Skip to main content

Advising Handbook

Degree Requirements (BA and BS)

A. Completion of eight semesters of approved course work

I.e., 32 four-credit courses or 128 credit hours, with an average grade of “C” or better. No more than 20 courses from a single department, and no more than 20 credit hours from Naval Science may be counted toward the degree. For students not majoring in music or pursuing simultaneous BM degrees at Eastman, no more than 16 credit hours of applied music instruction (e.g., lessons) and eight credit hours of River Campus ensemble may be counted toward the degree.

B. Completion of the writing requirement

1. Primary Writing Requirement. All entering students must satisfy the primary writing requirement. The majority of students fulfill the requirement by completing WRT 105 or WRT 105E, with a grade of C or better, an approved course in composition that focuses on reasoning, research, and writing clear and cogent arguments. Students admitted to the college through the English for Academic Purposes Program (EAPP) fulfill the requirement by earning a grade of C or better in WRT 103, EAPP Critical Reading, Reasoning, and Writing, and WRT 104, EAPP  Research, Reading and Writing. Students who believe that they are already proficient college writers may petition to substitute a University of Rochester writing-intensive course for WRT 105/105E. The substitute course may not also be used to fulfill the upper-level writing requirement. Transfer students who have completed a WRT 105/105E-equivalent course at another institution and received a grade of B or better may petition to use this course to satisfy the primary writing requirement. The administration of the primary writing requirement is the responsibility of the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program. (See Primary Writing Requirement.)

2. Upper-Level Writing Requirement. Every major is expected to acquire significant experience in writing as part of the requirements for the major. Each major explicitly incorporates student writing into its curriculum and/or requirements. This writing experience typically occurs in at least two courses, but students should consult individual departments about the specific requirements for each major. (See Upper-Level Writing Requirement.)

C. Completion of the Rochester Curriculum

1. Satisfactory completion of a major with an average grade of C or better. Each major explicitly incorporates student writing into its curriculum and/or requirements. Students must file a major program approved by the appropriate faculty advisor in the department or program by the time noted in paragraph 2a below. The divisional classification of all majors is shown in the table in the section on majors. (See Majors.)

2. Satisfactory completion, with an average grade of “C” or better, of one divisional cluster composed of at least three courses in each of the two divisions outside the area of the major. Each set of courses for the divisional clusters will be in one of the three divisions: humanities; social sciences; natural science, mathematics, and engineering and applied sciences. Students may also construct their Rochester Curriculum from existing majors and minors, as long as the principle of distribution over the three divisions is maintained. (The divisional classification of all minors is shown in the table in the section on minors.) Students who complete an engineering major that is professionally accredited need to complete only one divisional cluster outside the area of the major. (See Clusters for further information.)

D. Declaration of the Rochester Curriculum

1. Students formally declare the Rochester Curriculum, i.e., their major and two divisional clusters, simultaneously with their official declaration of their major, not later than the beginning of their junior year (by the time 64 credit hours have been taken). Students may alter their program until the final semester of the senior year. The College transcript will reflect the student’s three areas of focus. Once a degree is awarded, no further changes to the degree may be made.

2. Each set of courses for divisional clusters is approved by the department or interdisciplinary faculty committee and the College Curriculum Committee. A faculty group, or an undergraduate with two faculty sponsors, may propose an interdisciplinary divisional cluster for approval by the Committee on Individualized Interdepartmental Programs.

The responsibility for meeting requirements of degree programs is the student’s.

Note also:

  • Required courses for the degree may not be taken on a Satisfactory/Fail basis, i.e., major (including allied field), courses used for a minor or certificate, for primary or upper-level writing, or for divisional clusters.
  • Students majoring in ABET-accredited engineering programs or optics should speak with their departmental advisors about additional distribution requirements.
  • The course overlap policy is as follows: No two majors may overlap by more than three courses. No major and minor may overlap by more than two courses. No two minors may overlap by more than two courses. Allied field courses taken outside the department of the major that are part of the core program are subject to this overlap policy, as are foundational courses that are prerequisite requirements and from the department of the major. Non-departmental ancillary course requirements (such as chemistry for biology majors) are not subject to this restriction.