Academic Definitions and Terminology

Degrees and awards

Below are the general definitions of the undergraduate degrees offered by Roosevelt University. Each specific degree offered in a college has its own unique requirements for completion. Students should refer to the specific requirements listed for their chosen academic program.

Bachelor’s Degree

The U.S. Department of Education defines a bachelor’s degree as requiring at least four but not more than five years of full-time equivalent college-level work. This definition also includes bachelor's degrees in which the normal four years of work are completed in three years.

Bachelor’s degrees at Roosevelt University require the completion of at least 120 credit hours and include coursework taken at Roosevelt and coursework accepted for transfer by Roosevelt University. The final 30 credit hours toward a student's degree must be completed at Roosevelt University, or a minimum of 60 hours must be taken in residence at Roosevelt University.

Students should also be aware that some majors have additional requirements for hours in the major that must be taken at Roosevelt.

Second Bachelor’s Degree

Applicants who have received a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States are eligible for admission as second bachelor’s degree candidates. Applicants with international credentials equivalent to a bachelor’s degree from a four-year accredited U.S. university (as determined by an evaluation agency approved by Roosevelt University) are also eligible for admission as second bachelor’s degree candidates. Official transcripts from each college previously attended are required, along with the admission application and fee.

A student earning a second bachelor's degree must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours at Roosevelt University that has not been counted for any other degree. All college degree requirements may be met with transfer credit, Roosevelt University courses or a combination of both. However, specific degree requirements differ from college to college, and students should consult with their major department to discuss their requirements. Students with international credentials must consult with the appropriate college to discuss possible deficiencies in major or general education requirements.

Students with a bachelor’s degree from a four-year accredited U.S. university have met the University Writing Requirement. They do not need to take the English portion of the Roosevelt University Assessment. However, the degree being sought may have specific math requirements (e.g., science, math, business, or computer science), so the student may be required to take the mathematics portion of the Roosevelt University Assessment.

Associate's Degree

Associate's degrees are a two-year course of study that requires a minimum of 60 credits hours to be completed. These degrees can be awarded in academic or professional subjects and also in terminal career and technical programs.  Credits earned in associate degree programs can be transferred to bachelor’s degree programs under certain conditions.

 Certificates and Diplomas

Certificates and diplomas certify satisfactory completion of a post-secondary education program. All Roosevelt certificates meet the regulatory requirements of the Department of Education, the Higher Learning Commission, and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Dual Degrees

A dual degree refers to a student simultaneously completing the requirements of two distinct degree programs (such as a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts). Students pursing dual-degree bachelors programs must fulfill all of the requirements for both majors, the general education requirements for both degrees, and a minimum of 150 credit hours. Dual-degree students will be awarded two separate degrees upon completion of their programs. Examples of dual-degree students are:

  • Students completing both a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Biology.

Accelerated Bachelor’s  + Master’s Programs

Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s degree programs involve an accelerated pathway from an undergraduate degree to a graduate degree. In these accelerated programs, up to 9 credit hours of identified courses taken in the senior year of the student’s undergraduate degree program can be applied to the graduate degree program.

Program Definitions


Undergraduate students select a specific subject area in which they will specialize, called a major. Typically Roosevelt majors are between 30 and 36 credit hours (10 to 12 classes), or about one-fourth of the total hours required for a bachelor’s degree. Majors usually include core or required courses, elective courses in the major field, and possibly required courses in other fields. The remainder of the hours toward the full degree will be filled by general education courses, elective courses, and possibly a minor or concentration.

Double Major

A student with a double major completes the requirements of two distinct majors within the same degree (such as Bachelor of Arts) and in the same college. Students in double-major programs must fulfill all of the requirements for both majors and all of the general education requirements for the degree. In some cases, this may require the student to complete more credit hours than are required for the degree. Students completing a double major will receive one degree upon completing the program, and their academic transcript will list both majors. Examples of a double major are:

  • Students completing a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Psychology and an additional major in Political Science.
  • Students completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with an additional major in Mathematics.


Undergraduate students may choose one or more secondary areas of specialization, called minors, along with their majors. Minors typically require between 12 and 18 credit hours (four to six classes). Students majoring in one program often elect to complete a minor in other programs.

There are three types of minors:

  • Departmental or single-discipline minors.
  • Interdisciplinary or cross-discipline minors.
  • Thematic minors.

Students should confirm with their academic advisors that the minors they hope to pursue can be coupled with their majors.


A concentration provides a thematic focus of study through 9 credit hours or more of interrelated courses in a subject area.  Students pursuing a concentration must be enrolled in a degree program.  Concentrations are stated in the degree program sections of the Catalog.  Students should consult their academic advisor for requirements and procedures related to concentrations.

Declaration/Change of Program

To change or declare a program of study, undergraduate students must work with their academic advisor to complete a Change of Program. A form must be completed in order to change, add, or remove a degree, major, minor, certificate, or concentration. A student's official academic record will only reflect changes after the Office of the Registrar has processed the form. In some cases, changes to a program of study will not appear on a student’s record until the following term.

Other Definitions

Catalog Year

A student's catalog year determines the degree requirements for that student, based on the published catalog at that time. Typically, the catalog year is the academic year in which a student entered the university.

Any student may update their original catalog year to the current catalog year with the approval of their advisor, using the Change of Program form. Students who change majors will have their catalog year updated to the current catalog year. Former degree-seeking students who have been away for three years or more must comply with degree requirements in the current catalog.

Grade Reports

Final grade reports are available to students in RU Access, the university’s online student records system; no grade reports are mailed. The grade report includes credit hours completed, quality points and term, and cumulative grade point averages. Academic standing also is indicated on the grade report. However, grade reports are not official transcripts.

Phase-Out Programs

The university may decide to phase out certain programs at any time as conditions warrant. The university will work closely with students who are matriculating in a phase-out program to ensure that they can successfully complete a degree within an established timeline. Depending on a student’s enrollment status, progress toward completion, and availability of courses in the phase-out program, a program change may be necessary to complete a degree.

Shared Coursework

Rules governing shared coursework are as follows:

General rules governing shared coursework are as follows:

  • Credits cannot be shared between major requirements and the CORE communication, mathematics, natural science, humanities and fine and performing arts, and social science requirements. Your degree program, however, may designate or suggest specific courses for you to take to fulfill these CORE requirements.
  • Credits can be shared between CORE (General Education) requirements and a minor.
  • Credits cannot be shared between a major and a minor, between multiple majors, between multiple minors, or between multiple concentrations. 
  • Credits cannot be shared between CORE communication, mathematics, natural science, humanities and fine and performing arts, and social science requirements. 
  • For students completing an Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's degree program, up to 9 credit hours of identified courses taken in the senior year of the student’s undergraduate degree program can be applied to the graduate degree program.

Rules for Ideas of Social Justice courses:

  • Can count toward the major or minor requirement.
  • Cannot count towards the CORE communication, mathematics, natural science, humanities and fine and performing arts, and social science requirements

Rules for Experiential Learning courses:

  • Can count toward major requirements, minor requirements, and/or any other CORE requirement (with the exception of First-Year Success, Transfer Success, and Ideas courses).
  • Some programs may designate specific major/minor course requirements to fulfill one or both of the Experiential Learning requirements. 


The transcript is the official academic record for a student at Roosevelt University. Official transcripts are issued directly to institutions and employers. Students may also request a transcript marked “Issued to Student.” Information about the cost of transcripts and the procedure for ordering is available on the Transcripts website.