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Academic Requirements and Options

Writing Requirement
Students may be required to enroll in writing courses at two points in their studies. First-year students needing special attention for their writing skills may be required to enroll in and pass with a grade of C-or better WRRH 100 Writer's Seminar during the fall semester. First-Year Seminar instructors may require a student enrolled in their seminar to take a supplemental writing class during the student's first year. Courses that satisfy this requirement are any 100-level rhetoric course.

Major
The major provides the means by which students acquire knowledge in depth of a discipline, interdisciplinary program, or individually designed area of study. The typical departmental major at the Colleges requires eight to 10 courses in the major department and additional courses from related departments. The total number and sequence of courses needed to complete the major are determined by the department or program. Students should consult departmental or program offerings in this catalogue or discuss requirements with the department chair or program coordinator. In the case of individual majors, the student should consult with his or her adviser and the Individual Majors Committee. Students normally file a declaration of major by the end of the second semester of their second year, and must do so by the beginning of the first semester of the third year. In addition, students are responsible for seeing that prerequisites for the major are met as they plan their schedules. Some students choose to do two majors rather than a major and a minor, but this is not a requirement. Of the courses required for a major, six must be unique to that major (cannot be counted toward another major or minor).

Individual Major
A student whose interests involve several disciplines or an area of study not offered as an established major may create an individual major. Working with a faculty sponsor, the student plans a program and the specific courses to be taken. This program is then submitted to the Individual Majors Committee, which must approve the program. The committee and the faculty sponsor then oversee the student's program of study. The committee's responsibilities include approving any changes in the program and certifying the student as sufficiently prepared in the individual major to enter the senior year. While most individual majors earn a B.A., it is possible to earn a B.S. This requires 16 courses in the division of natural sciences and the approval of the Individual Majors Committee. Courses to be counted toward an individual major must be passed with a grade of C- or better.

Two Disciplinary Majors and the Integrative Minor Option
A student choosing to declare two disciplinary majors must complete an interdisciplinary minor. This interdisciplinary minor can be either a) an established interdisciplinary minor, for which any uniqueness requirements are waived, or b) an integrative minor, which the student constructs with the help and consent of the two major advisers. The integrative minor must consist of a minimum of five mutually agreed-upon courses that address a single problem or area of inquiry from at least two identifiable disciplinary points of view.

Two Interdisciplinary Majors
A student choosing to declare two interdisciplinary majors must complete an established disciplinary minor listed in the catalogue. Any uniqueness requirements pertaining to this minor are waived.

Minor
A minor also allows students to focus on a particular area of study, though to a lesser extent than a major. Minors ordinarily consist of at least five courses. Students can file a declaration of minor at any time but should do so prior to the second semester of their third year. Declaration consists of completing a form that names the minor field, lists the courses that count toward the minor, and includes the signatures of the student and the department chair or program director of the minor department or field. Of the courses required for a minor, three must be unique to the minor (cannot be counted toward another major or minor).

Baccalaureate Plan
Late in their third year, all students meet with their faculty adviser to construct a baccalaureate plan. This plan records a student's progress in addressing the Colleges' eight educational goals and progress toward completing a major and minor or second major, and identifies work to be done in the senior or baccalaureate year to complete all requirements. Submission of this plan is a requirement for admission to the senior year.

Independent Study
Students who have demonstrated a capacity for individual work at an advanced level may, with permission of the department chair, register for independent study in place of one regular course. Each department sets its own qualifications for such advanced work. Independent study may grow out of a regular course, or it may deal with problems or fields not otherwise covered in regular course offerings. It may take one or a combination of several forms:

  • extensive reading from a bibliography, ordinarily compiled in consultation with a faculty member, and a final examination;
  • an individual research topic approved by the department and culminating in a substantial course paper; or
  • a scientific experiment, a musical composition, an art project, a play, or some other individual work approved and supervised by the department.

In all cases, independent study is under the supervision of a faculty member, who guides the student in planning and carrying out the program. Independent study is listed on the student's record and confers course credit.

Course Equivalents
Normally, a student takes four courses per semester. However, students may develop imaginative alternative programs that substitute other forms of academic activity for one or more courses. Course equivalents have been undertaken in the form of internships at Geneva General Hospital, Rochester General Hospital, the Geneva Historical Society, radio stations and newspapers, and community service organizations. Students have also received course equivalents for volunteer research, and assistantships in law offices.

Course equivalents require the approval of the student's faculty adviser and the Committee on Standards. Course equivalents, which are listed with their title on the student's transcript, may count toward the major with the approval of the appropriate department chair. Course equivalents are not graded; they may be taken as credit/no credit only.

Internships - See Salisbury Center for Career Services.

 

ALL FORMS ARE AVAILABLE HERE: https://www.hws.edu/offices/forms.aspx.