One exit, no double major, restricted online options: How Kerala's FYUP differ from UGC's regulations

  • Higher minimum credits per semester in Kerala compared to UGC regulations
  • No UG certificate or diploma certificate for students exiting after first and second year
  • Kerala universities are not offering honours with double major though the option is available for three-year programmes
College students
Representative image: iStock/lakshmiprasad S

Kasaragod: On July 1, universities and colleges in Kerala will be rolling out the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUGP), which has the potential to make post-graduate programmes redundant.

The University Grants Commission (UGC), the statutory agency maintaining standards in university education, has brought out the framework for the four-year undergraduate (UG) programmes that allow multiple exit and entry and establishes three broad pathways: (i) three-year UG degree, (ii) four-year UG degree (Honours), and (iii) four-year UG Degree (Honours with Research).

The regulations brought out by the universities in Kerala are mostly in line with the UGC framework but have some key differences such as higher minimum credits per semester and with the option of one exit with a certificate, that is, after the third year. There are differences among the universities, too, on the minimum credit required in a semester and the maximum credit a student can acquire online or from other institutes.

Here's the comparison between UGC's Curriculum and Credit Framework for Undergraduate Programmes (CCFUP) and the regulations put out by the University of Kerala, Mahatma Gandhi University, University of Calicut and Kannur University.

Representational Image. Photo: iStock/ Nikada

Credits for courses
The minimum credit for a course is two, and the maximum credit is four. The proposed FYUGP curriculum comprises three broad parts: one, foundation components; two, discipline-specific pathway components (DSC) called major and minor courses; and three, discipline-specific advanced components taught in the fourth year.

All major and minor courses called DSC and discipline-specific electives (DSE) will have four credits each.

All multi-disciplinary courses (MDC), ability enhancement courses (AEC) language courses, and skill enhancement courses (SEC) will be given three credits.

Summer internships, apprenticeships, and community outreach activities may require 60 hours of engagement to acquire two credits.

college student.
Representational image: IANS

Minimum credits for UG programmes
The UGC regulation has set the minimum credits for one semester at 20; the minimum credits for three-year UG programmes at 120; and four-year UG programmes at 160.

Kerala: Universities in Kerala have set a higher bar, with the minimum credits for one semester in the range of 21 to 24 credits.

The minimum number of credits for three-year UG programmes at 133; and four-year UG programmes at 177 credits.

In a meeting with the Higher Education Minister R Bindu on May 14, teachers' associations expressed concern that the higher minimum credits could discourage students from joining colleges in Kerala.

However, V Shafeeque, the Research Officer on special duty for Kerala State Higher Education Reforms Implementation Cell, told the meeting that the government increased the credits for UG and Honours courses to protect the workload of teachers.

Maximum credits
UGC has not set a cap on the maximum number of credits a student can acquire in a semester or a programme.

University of Kerala: The maximum number of credits a student can acquire per semester is 28. (That is, students can pick only two extra courses other than the mandatory courses in a semester.) Students may acquire 150 credits for three-year programmes and 200 credits for four-year programmes.

MG University: The maximum number of credits that a student can earn per semester is 30. So, a student can acquire up to 180 credits for six-semester UG programmes and 240 credits for four-year programmes.

University of Calicut: The maximum number of credits that a student can earn per semester is 30, the same as MG University.

Kannur University: Students can acquire a minimum of 16 credits and a maximum of 30 credits

Representational photo | Shutterstock images

Cap on credits from online courses
UGC regulations do not set a cap on credits from online courses. UGC gives students the "flexibility to switch to alternative modes of learning (offline, open and distance learning (ODL), and online learning, and hybrid modes of learning)".

University of Kerala: A student should register for the mandatory 21 to 24 credits per semester from the home institute. However, they may enrol for an extra four to seven credits online or with another institute within or outside the university. However, the cumulative credits cannot exceed 28. In the 8th semester, students, who are not doing projects, will be allowed to do three courses online or offline for 12 credits. Those who are doing projects may do two courses online for eight credits.

MG University: A student has to earn only 16 credits per semester from the home institute. They may earn the remaining mandatory credits and the extra credits up to 14 credits from online courses or other institutes. (MG has a cap of 30 credits per semester and gives more flexibility to students on online courses.)

Calicut University: A student can acquire a maximum of 180 credits for a three-year UG programme and 240 credits for a four-year course. The additional 57 credits (above the mandatory 133 credits) in the three-year programme and 63 credits (above the mandatory 177 credits) can be acquired through online courses, subject to the cap of 30 credits per semester.
In the eighth semester, students can earn a maximum of 16 credits to complete the minimum credits required for the award of the four-year Honours degree.

Kannur University: Online courses are not encouraged in the first six semesters. (But the department may prescribe online courses if it does not have teaching hours for the mandatory credits.)

Students may opt for more credits from outside the institute in the 7th and 8th semesters. Students can earn up to only 12 credits.

Multiple exit and entry
According to the UGC framework, students are eligible for a 'UG certificate' if they secure 40 credits in the first year, and do a vocational course of four credits during the summer vacation of the first year.

Students exiting after two years with 80 credits will be awarded a 'UG diploma' if they complete one vocational course of four credits during the summer vacation of the second year.
Students will be awarded a 'UG degree certificate' after three years if they secure 120 credits.

A four-year UG Honours degree in the major discipline will be awarded to those who complete a four-year degree programme with 160 credits.

Students who secure 75% marks and above in the first six semesters and wish to undertake research at the undergraduate level can choose a research stream in the fourth year. They should do a research project in the major discipline. The students who secure 160 credits, including 12 credits from a research project/ dissertation, are awarded a UG Degree (Honours with Research). Such students are eligible to directly join PhD programmes by skipping postgraduate programmes.

Kerala: The four universities in Kerala, however, would allow students only one early exit with a degree, that is after three years. Students completing a minimum of 133 credits will be given an undergraduate Bachelor's degree.

However, a student exiting before the third year will be given a 'course cum credits certificate' to help them re-enter the programme after the break.

Teachers said that the universities are not inclined to give UG certificates and UG diplomas on early exit to protect their workload.

Students discontinuing the three-year programme should complete it in six years and the four-year programme should be completed in eight years.

Slow-paced and fast-track degrees
Universities in Kerala allow students to complete the three-year undergraduate programmes (six semesters) in four to five years (eight to 10 semesters), and four-year honours programmes in five to six years (10 to 12 semesters).

Universities also allow students to complete their UG programmes faster if they earn the required credits through online courses. Students are allowed to complete a three-year bachelor's programme in five semesters and a four-year honours programme in seven semesters.

University of Calicut would allow inter-collegiate transfer only in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th semesters. It will be allowed only once in the entire programme. Inter-university transfer shall be permitted only in the 3rd, 5th and 7th semesters.
College transfer with switching in major and minor courses is permitted only in the 3rd semester.

Double major
UGC: According to the UGC framework, a student will be awarded a bachelor's Degree in one major discipline if they secure around 50% of the total credits in that discipline, that is 60 credits.

A student can earn a degree in a double major if they secure 40% of the total credits from the second major discipline. For example, if a student enrols for a double major in Economics and Mathematics in a three-year UG programme (with 120 credits), they should secure 60 credits in Economics and 48 credits in Mathematics.

Similarly, in a four-year programme (with a minimum of 160 credits), students can earn a double major honours degree if they secure 80 credits in the first major and 64 credits in the second major.

Kerala: Universities in Kerala do not extend the double major pathway to the fourth year. That is, there is no double major honours.

In Kerala, students will have to earn a minimum of 68 credits in Economics and 53 credits in Major Mathematics out of the total credits of 133 to qualify for a UG degree with a Double Major in the two disciplines.

In the fourth year, they can continue with either Economics or Mathematics as a major for an honours degree.

If they picked Economics, their degree would read 'BA Economics and BSc Mathematics Double Major, with honours in Economics'.

If the student picks Mathematics (the second major) in honours, they will have to make up for the shortage of 15 credits through in-person or online courses.
Teachers' organisations have asked the government to bring in more clarity on double major courses.

Internship and project
All students must do an internship for their three-year or four-year degrees, according to the regulations and framework of all the four universities in Kerala.

According to the regulations, universities and higher education institutes will provide students with opportunities for internships in local industries, business organisations, the agriculture sector, health and allied sectors, local government institutions (such as panchayats and municipalities), State Planning Board, State Councils and Boards, with elected people's representatives, media organisations, artists, and craftspersons. The internship at the end of the third year will have two credits.

Students opting for the four-year honours degree could either do a research project for 12 credits, or an optional project plus one major course (8+4 credits) or three major courses instead of the optional project in the eighth semester.

Students opting for honours with a research degree must do a project (12 credits) and publish or present the findings in a seminar.

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