× LoneStarCollegeALERT:

Visit LoneStarCollegeAlert for more information.

V.B. Curriculum - Instructional Program and Courses

V.B.1. Curriculum Design

The Chancellor shall establish procedures for the development, approval and revision of courses and programs of instruction offered by the System to assure their quality, responsiveness to community needs and compliance with appropriate accrediting, articulation, and regulatory standards.

V.B.1.01 Policy

The Board shall finance, provide and supervise educational programs consistent with the System's purpose for students of all ages.

V.B.1.02 Annual List of Courses

The Board annually shall submit to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (Coordinating Board) a comprehensive list of the core curriculum as well as any proposed changes to the course and program inventory for each college. The list shall include a description of the content, scope, and prerequisites of all those courses that will be offered by the System during the following academic year.

All changes in course and program offerings shall be submitted on dates designated by the Coordinating Board.

V.B.1.03 Minimum Length of Courses

The minimum length for organized courses offered by the System shall be as follows:

  1. All shortened courses shall consist of the same number of class contact hours as similar courses offered in a regular session or summer session. Courses shall also have the same objectives, requirements, and quality of instruction as regular length courses.
  2. Students may not carry more courses at a time than the total credit of one semester credit hour per week of instruction.
  3. A three credit-hour course shall consist of no fewer than nine days of classes offered over no less than three (3) weeks.
  4. All the above requirements for three-credit-hour courses shall apply proportionately to courses for one, two, four, or other credit hour values.
  5. The Commissioner of Higher Education is authorized to permit exceptions to this section for research purposes, to determine the efficacy of teaching a specific course in a shortened format.

V.B.1.04 Academic Calendar

Upon recommendation by the Chancellor, the Board of Trustees shall annually adopt an official calendar for the college district in accordance with the policies of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.


LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

V.B.2. Academic Courses

V.B.2.01 Core Curriculum Defined

"Core Curriculum" means the curriculum in liberal arts, humanities, sciences, and political, social, and cultural history that all undergraduate students of an institution of higher education are required to complete before receiving an academic undergraduate degree.

V.B.2.02 Adoption of Core Curriculum

The System shall adopt a core curriculum of not less than 42 semester credit hours, including specific courses comprising the curriculum. The core curriculum shall be consistent with the common course numbering system approved by the THECB and with the statements, recommendations, and rules issued by the THECB. The System's core curriculum shall be designed to satisfy the exemplary educational objectives specified for the component areas adopted by the THECB.

V.B.2.03 Evaluation of Core Curricula

The System shall review and evaluate its core curriculum and applicable field of study curricula at intervals specified by the Coordinating Board, and shall report the results of that review to the Coordinating Board.  The evaluation criteria are specified by the Coordinating Board.  The System must submit a Core Curricula Evaluation Report according to the timelines and criteria established by the Coordinating Board.

V.B.2.04 Field of Study Curriculum Defined

"Field of Study Curriculum" means a set of courses that will satisfy the lower division requirements for a bachelor's degree in a specific academic area at a general academic teaching institution.

V.B.2.05 Evaluation of Field of Study Curricula

The System shall review and evaluate its procedures for complying with field of study curricula at intervals specified by the THECB, and shall report the results of that review to the THECB.  These reports shall be submitted following the same timetable as the regular reports of core curriculum evaluations.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on May 1, 2014

V.B.3. Technical and Workforce Courses

V.B.3.01 Workforce Educational Program

The Board shall be authorized and empowered to finance, provide and supervise career and technical courses for students in the System.

V.B.3.02 Definitions

"Workforce education" means technical courses and programs for which semester credit hours or for which continuing education units are awarded. Workforce education courses and programs prepare students for immediate employment after completion of an associates of applied sciences (AAS) or certificate or job upgrade within specific occupational categories.

"Certificate program" is defined as a workforce education programs, credit or non-credit, designed for entry-level employment or for upgrading skills and knowledge within an occupation. Certificate programs typically serve as building blocks and exit points for AAS degree programs.

"A workforce course, credit or non-credit," is defined as a course offered with an occupationally specific objective and supported by state funding. A workforce continuing education course differs from a community service course, which is offered for recreational or avocation purposes and is not supported by state funding.

"Workforce education" means technical courses and programs for which semester credit hours are awarded and vocational courses and programs for which continuing education units are awarded. Workforce education courses and programs prepare students for immediate employment or job upgrade within specific occupational categories.

V.B.3.03 General Provisions

The System may classify workforce courses as earning semester/quarter credit hours or continuing education units (CEUs) based on THECB rules. Contact hours reported for workforce education courses which result in either credit hours or CEUs shall be eligible for formula funding. A course or program that meets or exceeds 360 hours in length must be approved as a workforce certificate program by THECB staff, following policy. A course or program that meets or exceeds 780 hours in length must result in the award of appropriate semester/quarter credit hours and be applicable to a certificate or an applied associate degree (AAS) program.

V.B.3.04 Approval of Programs

In accordance with the Guidelines for Instructional Programs in Workforce Education (GIPWE) as approved by THECB, if the System wishes to offer a new certificate or applied associate degree program it must meet the following requirements:

  1. Completed application forms and a statement of assurances must be approved by the Board and the Chancellor, and then forwarded to THECB's Community and Technical Colleges Division.
  2. The statement of assurances must certify that THECB's criteria for new programs have been met.

V.B.3.05 Review Process

Once the program requirements have been met, the Coordinating Board staff may schedule the program for formal program review. This review process shall be conducted by representatives from the System, the Coordinating Board staff, and other appropriate agencies and institutions of higher education. Lone Star College will also conduct an internal program review for each workforce program on a four-year cycle and present results to the Chancellor and Board.

V.B.3.06 Procedures to Revise Program

If the System wishes to revise an existing certificate or applied associate degree program, it must complete the procedures as outlined in the Coordinating Board-approved Guidelines for Instructional Programs in Workforce Education (GIPWE), as follows:

  1. All programs must be under the direction of an administrator having appropriate authority to ensure that quality is maintained, and that programs are conducted in compliance with all applicable laws and rules. Administrative officers must possess credentials, work experience, and/or demonstrated competence appropriate to their areas of responsibility, as specified by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges ("SACS").
  2. Faculty and staff must be approved by the post-secondary institution. Each individual must meet the minimum qualifications established by the Coordinating Board and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on May 7, 2015

V.B.3.07 Substantive Change

Employees with responsibility for initiating, reviewing, approving, or alocating resources to make changes in any of the institution's programs or activities, whether academic or nonacademic, are expected to remain knowledgeable of current rules and requirements.  Individuals involved in proposing an implementing substantive changes are required to coordinate their efforts with the Executive Council and the SACS-COC liaison.  Notification of substantive changes will be submitted to, and approved by, accrediting or approval agencies prior to implementation of the changes.  All substantive changes must come before the Executive Council for final action.

LSCS Policy Manual Section V.B.3.07 adopted by Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

V.B.4. Miscellaneous Program Guidelines

V.B.4.01 State Funding

No funds appropriated to the System shall be expended for any program which has not been approved by the Commissioner or the Assistant Commissioner for Academic Affairs and Research, or, when applicable, by the Coordinating Board.

V.B.4.02 Continuing Education Courses

Contact hours reported for workforce education courses, which result in continuing education units (CEUs) shall be eligible for formula funding. Workforce continuing education courses with fewer than seven (7) contact hours of instruction will not receive state funding unless the specific type and length of instruction are required by local, state, or national licensing certifying, regulatory, or accrediting agencies.

V.B.4.03 Military and Naval Training

The Board may request the United States Department of Defense to establish and maintain courses in military and naval training, qualifying graduates of the courses for Reserve Commission awards, as part of its curriculum. The Board may enter into mutually agreeable contracts for that purpose. The work of the students enrolling in the courses may be credited toward degree requirements under regulations prescribed by the Board.

V.B.4.04 Medically Related Courses; Counseling & Social Work Courses

The curricula of medical, dental, nursing, allied health, counseling and social work degree or certificate programs shall:

  1. include information about methods of transmission and methods of prevention of HIV infection, and information about federal and state laws, rules and regulations concerning HIV infection and AIDS.
  2. give special attention to the physical, emotional, and psychological stress associated with the care of patients with terminal illnesses.

V.B.4.05 Evaluation

The Chancellor shall implement procedures to ensure that the courses, programs, and services provided by the colleges are subject to effective evaluation so as to assure their quality.

V.B.4.06 Human Subjects Research

The System will provide an Institutional Review Board (IRB) and process to protect students and others participating in human subject's research.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

V.B.5. Degrees and Degree Plans

V.B.5.01 Compensatory Courses (Including Developmental and Remedial)

Courses designated as compensatory in the Academic Course Guide Manual may not be used to satisfy degree requirements. Such courses may be used as co-requisites or prerequisites for degree courses, as determined by the System.

V.B.5.02 General Degree Requirements

Within five (5) years of initial enrollment in credit courses at the colleges of The System, a student may graduate according to the catalog in effect at the time of first enrollment, or any subsequent catalog, provided that the requisite courses are still being offered. If a student fails to complete within five (5) years all requirements of the catalog in effect at the time of initial enrollment, the student shall be required to graduate under a catalog not older than five (5) years. Exception to this requirement may be approved by the Chief Instructional Officer in extenuating circumstances.

V.B.5.03 Degree Requirements Published

Requirements for all degree and certificate programs offered by the System shall be reflected in the college catalog, and shall comply with all requirements and regulations of the Coordinating Board, and other required accrediting agencies.


LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

V.B.6. Special Program Requirements: Adult and Continuing Education

V.B.6.01 Adult Education

Basic adult education programs shall be provided by the System in accordance with state statute and regulations and standards formulated by the State Board of Education.

V.B.6.02 Continuing Education

The Chancellor shall ensure that the colleges offer a comprehensive program of continuing education opportunities for citizens of the System. The Chancellor shall further ensure that the programs are appropriate to the System's mission, accessible to citizens through the System, and in compliance with the Coordinating Board requirements.

V.B.6.03 Disadvantaged Students

The System may develop programs to serve persons from backgrounds of economic or educational deprivation, by submitting to the Coordinating Board, a plan based on the following criteria:

  1. An instructional program that accommodates the different learning rates of students, and compensates for prior economic and educational deprivation.
  2. An unrestricted admissions policy, allowing the enrollment of any person eighteen years of age or older, with a high school diploma or its equivalent, who can be reasonably expected to benefit from instruction.
  3. The assurance that all students, regardless of their differing programs of study, shall be considered, known and recognized as full members of the student body, provided that the administrative officers of a community college may deny admission to a prospective student, or attendance to an enrolled student if, in their judgment, the student would not be competent to benefit from a program of the System, or would, by his or her presence or conduct, create a disruptive atmosphere within the System not consistent with the statutory purposes of the System.
  4. The submission of a plan for a financial aid program, which removes to the maximum extent possible, the financial barriers to the educational aspirations of the citizens of the state.
  5. An annual evaluation report based on scientific methods, and utilizing control groups, wherever possible, to be submitted to the Coordinating Board at the end of each school year, covering each remedial compensatory course or program offered by the System.
  6. Any other criteria consistent with the provisions specified by the Coordinating Board. The System shall obtain approval of the Coordinating Board as required.

LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

V.B.7. LSC-Online

V.B.7.01 Coordinating Board Approval

The System may offer a LSC-Online course approved by the Coordinating Board with no in-state geographic restrictions if the course is within the approved curriculum of the System. The System's LSC-Online Program will comply with all Coordinating Board conditions and requirements as well as those established by accrediting agencies.

V.B.7.02 LSC-Online Definitions

A "LSC-Online course" refers to instruction in which the majority of the instruction occurs when the students and instructor are not in the same physical setting. For Coordinating Board reporting purposes, a class is considered a LSC-Online class if students receive more than one-half of the instruction at a different location than the instructor. The System's LSC-Online program includes online and hybrid instruction which are clarified in the credit schedules and on the Lone Star College–Online website. Online advisors advise only fully-online students in courses that are 100% online.

Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous, delivered to any single or multiple location(s) through electronic, correspondence, or other means outside the boundaries of the taxing authority of the System, or via instructional telecommunications to any other distance location.

V.B.7.03 Standards for LSC-Online

LSC-Online instruction is comparable to on-campus instruction and meets all of the quality standards which the System provides through on-campus instruction.

LSC-Online courses offered through either college credit or Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are provided in accordance with the standards of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the Coordinating Board rules and regulations, the Guidelines for Institutional Reports for Distance Education and Off-Campus Instruction and other accrediting bodies as appropriate.

Students enrolled in LSC-Online must satisfy the same requirements for admission to the institution, to the program of which the course is a part, and to the class/section, as are required of on-campus students.

Faculty providing LSC-Online instruction are selected and evaluated by the same standards, review and approval procedures used to select and assess faculty responsible for on-campus instruction. The System provides training and support to enhance the added skills required of faculty teaching classes via instructional technology.

The instructor of record is responsible for the delivery of instruction and evaluation of student progress.

LSC-Online instruction is administered under the authority of the same office or person administering the corresponding on-campus instruction.

V.B.7.04 LSC-Online Strategic Plan

LSC-Online will develop a strategic plan including applications of instructional technology as well as guidelines for supporting online faculty and advising students. The plan will be developed in alignment with the System’s Strategic Plan, according to requirements specified by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the System.

V.B.7.05 Institutional Report for LSC-Online

Prior to offering any LSC-Online, off-campus, or on-campus extension courses or programs for the first time, the System shall submit its Institutional Report for LSC-Online, and Off-Campus and On-Campus Extension Instruction to the Coordinating Board for approval. The Report, and any updated Reports, shall conform to Coordinating Board guidelines and criteria of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in effect at the time of the Report's approval.

The System's academic and administrative policies shall reflect a commitment to maintain the quality of LSC-Online, off-campus, and on-campus extension courses and programs in accordance with the provisions of 19 TAC Chapter 4, Subchapter E.

V.B.7.06 Out-of-State or Out-of-Country Courses

The System will not submit LSC-Online courses delivered outside the state to non-Texas residents for formula funding. The System will report fees received for extension and out-of-state/country courses in accordance with general institutional accounting practices.

V.B.7.07 Reporting to Commissioner

The System will report enrollments, courses and graduates associated with extension offerings to the Commissioner as required by the Coordinating Board.


LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on May 7, 2015

V.B.8. Dual Credit

The System offers students in high schools within its service area the opportunity to take dual credit courses. Dual credit courses are courses for which students receive college credit or CEU credit as well as high school credit while still enrolled in the junior or senior year of high school. Students may enroll in academic and/or workforce education. The curriculum content and rigor of dual credit courses are equivalent to the college course standards and requirements. The faculty must meet the same SACSCOC qualifications as non-dual credit courses and programs. See the System catalog for current tuition and fee information.


LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on May 7, 2015

V.B.9. Early College, High School and Middle School

Coordinating Board Rule 4.154 requires that "any public college or university that participates in the creation of an ECHS/MC shall notify the Coordinating Board in accordance with provisions and schedules determined by the Commissioner."


LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008

V.B.10. Instructional Arrangements

V.B.10.01 State-funded courses

State funding shall be provided for lower-division level general academic courses provided by the System if such courses:

  1. Are listed in the Academic Course Guide Manual; or
  2. Have been reviewed by the Coordinating Board staff and have been approved in accordance with the unique need provision; and
  3. Are consistent with the Texas Common Course Numbering System.

V.B.10.02 Instructional Departments

The Chancellor shall, upon recommendation by the President, establish the organizational structure of each college.

V.B.10.03 Class Size

The System shall establish class size guidelines.

V.B.10.04 Course Load and Schedules

Each College within the System shall comply with the uniform final dates, counted from the first day of an academic semester or term, for adding or dropping a course, established by the Coordinating Board. Course drops are limited. Please check with any System College for specific requirements.

A student may not enroll in a course after a uniform final date for adding a course. A student is not entitled to a refund of any tuition or fees for a course that the student drops after a uniform final date for dropping a course.

For Coordinating Board-approved semester-length courses for which semester credit hours are awarded:

  1. If the college cancels or discontinues a scheduled course, a 100 percent refund is granted.
  2. If a student drops a course, or totally withdraws, prior to the first day of class, a 100 percent refund is granted (EXCEPT for the registration fee).
  3. During the fall or spring semester, if a student drops a course:
    1. During the first five class days, a 80 percent refund is granted.
    2. During the second five class days, a 70 percent refund is granted.
    3. During the third five class days, a 50 percent refund is granted.
    4. During the fourth five class days, a 25 percent refund is granted.
    5. After the fourth five class days, no refund is granted.
  4. During the six-week summer semester:
    1. During the first, second, or third class day, a 80 percent refund is granted.
    2. During the fourth, fifth, or sixth class day, a 50 percent refund is granted.
    3. After the seventh class day, no refund is granted.


LSCS Policy Manual Section adopted by the Board of Trustees on August 7, 2008