May 26, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog

Graduation Requirements

Graduation Ceremonies

Formal graduation exercises are held annually at the end of the spring semester at Howard College and SWCD. These exercises are for those students who are completing requirements during that spring semester or who have completed requirements during the preceding summer or fall semesters. If a student has not completed all program requirements by the end of the spring semester but is able to reasonably complete requirements during the upcoming summer terms (in consultation with an advisor), they may be allowed to participate in a spring ceremony with permission from the Administrative Dean or his/her designee. Students will be notified when they are within seventeen hours of completing program requirements. A student’s degree and/or certificate is conferred when all program requirements have been met. Students will be notified about formal graduation activities and will be asked to confirm participation.

Catalog Restrictions

A student is expected to complete the certificate/degree requirements set forth in a particular Howard College/SWCD catalog. Normally this will be the catalog in effect at the time the student enters the college. A student must then be continuously enrolled under the catalog in effect. If the student does not attend one or more semesters and re-enrolls, the student will then use the catalog in effect at the time of re-enrollment.

Only with the specific approval of the Vice President Academic Affairs may a different catalog be selected. In no case may a student complete the requirements set forth in a catalog more than seven years old. When necessary, a catalog issued later than the student’s first registration may be selected by the Vice President Academic Affairs in conference with the student.

The catalog is updated each summer, and its provisions apply during the following school year, September through August. However, a student who registers for the first time in the college during a summer session is subject to the degree requirements set forth in the catalog effective for the fall semester immediately following the initial enrollment. Because the college must retain flexibility to improve its curriculum, course offerings may be changed during the student’s education. If a course required under a previous catalog is no longer offered, a student eligible to graduate according to that catalog should consult an adviser to identify another course that may be used to fulfill the requirement.

Because of the rapid changes occurring in Career Technical Education fields today, course work taken in a major field of study or Career Technical Education courses directly related to that major field may not be accepted in transfer to satisfy specific Associate of Applied Science or Certificate program requirements. The appropriate Division Director must approve the acceptance of course credit in transfer when the course work was completed five years or longer before entering the Howard College/SWCD program of study. This also applies to returning students when Career Technical Education courses that are applicable to degree or certificate programs and the course content has changed to the point that retraining is necessary to ensure that the student has marketable skills for the degree/certificate pursued.

Requirements for Associate Degrees
Howard College/SWCD awards the following degrees: Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT), and Associate of Applied Science (AAS). In addition to the course work of the individual’s degree plan, the requirements below must be met. Exceptions to the individual’s degree plan or any of the requirements below can only be made upon the approval of the Vice President Academic Affairs.

  1. Completion of all admission requirements.
  2. Completion of at least 25% of the hours required for the degree is to be earned from Howard College/SWCD.
  3. Achievement of a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale for all Howard College/SWCD course work used to satisfy degree plan requirements.
  4. Satisfactory completion of all financial obligations.
  5. Satisfactory completion of the core curriculum for each degree as listed in this catalog. All students are expected to display competency in reading, writing, oral communication, and math skills prior to receiving an Associate Degree.
  6. Satisfactory completion of the Texas Success Initiative requirements.

Reverse Transfer
Reverse transfer is a process specifically designed to allow students who transfer to a four-year college or university prior to earning an associate degree to be awarded that credential while pursing the baccalaureate. Texas requires public institutions to participate in reverse transfer according to specific guidelines set forth in Texas Education Code Section 61.833 (Credit Transfer for Associate Degree). Students eligible for a Reverse Transfer Associate Degree must meet Howard College / SWCD’s requirements for associate degrees listed above.

Awarding of Degree Posthumously
Upon request the Board of Trustees may award a degree posthumously to a student in good standing when the death of a student occurs in the semester scheduled for graduation.

Requirements for Certificates

  1. Completion of all admission requirements.
  2. Completion of at least eight semester hours credit from Howard College.
  3. Achievement of a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale for all HC course work used to satisfy degree plan requirements.
  4. Satisfactory completion of all financial obligations.
  5. Satisfactory completion of Texas Success Initiatives requirements (if required).
  6. An official degree (certificate) check by the Advising Department is required.

Individual Courses of Study
The degree requirements outlined in this publication are intended to provide general information for students who are seeking a college degree. Howard College/SWCD emphasizes the importance of individualized attention so that each student may realize his or her academic goals with a minimum of problems or delay. It is essential that students work closely with their academic advisors to establish a plan of educational objectives.

The AA, AS, and AAT degrees are for students who intend to transfer to a senior institution. Students should select courses based upon the requirements of the senior institution to which they plan to transfer. Students must complete the general education core and additional academic work to receive the AA, AS, or AAT degrees. Substitutions for any course in the general education core may be made only with the prior approval of the Vice President Academic Affairs.

Students seeking the Associate of Applied Science degree or Certificate must complete the courses outlined in the degree plans of this publication. Substitution for any course in the AAS degree or Certificate requires prior approval of the Vice President Academic Affairs.

Students desiring to transfer course work to Howard College/SWCD to be applied toward a degree or certificate must have their transcripts evaluated during their first semester of enrollment. Transcript evaluation is conducted by the Registrar’s Office and approved by the appropriate instructional officer.

Learning Framework
All students enrolled in transfer degree programs (AA, AS, or AAT) are encouraged to complete Learning Framework (EDUC 1100  or PSYC 1100) within the first year of enrollment (prior to completing 24 semester credit hours.) All students placed on academic probation will be required to enroll in Learning Framework the next semester they enroll if they have not successfully completed the course with a grade of “C” or better. Career Technical students are highly encouraged to enroll in this course as it is designed to improve learning skills. Learning Framework is a study of the 1) research and theory in the psychology of learning, cognition, and motivation; 2) factors that impact learning; and 3) application of learning strategies. Theoretical models of strategic learning, cognition, and motivation serve as the conceptual basis for the introduction of college-level student academic strategies. Students use assessment instruments (e.g., learning inventories) to help them identify their own strengths and weaknesses as strategic learners. Students are ultimately expected to integrate and apply the learning skills discussed across their own academic programs and become effective and efficient learners. Students developing these skills should be able to continually draw from the theoretical models they have learned.

LEADS (Learn Experience Achieve Defined Success)
The Howard College LEADS (Learn Experience Achieve Defined Success) program is a multi-faceted first-year experience program designed to create a foundation and culture of learning and engagement for students at Howard College. Eligible students will be required to enroll in the program as incoming students in the fall and will be involved in LEADS activities throughout the spring semester.

Eligible students:

  1. First Time in College (includes students graduating high school with dual credit hours)
  2. College Ready: TSI complete in at least one of the three areas of math, reading, and writing
  3. Full Time Student: Enrolled in at least 12 hours

Students will be enrolled in EDUC 1100 - Learning Framework . Students will be assigned to a course cluster with other students based upon their chosen major or career path. The course clusters are:

  • Health Sciences
  • Business & Industry
  • Arts & Humanities
  • STEM
  • Public Service
  • General Studies