UC Undergraduate Studies Catalog 2019-2023

 

Section V

 

Overview of Undergraduate Degree Programs

 

The design of the undergraduate degree programs at The University of Cambodia is based on the standard practice followed in the United States. Thus, in addition to enrolling to study subjects directly related to the student’s chosen major, they must also register for a number of General Education courses together with a number of other relevant electives outside their major.

Ø  This aims to give our students a broader education and more flexibility regarding job opportunities in today’s rapidly changing world and an increasingly competitive local employment market.

The following gives a brief overview of relevant aspects of undergraduate degree programs in general. More detailed information on these will be provided in later sections for the individual Colleges and Schools.

1. The University of Cambodia’s Overall Expectations of Our Students

All students have certain rights and responsibilities, and are required to abide by the University’s Rules of Civility and the Student Code of Conduct (see Section IX). The following draws attention to particular issues where students may unknowingly fail to abide by these requirements and thus risk being penalized as a result.

i. Attendance and the Timely Submission of Assignments Maintaining an adequate level of attendance for classes is important in order to maximize the benefits gained from doing each course.

Thus attendance is taken for each class, and counts for a possible 15% of the student’s final mark (see Section V.10).

Ø  In addition, students need to attend for a minimum number of allocated class-hours if they are to be allowed to sit the final exam.

Ø  This minimum is higher for students on scholarships.

The University is proactive in such cases and, where monitoring of attendance shows a poor record, students will be given a warning letter (which may also be sent to their parents) and constructive guidance on how to better improve their future performance.

Ø  Failure to improve will mean that scholarship students will forfeit their awards.

On the other hand, the University recognizes that students may have other short-term commitments on their time, unforeseeable or otherwise, and thus there is the need for some flexibility. In such cases, it is the student’s responsibility to keep the University informed when they have to take time off due to other commitments during term-time, by applying for a Short Leave of Absence, so that this may be taken into consideration when evaluating their attendance and overall performance.

Ø Students who cannot attend one or more classes (or a formal exam) due to unavoidable circumstances should purchase the appropriate form from the University Bookstore.

Ø They should submit the completed form together with the appropriate supporting evidence and the date of return to the Academic Foundation Department or the Office of Academic Affairs as appropriate.

Ø Where the application is for a pre-arranged event (e.g. a wedding), then the student must plan ahead and apply in advance: a delayed submission after the day in question will not be accepted.

Ø If it is not possible for students to submit the form in advance due to unforeseeable circumstances, they must do it at the earliest possible time thereafter, as long as they provide evidence to justify the delay.

Ø In each case, the form must be complete and submitted by the student in person.

If the application is approved, then this will be noted in the student's academic record as a justifiable reason for not achieving maximum attendance.

Ø  Ordinarily, it does not affect the minimum level of attendance which the student needs to maintain (see Section V.10).

Ø  A special exception will be made in the case of make-up classes, where students who submit a form with a justifiable reason will not be considered to have been absent.

Ø  Further exceptions, where accumulated leaves-of-absence exceed the maximum for students to maintain their minimum attendance, may be made in consultation with the student’s parents or guardians,

Ø  It is important to note that these are the limits of the University's obligations:  the student alone is responsible for making up for the lost time and completing the necessary homework and other assignments in a timely manner.

Ø  If the approved absence is from a Midterm or Final Exam, then the student must do a new exam paper within the following week under appropriate conditions.

ii. Academic Integrity and the Need to Avoid Plagiarism and Other Forms of Cheating The University has strict rules regarding the running of exams, in order to avoid problems with cheating. Thus mid-term and final exams are tightly supervised, as are the exit Comprehensive Exams (see Sections V.10, 11).

Students should realize that plagiarism is another form of academic dishonesty. This is where someone copies someone else’s work (with or without minor changes) and seeks to pass it off as their own without the acknowledgement due. This is often because of laziness on the student’s part, in which case they are missing the opportunity to better develop their soft language skills. In addition, or alternatively, it may be due to the need to take shortcuts in order to meet a looming deadline, in which case the student needs to better develop their soft skills regarding time-management.

Ø  Regardless of the reason(s), plagiarism is still a form of cheating and the University takes a serious view of this academic offence.

Ø  Students who are found to be guilty of plagiarism will be required to resubmit their work within a particular deadline.

Ø  Persistent offenders will not have this second chance and will suffer more serious disciplinary action. 

2. The Credit System

This is based on the number of hours spent in formal classroom teaching for a particular course. All of UC’s degree courses are 45 hours long; thus each constitutes 3 credits. One criterion for a student being able to graduate is that they must have completed at least a minimum number of credits, as pre-determined by the particular program in which they are studying.

3. Khmer and International Tracks        

When the University first opened in 2003, all of its classes were taught through the medium of English. This made our graduates attractive to prospective employers in the region and beyond, as well as giving them an advantage in studying for higher degrees elsewhere.

However, recognizing that not everyone is confident in whether they might be able to perform well in a degree program other than in their native language, an additional Khmer Track was introduced in Academic Year 2012-2013. Apart from lower-level English language courses, the selected programs are identical to what is now called the International Track except that they are taught in Khmer, with courses being identified by the suffix ‘K’ (e.g. ACC101K).

Based on the existing requirements regarding:

Ø  the Foundation Year, Khmer track students must complete ENG001K and ENG002K; whilst,

Ø  to build upon these introductory courses, the University requires them also to complete ENG003K-ENG005K and ENG219K as Other Electives, to further develop their skills in this language as part of an ongoing, life-long learning process.

Thus the students graduate with the same knowledge and insights about their respective major and ancillary topics, albeit without the extra dimension and resulting flexibility provided by an English-based medium of instruction. 

Note that whilst some of the following degree offerings presume that these programs will be offered in the Khmer track, we hope to also open comparable ones in the International track where:

Ø  ENG001K and ENG002K are replaced by ENG101 and ENG102;

Ø  ENG003K-ENG005K are replaced by ENG105, ENG107 and ENG122.

4. The Foundation Year

In response to an initiative by the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia (ACC), the University established an Academic Foundation Department in 2005 as requisite for all officially recognized universities in the country. The purpose of this Department is to design and implement a program of courses for all undergraduate students during their first year of studies at university, in order to give them a good foundation for completing the rest of their degree programs. The progress of this is regularly monitored and evaluated by the ACC, and students who successfully complete their first year of studies receive an official Foundation Year certificate, after which they can proceed to continue with their studies. 

As part of easing the transition from secondary to more independent tertiary modes of teaching and learning, Foundation Year students have to do fewer courses: ten compared with up to 13 each year at higher levels. The time not allocated to formal teaching is thus available for them to study outside the timetable, including doing short courses organized by the University in order to help them develop their soft skills and thereby further enhance their personal development.

Apart from running the program itself, the Academic Foundation Department (AFD; see Section II.1.iii) is responsible for initial orientation sessions with students at the very start of their first year, in order to make them aware of what is expected of them during their time at university. To this end, it is assisted by the Student Senate who organize a Welcome Week, prior to the start of Term I, in order to informally introduce new students to the University community and provide advice and insights on how to get the most out of their time at UC (see Section IV.1.i).

Thereafter, the AFD monitors student performance in order to identify potential issues and, where necessary, provide individual counselling in order to help students understand how to take responsibility for becoming active learners who are less dependent on their instructors in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

The ten courses which make up the Foundation Year comprise eight which must be taken by all students (Table 1); and two other ‘oriented’ ones which are specific to the student’s chosen major. All courses must be taken and passed within a twelve month period; students who fail a course are given the chance to take a re-sit exam.

Table 1  Compulsory courses taken by all students in the Foundation Year.

Category

Courses

Arts and Humanities

KHM140 (Khmer Culture)

 

LAW101 (Introduction to Law)

Mathematics, Science and Computers

ITE101 (Fundamentals of Computing)

MTH120 (Introduction to Statistics)

Social Sciences

HIS101 (Cambodian History)

 

POL101 (Introduction to Political Science)

Either Foreign Language (I-track)*

ENG101 (College English)

ENG102 (English Composition)

Or Foreign Language (K-track)

ENG001K (Foundation English I)

ENG002K (Foundation English II)

* Note that students doing majors in foreign languages other than English do different pairs of courses as appropriate (see Section XIV).

Once enrolled for a Foundation Year program, a student is committed to studying for the full year. Failure to do so means that they must re-apply for admission to do the whole program again.

5. Associate’s Degrees

These are usually taken by students who have completed grade 12 of high school. Cambodia’s National Qualification Framework allows that only those who passed the National High School examination are eligible to be admitted to an Associate’s Program for non-TVET Programs. Various programs offered in the Khmer track at The University of Cambodia conform to the TVET standard, subject to sufficient class enrollment; in order to be admitted to such a program, the prospective student must pass the University’s Associate’s Degree Entrance Exam.

MoEYS’ regulations require that, as part of Cambodia’s National Qualification Framework, a full-time student complete and pass overall at least 60 credits in order to be able to earn an Associate’s degree; this has to be achieved within two years.  However The University of Cambodia sets a higher standard, with the need to satisfactorily complete 75 credits within the same time-frame: students are required to do extra General Education and Other Elective courses in order to further enhance their background knowledge and thereby increase their attractiveness and flexibility in a rapidly changing employment market.

Thus, during this time they have to complete not only their respective major’s requirements (36 credits), but also the General Education requirements (24 credits) and four other elective courses (12 credits). Of these, 39 credits are completed in the first year, including six credits for their major’s oriented courses and 24 credits towards the General Education requirements, together with nine credits for other electives (Table 2).

Provided that the student meets the minimal Grade Point Average (GPA) requirements, they can then prepare for the Comprehensive Exam (see Section V.11).

6. Bachelor’s Degrees

Admission to one of these degree programs requires that a student must have successfully completed their High School Baccalaureate and then passed The University of Cambodia’s Bachelor’s Degree Entrance Exam; in addition, prospective International track students must pass the University’s English Placement Exam or an outside equivalent.

All Bachelor’s degree programs require students to complete at least 135 credits as one of the criteria for being able to graduate; 30 of these credits are completed in the Foundation Year (Table 3). Full-time students who do not take any leaves of absence can complete this number in the first half of their fourth year, if they maintain a satisfactory academic performance.

Of these, 72 credits (including six from the two oriented Foundation Year courses) reflect their particular major’s requirements (Table 3); 48 credits are for General Education courses (including half of these completed in the Foundation Year); whilst the remaining 15 credits are from other relevant electives outside their major.

7. Major Courses

These are courses directly related to the student’s degree program (see Tables 2, 3), and include the two oriented courses taken in the Foundation Year for Bachelor’s students. Where there are more than one major in a particular College or School, these may share a set of common core courses during the first part of their respective programs: thereafter, each of them is distinguished from the others by particular suites of more specialized courses, the so-called major electives.

8. The General Education Component

These are compulsory courses required to be taken by all students in order to complete their degree programs, regardless of their major. The aim of these courses is to broaden students’ outlooks and their perspectives of Cambodia in the broader context of today's world in this era of computerization and globalization. These courses comprise 32% of the requisite courses for an Associate’s Degree; and 36% of the minimum total required for a Bachelor's degree program.

Table 4 General Education requirements for UC students doing a Bachelor’s degree.

 

Associate’s

Bachelor’s

1. Arts and Humanities

 

 

Humanities

--

6 credits

Cambodian History

3 credits

3 credits

Law and Justice

3 credits

3 credits

2. Mathematics, Science and Computers

 

 

IT and Computer Science

3 credits

3 credits

Quantitative Reasoning

3 credits

3 credits

The Sciences

--

6 credits

3. Social Sciences

 

 

Cambodian Studies

3 credits

3 credits

Social and Behavioral Sciences

3 credits

6 credits

International Understanding

--

6 credits

4. Communication

 

 

*Written English

6 credits

6 credits

Oral Communication

--

3 credits

Total GE Credits

24 credits

48 credits

* Not applicable for students studying languages other than English (see Section XIV).

There are four categories within the General Education program, each of which is comparable with a general field in the Foundation Year program for Bachelor’s students (Table 4). Apart from the Language category, the content of courses in the K-track is identical, but are suffixed by the letter ‘K’ in order to indicate that they are taught through the medium of Khmer.

i. Arts and Humanities Bachelor’s students must do courses in:

·         Cambodian History – HIS101 (Cambodian History) in the Foundation Year; and

·         Law and Justice – either LAW101 (Introduction to Law) in the Foundation Year or PST102 (Human Rights and Global Justice).

Associate’s degree students are required to do HIS001 and LAW001 as part of their Foundation Year.

ii. Mathematics, Science and Computers Bachelor’s students must do courses in:

·         Information Technology and Computer Science – ITE101 (Fundamentals of Computing and Information) in the Foundation Year;

·         Quantitative Reasoning – MTH120 (Introduction to Statistics) in the Foundation Year; and

·         The Sciences – PHL104 (Critical Reasoning) and RES301 (Research Methodology).

Associate’s degree students are required to do ITE001 and MTH020 as part of their Foundation Year.

iii. Social Sciences Bachelor’s students must do courses in:

Associate’s degree students are required to do KHM040 and POL001 as part of their Foundation Year.

iv. Communication The Foundation Year language courses which Associate’s and Bachelor’s students must do depend on their particular track (see Table 4):

·         those on the Khmer track are required to do ENG001 and ENG002;

·         those on the International track studying through the medium of English are required to do ENG101 and ENG102; whilst

·         those studying languages other than English must do the requisite courses in their chosen program (see Section XIV).

Thereafter, students must do one of COM101 (Interpersonal Communication) or COM102 (Essentials of Public Speaking): the equivalent courses are COM001 and COM002 for Associate’s students.

9. Other Electives

These are other courses taken outside the student’s major which are selected to enhance their language and other soft skills, and thus their attractiveness in the job market. Starting in Academic Year 2012-2013, there has been the progressive implementation of fixed degree programs for each major, in order to meet the requirements of MoEYS.

In Associate’s degree programs, these comprise BUS005 (Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership), ITE002 (Office Applications) and PHE001 (Personal Health and Wellness).

For Bachelor’s fixed-degree programs, these include BUS304 (Leadership Skills) for students not majoring in a Management program; for the latter students, MTH110 (College Algebra) is the replacement. For non-English majors on the International track, ENG107 (The Written Language) and ENG122 (Further English for Non-Majors), as prerequisites for more advanced English-language courses of benefit to all graduates, such as ENG218 (Writing for Academic Purposes) and ENG219 (Business Communication); these are replaced by EDC101 (Principles of Education), MKT201 (Principles of Marketing), MKT306 (Public Relations) and ORG201 (Organizational Behavior) for English majors.

In the case of the Khmer track programs, these four courses are replaced by ENG003-ENG005 and ENG219K.

10. Evaluation of Student Performance

The University aims to develop innovative teaching techniques in order to better increase our students’ knowledge and understanding of particular fields and their awareness of the possibilities that linking ideas from different (sub-)disciplines may generate new insights.

Whilst such approaches seek to encourage free-thinking, there is nevertheless the need to set benchmarks in order to objectively compare the performance of individual students, both within particular courses and as a result of the accrued broader perspectives which they have gained from the study of their major in the context of the General Education syllabus and their other electives (see Section V.11 regarding the final Comprehensive Exam).

i. Methods of Student Assessment As indicated in Table 5, various measures contribute to the student’s final mark. The latter is then converted to a letter grade, with a numerical weightage (Table 6) which can then be used to calculate the student’s Grade Point Average (GPA; see below).

For their own benefit, students are expected to be conscientious in attending to their studies at The University of Cambodia (see Section V.10). To encourage this, attendance accounts for up to 15% of the final mark. Moreover, students must exceed a minimum level of attendance in order to take their exams:

Ø  Scholarship students must maintain at least 85% attendance for each course taken;

Ø  those receiving a Partial Scholarship are required to have at least 75% attendance; whilst

Ø  other students are required to maintain a minimum of 65% attendance.

If a student fails to maintain adequate attendance, they will be barred from sitting the final exams for that course, and they will receive a failed grade 'F'.

Ø  An exception will be made if the student asks before the end of the first week of term to drop registered course, in which case their transcript will instead indicate ‘Withdrawn’ (see Section VII.1).

To encourage our students to develop their soft skills, various types of class assignment are also important: they account for 25% of the final mark (see Table 5). These are based on the realistic and realizable need to produce end-products, whether individually or as a result of group work, within an agreed-upon time-frame.

However, the greatest component of the final mark is based on mid- and end-of-term exams. These are centralized, with their running designed to minimize the potential for weak students to resort to cheating.

ii. Maintaining an Adequate Academic Standard The letter grade for each course studied has a corresponding numerical value, the grade point (Table 6). The latter can be used to calculate the GPA, both for the courses studied during the term in question and for the whole of a student’s time at UC.  

Ø  In order to be able to graduate, students need to have minimum overall GPA of 2.0 according to MoEYS guidelines.

Ø  Where their current performance is less than this threshold, they will have to take extra courses to try to bring their GPA above this minimum.

Ø  However students should realize that it is very difficult to compensate for past poor performances in this way.

Ø  MoEYS regulations require that a student must graduate within six years of first enrolling for a degree program.

In addition, students who are on a Scholarship need to maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5 in order to retain their scholarships (see Section VI.2).

Ø  This reflects our greater expectations for such students.

Table 5 Allocation of marks in undergraduate courses.

Method of Assessment

Percentage of Overall Mark

Attendance

15%

Class Activities and other Assignments

25%

Mid-Term Exam

30%

Final Exam

30%

Table 6 Categorization of the final marks for undergraduate courses.

Marks (%)

Letter

Grade

Grade

Point

 

Definition

90-100

A

4.00

Excellent

85-89

B+

3.50

Very good

80-84

B

3.00

Good

75-79

C+

2.50

Fairly good

70-74

C

2.00

Satisfactory

65-69

D+

1.50

Poor

60-64

D

1.00

Unsatisfactory

< 60

F

0.00

Fail

iii. Recognition of Our Best Students Undergraduates who have an overall GPA of 3.5 in their Foundation Year are nominated to the Dean’s List, whilst those with a GPA of 4.0 are on the Vice President’s List. They will receive certificates to that effect at the Foundation Year graduation.

Thereafter, having such GPAs in any one term will mean that the student will be nominated to the pertinent List for that particular term, and this will be indicated in their academic transcript. In addition, where a student has an overall GPA of 3.5 for an Academic Year, they will be nominated to the President’s List, whilst those with a GPA of 4.0 are placed on the Chancellor’s List; they will receive certificates to that effect at the annual graduation ceremony.

11. Graduation Requirements

Having enrolled to start a Foundation Year program, MoEYS regulations require that:

Ø  whilst a full-time Associate’s student must graduate within two years (extendable up to four years with adequate justification), part-time students must do so within five years; whilst

Ø  a full-time Bachelor’s student must graduate within four years (extendable up to six years with adequate justification), whereas part-time students can extend to eight years.

For students at The University of Cambodia, this means that they not only have to satisfactorily complete all necessary coursework but also prepare for and pass an exit Comprehensive Exam within this time-frame.

i. Course Requirements All students must have passed their Foundation Year and completed the minimum number of credits (75 for an Associate’s degree; 135 credits for a Bachelor’s degree), including courses to meet the General Education requirements and those of their present major (see Tables 2 and 3). However they will have to take extra courses if their GPA is less than 2.0, in order to bring their score above this threshold.

In order to initiate the process of filing for graduation, students must confirm with the Registrar’s Office that they have satisfied these academic requirements.

Ø  If this is the case, then they should complete a Graduation Clearance Form and submit this with all supporting documents (including a standard photograph, their High School and Foundation Year certificates and an Alumni Association Information form) as early as possible.

Ø  They should also clear any outstanding financial obligations that they may have with the University.

Ø  In the meantime, they can get an 'ABC' ('All But Comprehensive Exam') certificate from the Registrar upon payment of the appropriate fee.

ii. The Comprehensive Exam This was introduced in Term I of Academic Year 2012-2013; initially, it counted for 3 credits (CEX401) to the total required for a Bachelor’s degree, but this no longer applies from June 2018.

The exam aims to provide a capstone to further help to prove that UC undergraduates who have completed their studies are of a good caliber and meet the high standards expected of them, so that they will have an even better opportunity to secure jobs or other openings in Cambodia or elsewhere.

It comprises three 1.5-hour papers run under the oversight of MoEYS officials at a pre-arranged time and place.

Ø  Individual Colleges and Schools are responsible for preparing their students for the exam.

Ø  They may be held 4-6 weeks after the Final Exams in the preceding term.

Ø  However they may not be held after every term; and the student can postpone taking the Exam by one term (subject to the constraints of meeting MoEYS’ deadlines for completing their degrees in a timely fashion).

For both Associate’s and Bachelor’s students, two of the papers are related the student's major; the third is a general one.

Students will be provided with a pool of possible questions to prepare for the exam: the actual questions to be answered will be selected from this pool on the day of the exam.

The major-specific papers are designed to test a student's overall grasp of the material covered by their particular field of study, rather than concentrate on any particular course in that major.

Ø  Candidates are expected to review all of the course work covered during their degree program.

Ø  They are also expected to do further background reading, based on a list of recommended textbooks and other materials.

On the other hand, the general paper aims to test broader aspects of the student’s knowledge, understanding and insights with particular regard to reviewing broader aspects covered by the General Education program.

Students are required to sit and pass each of the component papers. If this is the case then this will be annotated as a ‘Pass’ on their final academic transcript; otherwise, a ‘Fail’ will be recorded.

Ø  Where a student fails one or more papers, they can register to take a re-sit, with the necessary papers re-taken at the next scheduled Comprehensive Exam.

Ø  However, where a student scores zero marks in at least one of the papers in their first Comprehensive Exam (e.g. through absence or arriving too late to take the exam), then all three papers may have to be re-taken.

A second failure will mean that this is also recorded as such on the transcript and the student drops out of the program.

12. University Alumni

The University of Cambodia is proud of its graduates, many of whom have gone on to make significant professional contributions in the public and private sectors as well as in society at large, including after going on to further studies abroad. We have established the UC Alumni Association to maintain contact with our graduates. Activities include an Annual Reunion (organized by the Office of Public Affairs, Communications and Alumni), where former students can meet and network with each other, as well as with the University, which stands to gain from them sharing their experiences and thus help us further fine-tune our existing degree programs. In addition, outstanding alums are now recognized at the annual graduation ceremony.

It is also to be hoped that those who were on scholarships and have profited as a result of their free education will share some of their gains to help others at UC, whether through monetary donations to the UC Foundation or other means.