AB Requirements

These graduation requirements are applicable to all current students and all those who graduated after May 2014 as long as they either entered the College after Fall 2011 or were active students in Spring 2014. Please contact the Registrar's Office if you have any question about which requirements apply to you. It is the responsibility of each student to make sure they meet all graduation requirements.

Review our quick reference to graduation requirements and read full details below.

Credits and GPA

  • Successful completion of at least 128 credits in approved academic work.
    • A maximum of 16 credits of independent study and honors work may be applied toward this requirement.
    • A maximum of 12 credits in total earned in Mount Holyoke curricular support courses or in any Mount Holyoke, Five College, or transferred non-liberal arts courses, whether taken before or after the student's matriculation at the College. 
  • 64 of these credits (16 courses) must be taken while at Mount Holyoke during the student's sophomore, junior, and senior years, and she must be registered at Mount Holyoke for four semesters during those years. This is the Residency Requirement.
  • At least 68 academic credits must be in courses outside the student's major field of study, unless she elects and completes a second major, a Special (individually designed interdisciplinary) major, or a designated interdisciplinary major.
  • 4 units of physical education, expected to be completed within the student's first four semesters at the College. Students admitted as transfer students or Frances Perkins Scholars need complete only 2 units of PE. PE units are distinct from academic credits.
  • A 2.00 cumulative grade point average.

A First-Year Seminar

  • Every student must complete a designated First-Year Seminar course, except those who enter the College with sophomore or junior standing as transfer students or Frances Perkins scholars.


A designated course in a language other than English.

  • In the case of a student whose first language is not English, an exemption may be granted by the Dean of Studies to those with at least one of the following:
    • Documented attendance at a secondary school for at least one year at which instruction was conducted in a language other than English.
    • Documented attendance at a secondary school outside of the US where the language of instruction was English but she elected a language or literature course taught in her native language.
    • An O-Level, A-Level, or GSCE language result (for students from India, this would be a grade of X or XII) or an official record of satisfactory completion of a college-level language or literature course in her native language.

Multicultural Perspectives

One approved 4-credit course devoted primarily to the study of some aspect of: a) the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East; or b) peoples of color in Australia, Europe, or North America; or c) peoples in North America whose primary language is other than English. The course must incorporate a diversity of perspectives. Courses are available in many fields of study; the courses meeting this requirement are designated in the catalog.


One designated course in each of the three divisions below.  

  • Division I, Humanities
  • Division II, Science and Mathematics
  • Division III, Social Sciences
    • Approved language courses may be used to meet either the language requirement or distribution; but the same course(s) may not meet both requirements for a student.
    • A single course designated as either meeting language or distribution requirements may also be used by a student to meet the Multicultural Perspectives requirement, as long as it has been designated for the two requirements.

A Major

All students must complete a major of one of three types:

  1. Departmental Major
    At least 32 credits must be completed in the major field. At least 8 of those credits must be taken at the advanced (300) level. Specific requirements for each departmental major are listed in the catalog. Ask the department chair if you have questions about those requirements.
  2. Interdisciplinary Major
    At least 40 credits must be completed in the major. At least 12 of these credits must be at the advanced (300) level, and must be from at least two different departments. The interdisciplinary programs each have specific requirements for their majors; again, these are at the beginning of each program's course offerings in the catalog. Program chairs will answer questions about those requirements.
  3. Special Major
    At least 40 approved credits are required in the major. At least 20 of these credits must be taken at the advanced (300) level, from at least two different departments. Students apply for special, self-designed majors through the Dean of Studies. A special committee of faculty members is assigned to oversee the student's work. Specific requirements for the major are approved through the committee and the Dean of Studies.

Each student must declare her major in her sophomore year, no later than the end of the eighth week of classes of the second semester.


Students may also elect to complete any number (or none) of the following: a second major, a minor (but not both a second major and a minor), a Five College certificate, or a Nexus program. No course included in a student's major may be included in their minor.

Note on Ungraded Courses

Students may take up to a total of four courses (16 credits) of work on an ungraded (credit/no-credit) basis. They may never be elected in the field of the student's declared major(s), nor applied to the minor, nor used to meet the College's multicultural, language, or distribution requirements. Only one course may be taken ungraded within any one semester. If a course is taken ungraded, it may not be changed later to graded, even though a student may want to include it in her minor or toward a general requirement. For this reason, we suggest using the Ungraded Option carefully. The option is not intended to make it possible for students to do less work in a course than if that course were being taken for a letter grade.

Questions? Email the Office of the Registrar.