Degree Myths

We have found that "urban myths" about degree requirements occasionally appear on campus. These persistent rumors have no basis in fact. The best sources of information are: the online catalog, department chairs (majors and minors), Registrar's Office, faculty advisors, and the Office of Academic Deans.

Here are some of the more persistent myths, with the correct information:

  1. If you major in an interdisciplinary area, you can't declare a minor.
    Not true. Students with an interdisciplinary major may also declare a minor if they wish. However, students who declare two majors may not also declare a minor; she may, instead, though complete a Nexus or five-college certificate.

  2. If I do not attend a class it will be dropped automatically from my schedule.
    Not true. If you do not plan to keep a course, you must drop it yourself. Being informed by a faculty member that you are no longer in his or her class does not constitute a drop. Students must follow College policy regarding dropping a class. Failure to officially drop a class will result in a grade of 'F.' Remember that full-time students are required to maintain at least 12 academic credits in a regular semester.

  3. If the instructor writes my name down on the class roll or adds me to the Moodle roster, am I then registered for that course?
    No, you are not registered. The only way to be registered for a course is to formally register via the online registration system, ISIS. Being informed by a faculty member that you are in the class will not  constitute an add. Students must follow College policy regarding adding a class. If you do not add the course through the online registration system, you may not receive credit for that class even if you complete the semester.

  4. If I do not live in a residence hall or on campus, it is not necessary to carry 12 academic credits.
    Not true. All full-time students are required to carry at least 12 academic credits. Physical education courses are not granted academic credit and do not count toward your enrollment status.

  5. If I major in certain fields, I can get a bachelor of science degree?
    Not true. Mount Holyoke College offers only one degree at the undergraduate level      the Bachelor of Arts.

  6. There is a difference between a B.A. and an A.B .degree.
    Not true. While different institutions follow different rules, there is no single "right" way of abbreviating degrees. Mount Holyoke follows the common practice of using "A.B." as the abbreviation, because the diploma is printed in Latin, not English. If our diploma were printed in English, we would likely use the English "B.A." abbreviation. You will undoubtedly be asked, sometime, by someone, "What's an A.B.? Is it anything like a B.A.?" The answer is both abbreviations refer to exactly the same degree.

  7. Courses you take through the Five College Interchange at Amherst, Smith, Hampshire, or the University of Massachusetts do not count as Mount Holyoke credits and won't count toward the residency requirement.
    Not true      they do count. Any credits you earn at any of the other colleges or UMass while you are registered at Mount Holyoke, in a regular semester through the registration interchange, count as "Mount Holyoke residency credit." January terms, however, are not part of the official interchange agreement. Any credits earned at other colleges or at UMass during the intersession period in January will not be applied toward your residency requirement. Academic work completed during the summer or through UMass Continuing Education at any point is considered transfer credit and will not apply to the residency requirement.

  8. You cannot include your minor in the 68 credits outside your major requirement.
     Not true. Those 68 "outside" credits include all courses     distribution, language, minor, multicultural, and electives      as long as they are not from your major field.

  9. You cannot apply courses taken away from Mount Holyoke toward a minor.
    Not true. It is theoretically possible that all requirements for a minor could be completed through transfer work from other institutions. But any courses taken elsewhere, through the five-college interchange, study abroad, or transferred to Mount Holyoke will need the approval of the appropriate MHC department chair to meet a minor requirement.

  10. If a course is approved for a distribution, it cannot also meet the Multicultural Perspectives requirement.
    Not true. A course approved for distribution can also meet the Multicultural Perspectives requirement.  However, a course cannot simultaneously fulfill distribution AND the Language requirement.
  11. If a course from my major department does not fulfill a major requirement, I can take it ungraded.
    Not true. College legislation is clear on this matter: All classes taken within your major department must be taken for a letter grade. If you have declared a major, then any courses taken in that department/field of study cannot be taken Ungraded -- even if you do not need that particular course to fulfill a major requirement.  The legislation is different for minors.  You can elect the Ungraded option in additional courses in your minor department/field, as long as you don't need that particular course to fulfill the minor's requirements.

  12. A course used as part of your major cannot also count for distribution.
    Not true. Any course applied to your major or minor may also be used to meet distribution, language, Multicultural Perspectives, or the first-year seminar requirements.

If you have any other "myths" you think should be listed here, please report them to the Office of the Registrar.