12:00 AM

Board approves reduction in hours required to graduate

COLUMBUS –In a move that Provost Barbara R. Snyder called a university milestone, Ohio State's Board of Trustees approved a reduction from 191 to 181 in the number of hours required for earning a bachelor's degree at its meeting Friday (6/1). The decision followed approval by the University Senate last month.

"Now our students will be much more likely to graduate in four years, like those at Michigan, UCLA and our other benchmark institutions," Snyder said. The new credit hour requirements will begin this fall for incoming freshmen.

The reformed undergraduate curriculum results from recommendations released in late 2005 after a 10-month study by Ohio State's Committee for the University-wide Review of Undergraduate Education. The 13-member committee, which included faculty and an undergraduate student, were charged by Snyder to give special attention to the basic non-major education requirements.

"I am pleased that the Ohio State Faculty Council and University Senate overwhelmingly approved the reduction in minimum hours to degree and the modest changes to the general education requirements," said Allan Silverman, chair of the Faculty Council and professor of philosophy.

"At a major university, whether public or private, few changes are harder to make. Not only will these changes help students and parents with the financial burdens of college, which can impact how much time a student can devote to studies, but they will also allow students greater flexibility, whether to pursue more courses relevant to their major, or simply to learn new things," he said.

With the move to year-round competitive admissions on the Columbus campus in 2003, the academic profile of Ohio State's undergraduate student body has risen steadily each year, said Snyder. "We are becoming a destination university for undergraduates. In fact, more than 22,000 hopefuls have applied for admission this fall. That's 20 percent more than last year at this time and, I believe, an all-time record.

“It's vital that we provide an undergraduate education that best serves these well-prepared students, and allows them to advance more quickly on their chosen career paths."

Reducing the number of hours required for a degree will also have significant impact on the cost of an Ohio State education, said Snyder. "Having to stay even an extra quarter to complete course requirements can have a financial impact on students and their families."

Snyder acknowledged that Ohio State's 191-hour requirement was top-heavy in comparison with peer institutions. "This change will position Ohio State more competitively among other major public universities throughout the nation."

"The faculty is always eager to enhance the undergraduate educational experience at Ohio State,&ldquo" added Silverman. "I am optimistic when all is said and done that we will have simplified and strengthened the undergraduate curriculum and made an Ohio State undergraduate degree even more valuable."