Degree Myths

We have found that occasionally "urban myths" about degree requirements appear on campus. These are rumors which persist yet have no basis in fact. The best sources of information are: online catalog, department chairs (majors and minors), Registrar, faculty advisors, and 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 majoring in some designated interdisciplinary majors do not have to declare a minor, but they may do so if they wish. However, all students who declare two majors  may not also declare a minor.

  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 an '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 ella roster, am I then registered for that course?
    No, you are not registered. The only way you are registered for a course is when you 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, right?
    Not true. Mount Holyoke College offers only one degree at the undergraduate level; it is the Bachelor of Arts.

  6. There is a difference between a BA and an AB 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 "AB" as the abbreviation, because the diploma is in Latin, not English. If our diploma were printed in English, it would be "BA." You will undoubtedly be asked, sometime, by someone, "what's an AB? Is it anything like a BA?" The answer is yes; they both 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 university 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 is considered transfer credit and will not be applied toward your residency requirement.

  8. You cannot include your minor in the 68 credits outside your major requirement.
    Of course you may. 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 you took or take away from Mount Holyoke towards a minor.
    Not true. Some students take all four of the courses in their minor at other institutions. But if any minor courses are taken elsewhere, we need the approval of the appropriate MHC department chair certifying that the work was at least at the intermediate (200) level and that it meets the requirements of your minor.

  10. You have to take at least one of your courses for the Group II distribution requirement in math, statistics, or computer science.
    Not true. This requirement states that one course must be a natural science course with a lab component. The other course may be either a natural science course or a math, statistics, or computer science course. You should consult the online catalog to see if a course is approved to meet this requirement as there are some science courses without a lab component that are not approved to fulfill this requirement.

  11. If a course is approved for a distribution, it cannot also meet the Multicultural Perspectives requirement.
    Not true, this is okay to do. The only situation in which a course cannot fulfill distribution and another requirement simultaneously is if that course is used toward the language requirement; it then cannot also meet the distribution requirement.

  12. 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. The ungraded option was created to allow students to explore fields new to them; any courses used for your College or minor requirements may not be taken ungraded and nor may any courses taken in the department/field of your declared major.

  13. A course used as part of your major cannot also count for distribution.
    Not true. Any course offered by your major or minor department may also be used to meet distribution, language, or Multicultural Perspectives requirements.

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