, and Friday classes during the academic year are scheduled for 55 minutes with a 15 minute break between classes. Regular Tuesday and Thursday, classes are scheduled for 85 minute periods and are separated by 15 minute intervals. Classes scheduled for one day per work are scheduled for three hours. Some classes meet for periods of time that vary from these patterns. These are designated in the published semester schedules. Punctuality in attending classes is expected of all students. Registration and payment of fees are required before classes are attended. 

Students must not attend classes unless they have officially registered and paid for them. Grades will not be granted to students after the fact-retroactive registration and payment will not be accepted. 

Policy on Excessive Absences 

Students are expected to attend classes regularly and on time. Instructors will keep an accurate record of class attendance. “Excessive” absence is defined as no less than one more than the number of times a class meets per week. It is the student’s responsibility to withdraw from a course in which excessive absences have been incurred. A student with excessive absences may only be readmitted to class by the instructor. A student, who has not been readmitted to a class by the official withdrawal date, may not be readmitted to that class and will receive a mandatory grade of F. 

Academic and Classroom Conduct 

The instructor has the primary responsibility for control over classroom behavior and maintenance of academic integrity, and can order temporary removal or exclusion from the classroom of any student engaged in disruptive conduct or conduct in violation of the general rules and regulations of the institution. Extended or permanent exclusion from the classroom or further disciplinary action can be effected only through appropriate procedures of the institution. 

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited. Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are immediately responsible to the instructor of the class. In addition to the other possible disciplinary sanctions which may be imposed through the regular institutional procedures as a result of academic misconduct, the instructor has the authority to assign an “F” or a zero for the exercise or examination, or to assign an “F” in the course. 

If the student believes that he or she has been erroneously accused of academic misconduct, and if his or her final grade has been lowered as a result, the student may appeal the case through the appropriate institutional procedures (Grade Appeal). 

Grade Appeal

The University recognizes the right of a student to appeal a grade which she/he believes is incorrect and does not reflect the student’s class performance. Issues related to harassment (sexual, racial, or other) should be referred to the Affirmative Action Officer. 

Students who believe an incorrect grade was awarded should seek a resolution with the instructor as soon as possible. If the student is not satisfied after attempting to reconcile the matter with the instructor, the student may appeal to the department chair of the department. This appeal must be in writing, accompanied by any relevant supporting documents, and must be initiated within 30 calendar days of the beginning of the semester immediately following the semester in which the grade was awarded (excluding summer school). 

The department chair shall provide a copy of the student’s letter to the instructor and request a written response from the instructor. The instructor will provide the department chair with a written response within 10 working days. (Exceptions will apply when the instructor is not teaching, as in summer sessions, or when the instructor is on leave.) The department chair will provide the instructors response regarding the appeal to the student. If not satisfied with the instructor’s decision, the student may file a written appeal to the department chair within 10 days of receipt from instructor. The department chair must render a written decision with ten days of receipt of the appeal. In instances where an instructor indicates to a student that a grade adjustment is warranted, and fails to make the adjustment within ten working days, the student should inform the instructor’s department chair. 

If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the department chair a further written appeal may be made to the Dean of the College/School. Copies of the written decision from the faculty member and the department chair must be attached to this appeal. This appeal must be made within ten calendar days of the decision of the department chair. After reviewing the appeal record, the Dean must render a written decision within ten days of receipt of the appeal. If the student does not agree with the decision of the Dean, the next level of appeal is the Office of the Provost. The student filing the appeal must submit the appeal in writing along with copies of all decisions of the faculty, department chair and Dean in order for the Office of the Provost to analyze the appeal. 

If the instructor happens to be the department chair or the dean, the appeal will be submitted in writing to the next higher academic officer (that is, to the dean if the department chair is the instructor or to the Provost if the dean is the instructor). In such cases, the decision of the Provost is final. The student must submit written denials from all levels before appealing to Office of Academic Affairs. 

Grades, transcript information, drop/adds, withdrawals and other data perceived by the student to be in error must be protested by the student within thirty days. Appeals made after this time will not be reviewed. In no case will an appeal be heard after one year. 

Regulations Regarding Grades of “I” 

Removal of “I” grades: “Incomplete” is a temporary grade which must be removed from the undergraduate student’s permanent record within one semester from the end of the term in which the “I” grade was awarded. If all requirements of a course in which the “I” was awarded are not met within one semester, the grade of “I” will automatically convert to a grade of “F. Inasmuch as the awarding of an Incomplete is the decision of the instructor, it is the instructor’s responsibility to inform the student an Incomplete was awarded and make him/her aware of what assignments must be completed to remove the “I.” A written agreement should be developed between the instructor and student to specify what requirements remain for the student to complete course and qualify to change the I to an academic grade. Students are NOT to be instructed to re-enroll in any course or laboratory to remove an Incomplete. If the extent of the work to be done is such that the student needs to attend class, the student should be awarded an appropriate grade and it becomes the student’s decision, or requirement to re-enroll in the course.” 

The “I” grade may be removed by following the steps below: 

  1. Contact the instructor who awarded the Incomplete, and complete all assignments required to remove the “I” grade. 
  2. The Instructor will download the form from
  3. The replacement grade must be filed in the Records Office in person or by e-mail, by the Instructor of the course after it has been properly completed (name of student, grade awarded, credit hours which the course carries, title of the course, department chair’s signature, and the instructor’s signature). 

Withdrawing from a Course 

Students wishing to withdraw from a course must do so via “MyTSU”. Athletes wishing to withdraw from a course must secure approval and signature from the Assistant Athletic Director for Academic Services and submit the proper form to the Records Office. A student may receive a grade of “W” if he withdraws according to the time period listed the Class Schedule and/or the Academic Calendar which is listed on the web at If a student never attends a class officially registered for or stops attending class without officially withdrawing, that student will be assigned a final grade of “F.” 

Withdrawing from the University

A student may not withdraw from all courses via “MyTSU”. Withdrawal from all courses during the semester is considered a “withdrawal from University” and must be handled through set university procedures. The first step in withdrawing during the regularly observed university schedule requires meeting with a counselor in the University Counseling Center. Students must also acquire the proper form from the Counseling Center, obtain the appropriate signatures, and submit the form to the Records Office. 

After published withdrawal deadlines have passed, the student must be assigned a grade of “F”. Requests for Administrative withdrawal from the University after that time must be documented by the student and approved by the Vice President for Student and Academic Affairs. Health problems or other extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control may be reasons for granting withdrawal from the University. Supporting documentation must be provided. 

Repeating of Courses 

Students may repeat courses in which final grades are C or lower subject to the following: 

  1. For the purpose of increasing mastery in a course where such is necessary for successful performance in a subsequent course, or 
  2. For the purpose of increasing the quality point average, 
  3. No course may be repeated more than twice except upon the advice of the major advisor and with the approval of the department chair and dean. If the student repeats a course more than twice, the grade in the third and subsequent attempts is used in calculating the quality point average. 
  4. The last grade earned will stand even if the last grade received is an “F”. All repeated courses remain on the student’s transcript with repeat notations. 
  5. Veterans receiving educational assistance benefits may not repeat courses previously passed and receive financial assistance for such. 

Correspondence Courses 

A student may receive credit for correspondence work earned from other institutions. The student must receive written approval from the Office of Admissions and Records, Department Chair and College/School Dean in order to apply these credits to his/her degree program of studies. 

Courses Taken at Other Institutions 

Students who wish to take courses at other institutions while attending Tennessee State University must complete a Permission To Enroll at Another Institution Form. The courses must be approved and the form signed, in advance, by the Chairperson of the department in which the student expects a degree. The form must be submitted to the Office of Admissions and Records and validated by the Registrar. This also applies to registration in the summer at another institution. 

Students are to adhere to the following instructions and regulations: 


  1. The student must submit the course description for which enrollment is desired. 
  2. The student must receive the approval, on this form, of the appropriate Department Chair. 
  3. The student must sign the form. 
  4. The student must return the form to Records for verification of eligibility and signature of the Registrar. 
  5. Approval is only required when course equivalency information is not available on the web site. 


  1. The student cannot be on academic probation while attending another institution. 
  2. The student must earn the last 30 hours needed for graduation at TSU. Six of these hours may be taken at another institution if prior permission is provided by the Department Chair. 
  3. All courses/grades received will be posted on the student’s records at TSU. 

The grade and quality points for those courses will be included in the calculation of the grade point average at Tennessee State. It is the student’s responsibility to request that a transcript be sent to the Office of Admissions and Records to the attention of the Registrar. 

Course work in which a grade of “F” has been earned at Tennessee State University may not be repeated at non TBR institutions for the purpose of replacing the Tennessee State University grade. Approval will not be provided for repeating courses with grade of “C” or better at another institution outside the TBR system. 

Grading System 

The following is a description of the criteria used in assigning letter grades. 

Grades Quality Points/ Semester Hour Description

A 4.0 Excellent, work of exceptional quality which indicates the highest level of attainment in a course. 
B 3.0 Good, work above average which indicates a high level of achievement.
C 2.0 Work of average quality representing substantial fulfillment of the minimum essentials of a course.
D 1.0 Poor, representing passing work but below the standards of graduation quality.
EP 0.0 Represents the successful completion of examination for credit with an equivalent grade of “C” or better.
EF 0.0 Represents the unsuccessful completion of examination for credit.
F 0.0 Failure, representing unacceptable performance in credit course.
I 0.0 Represents incomplete work of passing quality and is given when a student is unable to complete required course work because of documented medical reason or catastrophic events beyond the control of the student.
S 0.0 Represents satisfactory performance in a non-credit course.
U 0.0 Given for unsatisfactory performance in a non-credit course.
W 0.0 Represents official withdrawal from a course or the University.
AU (Audio) 0.0 Given when the student has registered and attended a course for audit rather than for credit.

Substitution of Courses

Requests to substitute courses required in the curriculum are presented to the student’s advisor. The request must meet the following conditions: 

  1. All courses being considered for substitution must meet the University’s requirements for transfer credit. 
  2. The student must have a minimum of C in the course to be used for substitution if the course is a requirement for the major. 
  3. The following credit may not be used for course substitution: 
    1. CLEP 
    2. Correspondence Course 
  4. Student may not seek substitution for a course he/she has failed. dean of the school in which the student is enrolled, must approve the request. In cases of University requirements, the Registrar has final approval. In cases of program requirement only, the academic dean has final approval. 
  5. The faculty advisor, department chair of the discipline for the substitution course, and the 
  6. Student has taken an equivalent course at TSU or another recognized institution but this course has not been equated on the TSU transfer evaluation. 
  7. Student has transferred in credit by TSU procedures and has met the course content requirement but has a credit deficiency. 
  8. Since some University degree requirements may be the same as some specialized program requirements, the policies and procedures recommended would apply to both situations. 
  9. Substitution is not to be confused with waiver. Substitution is an option to meeting program requirements, while waiver implies exemption. 
  10. Substitutions will not be allowed in meeting requirements of the 41 hour general education core. 

Policy Concerning Student Access to Education Records 


Education Records: Education Records are defined as those records, files, documents, and other materials which (1) contain information directly related to a student; and (2) are maintained by Tennessee State University or by a person acting for the University. “Records” means information recorded in any medium, including, but not limited to the following: handwriting, print, tapes, film, microfilm, and microfiche. Education records do not include (1) personal notes, (2) records available only to law enforcement personnel, (3) employment records, (4) medical and psychiatric records (these are accessible by the student’s physician). 

Student: A student is any person who is or has been enrolled at Tennessee State University. An applicant who does not enroll or who is declared ineligible has no inherent right to inspect his file. Wherever “student” is used in reference to personal rights, an eligible parent of a dependent student has similar rights. This “eligible” parent is one who has satisfied Section 52 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 and who presents such proof to the custodian of the education records. Normally this proof will be written affirmation by the student and the parent declaring that the student is a dependent for Federal Income Tax purposes. 

Directory Information: Directory information is defined as “the student’s name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous education agency or institution attended by the student.” 

At the time a student registers for courses, the student may notify the Office of Admissions and Records (this must be done in writing) that directory information for that student should not be released. This notification is effective only for the one semester for which the student is then registering. 

Access: To have access to an education record is to be allowed to see the original record. This implies the right to obtain copies of that record. 

Release of Personally Identifiable Student Education Records. Tennessee State University shall not permit access to, or the release of, any information in the education records of any student that is personally identifiable, other than Directory Information, without the written consent of the student, to any other than the following: 

  1. TSU officials and staff who have legitimate educational interest; 
  2. Officials of other schools in which the student seeks admission; 
  3. Appropriate persons in connection with a student’s application for, or receipt of, financial aid; 
  4. Federal or State officials as defined in paragraph 99.37 of the regulations concerning this law; 
  5. State and local officials authorized by State statute; 
  6. Organizations conducting studies for, or on the behalf of TSU for the purpose of assisting in accomplishing the University’s stated goals, when such information will be used only by such organizations and subsequently destroyed when no longer needed for the intended purpose; 
  7. Accrediting organizations to carry out their functions; 
  8. Parents of a dependent student as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (Written consent may be allowed from either separated or divorced parents subject to any agreement between the parents or court order. In the case of a student whose legal guardian is an institution, a party independent of the institution, appointed under State and local law to give parental consent, may be allowed to do so.); 
  9. In compliance with judicial order or subpoena, provided that the student is notified in advance of the compliance; or 
  10. Appropriate persons in connection with an emergency if such knowledge is necessary to protect the health or safety of a student or other persons. 

NOTE: With the exception of TSU officials and staff, who have been determined by the University to have legitimate educational interest, all individuals and agencies having requested or obtained access to a student’s record will be noted in a record which is kept with each student’s education record. A request must be in writing stating the purpose of the request. This record will indicate also specifically the legitimate interest that the persons or agencies had in obtaining the information. 

Procedures for Accessing Education Records 

The student requests the custodian to allow him to inspect the education record. The student may ask for an explanation and/or a copy of the education record. (The price of copies shall not exceed the cost of duplicating the record.) After consultation with the custodian, errors may be corrected at that time by the custodian. 

If there is a disagreement between the student and the custodian, after exhausting reasonable means of reconciliation with the custodian, the student may submit a request for a formal hearing. The request, and the formal challenge to the content of the records, must be presented in writing to the Chairman of the University Appeals Committee. The Chairman shall call a meeting of the committee or place this meeting no later than 45 days after receipt of the written appeal and challenge. 

The committee will allow the student to present evidence to substantiate the appeal and shall render a written decision to the student within 45 days after the meeting. 

NOTE: This procedure does not provide for a hearing to contest an academic grade. 

Rights of Access Do Not Include 

  1. Financial records of parents or any information therein; 
  2. Confidential letters and statements of recommendation which were placed in the education records of a student prior to January 1, 1975; 
  3. Records to which access has been waived by a student. (This applies only if a student, upon request, is notified of the names of all persons making confidential recommendations and if such recommendations are used solely for the purpose they were intended.) 

Informing Students 

TSU shall inform its students of its policy governing “Privacy Rights of Students Education Records” by publishing the policy in the University Catalogs and Class Schedules. 

Applicable Catalog 

Students are allowed to graduate under the requirements of the TSU catalog that was current when they entered, provided graduation is within eight (8) years of that entrance date and the program of study is still active. 

Dean’s List 

To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student (1) must have a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.00 {C}; (2) must have achieved a grade-point average of not less than 3.00 (B) for a given semester; and (3) must have carried not less than 12 semester hours of college level course work during the semester. 

Degrees with Honors 

Bachelors’ degrees with honors are awarded cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude. To be graduated cum laude, the student must earn a cumulative average of at least 3.25. To be graduated magna cum laude, the student’s cumulative average must be not less than 3.50. To be graduated summa cum laude, the student’s cumulative average must be not less than 3.75. 

Students who have participated in the Honors Program will, upon achieving an average of at least 3.25 and meeting other requirements of the Program, be graduated with university honors. 

To be eligible for honors, a student must have been in residence for not less than three semesters and must qualify as a suitable representative of Tennessee State University. 

Candidates for honors must qualify one semester prior to graduation. 

Philosophy of General Education 

Persons today are faced with a demand for a wide range of skills, knowledge, and attitudes. These demands include not only a highly specialized knowledge in a particular field of endeavor, but also a broader range of competencies and appreciations. Universities have the responsibility to assist persons to develop the specialized and general skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for leading a humane, responsible, and happy life. 

Academic departments with their programs of majors and minors are primarily responsible for developing the highly detailed and specialized skills and knowledge called for in today’s world. The general education program fosters those competencies and attitudes which are necessary to the highly educated individual regardless of his or her profession. The general education program, therefore, is not the province of an individual department or college, but is the responsibility of the University as a whole. 

In a democracy persons are autonomous individuals, but they are also members of a variety of social groups and citizens of the nation and the world. They are, in addition, creatures in a universe of natural phenomena and are themselves one of the complex phenomena in that universe. Educated persons must have more than an elementary understanding of all of these dimensions of the individual and the world, even if they cannot master the knowledge of all of these dimensions. The persons most likely to function effectively and wisely in the world, and the ones most likely to understand and appreciate their own and others’ full humanity, are those liberally educated individuals who have achieved the following goals: 

  1. Liberal Learning. An understanding of a variety of intellectual disciplines, including at least one in each of the families of disciplines the humanities and arts, the social sciences, and the mathematical and natural sciences. 
  2. Literacy. A command of various modes of communication, including writing, speaking, listening, and computational skills is required. 
  3. A Tough-Minded Rationality. Ability to define problems, construct logical arguments, and draw reasonable conclusions while at the same time maintaining sensitivity to the creative and individual nature of all thought processes. 
  4. A Receptivity to Evolving Technologies. An openness to the ever-widening variety of technologies developing world-wide and to the tools and ideas produced by these technologies. 
  5. Historical Consciousness. An awareness of the continuity of past, present, and future. 
  6. An Appreciation for Cultural Diversity. Respect-based on understanding and sensitivity-for the cultures produced by all the peoples of the world. 
  7. Intellectual Integrity. High standards of scholarship and intellectual discipline, as well as an appreciation of knowledge for its own sake. 
  8. A Habit of Lifelong Learning. Commitment to intellectual curiosity and to education in its many forms as means of pursuing both professional and personal fulfillment. 
  9. Values. An understanding and appreciation of moral and esthetic values, including how they enrich life and encourage one to live responsibly. 
  10. Physical and Mental Wellness. A knowledge of the benefits from and means of achieving physical and mental wellness. 

Learning Outcomes and Courses 

The General Education Core is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop, practice, and demonstrate essential competencies, or learning outcomes, in the areas of: (1) oral and written communication, (2) the humanities, (3) the social and behavioral sciences, (4) history, (5) the natural sciences, and (6) mathematics 

General Education Courses Approved Courses for General Education Requirements B.S. and /or B.A. Degrees Fall Semester 2004 and After

Communication - 9 Hours Required:

These three courses are required for all majors for the 120 hour curriculum.


*HIST 2030  may be taken as a substitute for either American history course 


*BIOL 2210, 2211  and BIOL 2220, 2221  approved to meet General Education requirements only for students in Nursing and Health Sciences majors. 

*BIOL 2010/2011 and BIOL 2020/2021 may be accepted for transfer students. 


Honors sections of the above referenced courses may also be used to meet General Education requirements. No course substitutions will be allowed in the approved general education core. 

For transfer students, equivalencies will be reviewed and applied to meet general education requirements as approved by the department. 

University Requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree 

A bachelor’s degree is conferred on students who are officially enrolled for the intended semester of graduation and who satisfactorily complete a curriculum in one of the departments or programs. Students should consult the curriculum requirements for their specific program in the appropriate departmental section of the Catalog (consult Index). All candidates for a bachelor’s degree must also satisfactorily complete each of the requirements of the University as listed below. 

  1. A minimum of 120 semester hours (128 for College of Engineering-engineering programs only)122 for Biology and 124 for Teacher Education Programs) with a minimum cumulative average of “C” (2.00 quality point average). Students must meet all specific minimum hours for graduation, retention requirements and GPA graduation requirements as included in each program description. 
  2. A minimum of 42 semester hours must be earned at the 3000 and 4000 level of courses 
  3. A minimum of 24 semester hours in a major with a minimum of 21 hours at the 3000 and 4000 level. Minimum number of hours as specified by major program of study must be attained. 
  4. Nine semester hours in courses designated as Communication. Of these 9 hours, six semester hours must be in English composition ( ENGL 1010  and ENGL 1020  ). Students must earn at least a “C” in each of these courses; if they earn less than a “C” in either course, they must enroll in that course the following semester and repeat it until they raise their grade to at least a “C.” An additional requirement for Communication is a three semester hour in Speech (COMM 2200 ). 
  5. Nine semester hours in humanities, including at least three semester hours in sophomore literature, from the approved General Education list. The remaining six hours may include one other sophomore literature course and one other approved course from other humanities disciplines as listed in the chart. 
  6. Six semester hours of introductory-level social behavioral science as listed in the chart. 
  7. Six semester hours of a survey of American history (HIST 2010  and HIST 2020 ). One semester of Tennessee history (HIST 2030 ) may be substituted for three of these hours. English Composition I and II (ENGL 1010  and ENGL 1020 ) are prerequisites for American History and must be successfully completed prior to enrollment. 
  8. Eight semester hours in natural sciences with accompanying taken during the same semester as listed in the chart. Students may not take a sequence of BIOL 1010, 1011 /BIOL 1110, 1111 ; BIOL 1020, 1021 /BIOL 1120, 1121 ; CHEM 1030, 1031 /CHEM 1110, 1111 ; CHEM 1040, 1041 /CHEM 1120, 1121 
  9. Three semester hours in mathematics from the approved list of General Education courses. 
  10. A (1) credit hour Orientation course is required for all students including transfer students who transfer in less than 60 credit hours from other colleges and universities. 
  11. A Senior Project or Senior Seminar. 
  12. For programs requiring 120 hours for graduation, at least one academic year in residence and at least 30 semester hours of credit earned in residence with a minimum quality point average of “C” (2.00) are required. For programs over 120 hours, a minimum of 25 percent of the total hours required for any specific degree must be taken in residence at Tennessee State University. Upon matriculation at the University, transfer hours must be approved in writing in advance by the department chair and the dean of the school or college in which the student is earning the degree. Additionally, the student must earn the last 30 hours needed for graduation in residence at TSU. Six (6) of these hours may be taken at another institution with prior written permission from the departmental advisor. 
  13. A degree seeking student may not register concurrently at Tennessee State University and at another institution and receive transfer credit for work taken at the other institution unless permission is granted in advance by the Dean of the school. This applies to correspondence, extension, electronically delivered, or evening courses as well as to regular courses in residence. In no instance can a student receive credit for more than 21 hours in a given semester. 
  14. All students must be admitted to the upper division or professional component of their major. This is normally done in the second semester of the sophomore year, or when approximately 60 hours of degree level credits have been accumulated. Students who change their majors must meet upper division admission requirements in effect for the new major at the time they seek admission to the upper division or professional component for the new major, as opposed to requirements in effect when they entered the University. Upper division admission requirements are specified by each department. 
  15. Students electing to change their major will be required to meet all general education and major requirements listed in the catalog effective at the time they officially change their major. 
  16. All students are required to take the Senior Exit Exam and any required program major field test exams prior to graduation. 
  17. It is the student’s responsibility to satisfy all degree requirements specified in his/her selected major, minor, or concentration. The University does not assume any responsibility for fees or charges based on a student’s claim of inadequate advisement. Students are responsible for reading and following the applicable catalog. 
  18. Students must be degree seeking. Non-degree seeking and special students do not qualify. 

*Students for whom transfer equivalence of “A”, “B”, or “C” in ENGL 1010  and ENGL 1020  has been accepted by the University will be determined to have satisfied the English Proficiency requirement. A transfer student with a grade of “D” or “F” in either course must repeat it until a minimum grade of “C” is achieved. Any transfer student for whom there is a question in English Proficiency will be required to complete a writing sample which is scored holistically. Transfer students who have not demonstrated English Proficiency must remove the deficiency during the first semester in residence. All non-transfer students must complete the English Proficiency requirement no later than the end of the sophomore year. 

Tennessee Board of Regents’ Minimum Degree Requirements: 

All universities and community colleges in the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) system share a common set of minimum requirements for the baccalaureate degrees or associate degrees designed for transfer. Every TBR institution incorporates the 41 hour General education core and accepts all courses designated as meeting these requirements from other TBR institutions. By insuring the transferability of course fulfilling the Minimum Degree requirements, the TBR has 

eliminated unnecessary repetition of courses by students transferring within the TBR system. A complete list of courses that satisfy the Minimum Degree Requirements at all TBR institutions is available on the TBR web page. (

University Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree 

In addition to the University Requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree, spelled out above, students who seek the Bachelor of Arts degree all candidates must obtain equivalency through the intermediate level (courses numbered 2010 and 2020 or the equivalent) in a single foreign language at the college level. Students who achieve advanced placement in a foreign language as a result of previous competency must still meet the minimum 120 hour requirements of that program of study. 

Second Major 

A second major can be earned under the same degree by meeting the following requirements: 

  1. Meet all requirements for the major listed in the Catalog at the time of admission to the program. 
  2. Complete an application with the department chair of both majors requesting permission to pursue a second major. 
  3. Must complete all general education courses required for both majors when applicable. 

Second Associate Degree

A student must complete the curriculum prescribed for the second degree, with at least 24 semester hours in residence over and above the total number of hours completed for the first degree. The student must declare a second major and be advised by both departments. 

Dual Degree Option 

A student may pursue dual degree objectives (second or double major) through declaring a major in each department offering the degree sought. The student must have a major advisor assigned from both departments and must meet all requirements for both degrees. Both degrees will be posted on the student’s transcript and a diploma will be issued for each degree. The dual degree objective should be declared as early as possible in the student’s matriculation. 

Second Bachelors Degree 

All students who hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education* may earn another bachelor’s degree in a different discipline by satisfying the following requirements: 

  • Must have minimum GPA as required for full admission into the upper division program for second degree. 
  • Complete all requirements for the major as determined by the department in which the second baccalaureate degree is sought. 
  • Complete a minimum of 30 semester hours in residence at TSU 

Any general education courses that are pre-requisites for progression in the major program must be completed as specified by the department. If the first baccalaureate degree is from a non-U.S. university, the student must complete ESL 1010, 1020, and/or pass the English Placement Test. 

Earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 and a minimum GPA of 2.0 in all coursework taken at Tennessee State University. If program minimum grade point average for graduation is higher than 2.0, the student must attain the posted required minimum GPA. 

*American institutions must be regionally accredited, and foreign institutions must be approved as “reputable” through consultation with the Director of International Student Affairs, the relevant TSU department chairs, and appropriate faculty members. 

Advanced Graduate Admission for Undergraduates 

An undergraduate senior student with a minimum total cumulative GPA of 3.0 who is enrolled in the last term of course work that will complete the requirements for a bachelor’s degree, may request advanced graduate admission to enroll in 3 to 6 hours of graduate courses provided the total course load of graduate and undergraduate credit for the semester does not exceed twelve hours. Courses for seniors are limited to first-year graduate level courses. Graduate courses may not be used for credit toward an undergraduate degree. The Combination Senior is not considered a graduate student but may apply for admission to a graduate program upon completion of the bachelor’s degree. However, advanced admission to take graduate courses does not guarantee subsequent admission to a graduate program. Courses taken for graduate credit may count toward a graduate degree when/if the student is admitted to a degree program at TSU and if approved by the program’s graduate coordinator and departmental Chairperson. The form for Advanced Graduate Admission and an Application to the Graduate School must be completed six weeks prior to the beginning of the semester in which advanced admission is sought. 

Maximum External Credit Allowed From Various Sources for the Associate Degree Program at Tennessee State University 

No more than a total of 30 semester hours of credit can be granted by a state university through any combination of external sources (Advanced Placement Program and College-Level Examination Program of the College Entrance Examination Board). Credit by examination is determined by University policy as stated in the University Catalog. Should a student be granted the maximum total of 30 semester hours of credit through external sources, he/she must still complete all specific degree requirements as given in an outlined Program of Study in order to receive an associate degree at TSU. Students must meet the 24 semester hour residence requirement, and a minimum of 20 of the final 26 hours must be completed at Tennessee State University. 

Requirements for the Associate Degree

The University requirements for an associate degree are as follows: 

  1. Completion of at least 60 semester hours of credit. Students must complete the minimum number of hours as stated in the departmental Program of Study and meet all retention and graduation policies as stated in that program. 
  2. Completion of 15-17 hours of approved general education core including a) ENGL 1010  and an approved course in b) Humanities, c) Math or Natural Science, d) Social Science e) another approved course from either of the five disciplines. 
  3. A minimum quality point average of “C” (2.00).or higher as set in specific program requirements. 
  4. Completion of a minimum of 20 of the final 26 semester hours of course work in residence at TSU. Transfer hours in the final 26 hours must be approved in advance in writing by the Department Chair of the department and the dean of the school or college in which the degree will be awarded. 
  5. Completion of specific course requirements as outlined in the student’s Program of Study. Substitutions must be approved in advance in writing by the Department Chair of the department and the dean of the school or college in which the degree is to be awarded. 

General Education Requirements for the Associate of Applied Science Degree:

Three Hours from Approved list:

  • Social Behavioral Sciences 3 Hours

Three hours from the approved list:

Natural Science or Math 3 or 4 hours

  • Natural Sciences (4 hours) from approved list or
  • 3-4 hours from approved Mathematics list
  • Other 3-4 Hours

One additional course required from either of the categories list above. See departmental requirements.

Total Required: 15-17 hours

(No course substitutions will be allowed in the approved general education core.) 

*The removal of High School deficiencies is not required for the Associates Degree. 


Falsifying Academic Records 

It is a Class A misdemeanor to misrepresent academic credentials. A person commits the offense of misrepresentation of academic credentials who, knowing that the statement is false and with the intent to secure employment at or admission to an institution of higher education in Tennessee, represents, orally or in writing that such person: 

  1. Has successfully completed the required course work for and has been awarded one (1) or more degrees or diplomas from an accredited institution of higher education; 
  2. Has successfully completed the required course work for and has been awarded one (1) or more degrees for diplomas from a particular institution of higher education; or 
  3. Has successfully completed the required course work for and has been awarded one (1) or more degrees or diplomas in a particular field or specialty from an accredited institution of higher education.