Parent and Family Handbook

Academic Requirements

Macalester expects academic honesty from all members of the community. Academic honesty encompasses accurate portrayal of contributions and appropriate use of resources. Students are bound by the policies and procedures written in the Catalog at the time of matriculation or readmission.

Credit Hours: Students are required to complete 128 hours with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 in order to graduate. The majority of Macalester courses are four semester hours, so in order to graduate in four years, students need 32 semester hours per academic year. Most students take 16 semester hours in each term. To be a full-time student, students must register for at least 12 semester hours, but students may take up to 18 hours without being charged additional tuition.

First Year Course: All first year students must, in their first semester, take one course designated as a First Year Course. These courses carry the same credit as other courses and will be one of the four courses students take in their first term.

Distribution Requirements: One of the most important aspects of a liberal arts education is the breadth of study required. The distribution requirements are designed to ensure that students take courses in each of the four academic divisions of the College during their four years. These divisions are: Social Studies, Natural Science and Mathematics, Humanities and Fine Arts.

Diversity Courses: Students need four semester credits of both a U.S. Multiculturalism course and an Internationalism course. Courses designated as satisfying the Internationalism requirement address the literacy, cultural, political, historical, artistic or religious heritage of a country, region or culture outside the U.S., while courses meeting the U.S. Multiculturalism requirement address these topics for cultural groups living within the U.S. Students should consult the catalog or the Registrar’s web page for listings of courses that satisfy these requirements.

Second Language Proficiency: All students must demonstrate proficiency in a second language equivalent to four semesters of college level study in a single language. This proficiency extends to all skill areas: reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Major Concentration: The final graduation requirement is the completion of a major concentration. Students are not required to declare a major until the second semester of their sophomore year.