University of the Philippines Diliman
Frequently Asked Questions
Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs
  Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What are major courses, core courses, cognates and electives? (pp. 347-348, Faculty Manual)

    Major courses – set of courses in principal discipline/field of study with prescribed total number of courses and units, of which certain courses are specifically required

    Core courses – subset of core courses common to all majors or tracks of a particular degree program; required major courses

    Cognates - courses outside of, but related to, the major discipline or field, with minimum number of required units; aims to complement or enrich the major courses

    Electives – courses a student can choose from any area or discipline and regardless of course number

    For other curricular nomenclature, refer to Appendix C, pp. 347-350, Faculty Manual

  2. How often should a curriculum be revised/reviewed?

    As a general rule, curricular programs should not be revised within 3 years after its institution. However, they should be reviewed every 3-5 years, depending on the pace of development in the discipline.

  3. What happens to subjects/courses not offered within 5 years?

    They are abolished through the regular curricular review process.

  4. Under the RGEP, can colleges/units require certain GE courses for their degree programs? Or can they restrict the enrolment of their majors in certain GE courses?
    Can GE subjects be required as prerequisites to higher/major courses?

    Colleges/units structure the curricula of their degree programs in the manner they see most beneficial to producing the kind of graduates they want. Thus, the colleges have the overall responsibility and accountability for the mix of courses that they will require, including the GE courses, or which can not be credited into their degree programs.

    However, in line with the RGEP’s principle of choice, no specific GE courses may be required. Instead, units may require certain skills or competencies or background knowledge as in the following:

    a. when mandated by law

    Ex. Part of the requirements for the Accountancy Board examination is 15 units of English. Thus, CBA will be allowed to reflect this requirement in their curriculum. One way to do this is to indicate as part of “Program Requirements” as follows: 15 units of arts and humanities courses taught in English

    b. If GE course(s) provide the competencies or skills or background knowledge needed for major/higher courses

    Certain levels of competencies or background knowledge are required for major/higher courses, thus colleges/units can a) develop a system of prerequisites for these courses or b) may include under “Program Requirements”, that will be decided in the context of the discipline and in relation to their curricular objectives.

    In these cases, it is not a prescription of a course as a required GE course; it’s a prescription of a competence or skill or necessary background.


    · If a background on Philippine history is required, units may indicate “Prerequisite: 3 units of Philippine history” without specifying Kas 1. This is to give the students a choice of what Philippine History course, among the GE courses, to enrol in.
    · “3 units of GE communication course in Filipino”
    · “can not enrol in Math 2 for credit in the degree program”. This may happen if the curriculum of the student already requires many credit units of higher Math subjects just like in the College of Engineering. However, a student can still enrol in Math 2, if s/he wants to, but won’t be credited to his/her degree program.

    Proponents will have to justify such requirements and the proposals will have to go through the curricular process.

  5. What is meant by “GE courses with permanent substitution”?
    In the old GE program, permanent substitutions were approved for Math I, Natural Science I and II with a set of courses in the major fields in the natural science curricula. Under the RGEP, such substitutions are retained.

    GE subject Courses that substitute for GE course
    Math 1 [Math 11, Math 14] or Math 17 and up to Calculus (Math 53 or Math 100) for programs whose curricula do not require Math 1
    Natural Science 1 Chem 16, and Physics 71 or their equivalents
    Science 2 Geo 11 and Bio 11

    As a result of the above substitutions, the number of GE units to be enrolled in by students whose curricula already require the substitution courses are correspondingly decreased. Furthermore, students of degree programs where such substitutions have been applied can not enrol for credit the substituted GE courses.

    For example, the BS Architecture curriculum requires Math 11, Math 14, Math 53 and Math 54. These math courses can substitute for Math 1. Thus, the BS Architecture curriculum requires 3 units less than the 15 GE units required for the Math, Science and Technology domain. A BS Architecture student can not enrol with credit Math 1.


1.0 Admission

1.1 Why are there quotas for admission even into the diploma and certificate programs?

Admission into diploma and certificate programs is based mainly on results of the talent tests administered by the respective units. There is a quota for incoming freshmen as well as for transferees into these diploma/certificate programs.

As a general rule, the quota for admission into the University is based on the holding capacity in terms of faculty and physical resources - classrooms, laboratories, computers etc. Just like other students in the University, certificate and diploma students enrol in courses offered by other colleges/units such as GE courses. Thus, resources of other colleges/units, not only the admitting college/unit, have to be considered.

If the transferees no longer need to enrol in other colleges/units outside of the admitting unit (ex. transferees with already 66 credit units earned thus, will likely enrol only in major courses), then the admitting unit can specify their own quotas taking into consideration their existing resources.

1.2 What are the admission requirements for non-degree students?

Non-degree students may be allowed to take courses, for credit but not towards earning a degree, at the graduate and /or undergraduate level provided they satisfy the appropriate requirements for admission to the University. They shall not be allowed to enrol for more than one semester, except by special permission of the Dean of the college concerned and the UniversityRegistrar.

1.3 Who are non majors?

Non-majors are students dismissed from their respective colleges, but not from the University, for failure to meet retention requirements imposed by the colleges such as grade point average or number of units passed per semester or year. This means that the college retention requirements are more strict than the prescribed University scholastic requirements.

Students who had zero passing at the end of the semester (i.e. obtained final grades below “3” in all the academic units in which they are given final grades) are permanently disqualified from the University. Thus, these students can not be non- majors

1.4 What is “forced drop”? When is a student “dropped” or given a grade of “5”?

When the number of hours lost by absence of a student reaches 20% of the hours of recitation, lecture, laboratory or any scheduled wok in one subject, s/he shall be dropped from the subject (This is referred to as “forced drop”). If the majority of absences are excused, the student shall not be given a grade of “5” upon being thus dropped; but if the majority of the absences are not excused, s/he shall be given a grade of “5” upon being thus dropped.

1.5 Maximum Residence Rules (MRR)

a. What is meant by compliance with the Maximum Residence Rules (MRR)?

MRR requires that a student must complete all requirements of the degree program within the allowed regular period (as indicated below) and any approved extension. A student who fails to comply with the MRR shall be disqualified from the degree program.

“Any approved extension” can be one year to five years for MS and Ph.D. and one semester to one year for Diploma.

b. What is the regular period for completion of a degree program?

Undergraduate: 1.5 times the number of years prescribed by curriculum

- Master’s degree:

- 5 years, which shall include all leaves from the program; reduced by 1 semester for a graduate student transferring from another university

- Doctoral degree:

- 6 years, which shall include all leaves from the program, if MS is in same discipline or
- 8 years, which shall include all leaves from the program, if MS is in unrelated discipline or student is entering the program with BS/BA degree
For graduate students transferring from another university, the regular period for completion is reduced by 1 semester for every 9 units previously taken and credited to new program

- Diploma (post baccalaureate): 2 years, which shall include all leaves from the program

c. When may students be given extension beyond the regular period of completion and what is the maximum extension that may be granted?

In exceptionally meritorious cases, extensions beyond the regular period of completion may be approved by the Dean/Director upon the recommendation of the appropriate bodies as follows:

Master’s and Ph.D.: extension not exceeding one calendar year at a time; extensions not to exceed 5 years

Post-baccalaureate Diploma: extension not exceeding one semester at a time; extensions not to exceed one year

This means that extension is not automatic – it is granted only in exceptionally meritorious cases. Thus, units should have a mechanism for evaluating the progress of work of the student and the reason(s) for extension. A student can not argue that s/he should be given extension simply because s/he has not exceeded the allowed 5 one-year extensions.

d. What are the conditions for penalty courses?

Students granted extension beyond the regular period of completion shall take additional units of graduate courses in his/her discipline or area (called penalty courses) during the extension period at a rate of 3 units for every 2 years of extension or fraction thereof. Thus, courses enrolled in prior to the extension period, even if in excess of the required units for the degree program, can not be used to satisfy this requirement.

1.6. Grade of “4” and “Inc” (pp. 280-281, 286-288 Faculty Manual)

a. How is a grade of “4” removed?
A grade of “4” can be removed only by a re-examination within a one-year period; only one re-examination is allowed. If a student passes the re-examination, s/he is given a grade of “3”. If the student fails, s/he is given a grade of “5” and credit for the course can be obtained by re-enrolment.

b. What does “remove” grade of “4” mean?
“Remove” means that the student has taken the re-examination within the one-year period thus, the grade of “4” is no longer included in the computation of GWA; only the grade of “3” or grade of “5” is included in the computation of GWA. Until it is removed, grade of “4” is included in the computation of GWA.

c. Can a student re-enrol the course within the one-year period instead of taking a re-examination?
A student may re-enrol the course within the one-year period but the grade of “4” is not removed. The grade of “4” and the grade when re-enrolled are included in the computation of the GWA. After the one-year period, the grade of “4” does not become a “5”. (See item d following)

d. What happens to the grade of “4” if the student does not remove (i.e. by re-examination) or does not re-enrol the course within the one-year period?
The grade of “4” shall be converted to a grade of “5”. The faculty member concerned, upon being informed by the University Registrar, will submit the Report of Grade indicating the grade of “5”. If the faculty member is unable to make the report, the Department Chair/Institute Director will do so.

e. Can a student remove a “4” or an “Inc” when on LOA?
No, a student must be in residence. Thus, if a student is not enrolled in any academic subjects, s/he must enrol for residence to be able to remove a “4”. The same is true for removal of “Inc”.

f. Does the grade of “4” appear in the Transcript of Records (TOR)?
Yes, the grade of “4” permanently appears in the TOR even if it has been removed by re-examination or credit has been earned by re-enrollment.

g. Can an “Inc” be removed by re-enrollment?
No. A grade of “Inc” is given when a student, whose class standing throughout the semester is PASSING, fails to take the final examination or fails to complete other requirements of the course, due to illness or other valid reasons. In case the class standing is not “PASSING” and the student fails to take the final examination for any reason, a grade of “5” is given.
Removal of “Inc” must be done within one year by passing a re-examination or meeting all the requirements of the course, after which the student shall be given a final grade based on his/her overall performance.
Thus, if a student does not take the re-examination or does not submit the missed course requirement(s) within the one year period, s/he shall be given the corresponding grade in the missing exam or course requirement (Ex. a score of zero or a grade of “5”) and then, considering his grades in the other examinations and/or other course requirements, his/her overall performance will be evaluated and the appropriate grade given.

1.7 Thesis/Dissertation advising (pp. 254-259, 266-269 Faculty Manual)

a. Who constitute the dissertation/thesis committee and what are their qualifications?

  • Adviser and 2 Readers or Adviser, co-adviser, 1 Reader
  • Full-time regular faculty members with doctoral degrees except in meritorious cases (master’s degree holders with appropriate expertise and/or who are pursuing doctoral studies; faculty with good research and publications record and known expertise in the field)
  • Either the adviser or the co-adviser shall belong to the college/unit where student is enrolled
  • Co-adviser and one Reader may belong to an external institution ( i.e., an academic institution or qualified agency outside the College)
  • Professorial lecturer or Professor emeritus may serve as Co-adviser or Reader but not as adviser

b. Who are the members of the oral defense panel?

  • Dissertation committee (adviser, co-adviser, 1 or 2 Readers) plus at least 2 additional members
  • Maximum of 2 members may come from an external institution, i.e. outside the dept./institute/college/University
  • Chaired by one member other than the adviser

c. Is there a limit as to the number of thesis advisees per adviser? (p. 257 Faculty Manual)

The number of advisees (inclusive of thesis and dissertation students) shall be left to the discretion of the College Graduate Faculty Council.

1.8 Graduation with honors
(For requirements for graduation with honors and guidelines on qualifying electives in the computation of GWA, see pp. 298-300 Faculty Manual)

a. What are “special cases of graduation”?

These are cases where some students graduating with potential honors appeal for a waiver of the requirement that the student must have enrolled in not less than 15 units of credit per semester.

If the student is underloaded in a given semester, s/he should indicate in the Form 5 the reason(s) for underloading and attach the supporting documents.

Upon the recommendation of the appropriate bodies at the college/unit level and upon submission of the required documents/justifications, waiver may be given for the following reasons:


Justification/documents required

health reasons

Medical certification from the University Health Service; if the student dropped a course for health reasons which resulted in underloading, the dropping slip must likewise be submitted

unavailability of courses needed in the curriculum to complete the full load

Certification by the major adviser and schedule of classes for the semester


Copy of payroll and appointment papers indicating among others duration of employment

Other reasons for underloading are evaluated on their respective merits.

It is the responsibility of the student to establish the veracity of the cause(s) of underloading. Documents submitted must be sworn to (does not apply to UP documents such schedule of classes offered for the semester in question or dropping slip) and must be submitted during the semester of underloading.

II. Faculty Issues

1. Working Hours : What is the required working hours of the faculty?

According to Art. 215 of the University Code, full-time faculty members and employees of the University shall be on duty for a minimum of 40 hours during each week in accordance with a time schedule to be approved by the Chancellor.
The 40 hours include actual teaching hours, preparation for classes, checking of test papers, research/creative work, extension/community service, administration, committee work, and other authorized activities.

2. Teaching load (pp. 36-49 Faculty Manual)

a. What is the maximum number of units of teaching overload with honoraria?

No faculty member shall be paid overload honoraria for more than nine (9) units course credit of per semester/trimester and 2 courses or six (6) units course credit for summer. Overload payment is based on teaching units not course credit.

b. What is the difference between course credit and teaching units?

Course credit is based on the number of contact class hours per week (ex. 3 hrs/wk lecture = 3 units course credit). Teaching units refer to course credit multiplied by a credit load multiplier that is determined by the class size, course category (i.e. GE or non-GE), and the course level (i.e., undergraduate of graduate course).

Teaching units = course credit x credit load multiplier

c. Can a faculty member combine or merge 2 or more sections and meet them as one class?

Merging of 2 or more sections shall be done only with the approval of the head of unit. A faculty member who merges sections and meets them as one class shall be credited for teaching 1 section only. If the number of students in the merged class is more than 40, the large class credit load multiplier will be applied in computing for the faculty’ member’s teaching load.

d. Are administrators allowed to have overload?

A faculty member who has a teaching load and at the same time administrative load credit (ALC) and/or research/creative work load credit (RLC/CWLC) may be entitled to an overload teaching honorarium if the total load is beyond the normal 12 units. However, the maximum combined sum of ALC and RLC/CWLC which shall be counted for purposes of overload shall be 12 units, even if the actual sum is more than 12.

For purposes of overload, the teaching load of faculty administrators shall be limited to 6 units course credit per semester or 12 units per year. At least 3 units course credit overload must be taught after office hours. The overload payment, however, is based on teaching units not on course credit.

e. How do you compute the teaching load/overload of a faculty member whose classes are all off-hours?

The teaching load is computed just like classes scheduled during regular class hours, i.e. 3 units course credit for 3-hours lecture class multiplied by the credit load multiplier, if applicable. Any load in excess of 12 units is paid overload honorarium using off-hours rate.

3. Study Load Credit (SLC) (pp. 43, 72-74, Faculty Manual)

a. What are the conditions/restrictions in giving study load credit (SLC)?

  • Full-time faculty member, regular incumbent or substitute
  • Faculty student must enrol in a graduate program within academic priorities of dept/college
  • No faculty member in his/her 1st semester of teaching shall be granted more than 3 units SLC or be allowed to enrol in more than 6 units graduate courses
  • Maximum SLC is 6 units/sem; if 7 – 9 units, conditions same as full study leave with pay
  • Granted on a per semester basis subject to satisfactory academic performance in previous semester and exigencies of service
  • Faculty member with SLC shall not be given administrative or research duties

b. Are there study privileges of faculty members who enrol in courses not in discipline or within priorities of unit?

Faculty members are given 100% waiver of tuition, laboratory and miscellaneous fees except student fund fees but NOT given SLC.

4. Academic Personnel and Fellowship Committee (APFC)

a. What are the functions of the APFC?

Review, evaluate, and endorse to the Chancellor recommendations from units on the following:

  • Appointment, promotion and tenure of faculty and REPS (SG-18 and above)
  • Award of local and foreign fellowships, study leaves, special details, professorial chairs, and faculty grants
  • Financial assistance for participation in conferences, seminars, workshops and training programs
  • Other related functions assigned by the Chancellor

The APFC is not a policy-making body. It reviews and evaluates recommendations from units based on existing University rules and guidelines. It, however, recommends to the Chancellor and the Executive Committee pertinent guidelines as it sees necessary.

b. Who are the members of the APFC?

  • VCAA, ex officio chair
  • VCA, ex officio vice chair
  • HRDO Director, ex officio member and Head Secretariat
  • 2 representatives from each of the 4 curriculum clusters
  • 2 REPS

c. How are the members chosen/appointed?

Members are chosen and appointed by the Chancellor from the list of nominees submitted by the 4 Curriculum Cluster Chairs (4 nominees each). Minimum qualifications of potential members are the following:

  • must hold rank of at least Associate Professor
  • capable of looking beyond the department, college, or cluster level
  • must be committed to attend and participate actively in meetings (2x a month for at least 3 hrs per meeting)
  • preferably does not hold an administrative position

d. What is the role of HRDO in the APFC?

HRDO serves as the Secretariat of the APFC to ensure that all pertinent documents/ requirements are complete/available before and during the APFC deliberations. HRDO will eventually process appointment papers of those approved by the Chancellor.

HRDO is also not a policy making body as far APFC functions are concerned.

5. “Up or out” rule

a. What is the “Up or out” rule?

After 5 years, reckoned from the original date of appointment as Instructor (regardless of status as casual, substitute, or with item), the appointment of an Instructor shall automatically terminate, unless the Instructor is promoted to the rank of Assistant Professor, with or without tenure. The 5-year period may be extended, but not to exceed 2 years, for those pursuing master’s studies who are already in the thesis stage.

To be promoted to Assistant professor, a faculty member must have at least an MS degree.

b. Is a publication required to be promoted to Assistant Professor?

No but colleges/units may impose stricter guidelines. Publication is, however, required for tenure as indicated below.

c. Does the “up or out” rule apply to Assistant Professors, Associate Professors and Professors?

What applies is the “in or out” rule not the “up or out”, meaning that the appointment to Assistant Professor shall automatically terminate at the end of the 3-year period unless the Assistant Professor is given tenure. For Associate Professors, they are given 2 years; for Professors, 1 year.

d. What are the minimum requirements for tenure?

    • At least a master’s or equivalent degree or a professional degree;
    • Satisfactory or better teaching performance
    • Sole or lead authorship of a refereed journal article (local or international) or academic publication by a recognized academic publisher or literary publisher in the case of literary work; or in the field of visual arts, creative work that was exhibited and juried, or similar requirement in music and other performing arts.

Units may impose stricter standards like those of the College of Science and the School of Statistics.

6. Faculty on Leave

a. How many of the faculty can go on leave with pay?

At any one time, the number of faculty on leave with pay should not exceed 15% of the total number of faculty of the unit (per department or institute for colleges with depts/institutes). In counting the number of faculty on leave with pay, faculty members on fellowships are not included because there is provision for hiring of substitutes that goes with the fellowship.

b. How long can a faculty member go on leave?

Sabbatical: 1 year

Study leave with pay or fellowship:
Master’s degree: at most 2½ yrs (30 mos)
     Doctoral degree: - up to 4 yrs (48 mos) after a master’s degree or its equivalent has
been earned or
- up to 5 yrs (60 mos) for straight PhD

Study leave without pay: same as study leave with pay or fellowship


-      Secondment to a private agency or to a career position in government: not to exceed 1 calendar yr, renewable for a like period; after the expiration of 2 calendar yrs the position in the University shall be ipso facto
If secondment is to accept academic position with an academic institution with which UP has an MOA, the period shall be for the duration of the term of the position to which the secondment is made.

-      Secondment to a policy determining, primarily confidential or highly technical position in the civil service may initially be for 2 calendar yrs, renewable for a like period; after expiration of 4 calendar yrs, the position in the University shall be vacated ipso facto
If seconded to the position of secretary or undersecretary in the executive or legislative branch, two 2-yr renewals may be allowed, provided that in the 2nd renewal, faculty member resumes teaching in the University. After the expiration of 6 calendar yrs, the position in the University shall be vacated ipso facto.

In very meritorious cases, the BOR may, upon the recommendation of the unit head concerned, the Dean, the Chancellor and the President, waive the rule on the allowed number of years. In no case, however, shall a faculty/staff be allowed to be on secondment for more than 6 yrs.

c. Who can go on leave without pay?

  • Tenured faculty
  • Non-tenured faculty but only for study purposes
designed by marvin nisperos 2005