Degree Requirements

To graduate, you must complete a minimum of 128 credits, 64 of which must be taken at Mount Holyoke. You must be registered at Mount Holyoke for four semesters a minimum of four semesters. This is the Residency Requirement. To receive a Mount Holyoke College degree, you must have a minimum grade point average of 2.00, meet the College and distribution requirements, and complete the requirements of a major.

The distribution requirements, described below, are designed to acquaint you with a wide range of knowledge and to expose you to new areas of interest. You must also take a course that meets the Multicultural Perspectives requirement, meet the Language requirement, and complete 2 units of physical education.

Distribution Requirements

One designated course in each of the three Distribution Groups below.  

Division l, Humanities
Division ll, Science and Mathematics
Division lll, 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 designated course in a language other than English

In the case of an student whose first language is not English, an exemption may be granted by the Dean of International Students 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.

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 credits are required. 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 her 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 any general requirement of the College (multicultural, language, or distribution). 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. It is intended to allow students to explore fields completely new to them, in which they are not sure how well they will do. The option is definitely 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.

Physical Education and Athletics

Students admitted as transfer students or Frances Perkins Scholars need complete only 2 physical education units. (The usual requirement is 4 PE units, but transfer and FP students receive a 2-credit waiver so need only complete 2 more PE units at the College.) PE units are distinct from academic credits.