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Advising Handbook

Degree Requirements (BA and BS)

Credit Requirements

Students are required to complete a minimum of 32 four-credit courses or 128 credit hours, with an average grade of “C” or better.

Students pursuing majors in the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences may be required to complete more than 128 credits. Students should check out their individual major requirements to see if they are required to complete additional credits. 

Students pursuing a double degree (BA and BS degree or two BS degrees) must complete a minimum of 136 credit hours. No more than 20 courses from a single department, and no more than 20 credit hours from naval science, can 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 can be counted toward the degree.

Enrollment Policy 

Students admitted in the fall of 2013 and later are expected to maintain full-time enrollment (at least 12 credit hours) at the University of Rochester during the fall and spring semesters for no less than seven semesters. For more information, please see the enrollment policy page

Completion of the Writing Requirement

Primary Writing Requirement

All students must satisfy the primary writing requirement. The majority of students fulfill the requirement by completing (with a grade of C or better) WRT 105 or WRT 105E, 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, plus WRT 104: EAPP Research, Reading, and Writing.

Students can also fulfill the primary writing requirement by completing WRT 105A/B. 

Students who believe they are already proficient college writers may petition to substitute a University of Rochester writing-intensive course for WRT 105/105E. The substitute course cannot 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.

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 page for more information.

Completion of the Rochester Curriculum

Student must complete a major with an average grade of C or better. Students must declare their major, and have that major approved by the appropriate faculty advisor in the department or program. The divisional classification of all majors is shown in the table on the majors page. Students are responsible for meeting degree program requirements.

Students must complete one divisional cluster in each of the two divisions outside the area of the major with an average grade of “C” or better.

Students can 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 on the minors page.)

Students who complete an engineering major that is professionally accredited need to complete only one divisional cluster outside their major area. The following majors in the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences require one cluster in either the social sciences or the humanities: audio and music engineering, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, optical engineering and optics. The following majors require students to complete two clusters:  computer science, geomechanics, engineering sciences and interdepartmental engineering. Engineering students should consult with their departmental advisor for specific details about the requirements outside of their major.

Declaration of the Rochester Curriculum

Students formally declare the Rochester Curriculum (their major and two divisional clusters) no later than the beginning of their junior year (by the time 64 credit hours have been taken).

Students can alter their program until the final semester of 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.

Double Degrees

As noted above, students pursuing a double degree (BA and BS degree or two BS degrees) must complete a minimum of 136 credit hours. Additionally, students completing a double degree program must complete all of the requirements for each of their degrees. 

For example, a student completing a BA degree in English, and a BS degree in mechanical engineering is expected to complete a cluster in the social sciences as well as completing the requirements for each of their majors.

Additional Course Policies

Required courses for the degree cannot be taken on a satisfactory/fail basis. This includes courses used to satisfy major, allied field, minor, certificate, primary and upper-level writing, and divisional cluster requirements.

Students majoring in ABET-accredited engineering programs or optics should speak with their departmental advisors about additional distribution requirements.

Students must follow the course requirements outlined in the College’s overlap policy.