Bachelor of Applied Science Degrees

SP 9-30

EFFECTIVE: April 26,2016
REVISED: June 29, 2018

REFERENCES: Board Policy (BP) 9-30, Approval of Educational Programs; C.R.S. 23-60-201; C.R.S. 23-60-211; and C.R.S. 23-1-133


/ Nancy J. McCallin /
Nancy McCallin, Ph.D.
System President


This procedure applies to Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degrees offered by the Community Colleges within the Colorado Community College System (CCCS or System).


Board Policy 9-30, Approval of Educational Programs, states that all postsecondary certificate programs and all degree programs offered within CCCS must have the approval of the Board and delegates to the System President the authority to develop procedures to implement the Policy.


B.A.S. degrees within CCCS should be developed and implemented based on the following principles:

  1. New B.A.S. program requests are to be submitted using the Request for Degree Approval and Substantive Change Application form developed for the Higher Learning Commission and CCCS.
  2. Colleges will require that a minimum 30 of the 120 credits for the B.A.S degree be credits earned at the institution itself, through arrangements with other accredited institutions, or through contractual relationships approved by the Higher Learning Commission.
  3. Additional general education courses that are required will be selected from the System’s existing course inventory. No B.A.S. specific upper-level general education courses should be developed, unless required for program accreditation.
  4. General education requirements will be consistent with the philosophy and framework developed by the State Faculty Curriculum Committee.
  5. Upper-division courses will meet the guidelines of the course-level rubric developed by the State Faculty Curriculum Committee.
  6. Existing faculty load and salary guidelines will apply to faculty teaching upper-division B.A.S. degree courses.
  7. B.A.S. degrees should be designed as a stackable credential, with the intent that students first complete their A.A.S. degree or certificate prior to enrolling in the B.A.S. degree program. It is understood that there may be exceptions to this practice, primarily due to students who transfer from other institutions or other programs outside CCCS.
  8. Evidence demonstrating projected student interest and employer demand for graduates will be documented and based on valid, reliable and comprehensive data.
  9. Program tuition for upper-division courses will be established for each new degree program and based on the additional costs incurred to operate the new program. A rationale will be developed for the tuition rate. The Board must approve upper-level tuition rates.

Revising this Procedure

CCCS reserves the right to change any provision or requirement of this procedure at any time and the change shall become effective immediately.

Attachment A

Bachelor of Applied Science Degree Application Checklist

Completion of the attached materials and documentation will provide the needed information required of all the Boards and agencies that will be reviewing and approving Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degrees.

Prior to completing the application materials, it is highly recommended that the institution review the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) guidance, “Two-Year Institutions Seeking to Offer the Baccalaureate Degree: Considerations of Readiness” found on the HLC website.

Pre-approvals should be obtained from the College President and the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) Vice President of Academic Affairs. Once all items have been completed on the checklist below, the application materials should be submitted to the CCCS Vice President of Academic Affairs Office, in order to begin the official approval process.

Note: The key below indicates whether the requirement is System, State or accreditation (Higher Learning Commission).

Key Definition
1 System Requirement
2 State Requirement (SBCCOE and CCHE)
3 HLC Requirement

Pre-Approvals Needed:

  • Pre-Approval from College President1
  • Pre-Approval from System Vice President of Academic Affairs1

List of Approvals Needed before B.A.S Degrees can be Offered:

  • Approval by college Curriculum Committee
  • Approval of new courses by State Faculty Curriculum Committee and Educational Services Vice Presidents1
  • Approval from System office1
  • Approval by State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE)2 Reference Colorado Senate Bill (SB) 14-004
  • Approval by Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) and Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE)2 Reference SB 14-004
  • Approval by Higher Learning Commission (HLC)<sup>3) Reference HLC Guidelines for Two-Year Institutions Seeking to Offer the Baccalaureate Degree: Considerations of Readiness.
  • Approval by U.S. Department of Higher Education
  • Approval by U.S. Department of Veterans Administration
  • Program Accreditation Approval (if necessary, Reference HLC Guidelines)

Estimated Timeline for Approval

This process takes approximately 13-16 months to complete. It breaks down as follows:

Step Estimated Time for Completion
CCollege Initial Assessment College to determine length of time needed
System Pre-Approval—Early Stages 1 month
College Assessment/Curriculum Planning College to determine length of time needed
State Faculty Curriculum Committee Approval (new courses) 1 month
System Review 1 month
SBCCOE Approval 1 month
CDHE Review 1 month
CCHE Approval 1 month
HLC Approval 6-9 months

Document Requirements:

Complete the HLC Substantive Change Application for Colorado Community College System B.A.S Degrees. Please request copy of the application form from the CCCS Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Key Assessments to be included or attached to the HLC Substantive Change Application:

  • Assessment to ensure program is cost-effective for students
  • Evidence that the proposed degree does not compete with programs offered at Colorado public four–year institutions
  • The program’s projected budget, including estimated revenues and expenses associated with the program
  • The program’s projected facility and equipment costs, including estimated licensing, and maintenance costs, if applicable
  • The effect of the proposed program on existing programs in terms of finances, enrollment, and staffing
  • Employer Needs Assessment (Conducted by third party)
  • Student Interest Assessment (Conducted by third party)
  • Faculty and staffing needs analysis
  • Analysis of student support services, including library resources
  • Other assessments, as appropriate