I. .The number of credits required for graduation
will be 128. These credit hours must include:
A. .Eight (8) semester credits in courses designated
as meeting the social science distribution requirement.
B. .Eight (8) semester credits in courses designated
as meeting the natural science and mathematics distribution requirement.
C. .Twelve (12) semester credits in courses designated
as meeting the humanities and fine arts distribution requirement; at least
four (4) semester credits must be in courses in the humanities and four (4)
semester credits in the fine arts.
D. .No more than ninety-six (96) semester credits in
courses in any one of the four areas: social sciences, natural sciences and
mathematics, humanities, and fine arts.
E. .No more than sixty (60) semester credits in
courses in a single academic discipline.
F. .No more than twenty-four (24) semester hours in
various types of independent study (courses numbered 601-646).
II. . One (1) First Year Course completed in the
III. .Four (4) semester credits earned in a course
designated as meeting the Internationalism requirement.
IV. .Four (4) semester credits earned in a course
designated as meeting the U.S. Multiculturalism requirement.
V. .Four (4) semester credits earned in a course
designated as meeting the writing requirement. This course must be taken
after the First Year Course and prior to the senior year.
VI. .One (1), two (2) or three (3) courses
satisfactorily completed which are designated as meeting the quantitative
reasoning requirement. Students may take one or more courses with a Q3, Q2
or Q1 designation. A single Q3 course satisfies the requirement or students
may take a Q2 course together with any other Q2 or Q1 course, or students
may take three Q1 courses.
VII. .Proficiency in a second language equivalent to
four (4) semesters of college study.
VIII. Approved major plan filed and completed.
IX. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at
X. .At least four (4) semesters spent in residency.
At least one of these must be in the senior year. Participation in
off-campus study programs does not count toward satisfaction of this
XI. .Declaration of Intent to be Graduated form
filed. Degree-seeking students must submit this form to the
Registrar’s Office one year prior to the intended date of graduation.
Explanations and Regulations Concerning Graduation
I. Courses: All credit
courses offered in fall, spring or summer terms are applicable toward the
graduation requirements. Course credits may also be earned through
successful completion of combinations of activity courses in forensics and
music. (See departmental listings in the curriculum section of this
Credits toward graduation are subject to limitations
in certain areas, including maximum credits that may be earned in a single
division or in a single discipline, as listed above, or through independent
studies, as described under Independent Study on page 48.
General Distribution Requirement:
Not all courses fulfill this requirement. Credits
earned through Advanced Placement Exams, International Baccalaureate or GCE
A-Level examinations can not be used to meet the College’s general
distribution requirement. For courses which meet this requirement see the
General Distribution Requirement section of each academic department.
Each student must take at least:
a. Eight semester
credits in designated courses in the social sciences: anthropology,
economics, geography, linguistics, political science, psychology,
sociology, as well as some courses in other departments, meet this
b. Eight semester
credits in designated courses in the natural sciences and mathematics:
biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics and computer science, physics and
astronomy, as well as some courses in other departments, meet this
c. Twelve semester
credits in designated courses in the humanities and fine arts at least four
hours of which are in the humanities and at least four in the fine arts.
Humanities courses include courses in classics, English, French, German
studies and Russian, Hispanic studies, history, humanities and media and
cultural studies, Japanese, philosophy, religious studies, as well as some
courses in other departments. Fine Arts courses include courses in art,
theater and dance, and music, as well as some courses in other departments.
II. First Year Course Requirement: Students enter Macalester with a wide range of experiences
and expectations. Many have only a vague notion of what a liberal arts
college is all about. It is critical for the students’ success at
Macalester that they receive extra guidance during their first semester to
help them adjust to Macalester’s expectations and philosophy. The
First Year Course requirement is designed to help incoming students in
their transition to college, specifically to the liberal arts model, and to
Macalester’s academic expectations of them. All First Year Courses
have a common emphasis on college-level writing and basic library research
skills. A critical component of the program is the role of the faculty
member as adviser to the students.
The goals of the First Year Course requirement are:
*To introduce students to critical inquiry within at
least one discipline or interdisciplinary area.
*To instruct students in college level writing
(including multiple drafts and appropriate citation of source materials)
and library research skills.
*To help students adjust to Macalester’s
*To connect incoming students to advisers who get to
know the students well from the start.
*To provide a supportive community of other first-year
students with shared interests and experiences to aid in the transition to
III. Internationalism and U.S. Multiculturalism
Requirements: A rich campus life, language
acquisition, study away, and interaction with diverse students and faculty
all contribute to students’ intellectual and experiential grasp of
difference and of their own place in relation to the “other”
and the world. In this context, the Internationalism and U.S.
Multiculturalism graduation requirements are designed to prepare students
to contribute as members of a thoughtful and principled citizenry in a
global society. These courses provide specific knowledge about the
complexity of internationalism and multiculturalism abroad, in the U.S.,
and in the rich campus and local communities in which Macalester
participates. While internationalism and multiculturalism are distinguished
as two components of the College mission, in reality they are intertwined.
Peoples divided by national boundaries may, for example, be more homogenous
culturally and linguistically than peoples within a nation like the United
States. Systems of power and privilege that help create and maintain
hierarchical relations among peoples operate within the U.S. and other
nations, among nations and between the U.S. and the rest of the world. All
lives are shaped by historical dynamics and contemporary structures that
operate on transnational, international, and global levels.
Macalester’s two-part requirement recognizes not only the conceptual
interconnectedness of internationalism and multiculturalism, but also the
need for students to engage with complexities of difference within the
community where they live and work, as well as within an international and
global context. In learning about other peoples, cultures and global
systems one dislodges presuppositions about others and, crucially, about
one’s individual and collective self.
IV. Writing Requirement: Macalester
seeks to ensure that all students receive instruction in writing that gives
attention to writing as a process (writing is rewriting), and that provides
students individually with feedback on the mechanics and substance of their
writing. While First Year Courses assist students in making a transition
to college writing along with myriad aspects of college study, each student
is required to take at least one additional course with a W designation, in
which they will hone their writing skills and go through a process of
evaluation and rewriting.
Writing instruction at Macalester aims at ensuring
that students learn:
*How to plan, draft, and revise a college-level paper.
*How to construct an argument.
*How to organize an essay.
*How to use argumentation and evidence to support
*How to adapt the style, vocabulary, and tone of a
piece of writing to its anticipated audience and context.
*How to cite evidence using a standard citation style,
such as MLA, APA, CMS or CSE.
*The importance of clarity, proper grammar, usage, and
style in academic writing.
V. Quantitative Thinking Requirement: Quantitative thinking (QT) skills are an essential component
of a liberal education. Critical thinking incorporates both qualitative and
quantitative evidence and evaluation. In some fields quantitative
approaches play a central role, while qualitative thinking dominates in
others. Despite these differences in emphasis, critical thinking skills
learned in one area often carry over and reinforce those learned in other
areas. It is for this reason that the breadth of experience associated with
a liberal arts education prepares students effectively to be active
participants and leaders in government, civil society, business, and
Many policy debates, scientific discussions, political
issues, and personal and organizational decisions involve judgments about
claims based upon quantitative evidence. To evaluate these claims, the
individual must have basic familiarity with such concepts as counting,
measurement, estimation, and data analysis. Equally important is the
capacity to ask and answer questions in a manner appropriate to these
quantitative tools and to understand when the use of quantitative tools is
or is not appropriate. The purpose of the QT requirement is to ensure that
students have the opportunity to develop such skills. Students should learn
approaches to collecting, interpreting, and presenting information about
the world based on numerical, logical, and statistical skills. These topics
arise in a wide range of areas, and we invite faculty from a range of
disciplines to teach courses that contribute to QT.
VI. Language Proficiency:
Each student shall be required to demonstrate a level of proficiency in a
second language—other than the student’s
native tongue—through a proficiency
examination or by successfully completing the equivalent of four (4)
semesters of college level study in a single language.
VII. Types of Majors: To
insure appropriate depth within an area or related areas of knowledge,
students are required to elect among: 1) a departmental major; 2) an
established interdepartmental major; or 3) an individually designed
interdepartmental major. Within each of these types of majors the student
is required to complete a capstone experience. The purpose of this capstone
requirement is to give students experience with reading original research
literature, doing original work, or presenting a performance. This
requirement may be met in many ways, e.g., senior seminar, independent
project, honors project. The means of completing this experience are
designated by the major department, interdepartmental programs, and IDIM
committees and so indicated in the catalog in the cases of departments and
A student may obtain more than one major by fulfilling
the respective requirements in those majors. Individual courses, where
appropriate and approved by the department chairs involved, may be counted
toward both majors. A student may not graduate with only one or more
1. A departmental major consists of not less than thirty-two nor more than
forty-four semester credits in courses within one department. Supporting
courses included, a major must not require fewer than thirty-six semester
credits nor more than sixty-eight semester credits. Departments will
determine those courses, and sequences of courses, which constitute the
various patterns for the major in that field. Departments will also
designate the appropriate means for completion of the senior capstone
requirement within each major. A department may also recommend (but not
require) additional electives from among its own offerings or in supporting
fields as indicated by the student’s educational and career
2. An interdepartmental
major established by the faculty shall
consist of not less than thirty-two semester credits nor more than
sixty-eight semester credits in courses, including supporting courses. The
sponsoring departments will determine those courses, and sequences of
courses, which constitute the various patterns for the major in the field.
No more than forty-four semester hours may be included from any one
department. The interdepartmental program will also designate the
appropriate means for completion of the senior capstone requirement within
each major. The departments may also recommend additional electives as
indicated by the student’s educational and career objectives.
3. An individually designed
interdepartmental major (IDIM), reflecting a
disciplined area of inquiry crossing departmental lines, may be designed
and submitted for approval to the Educational Policy and Governance
Committee acting on behalf of the faculty. The provision for an IDIM—as one of the ways in which a student
may satisfy the graduation requirement of a major—is to accommodate students with special educational goals
which may be achieved within the College’s overall curriculum but not through any of the
existing majors or interdepartmental majors (see 1 and 2 immediately above)
set forth in detail elsewhere in this catalog. To take advantage of this
provision, students are expected to design their program of study in
advance of doing the bulk of the course work for it.
Students seeking an individually-designed
interdepartmental major (IDIM) must present, not later than the beginning
of the registration period for the first semester of their junior year, a
completed proposal, signed by the student and three faculty members, to the
IDIM Subcommittee of the Educational Policy and Governance Committee for
consideration. In consultation with three faculty members of the
student’s choosing, the student must design a program of courses of
study which crosses departmental lines and, in doing so, represents a
disciplined area of inquiry not conveniently possible within the provisions
of any of the existing majors in the College’s curriculum. The
proposal must include the following: 1) A list of courses to be taken to
complete the IDIM. This list must include a minimum of forty-four semester
credits in courses from a maximum of three departments, and may include up
to twenty-four additional semester credits in courses (for a maximum of
sixty-eight semester credits) from any relevant department. There must be
evidence of progression in the proposed courses. One way to show
progression is to use courses that have one or more prerequisites. 2)
Letters of support from the three faculty who comprise the student’s
IDIM committee (a coordinator and two sponsors). These committee members
must be from departments that offer courses listed on the student’s
proposal. Two letters of recommendation must be from faculty members who
have had the student in class, who may or may not be members of the
student’s IDIM committee. 3) A carefully prepared written rationale.
In this rationale the student is expected to describe the focus and
cohesiveness of all the courses of study included in the IDIM and to
indicate how this program of study meets the student’s particular
educational goals. The IDIM committee will also designate the appropriate
means for the completion of the senior capstone requirement within the
IDIM. The committee will meet with the student at least once every semester
to discuss the student’s progress towards completion of the IDIM.
No proposal for an IDIM will be accepted by the
Subcommittee after a student has validated his or her registration for the
first semester of the junior year.
Students who wish to undertake an Honors project
should work with their IDIM committee to describe the procedures to be
followed as well as the type of project to be completed for an Honors
project. This information should be included in the original proposal for
the IDIM and will be examined as part of the review of the IDIM proposal.
Regulations Concerning Majors, Minors, and
Students must file an approved plan for a major no
later than the start of the registration period for the first semester of
their junior year. A major plan must be filed before their registration can
When students declare a major (file an approved,
signed major plan in the Registrar’s Office), they will be given in
writing from the department a full description of the requirements for
completing that major. This will include, in addition to course work, a
description of any diagnostic and evaluation processes and procedures
required as part of the major. Where such processes and procedures are
included, copies of representative examinations or other instruments
involved will be furnished in department offices and in the library for
student use. When changes in major programs occur, students already
declared in that area will be permitted to complete the program under the
description given them at the time of original declaration or under the new
program, at their discretion.
Courses included in a major, minor, or concentration
should not be taken on the S, D, NC basis, except with specific permission
of the department chair. Ordinarily, if a student decides to change his or
her major to a new area and already had taken courses in that area on an S,
D, NC basis, the courses will be allowed by the department, but written
permission must be given by the department chair. Courses with a grade of
D, D+, or D– may not be included on a
plan, except with the specific permission of the department chair.
VIII. Intent to be Graduated: All degree seeking students must file with the
Registrar’s Office their “Declaration of Intent to be
Graduated” form one year prior to the intended date of graduation.
The Bachelor of Arts degree is conferred at the end of
the term in which the student successfully completes all graduation
Minors and Concentrations
A minor in a given department consists of not less than twenty nor
more than twenty-eight semester credits in courses within one department.
Departments will determine those courses, and sequences of courses, which
constitute the various patterns for the minor in that field.
A concentration in an interdepartmental program consists of not less
than twenty nor more than thirty-two semester credits in courses drawn from
a list of approved courses linked by some theme or topic.
Latin honors are awarded upon graduation. To be
eligible for Latin honors a candidate must have earned at least half of the
number of semester hours required for graduation in courses at Macalester,
and may have no more than the equivalent of one course per semester graded
on the S,D,NC grading option.
The designation cum laude is based on achieving a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50. The
designation magna cum laude will be based on achieving a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.70. The
designation of summa cum laude will be based on achieving a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.90.
Effective with the graduating class of 2010-2011, the
qualifying cumulative grade point averages for Latin honors will change.
For cum laude , the
minimum cumulative grade point average will be 3.65, for magna cum laude, 3.80, and for summa cum laude, 3.90.
The Honors Program is designed to enable seniors with
demonstrated ability to undertake substantial independent work that
culminates in a project of exceptionally high quality. Departments or
programs that participate in the Honors Program have designed specific
criteria and procedures for pursuing Honors work in their department or
program. Departments and programs that have Honors programs are so
indicated within their individual sections of this catalog. Detailed
information about the specific expectations of the individual departments
or programs is available from the departments or programs themselves or
from the Director of Academic Programs. The minimum cumulative grade point
average established by the College for entrance into the Honors Program is
3.30; however, some departments or programs may require a higher grade
Students expecting to apply for acceptance into the
Honors Program should consult with their particular department or program
early in their junior year as the official application deadlines are
normally during the second semester of the student’s junior year.
Students pursuing an IDIM should work with their IDIM
committee to describe the procedures to be followed as well as the type of
project to be completed for an Honors project. This information should be
included in the original proposal for the IDIM and will be examined as part
of the review of the IDIM proposal.
Students in the Honors Program are invited to
occasional special events and colloquia. Bound copies of the completed
Honors projects are added to the library collection, and successful
completion of an Honors project is noted on the student’s transcript
Second Degree Program
Students who have completed a bachelor’s degree
from a recognized institution of higher education can be admitted to the
College for the purpose of earning a second bachelor’s degree. A
bachelor of arts degree is awarded to such students upon the successful
completion of sixty-four Macalester semester hours, and all other
graduation requirements as previously listed. The general distribution and
general education requirements for graduation may be partially or
completely fulfilled as a result of the evaluation of courses taken while
earning the initial degree.
Students are normally expected to satisfy the
graduation requirements in effect at the time of their matriculation at
Macalester (or readmission if they have withdrawn). If graduation
requirements change after this date, students have the option of satisfying
either the requirements in effect at the time of matriculation (or
readmission) or the requirements in effect at the time of graduation if
such a change is feasible. This provision applies only to all-college
graduation requirements. See the preceding section for regulations
concerning majors, minors and concentrations.