The Graduation Requirements are designed to provide all students with diverse learning opportunities, as well as with depth in more than one area. Every student must complete work in each division of the College.
To receive a degree from Allegheny, students must complete the following requirements:
- The First-year-/Sophomore Requirement
- The Major Requirement
- The Minor Requirement
- The Senior Project Requirement
- The Distribution Requirement
- The Credit Requirement
- The Grade Requirement
- The Residency Requirement
All students are required to take three FS courses in the first two years: FS 101, 102, and 201. The FS program encourages careful listening and reading, thoughtful speaking and writing, and reflective academic planning and self-exploration. These courses provide opportunities to develop communication and research skills useful for generating, exploring, defending, and challenging ideas. This background prepares students to succeed in the Junior Seminar and Senior Project that are required in the student’s major. Taken together, the FS program, Junior Seminar, and Senior Project ensure that all Allegheny graduates are equipped to think critically and creatively, to communicate clearly and persuasively, and to meet challenges in a diverse, interconnected world.
All Allegheny students must complete a major (the “graduation major”) consisting of a minimum of 36 semester credit hours of coursework in the major program, including the Junior Seminar and Senior Project. Students may choose to take more than 48 credits in a department, but no more than 64 credits from any one department may count toward the 128 credits needed for graduation. Students must achieve a minimum grade point average of 2.0 in the major.
Students electing majors in addition to the graduation major must fulfill all requirements for each program. Each major must contain at least 20 credits not counted in another major or minor.
After consulting with their current advisors, students should select a major advisor and declare a major and minor by the end of the sophomore year. Students who will have 48 or more credits by the end of their current semester will not be permitted to register for the next semester until they have declared a major and a minor. Appropriate forms may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar
All Allegheny students must complete a minor (the “graduation minor”) consisting of at least 20 credits of coursework. At least 12 of these credits must lie outside the division of the graduation major. Students whose graduation major requires courses from more than one division should consult the major description to determine the division of the major and options for fulfilling the minor requirement. Students must achieve a minimum grade point average of 2.0 in the minor. Courses may not be counted for both the graduation major and the graduation minor.
The minor requirement can also be satisfied by a second major. When a second major is used to fulfill the College Minor Requirement, each major must contain at least 20 credit hours that do not also count toward the other major. At least 12 of these 20 credit hours in the second major must be outside the division of the first major. Interdivisional majors may take any minor or any second major to fulfill the requirement.
Students electing minors in addition to the graduation minor must fulfill all requirements for each program. Each additional minor must contain at least 12 credits not counted in another major or minor. Forms for declaring a minor may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.
All students must complete a Senior Project in their majors. A student completing two majors must fulfill all requirements for the Senior Project in each department. With prior approval of both departments, a student may submit one project that integrates both disciplines and is evaluated jointly by both departments. In this case, the Senior Project must satisfy the standards of evaluation in each department.
Since the College’s first commencement in 1821, Allegheny students have showcased their exceptional academic achievements through a senior capstone experience of one kind or another. At times it involved an oral defense, at others a written thesis. The notion of a written Senior Project coupled with a comprehensive oral examination first appeared in the 1942 College Catalogue. In the 1970s, oral examinations shifted from a general defense of disciplinary expertise to a more focused verbal presentation of the Senior Project findings.
In keeping with Allegheny’s commitment to provide students with a liberal arts education of high standards, the Senior Project is not a mere report or semester paper, but a significant piece of independent study, research or creative work conducted under the supervision of one or more faculty members. The outcome of a Senior Project is more than a grade or a written document; for the student it often results in a new way of looking at complex problems and inspires an appreciation for the power of ideas that might previously have seemed like abstract concepts in a textbook. Often it can be a pivotal moment where a student realizes his or her own abilities and potential.
The Senior Project provides students with an opportunity to integrate discipline-specific scholarship with the communication and research skills necessary for professionals in the 21st century. During their first year at Allegheny, students write, speak, and research frequently in their first-year seminars. By the sophomore year, they are ready to undertake the complexities of writing and speaking in a specific discipline. They further hone these disciplinary communication skills in a junior seminar, the final preparatory phase for the Senior Project. By the senior year they are sufficiently prepared to undertake a scholarly endeavor approximating those experiences they will face as professionals in their field.
The culminating experiences of the Senior Project are as varied as the disciplines that produce them, from recitals, performances, and exhibits to written and oral presentations on laboratory research. Many departments provide open forums for seniors to present their projects, allowing students to refine their skills in presenting discipline-specific information to a broad audience and providing a model for the communication skills required of informed professionals in a global society.
All Allegheny students must take at least two courses (eight semester credit hours) in the division least represented in the major and minor. AP courses may not be used to satisfy distribution. It is recommended that this requirement be completed by the end of the second year.
For students who do not major or minor in the natural sciences the distribution credits must include at least one laboratory course in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Geology, or Physics.
Students should be aware that Math 159 (Precalculus) does not count toward the Distribution requirement. In addition, some courses in the Environmental Science Department count for distribution in the Social Science division and not the Natural Science division – see the “Environmental Science” section of the Catalogue for information on specific courses.
Every student who matriculated in or after August 2009, must complete 128 semester credit hours. Students who matriculated before that date have higher credit requirements. Please consult your Degree Audit in WebAdvisor to find the minimum number of credits you need to graduate. These shall include courses taken to meet the first-year/sophomore requirement, the major requirement, the minor requirement, the distribution requirement, and the Senior Project requirement, as well as elective courses.
Students may take an unlimited number of credits in all depart- ments, but no more than 64 credits from any one department will be counted toward satisfying the 128-credit graduation requirement.
A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 is required for graduation from the College. Descriptions of the grading system and the academic standing requirements are found in the sections “Academic Regulations and Policies” and “Academic Standing” in the College Catalogue.
The residency requirement is satisfied upon completion of 64 semester credit hours “in residence.” Of these, a student’s final 16 semester credit hours before graduation must be taken in residence. Work in residence is undertaken through registration at Allegheny and supervision of Allegheny faculty, who evaluate the student’s performance. Students are not required to live on campus or in Meadville to satisfy the residency requirement.