FAQ About New Graduation Requirements

For Classes 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

These questions and answers pertain to the revised graduation requirements for undergraduate students in the classes of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

For the class of 2014 and for all certificate students, graduation requirements remain unchanged.

How many overall credits do I need to earn my degree?
128 credits are still the minimum requirement for a Mount Holyoke bachelor of arts' degree.

Do I still need a major?
Yes, a major is still a graduation requirement.  Each major has its own requirements.   If you have already declared your major, consult with your advisor during Advising Week about your major requirements.  If you have not yet declared your major should consult with your intended major department.  Some departments may be adjusting their major requirements this summer, so it is a good idea to confirm major requirements in the fall.

I am in the class of 2015, 2016, or 2017 and I never took a first-year seminar.  However, now I see that a first-year seminar is a degree requirement. Do I have to take a first-year seminar next year?
No. Students in the classes of 2015, 2016, and 2017 will receive exemptions from this requirement. All students in the Class of 2018 and beyond -- except those who entered the College with sophomore or junior standing as FP or transfer students -- will be required to enroll in a first-year seminar.  (That exception for FP & transfer students with sophomore or junior standing was added in October 2014.)

If I already took a first-year seminar that carried one of the "old" distribution designations (for example, IIIA - Social Sciences), will that course fulfill both the new first-year seminar requirement AND the corresponding new broader distribution designation (e.g. III - Social Sciences)?
, a first-year seminar that was designated to meet a distribution requirement in ISIS at the time you took it will automatically be applied to fulfill the corresponding new distribution designation. See your degree audit in ISIS to verify.

I am planning on taking an elementary language course in the fall (2014) semester. Can I use this course to fulfill both the Language requirement and a distribution requirement?
No, an elementary language course can only be used to fulfill the language requirement.  Some foreign literature courses (usually 200-level or above) have both the LANG and the I - Humanities designation in ISIS.  These courses can be used to meet EITHER requirement, but you cannot fulfill both requirements with the same course.   That is, you can count it toward LANG or Humanities, but not both.

How do I know which distribution requirement a course can fill?  Or whether it can fill the Language or Multicultural Perspectives requirement?
As in the past, the "Course Types" column in ISIS shows which distribution requirement it will fulfill. Courses in fall 2014 and later will bear the new designations: I (for Humanities), II (for Math or Natural Sciences), III (for Social Sciences), MP (for Multicultural Perspectives), or LANG (for the Language requirement).   

I already took a course that counted toward one of the "old" distribution requirements.  Will it automatically count toward the corresponding new requirements?
Yes, courses taken prior to fall 2014 still bear the old designations:  IA or IB for Humanities; IIA, IIB, or IIC for Math/Sciences; and IIIC for Social Sciences.      These older designations will be mapped automatically in your degree audit to the new requirements.  For example, a IA or IB will fulfill the new broader I (Humanities) requirement; the IIA, IIB, or IIC will fulfill the new II (Science/Math) requirement, and the old IIIA courses will fulfill the new III (Social Science) requirement.

Can I count the same course toward the Multicultural Perspectives requirement and a distribution division (I, II, or III)?
Yes. Just as in the past, a course that has both the MP designation in ISIS and the I, II, or III requirement can be applied to fulfill BOTH of those requirements.

I do not want to declare/complete a minor.  Is that now allowed?
Yes. Under the new requirements, no student HAS to have a minor. You may elect a minor (or a double major) if you wish, but you do not have to have either.

I have already declared a special minor.  Can I complete it?
If you are in the class years of 2015, 2016, or 2017 and have already declared a special minor, you may complete it and have it recorded on your transcript.  If you're in those class years, you'll also have one final chance to declare a special minor in the Fall 2014 semester.  Any student who has not yet declared a special minor by 12/9/2014, however, will not be allowed to do so, as that option is being discontinued.

I am on leave from the College in Spring 2014 and am a member of the class of 2014. Am I subject to the old requirements or the new ones?
Unless you completed all degree requirements in spring 2014 and received your degree in May 2014, you will be subject to the new requirements.

How do I know where I stand in meeting the new graduation requirements?
Check your degree audit in ISIS. The Registrar's Office has already updated your requirements, so the new requirements and your status in fulfilling them should be visible right now in your degree audit. The only caveat is that students who had to get permission for some exception in the past may find that their audit doesn't yet reflect these exceptions. The Registrar's Office is re-entering those exceptions now. We'll try to post them as quickly as we can      but no later than summer 2014.

Can I still fulfill the old requirements?
The old distribution requirements still provide an excellent blueprint for ensuring a strong foundation for your liberal arts education. If you wish to continue using them and the College's Learning Goals as a guide in planning your course choices, please do so.