The Graduation Requirements are designed to provide all students with diverse learning opportunities, as well as with depth in more than one area. Every student must complete work in each division of the College. To receive a degree from Allegheny, students must complete the following requirements:
- The First-Year/Sophomore Requirement
- The Major Requirement
- The Minor Requirement
- The Distribution Requirements
- The Junior Seminar Requirement
- The Senior Project Requirement
- The Credit Requirement
- The Grade Requirement
- The Residency Requirement
The First-Year/Sophomore (FS) Requirement
All students are required to take three FS courses in the first two years: FS 101 , FS 102 , and FS 201 . The FS program encourages careful listening and reading, thoughtful speaking and writing, and reflective academic planning and self-exploration. These courses provide opportunities to develop communication and research skills useful for generating, exploring, defending, and challenging ideas. This background prepares students to succeed in the Junior Seminar and Senior Project that are required in the student’s major. Taken together, the FS program, Junior Seminar, and Senior Project ensure that all Allegheny graduates are equipped to think critically and creatively, to communicate clearly and persuasively, and to meet challenges in a diverse, interconnected world.
The Major Requirement
All Allegheny students must complete a major (the “graduation major”) consisting of a minimum of 40 semester credit hours of coursework in the major program, including the Junior Seminar and Senior Project. Students must achieve a minimum grade point average of 2.0 in the major.
Students may elect one or two majors. Students must fulfill all of the requirements for each program in which they elect a major (see “Double Majors” below). After consulting with their current advisors, students should select a major advisor and declare a major and minor by the end of the sophomore year. Students who have completed at least 48 semester credit hours will not be permitted to register for the next semester until they have declared a major and a minor. Appropriate forms may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.
Allegheny offers a total of 32 majors.
Students may elect one or two majors. Students must fulfill all of the requirements for each program in which they elect a major and must receive approval from both major advisors to register for classes. A student electing to complete two majors may choose to complete a single senior project that integrates both disciplines or two separate senior projects, one in each discipline. In the former case, the Senior Project must be evaluated by faculty from both programs. The degree awarded (B.S. or B.A.) corresponds to the major listed first on the student’s major declaration.
A second major that is used to fulfill the College Minor Requirement must be in a different division from the graduation major. If the graduation major or second major is interdivisional, then in most cases the College Minor Requirement is satisfied. Students should consult specific descriptions of interdivisional majors to identify specific double major combinations that do not satisfy the College Minor Requirement.
The appropriate department chairpersons and a faculty advisor from each department must approve the double major. A decision regarding the type of Senior Project should be noted on the approval form when it is returned, even though changes may be made later with the approval of the departments and the individuals involved.
Students at Allegheny may design their own majors in cases where their academic, personal, and professional interests are not met by the combinations of majors and minors available in the standard curricula. The Self-Designed Major must embody the educational objectives of Allegheny College, match the rigor and scope of existing major programs, and be true to the vision of the Liberal Arts as intellectual, academic, and civic preparation for life. In conjunction with their advisors, students create a plan of study that reflects compelling intellectual connections among departments, allowing for the student to synthesize multiple bodies of knowledge. Students pursuing a Self-Designed Major must complete a Senior Project that functions as a culmination of the student’s interdisciplinary study. The Senior Project must directly contribute to the student’s expressed academic goals and must be evaluated by faculty from more than one department.
Qualifying students who wish to propose a Self-Designed Major should do so using the forms available from the Registrar’s Office. To submit a proposal, students must have a 3.0 semester GPA for the two semesters prior to the proposal submission and must submit their proposal by the end of the 7th week of their 5th semester at Allegheny College.
The student’s proposal must clearly articulate the intellectual goals for the plan of study and must provide a compelling case for how the proposed major fulfills those goals in ways not otherwise available through either double majors or other major/minor combinations. The major must include a minimum of 50 semester credit hours. The proposal must address how each course (including the Junior Seminar and potential study abroad, internship, or independent study opportunities) is integrated to create a coherent and viable program of study. The proposal must specifically address a prospective Senior Project in sufficient detail to demonstrate its viability as a capstone project for the major, though the College recognizes that the eventual Senior Project may differ from that described in the proposal as the student’s understanding of the major field develops. The program must show a progression to higher-level courses and include significant work at the 300- and 400-level. A self-designed major may not count more than 4 credits of internship or independent study, or more than 16 credits of transfer credit (e.g. from a study abroad program) towards the 50 credit requirement.
A self-designed major requires a great deal of care in its design. The primary responsibility for the proposal rests with the student. Faculty are critical to the student’s success, however, particularly in the planning and development stages. All proposals for Self-Designed Majors must be accompanied by a faculty evaluation letter from the advisors for the proposed major that assesses the intellectual and academic cohesiveness of the proposed plan of study as well as its commensurability with the goals of a Liberal Arts education.
The complete proposal will be evaluated by the Curriculum Committee, which will ultimately grant or deny permission based on the quality of the proposal and the academic viability of the plan of study. Any subsequent changes to the program must be approved by the Curriculum Committee.
The Minor Requirement
All Allegheny students must complete a minor (the “graduation minor”) consisting of at least 20 credits of coursework. The graduation minor must be in a different division from the graduation major. If the graduation major or minor is interdivisional, then in most cases the requirement that the major and minor be in different divisions is satisfied by taking any other minor/major. Students should consult specific descriptions of interdivisional majors and minors to identify specific major/minor combinations that do not satisfy the College Minor Requirement. Students must achieve a minimum grade point average of 2.0 in the minor.
The minor requirement can also be satisfied by a second major. A second major that is used to fulfill the College Minor Requirement must be in a different division from the graduation major. If the graduation major or second major is interdivisional, then in most cases the College Minor Requirement is satisfied. Students should consult specific descriptions of interdivisional majors to identify specific double major combinations that do not satisfy the College Minor Requirement.
Students may elect at most two minors. Students must fulfill all of the requirements for each program in which they elect a minor. For every minor completed, students must complete at least 8 credits towards that minor in residence at Allegheny College. Departments and programs reserve the right to determine the eligibility for inclusion in their minor requirements of all transfer credits, including those earned during study away experiences, and may require students to take some advanced work on campus.
Forms for declaring a minor may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.
A student may propose a Self-Designed Minor outside of the existing departmental and interdisciplinary minors. A Self-Designed Minor must be comparable in academic rigor and integrity to a conventional minor, must offer sufficient depth of study, and cannot be a subset of an existing minor. A minimum of 24 semester credit hours is required. A minor must include coursework at or above the 300-level not including independent study or internship credit. No more than 4 credits of transfer and independent study credit can be applied to the minor. Students who wish to propose a self-designed minor should do so no later than the end of their 6th semester at Allegheny by using the form available from the Registrar’s Office.
Students who wish to propose a Self-Designed Minor must include a written rationale that clearly articulates the intellectual goals for the plan of study and provides a compelling case for how the proposed minor fulfills those goals in ways not otherwise available through existing programs of study. The proposal must briefly address how each course (including potential study abroad, internship, or independent study opportunities if appropriate) is integrated to create a coherent and viable program of study. The proposal must be approved by 1) two faculty members with expertise in the proposed area of study, who will serve as the advisors for the minor, and 2) the Curriculum Committee.
The Distribution Requirements
All Allegheny students must successfully complete at least one course (four semester credit hours) in each of the areas of inquiry covered by the eight Distribution Requirements listed below. The Distribution Requirements fulfilled by a specific course are indicated in the course description using the two-letter codes shown below. An individual course may fulfill zero, one, or two of the Distribution Requirements, i.e., a single course may satisfy at most two of the Distribution Requirements. Courses presented in fulfillment of the Distribution Requirements must be taken for a letter grade. Courses that meet these requirements may also be counted toward major or minor requirements. However, FS courses (FS 101 , FS 102 , and FS 201 ), Junior Seminars, and Senior Projects may not be used to fulfill the Distribution Requirements.
Please note that these Distribution Requirements apply only to students who matriculated in or after Fall 2016. Students who matriculated before Fall 2016 are subject to the Distribution Requirement as described in previous editions of the Academic Bulletin or College Catalogue; the old Distribution Requirement is also summarized below under the heading “Distribution Requirement for Students Who Matriculated Before Fall, 2016.”
Distribution Requirements (Instituted Fall, 2016)
- Civic Learning (CL): Civic Learning develops the political, ethical, and social capacities citizens need to address the challenges facing local, regional, national, and international communities through community engagement and/or through the cultivation of civic knowledge, skills, motivations, and behaviors.
- Learning Outcome: Students who successfully complete this requirement will demonstrate an understanding of economic, political, legal, cultural, natural, historical, or social forces that affect public problems or civic issues.
- Human Experience (HE): The study of Human Experience explores human physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual experiences as conveyed in texts broadly defined. Through engagement with such texts, students develop an appreciation for human experiences and their representations.
- Learning Outcome: Students who successfully complete this requirement will demonstrate an understanding of how to interpret human experiences as conveyed in texts (including works of visual and performance art, rituals, cultural artifacts and traditions, and/or the written and spoken word).
- International and Intercultural Perspectives (IP): An understanding of International and Intercultural Perspectives means awareness that culture provides the interpretive lens for action in the world, and that one’s particular culture is itself one of many cultures of the world. It includes the ability to recognize and understand the results of cultural difference wherever they are found, as well as an awareness of the norms of one’s own culture or those of other cultures.
- Learning Outcome: Students who successfully complete this requirement will demonstrate an understanding of cultural complexity and difference.
- Modes of Expression (ME): The study of Modes of Expression explores individual and/or collective modes of expression, focusing upon the ways in which these modes create meaning and communicate thoughts, emotions, or beliefs to others. By engaging in hands-on experience, students interrogate the act of communication itself.
- Learning Outcome: Students who successfully complete this requirement will demonstrate an understanding of the production of meaning through active engagement with language, visual arts, and/or performance.
- Power, Privilege, and Difference (PD): Understanding Power, Privilege, and Difference means understanding the role of power, privilege, prejudice, discrimination, stereotypes, inequity, and oppression in human society, in both historical and contemporary contexts, and recognizing these dynamics in the learner’s own life and communities.
- Learning Outcome: Students who successfully complete this requirement will demonstrate an understanding of the historical and/or contemporary roles of power, privilege, and difference in human society.
- Quantitative Reasoning (QR): Quantitative Reasoning is the ability to understand, investigate, communicate, and contextualize numerical, symbolic, and graphical information towards the exploration of natural, physical, behavioral, or social phenomena.
- Learning Outcome: Students who successfully complete this requirement will demonstrate an understanding of how to interpret numeric data and/or their graphical or symbolic representations.
- Scientific Process and Knowledge (SP): Courses involving Scientific Process and Knowledge aim to convey an understanding of what is known or can be known about the natural world; apply scientific reasoning towards the analysis and synthesis of scientific information; and create scientifically literate citizens who can engage productively in problem solving.
- Learning Outcome: Students who successfully complete this requirement will demonstrate an understanding of the nature, approaches, and domain of scientific inquiry.
- Social Behavior and Institutions (SB): The study of Social Behavior and Institutions encompasses a broad range of disciplines that use a variety of methodologies to describe, explain, or predict human behavior, social processes, and institutional structures as they interact with their environments.
- Learning Outcome: Students who successfully complete this requirement will demonstrate an understanding of at least one methodology used to describe, explain, or predict human behavior at the level of the individual, small group, institution, organization, community, or population.
Distribution Requirement for Students Who Matriculated Before Fall, 2016
Any student who matriculated prior to the Fall, 2016, semester must complete the Distribution Requirement in force at the time of matriculation, viz., at least two courses (eight semester credit hours) in each of the three divisions of the college, including at least one laboratory course (four semester credit hours) in the natural sciences. Students majoring or minoring in Mathematics are exempted from the requirement that one of the natural science courses be a laboratory course but must satisfy the Distribution Requirement in all other respects. Students should be aware that MATH 159 - Precalculus does not count toward the pre-2016 Distribution Requirement. In addition, most courses offered in interdivisional programs are considered outside of all three divisions and do not count towards the pre-2016 College distribution requirement; exceptions are noted in the information for specific courses in this Bulletin
The Junior Seminar Requirement
All students must complete a Junior Seminar, which forms a bridge between the FS sequence and the Senior Project. These seminars develop the student’s ability to engage in advanced scholarship and communication in a discipline and are typically taken in the junior year or first semester of the senior year. Although the structure and timing of the Junior Seminar vary among programs, the course typically emphasizes methods of scholarship, the process of independent inquiry, and oral, written, and/or other (e.g., visual) communication skills.
The Senior Project Requirement
All students must complete a Senior Project in their majors. A student completing two majors may submit one Senior Project that integrates both disciplines and is evaluated jointly by faculty from both programs, or two separate Senior Projects, one in each program. In all cases, the Senior Project must satisfy the standards of evaluation in each department. Students completing integrated Senior Projects should work closely with faculty from both programs.
Since the College’s first commencement in 1821, Allegheny students have showcased their exceptional academic achievements through a senior capstone experience of one kind or another. At times it involved an oral defense, at others a written thesis. The notion of a written Senior Project coupled with a comprehensive oral examination first appeared in the 1942 College Catalogue. In the 1970s, oral examinations shifted from a general defense of disciplinary expertise to a more focused verbal presentation of the Senior Project findings.
In keeping with Allegheny’s commitment to provide students with a liberal arts education of high standards, the Senior Project is not a mere report or semester paper, but a significant piece of independent study, research or creative work conducted under the supervision of one or more faculty members. The outcome of a Senior Project is more than a grade or a written document; for the student it often results in a new way of looking at complex problems and inspires an appreciation for the power of ideas that might previously have seemed like abstract concepts in a textbook. Often it can be a pivotal moment where a student realizes his or her own abilities and potential.
The Senior Project provides students with an opportunity to integrate discipline-specific scholarship with the communication and research skills necessary for professionals in the 21st century. During their first year at Allegheny, students write, speak, and research frequently in their first-year seminars. By the sophomore year, they are ready to undertake the complexities of writing and speaking in a specific discipline. They further hone these disciplinary communication skills in a junior seminar, the final preparatory phase for the Senior Project. By the senior year they are sufficiently prepared to undertake a scholarly endeavor approximating those experiences they will face as professionals in their field.
The culminating experiences of the Senior Project are as varied as the disciplines that produce them, from recitals, performances, and exhibits to written and oral presentations on laboratory research. Many departments provide open forums for seniors to present their projects, allowing students to refine their skills in presenting discipline-specific information to a broad audience and providing a model for the communication skills required of informed professionals in a global society.
Principles Regarding Research
All regular academic courses, all independent study courses including senior projects, and all internships involving research with human participants will be conducted in an ethical manner. Proposals for study will be reviewed in advance by appropriate departmental and/or College review boards to ensure that this will be the case. In all instances the health, safety, and welfare of the individuals involved will be protected. Participation in such research or classroom projects will be by informed and voluntary consent, in accordance with accepted and appropriate general and disciplinary research guidelines. All research subjects will be given full clarification of the nature of the study. The laws of the nation, state, and community will be respected, and care will be taken that interpersonal relationships within the College community are not abused.
The Credit Requirement
Each student must successfully complete 128 semester credit hours. These shall include courses taken to meet the first-year/sophomore requirement, the major requirement, the minor requirement, the distribution requirement, and the Senior Project requirement, as well as elective courses.
The Grade Requirement
A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 is required for graduation from the College. Descriptions of the grading system and the academic standing requirements can be found in the sections “Academic Regulations and Policies ” and “Academic Standing .”
The Residency Requirement
The residency requirement is satisfied upon completion of 64 semester credit hours “in residence.” Of these, a student’s final 16 semester credit hours before graduation must be taken in residence. Work in residence is undertaken through registration at Allegheny and supervision by Allegheny faculty, who evaluate the student’s performance. Students are not required to live on campus or in Meadville to satisfy the residency requirement.