Standard III - Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience

An institution provides students with learning experiences that are characterized by rigor and coherence of all program, certificate, and degree levels, regardless of instructional modality. All learning experiences, regardless of modality, program pace/schedule, level, and setting, are consistent with higher education expectations.

Assemble the following, as appropriate:

  • Student catalogs, handbooks, course catalogs, and other information regarding the student learning experience
  • Program development and approval procedures
  • Faculty review procedures
  • Processes and procedures relevant to the design and delivery of the student learning experience

This standard includes the following Criteria, which explicate the standard and specify particular characteristics or qualities that are incorporated in the standard. The Criteria are not a simple checklist. When an institution does not demonstrate evidence of a particular Criterion, it may demonstrate through alternative information that it meets the standard.

Standard III Criteria Documents, Processes, and Procedures

1.  Certificate, undergraduate, graduate and/or professional programs leading to a degree or other recognized higher education credential, designed to foster a coherent student learning experience and to promote synthesis of learning.

2.  Student learning experiences that are:

a.  designed, delivered, and assessed by faculty (full-time or part-time) and /or other appropriate professionals who are rigorous and effective in teaching, assessment of student learning, scholarly inquiry, and service, as appropriate to the institution's mission, goals, and policies;

b.  designed, delivered, and assessed by faculty (full-time or part-time) and /or other appropriate professionals who are qualified for the positions they hold and the work they do;

c.  designed, delivered, and assessed by faculty (full-time or part-time) and /or other appropriate professionals who are sufficient in number;

d.  designed, delivered, and assessed by faculty(full-time or part-time) and /or other appropriate professionals who are provided with and utilize sufficient opportunities, resources, and support for professional growth and innovation;

e.  designed, delivered, and assessed by faculty (full-time or part-time) and /or other appropriate professionals who are reviewed regularly and equitably based on written, disseminated, clear, and fair criteria, expectations, policies, and procedures.


3.   Academic programs of study that are clearly and accurately described in official publications of the institution in a way that students are able to understand and follow degree and program requirements and expected time to completion. 

4.  Sufficient learning opportunities and resources to support both the institution's programs of study and students' academic progress. 

Undergraduate Support

Graduate Support

5.  At institutions that offer undergraduate education: A general education program, free standing or integrated into academic disciplines, that:

a.  offers a sufficient scope to draw students into new areas of intellectual experience, expanding their cultural and global awareness and cultural sensitivity, and preparing them to make well-reasoned judgments outside as well as within their academic field;

b.  offers a curriculum designed so that students acquire and demonstrate essential skills including at least oral and written communication, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, technological competency, and information literacy. Consistent with mission, the general education program also includes the study of values, ethics, and diverse perspectives;

c.  In non-US institutions that do not include general education, provides evidence that students can demonstrate general education skills.

6.  In institutions that offer graduate and professional education, opportunities for the development of research, scholarship, and independent thinking, provided by faculty and/or other professionals with credentials appropriate to graduate-level curricula. 

7.  Adequate and appropriate institutional review and approval on any student learning opportunities designed, delivered, or assessed by third party providers. 

Not Applicable.

8.  Periodic assessment of the programs providing student learning opportunities.