Provost Ad Interim Marie Mora, Ph.D., issued a letter in August to faculty members outlining the elimination of the Universitywide minor requirement for graduation from Metropolitan State University of Denver baccalaureate degree programs. The decision, effective in fall 2024, came after a couple of years of student-centric research, document review and consultation with faculty leaders.
Structurally, majors that require 60 or more credits are already exempt from the Universitywide minor requirement, which is over 60% of the majors on campus. The elimination of the requirement will not preclude individual programs from going through the curriculum-revision process to propose required specific minors that complement the majors.
“We do not have evidence from our campus nor in the literature that Universitywide minor requirements universally benefit students or produce better learning outcomes,” Mora wrote, adding that the University will continue to offer a robust set of minor offerings.
Mora added that the requirement often imposes additional costs to students, in some cases preventing or delaying graduation due to a lack of credit hours or GPA requirements in the minor. As most undergraduate students are transfer students, the requirement increases those students’ likelihood of graduating with well over 120 credits — and undergraduate students who change majors can exhaust their unrestricted electives. Additionally, of the 15 four-year institutions in the state, only MSU Denver and Western State Colorado University have universitywide minor requirements.
Arguments against the elimination included concerns around a phased timeline, preserving the existence of smaller departments, departmental autonomy to maintain a program-specific minor requirement as needed and confusion among students enrolled in programs with a lower amount of required courses.
“Through these points, I did not hear compelling arguments that the Universitywide minor requirement has pedagogical or andragogical benefits nor that it is aligned with the University’s mission and focus on student success,” Mora wrote. “In contrast, in my view, compelling arguments have been made in the case to recommend the elimination of the Universitywide minor requirement, most of which are student-centered.”
The Office of Academic Affairs extended the deadline for curriculum changes specifically related to the elimination of the Universitywide minor requirement from Sept. 15 to Sept. 29.
“We encourage departments concerned about the elimination of the Universitywide minor requirement to strategize on additional means to raise the visibility of these programs; these programs are important and unique components of MSU Denver’s identity,” Mora added. “The Provost’s Office will work closely with the deans and department chairs to assess the potential impact of this technical change to identify ways to mitigate them.”
Details are included in the attached document along with the 2022 Minor Requirement for Graduation Analysis document.