How to Earn a Bachelor's Degree

To earn a UAF degree, you must satisfy three sets of requirements: general university requirements, degree requirements and program (major) requirements. General university requirements and degree requirements are described in this section of the catalog; major requirements are found in the Bachelor's Degree Programs section; for bachelor's degree requirements in brief, see chart.

If your degree program is delivered collaboratively within the UA system, credits you earn from each UA institution will be counted toward fulfillment of degree requirements and the minimum institutional residency requirements. You must contact Admissions to bring any credit from another UA system in. Credits will not transfer automatically. Institutional residency requirements are the minimum number of credits you must earn from the campus where you earn a degree.

General University Requirements

For a UAF bachelor's degree, you must earn at least 120 semester credits, including transfer credits, at the 100-level or above. Of these, 39 credits must be upper-division (300-level or above), of which 24 must be UA residence credits and 15 must be UAF credits.

At least 30 semester credits applicable to any bachelor's degree must be earned at UAF. Transfer students need to earn at least 24 upper-division semester credits at UA, of which 15 must be UAF credits. Transfer students must earn at least 12 semester credits in the major and at least 3 semester credits in the minor. You must earn a C- grade or higher in all courses required for your degree, unless otherwise specified by your major (major, minor, core and degree requirements).

Unless otherwise specified, a course may be used more than once toward fulfilling degree, certificate, major and minor requirements. Credit hours for these courses count only once toward total credits required for the degree or certificate.

Since ENGL F211X and F213X are writing courses, either will satisfy the second half of the requirement in written communication for the bachelor's degree. But you can't enroll in ENGL F211X or F213X without first fulfilling the ENGL F111X requirement. (See Local Advanced Placement Credit -- English.)

TABLE 19 General University Requirements for Baccalaureate Degrees
Minimum number of credits 120 credits
Credits earned at UAF (residence credit) 30 credits
Upper-division credit (courses with numbers between F300 and F499) 39 credits total (some degrees require more); 24 of the 39 must be earned at UA and 15 at UAF
Additional UAF credit that must be earned by transfer students 12 credits in the major; 3 credits in the minor
Grade point average 2.0 cumulative and 2.0 in both the major and minor
Minimum grades for major No grade lower than C- in courses required for major. Some majors require higher GPA's for major course work.
Catalog year that can be used to determine requirements May use any catalog in effect when enrolled as a degree-seeking student, regardless of major; seven-year limit on catalog year
Second degree 24 credits beyond the first bachelor's degree and all requirements for the second degree must be met


You may declare a major when you are admitted to UAF as a degree-seeking undergraduate student. If you haven't chosen a major you'll be enrolled as a general studies student. Nondegree students are not eligible to declare a major, be assigned class standing or receive financial aid.

Students enrolled in associate degree or certificate programs who want to declare a bachelor's degree major must apply for admission to a degree program following the standard admission process for bachelor's degree programs. The same is true for students enrolled in a bachelor's degree program who want to declare an associate degree or certificate program major. (See admission requirements.)

  • Changing Your Major
    Undergraduate students may change majors by completing a change of major form available from the Office of Admissions and the Registrar or online at the registrar website. A change of major becomes effective after it is processed by the Office of Admissions and the Registrar. Graduating seniors must have change of majors submitted with their graduation application to be considered in that program.


A concentration is an area of emphasis including the major core courses within a student's degree program. Some programs at UAF require a concentration, others do not. A student may only earn one degree in a specific discipline once. Using different concentrations within a degree program to count as different degrees is not allowed. Double concentrations are permitted with departmental approval.


A minor is a component of a bachelor's degree. The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degrees require a minor. You must satisfactorily complete the requirements for a minor before a B.A. or B.A.S. degree can be awarded. A minor is optional for Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Business Administration, and Bachelor of Emergency Management degrees.

A minor from UAF consists of a minimum of 15 credits, at least 3 of which have to be earned at UAF. Students must earn a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 (C) in the minor and follow minor requirements from the same academic catalog used for their bachelor's program. An Associate of Applied Science degree or certificate of at least 30 credits earned at any regionally accredited college or university may be used to meet requirements for a minor in B.A. and B.A.S. degree programs.

Some minors require more than 15 credits and approval from the department. Refer to specific requirements listed in the Bachelor's Degree Program section. Students seeking minors can use DegreeWorks to review their options. Results in DegreeWorks will be more accurate after submitting a declaration of minor form to the Office of Admissions and the Registrar by the beginning of the senior year.

Second Bachelor's Degree

UAF graduates who want to earn a second bachelor's degree must complete at least 24 hours of credit beyond the first bachelor's degree. Students must meet all general university requirements, degree requirements and major requirements for both degrees.

Students who earned a bachelor's degree from another college or university must be accepted for admission as a transfer student. All general university requirements (including residency requirement), degree and major requirements must be met. Students who graduated from a regionally accredited college or university, however, will be considered to have completed the equivalent of the UAF baccalaureate core.

TABLE 20 Differences Between Double Majors and Double Degrees
Double Majors Double Degrees
Degree(s) earned One bachelor's degree is earned.
The Bachelor of Arts degree requires the completion of two majors rather than a major and a minor. Majors are selected from those approved for the B.A. degree.
The Bachelor of Science degree requires the completion of a double major instead of a single major. Majors are selected from those approved for the B.S. degree.
More than one bachelor's degree is earned. Can be the same degree (e.g., two BAs) or different degrees, (e.g., B.A. and B.S., B.B.A. and B.S., B.F.A. and B.A., etc.).

Each degree is independent of the other. If requirements for one degree are not completed as scheduled, the other degree may be awarded if all requirements are met.
Graduation application A single graduation application and fee is required. A separate graduation application and fee is required for each degree.
Catalog year A single catalog is followed for both majors to meet requirements. Different catalogs may be followed to meet requirements for each degree.
General university requirements and major requirements All general university requirements and all major requirements for both majors must be met. All general university requirements as well as all major and minor requirements (if any) must be met for each degree.
Credit hours required If one major is from a program that requires 120 total credits and the other major is from a program that requires 130 total credits, the 130 total credits must be completed. At least 24 semester credit hours beyond the total required for the first degree must be completed before an additional degree can be awarded.

Double Degrees

Students who want to earn more than one UAF bachelor's degree must complete all general requirements as well as all major and minor requirements (if any) for all degrees. At least 24 semester credit hours beyond the total required for the first degree need to be earned before any additional degrees can be awarded. For two degrees completed at the same time, students may follow requirements from two different catalogs.

Residence Credit

Residence credit is course credit earned through any unit of UAF. Formal classroom instruction, correspondence study, distance-delivered courses, individual study or research at UAF are all considered residence credit. On the other hand, transfer credit, advanced placement credit, credit for prior learning, military service credit and credit granted through nationally prepared examinations are not considered resident credit, nor are credit-by-examination credits earned through locally prepared tests. None of these types of credit can be applied to UAF residency requirements. UAF residence credit takes precedence over any nonresident credits. For example, if a student has AP credit for a course, but takes the same courses at UAF, the AP credit will be excluded and the UAF course will be applied to the degree requirements.

Residency Requirement

Most universities have residency requirements that call for a certain number of credits toward a degree to be earned at the degree-granting school. At UAF, the residency requirement for bachelor's degrees is 30 resident credits.

Degree Requirements and Time Limits

You may complete degree requirements in effect and published in the UAF catalog in any one of the previous seven academic years in which you are enrolled as a degree student for a bachelor's degree. You're considered enrolled in your degree program when you complete the appropriate degree student registration procedure. If you do not enroll for a semester or more, or if you enroll through the nondegree student registration process, you aren't considered enrolled as a degree student during that time.

Exceptions to Degree Requirements

Occasionally an undergraduate student may request an exception to an academic requirement or regulation. Requests for an academic dispensation must be approved by petition. If you submit a petition on the basis of a disability, the coordinator of Disability Services will be consulted. Petition forms are available at the Office of Admissions and the Registrar or online at the registrar website. Forms need to be returned to the Office of Admissions and the Registrar with required signatures of approval. The Office of Admissions and the Registrar will notify you once the appropriate person or committee has made a decision about whether to approve your petition. Academic petitions fall into three categories and each involves different processes:

  • Core Curriculum Petitions
    If your petition deals with baccalaureate core requirements, your advisor and the head of the department of the academic area involved must grant approval. Submit your signed petition to the Office of Admissions and the Registrar. It will then be forwarded to the chair of the Faculty Senate Core Curriculum Review Committee for consideration.
  • Major or Minor Degree Requirement Petitions
    If you want to waive or substitute courses within your major or minor requirements, you need approval signatures from your advisor and the department or program head of your major or minor area. Submit your signed petition to the Office of Admissions and the Registrar.
  • Petitions for Other Requirements
    If your petition deals with general university and/or specific requirements for your degree or other academic policies, you need approval from your advisor and the dean or director of the college or school in which your major is located. Submit your signed petition to the Office of Admissions and the Registrar. It will then be forwarded to the provost for consideration.

Reserving Courses for Graduate Programs

Seniors who have only a few remaining requirements for a bachelor's degree may take courses at the 400 or 600 graduate course level and have them reserved for an advanced degree. Courses reserved for use toward a graduate program cannot also be counted toward requirements for your bachelor's degree. Unless otherwise notified in writing that the courses are to be used toward the undergraduate program, 600-level graduate courses will automatically be reserved for the advanced degree. To reserve one or more courses, you must be in your final year of an undergraduate program. Submit a written request to the Office of Admissions and the Registrar during the first four weeks of the semester. The request should identify which semester courses you want reserved for graduate study and not counted toward your bachelor's degree. (Reserving courses does not, however, assure that a graduate advisory committee will accept them as part of your eventual graduate program.)


  • Responsibility
    You are responsible for meeting all requirements for graduation. You are encouraged to use DegreeWorks throughout your college career to ensure you are on track to graduate.
  • Application for Graduation
    You need to formally apply for graduation. An application for graduation and non-refundable fee must be filed with the Office of Admissions and the Registrar. We encourage students to apply the semester prior to the semester you plan to graduate. If you file your application by the published deadline, the graduation application fee is $50. If you miss that deadline, you can submit a late application for graduation by the published late graduation deadline for that semester. The fee for a late application is $80. Applications for graduation filed after the late deadline are processed for graduation the following semester. Students who apply for graduation and who do not complete degree requirements by the end of the semester must reapply for graduation and repay the fee.
  • Diplomas and Commencement
    UAF issues diplomas to graduates three times a year: in September, January and June. Students who complete degree requirements for UA Board of Regents-approved academic programs during the academic year are invited to participate in the annual commencement ceremony at the end of spring semester.
    Names of students receiving degrees/certificates appear in the commencement program and are released to the media unless you submit a written request not to do so to the graduation department. (See Information Release and FERPA.)
    Graduates are responsible for ordering caps and gowns through the UAF bookstore in early spring.
  • Graduation with Honors
    Graduation with honors is a tribute that recognizes academic achievement. Honors graduates have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher in all college work. If a student's overall cumulative GPA is 3.5 or higher, a student graduates with the distinction of cum laude; 3.75 or higher, magna cum laude; 3.9 or higher and no grade lower than A-, summa cum laude. Your cumulative GPA for graduation with honors is based on all college work attempted at UAF, including any repeated or omitted credits due to Fresh Start.
    For transfer students to be considered for graduation with honors, they must have:
    • 3.5 cumulative GPA in all attempted UAF credits, and
    • UAF residence credit of 48 semester hours for a bachelor's degree.

Once those requirements are met, a cumulative GPA is calculated combining all college work attempted at UAF, as well as all college work attempted at any other institutions you've attended, including repeated credits and any credits that may not have been accepted for transfer to UAF. The combined cumulative GPA must also be 3.5 or higher for a transfer student to graduate with honors.

Types of Bachelor's Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts
    The B.A. degree emphasizes written and oral communication skills, creative thinking, critical analyses of texts, understanding cultures, and a working knowledge of social, political and historical contexts. The degree is typically pursued by students whose major areas of study are directed toward humanities, arts and social science disciplines.
  • Bachelor of Arts and Sciences
    The B.A.S. degree encompasses the contexts of social sciences, mathematics, science, as well as culture and diversity. Students who want a foundation in these areas as well as a broad spectrum of knowledge pursue this degree.
  • Bachelor of Business Administration
    The B.B.A. degree is the undergraduate equivalent of an MBA. Students explore a wide spectrum of business-related issues to develop advanced business, management and administration skills required in organizational settings at senior levels, and to accelerate high-level career development in the workplace.
  • Bachelor of Emergency Management
    The B.E.M. degree prepares students for professional careers responding to natural and manmade disasters, forming crisis management plans and ensuring public safety. Students with backgrounds ranging from first responders and military to applied vocational skills will graduate ready to start or advance in careers in emergency management, homeland security, public safety and emergency services.
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
    The B.F.A. degree has a rigorous curriculum designed to prepare talented students for professional careers in the arts.
  • Bachelor of Music
    The B.M. degree encourages acquisition of skills and display of talent in music, with special emphasis on aesthetic performance and understanding.
  • Bachelor of Science
    The B.S. degree emphasizes oral and written communication skills and analytical skills for examining and solving problems. The degree is typically pursued by students whose major areas of study are directed toward natural sciences, mathematics, statistics, engineering, computer science and some social science fields.
  • Bachelor of Technology
    The B.T. interdisciplinary degree is designed for students with technical or vocational backgrounds who want to enhance their experiences with more advanced academic pursuits.