2014–2015 Degree Requirements
Governing Catalog | Residence Requirement | Academic Major | Declaring a Major | Customized Major Program Requirements | Applying to Program | Academic Minor | Second Bachelor's Degree | Learning Communities| E-Portfolios
Westminster offers courses leading to the undergraduate degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science. The faculties of the four schools determine which of these degrees is to be awarded under each instructional program.
Students may meet degree requirements as specified in the Academic Catalog in effect at the time of their entrance into the college, or they may elect to meet requirements given in a later academic catalog. All major, minor, and liberal education requirements must be contained within a single issue and may not be selected from several issues.
Students who leave the college for no more than two regular semesters retain the right to be considered under their previous catalog and retain the right for six years following the date of entrance to graduate under requirements current at the time of entrance.
Undergraduate students earning baccalaureate degrees from Westminster must complete a minimum of 36 hours of coursework at the college. In addition, undergraduate students must complete in residence:
- their last 36 hours of course work
- at least 12 hours of upper division course work in any major
- at least 8 hours of course work in any minor
A maximum of 88 credit hours of external credit is accepted toward a degree. External credit includes any transfer credit, credit by examination, and credit earned through Prior Learning Assessment.
Students may appeal for an exception to the residency policy to the Registrar in writing. Appeals should clearly explain extenuating circumstances and provide a graduation plan. Any courses approved for transfer within a student’s last 36 hours must be pre-approved as part of the appeals process.
The college offers the academic programs (majors) listed below:
|Arts Administration||Environmental Studies||Nursing|
|Computer Information Systems||International Business||Public Health|
|Computer Science||Justice Studies||Sociology|
The requirements for each of these academic programs are listed according to the school to which they belong. Students are bound by the major requirements of their governing academic catalog. Changes made to program requirements for individual students by advisors are subject to the approval of program chairs, the school dean and the Registrar.
All students are required to complete a junior-year advising appointment with a faculty advisor in each of their academic programs (majors and minors). The primary purpose of this advising appointment is to clearly map out and review remaining degree requirements, with special attention paid to limited offerings and course sequencing within academic programs.
Forms for declaring majors and minors are available in the Start Center, each academic school office, or the Registrar’s Office. Students who have completed this process and turned in the required forms and degree audits are then considered formally declared in their major(s) and/or minor(s). Students with junior class standing who have not met with a faculty advisor will not be eligible to register for upcoming semesters.
Completing Two Majors
A major is an area of specialization within the degree. Students may complete more than one major at the same time but may not complete more than one degree at the same time. For a student completing two majors, or a major and minor, or any other combination of majors and minors, courses that are required for both majors/minors may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for both, but elective courses may be used in only one major or minor, unless a policy allowing double-counting of elective courses is stated in the catalog description of the major/minor. This is informally referred to as “double-dipping.”
Information about combining two Gore School of Business majors may be obtained from the Gore School of Business or the Office of the Registrar.
Students may choose two majors, one that leads to a B.A., and one that leads to a B.S., but may receive only one degree. The first-listed major on the graduation application determines the degree awarded.
Students who successfully complete the Customized Major will have developed:
- the ability to think independently, critically, analytically, and integratively;
- research skills suited to investigating problems and topics that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries;
- problem-solving skills that reflect intellectual self-awareness, resourcefulness, and creativity;
- enhanced writing, communication, and information literacy skills
- strong leadership, teamwork, and cooperation skills suitable to the creation of new knowl edge in a variety of academic and professional settings; and
- global consciousness, social responsibility, and ethical awareness.
Highly motivated and creative students may propose individualized programs of study that combine work across multiple traditional disciplines. A Customized Major must consist of a coherent sequence of classes selected from the offerings of at least two academic departments or programs. This sequence must be unified by a consistent conceptual framework that reflects clear focus, along with both breadth and depth of inquiry. There must be a demonstrable relation to a specific set of career or educational objectives, and the program must culminate in an integrative project or thesis.
Possible subjects for Customized Majors include historical periods, keystone ideas, enduring questions, and new problems. For instance, a student might study Modernism in history, literature, art, and music; or she might explore the ideas of freedom and responsibility in philosophy, sociology, and political science; or she might combine insights from environmental studies, communications, and education to investigate the challenge of teaching ecological literacy. With the Customized Major, the possibilities are limited only by the student’s imagination and capacity for self-direction.
The Customized Major is not designed for students who are unable or unwilling to satisfy the requirements of existing academic programs.
Applicants must have completed the equivalent of one full-time semester of academic work at Westminster College and must have earned a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher in all classes completed here.
The Customized Major must consist of fifty (50) semester credit hours, 80% of which must be taken at Westminster College.
Only classes passed with a C or higher may be counted toward the major.
The curriculum should reflect a reasonable balance and sequence of introductory, intermediate, and advanced courses, and should include at least one course in research methods from one of the primary disciplines.
It is strongly recommended that each student complete a minimum of eight (8) hours of foreign language classes, though introductory language classes should not be counted toward the major.
As many as eight (8) semester credit hours may be satisfied in field-based coursework such as independent study, internships, community work, and supervised work experience.
Each student must complete a capstone project that integrates insights, information, and methods from the relevant disciplines into a focused inquiry or experience. This project must be proposed to the Advisory Committee (see below) at the beginning of the senior year. The results of the project should be presented in a public forum at Westminster or elsewhere. The completed capstone project must be submitted to the Director by the last day of classes in the student’s final semester.
Since the application process can take several months, students interested in pursuing the Customized Major should contact the Director as early as possible in their academic career.
The Director will conduct an extensive intake interview with each prospective major, assess the applicant’s academic history and interests, provide advice on the process of designing a Customized Major, and refer the student to faculty members who can provide field-specific advice regarding the selection and sequencing of courses into a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum.
The applicant will design an individualized plan of study in consultation with an Advisory Committee consisting of two or more faculty members from across the College. The application to the program should include:
- the title of the proposed major as it will appear on the transcript,
- a list of courses providing both breadth and depth in the major,
- a statement of the specific learning goals of the proposed major,
- a description of the career or educational objectives the major will support,
- a statement of how the proposed major compares to existing programs in the same field at other institutions.
The application should be submitted to the Customized Major Director for approval at least three semesters before the applicant’s planned graduation date.
Office: Jewett A
Completing Additional Major or Minor After Graduation
Westminster graduates may choose to complete an additional major or minor after their graduation date and are allowed to use their same governing catalog as long as they stay continuously enrolled. Requirements must be completed within one year of their graduation date and students must meet all requirements in residence at Westminster. The student must notify the Registrar’s Office of his or her intention to complete an additional major or minor.
The college offers an academic minor in most areas of instruction. Each instructional program lists specific minor requirements. Several majors require an accompanying minor. In lieu of a minor, students may support their majors with a broad variety of courses selected in consultation with their academic advisors.
A minimum 2.0 GPA is required for coursework used to fulfill requirements for an academic minor. Minimum GPA requirements are listed for each academic minor. Only grades of C- or better may be presented to satisfy minor requirements.
Courses that are required for both a major and a minor may be used to fulfill requirements for both the major and the minor, but elective courses may be used in either the major or the minor. The hours may be used only once.
In addition to the above-listed majors, the college offers minors in many of these areas plus minors only in Anthropology, French, Gender Studies, Political Science, and Religion.
Information about combining Gore School of Business majors and minors may be obtained from the Gore School of Business or the Office of the Registrar.
Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree and are working toward a second bachelor’s degree must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours at Westminster College beyond the first degree and must meet all degree requirements. Students may not complete two degrees concurrently. Students who already have earned a bachelor’s degree are considered to have met liberal education and upper division hour requirements. Transfer students who have earned a bachelor’s degree are automatically awarded 88 credit hours of transfer credit.
Nursing prerequisite courses need to be fulfilled by students with prior degrees. Individual evaluations of comparable coursework will be made by the nursing program.
Barbara Schulz Smith, Coordinator
As part of Westminster’s commitment to develop new models of teaching and learning, several interdisciplinary learning communities are available to first-year students. These interdisciplinary courses are designed to help students:
- Develop critical, analytical, writing and presentation skills, and
- Establish strong relationships with other students and with faculty, and
- Adjust to college.
Learning communities at Westminster link two classes together with a common theme. Typically, at least one of the classes also fulfills a liberal education requirement. Sometimes, a course is paired with an INTR course which is a course designed for first-year students as a seminar class that focuses on issues of college life. The majority of learning community classes are designed for first-year students and are NOT upper division (300-level) credit.
Learning communities are taught primarily by full-time faculty members. This is one of the bonuses of learning communities. Students get to meet and interact with professors who have chosen to teach first-year students as part of their teaching responsibilities at Westminster.
If you entered Westminster during the Fall of 2006 (or after this date) as a first-year student, you will need to take at least one learning community during your first year here. These interdisciplinary classes vary widely on theme and topic areas. By way of example, learning community classes have included the pairing of Psychology and English Composition, Speech and Philosophy, Anthropology and the Arts, and Business and Statistics. Many additional choices are offered each semester. Current learning community (LC) class offerings are listed in the class schedule and on the Westminster Learning Community website.
Note: Students who do not pass one or both courses contained within a first-year learning community are not required to repeat the learning community experience but will be required to successfully pass any liberal education category represented by courses within the learning community.
Beginning in the Fall 2011 semester, all new full-time undergraduate students will be required to create an electronic portfolio via Foliotek that shows their achievement of the college-wide learning goals (CWLGs). All transfer students who come to Westminster with fewer than 60 hours of credit and enroll after Fall Semester 2012 will also be required to create a portfolio focused on the college-wide learning goals.
Westminster believes that this system of portfolios will deepen student understanding of the college’s learning goals, help students integrate their learning from across the disciplines, help them see their academic and personal growth during their time at Westminster, and serve them in seeking employment or entrance to graduate school.
Student portfolios will include artifacts related to each learning goal. We encourage students to include artifacts from the curriculum and the co-curriculum. In addition, students will create a reflection essay for each learning goal that demonstrates how the artifacts are evidence of achievement of the goals.
Portfolios will be submitted twice during a student’s time at Westminster—once at the end of the sophomore year and again at the mid-point of the senior year. The portfolio coordinator will ensure that all students have submitted portfolios in accordance with this schedule. Completion of the senior-level portfolio is a condition of graduation.
The sophomore portfolio is dedicated to orienting the student to the Westminster CWLGs and initiating the creation of a portfolio. Incoming students do this by demonstrating the portfolio competencies, developing their initial portfolio, and submitting it to the college. Within the first two semesters, students would be required to demonstrate portfolio competency. Students can do so in one of two ways: 1) attending an INTR 175 class in the spring semester of their first academic year at Westminster (1 credit semester-long seminar), designed to orient students toward the CWLGs and the portfolio process; or 2) by completing pre-approved activities related to the portfolio competencies such as workshops, online tutorials, multimedia studio work, or other activities. The INTR 175 courses are taught by faculty or staff with expertise in portfolios.
As students complete coursework and other campus experiences, they collect artifacts that demonstrate the CWLGs. Course syllabi assist the students in identifying artifacts deemed appropriate for the portfolio. Co-curricular activities that meet the CWLGs are also available for students. The portfolio contains the students’ preferred artifacts along with a reflection on the significance of the artifacts in their learning development and a clear description of how the artifacts demonstrate their learning.
At some point before reaching junior status (88 credit hours), students must submit their portfolios to the portfolio coordinator.
The senior portfolio involves continued development relative to the CWLGs and/or the development of program-specific goals (when applicable). All students completing a degree program at Westminster College are required to submit a portfolio prior to graduation that demonstrates their learning relative to the CWLGs.
|Year 1||Learning community courses
LE courses—gathering artifacts
|INTR 175 or completion of approved activities to demonstrate portfolio
LE courses—developing portfolio
|Year 2||LE courses—continue development of portfolio||
Sophomore portfolio submitted by midterm
|Year 3||Begin major program
Beginning Senior portfolio
|Major courses—developing portfolio|
|Year 4||Major courses—developing portfolio||
Senior portfolio is submitted by midterm
Program portfolios are evaluated according to program guidelines
Credit for Experiential Learning
(Prior Learning Assessment)
The Prior Learning Assessment program is under review for the 2014–2015 academic year. Westminster College is currently exploring a variety of degree completion programs that will be announced in the future. Any changes will be posted to the Registrar’s Office website.