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General Degree Requirements

Graduates in cap and gown.

The requirements for baccalaureate degrees granted by Elmira College have been established by members of the faculty so that each graduate receives a broad general education, explores different fields of knowledge, examines one or more of those fields intensively, and applies the knowledge acquired in the classroom to realistic and appropriate work experiences.

To receive an Artium Baccalaurei (A.B.) or Scientiae Baccalaurei (S.B.) degree from Elmira College, a student must complete a minimum of 120 credits, with a cumulative grade‑point average (G.P.A.) of at least 2.000. The last 30 of these credits must be earned at Elmira College. For the A.B. at least 90 credit hours must be in the liberal arts and sciences; for the S.B. at least 60 credit hours must be in the liberal arts and sciences. Each student must also earn a mini-mum grade‑point average of 2.000 within the major.

Moreover, students must earn a stipulated number of credits—with a passing grade—in the completion of General Degree Requirements (Section I as follows) and a Major (Section II, page 37). Students also have the option of completing a Minor (Section III, page 39), in which case a 2.000 G.P.A. within the minor must be completed. Basic computing skills are expected upon entrance to the College.

Students entering at Elmira College are expected to have the following skills relating to the operation of a computer: (1) Operation of a computer including turning it on and off, use of the keyboard, using a mouse and graphical interface and basic file organization; (2) Word processing including entering and editing text, setting margins, headers and footers, and printing; (3) Web skills including operating a web browser and using e-mail.

I. General Degree Requirements

Courses taken to fulfill the Communication Skills and Core requirements fulfill no other requirements except the 120 credits required for graduation. Other General Degree requirement courses may be used to fulfill other requirements.

A. Communications Skills Program 3‑7 credits
All full‑time students who enter Elmira College as freshmen, including those who receive AP or other English college credit, are evaluated during Freshman Orientation for assignment to an appropriate course within this program:

WRT 1010 College Composition I 3 credits
WRT 1020 College Composition II 3 credits

WRT 1010 is designed to assist students in developing their basic writing skills and is offered during Term I. At the next level of proficiency, usually during Term II, WRT 1020 is offered to improve the student’s ability in thinking and reading. Students must complete with a passing grade each portion of the program to which they are assigned: WRT 1010 and WRT 1020 (as required). Some students, for which English is not a first language, may be asked to enroll in one or both of the following courses before they begin WRT 1010:
ENG 1050‑1051 English for Non‑English Speakers I‑II 3 credits

B. “W” Course 3 credits
(A list of courses approved for this category may be found in electronic files maintained by the Office of the Registrar)
Every student must complete, with a passing grade, a course from an approved list of “W” courses. This will typically be an advanced course in the student’s major which has a special emphasis on written communication. The “W” course is a supplement to the more formal instruction in writing skills that a student receives in the first two years and is aimed at assisting students in further developing writing skills not only in composition classes but also in advanced courses in their own discipline and elsewhere.

C. Mathematical Competency and Quantitative Reasoning 3-8 credits
The Mathematical Competency and Quantitative Reasoning requirements are designed to ensure students are prepared to handle quantitative courses at the collegiate level and have the skills necessary to apply quantitative reasoning in their lives after college.
The Mathematical Competency requirement ensures that each student will have the appropriate foundation in Mathematical thinking for success in quantitative coursework. In order to satisfy this requirement a student must achieve an adequate score on the mathematics placement exam or take one course (usually 3 or 4 credits) of Mathematics at the college level and achieve a grade of C- or better. Examples of courses that satisfy the requirement are MAT1030 (College Algebra), MAT1091 (Precalculus I).
The Quantitative Reasoning (QR) requirement will expose students to developing strategies and solving problems in a structured, logical and analytical way. Students will also have the opportunity to apply these strategies to specific questions in specific disciplines. Students will take one course (usually 3 or 4 credits) beyond Mathematical Competency. Courses satisfying Quantitative Reasoning contain a significant quantitative component. These courses may come from a variety of disciplines including but not limited to Mathematics.

D. First-Year Seminar 3 credits
FYS 1010 First-Year Seminar
First-Year Seminar is the foundational course in the liberal arts and sciences for entering freshmen. Offered in Term I, it serves as a gateway to the College’s General Education program and introduces students to the wider world of learning beyond the professional training of their declared majors. One of the main goals of the program is to develop intellectual skills that will be helpful to students throughout their college career and beyond. In particular, the seminar focuses on sharpening students’ skills in critical thinking and reading. Students have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of exciting seminar-topics, ranging from the natural sciences and the humanities, to the fine arts and the social sciences. In each case, the professor draws on her or his special expertise and interests to provide a unique learning experience.

E. Distribution Requirements
(A list of courses approved for each of these categories can be found in electronic files maintained by the Office of the Registrar)
These requirements aim to acquaint students with a global perspective and also to expose them to the ways in which fundamental academic disciplines seek knowledge and deal with problems. No more than 9 credits with any single field code are allowed.
1. Culture and Civilization 15 credits
(Including at least 3 but no more than 6 credits from each sub‑group a., b., and c., below.) Foreign Language courses may be used to satisfy this requirement, but only if two consecutive courses are completed in the same language in the designated courses.
a. United States Culture and Civilization
b. European Culture and Civilization
c. Non‑Western Culture and Civilization
d. General Culture and Civilization
2. Contemporary Social Institutions 3 credits
3. The Scientific Method 6‑9 credits
(One course from the Physical and Life Sciences and one from the Behavioral Social Sciences. One of the two must include a labora-tory experience.)
4. The Creative Process 3 credits
(One or more courses providing a student with direct experience of creativity—for example, drawing or voice class.)

F. Physical Education and Wellness 0‑2 credits
Developing an understanding of the importance of physical health has always been an important component of an Elmira College education. Physical health and well-being impacts all aspects of our lives. Therefore, all full‑time students must complete two approved Physical Education and Wellness courses. This requirement applies to the Class of 2018 and subsequent classes.
Alternatively, participation in a Varsity sport, Junior Varsity sport, club sport or the ROTC program counts as a substitute for a Physical Education and Wellness activity or course, provided that the participation comprises at least eighteen contests, contacts, or practices. Records are maintained by the Director of Athletics, the Director of Intramurals, and the Coordinator of the Physical Education Program. Students wishing to request a waiver in recognition of campus activities such as Orchesis, Precision Line, Danceline, or activities taken off campus, should see the Coordinator of the Physical Education Program.

G. Odyssey 0 credit
Liberal Education exists in many forms outside of the classroom. Experiencing live performances, academic lectures, scholarly discussions, formal debates, and art of all forms outside of the confines of the traditional classroom is essential for a liberally educated graduate. Attending and participating in such events creates graduating students who are better informed, well-rounded, and more appreciative of the world around them. Elmira College designates such educational opportunities as Odyssey events and requires all full-time undergraduate students to attend four Odyssey events in the Fall and Winter terms of each academic year, at least two of which must be performing arts events, can be found on the College Website at

H. Field Experience-Practicum 0-12 credits
Elmira College requires its students to participate in credit-bearing Field Experience and Practicum programs enabling them to apply concepts they have learned in the classroom, test possible career choices, develop the ability to deal effectively with new people in different settings, develop an understanding of community life, and establish professional credentials. This program differs from traditional coursework in a number of ways. Students choose from among appropriate alternatives, and much of what they learn depends on their own initiative and attitude. Satisfactory completion of the program is based not on conventional testing, but on the students’ ability to demonstrate that they have accom-plished the goals set by the program as assessed by themselves, their faculty sponsors, and their off‑campus site supervisors.

The program has three parts:
Community Service (FEX 2515)
Community Service is the experience of sharing, without remuneration, the student’s time, abilities, and compassion in meeting human needs within the community through a recognized service organization so that the Office of Career Services can be certain that all graduates have had actual experience helping others in need.



The Career-Related Internship (FEX 4510)
The career-related internship provides an opportunity for students to explore work experience related to the major or to potential career goals. Career-related internships may be completed any time after the sophomore year and do not receive academic credit, unless offered for credit by the student’s major. No essay is required. There are multiple ways to complete Career-Related Internship requirement:

  1. Work for a minimum of 80 hours in a pre-career or major-related environment. This work may be paid or unpaid, but must be career or major-related. Students may work with the Office of Career Services or on their own to find an appropriate career or major-related internship.
  2. Students must complete the major specific internship if it is required by the major. Students who are completing a major that offers an internship for credit may complete their internship according to the guidelines of the major. The number of hours required for the internship may vary from major to major.
  3. Students who plan to go on to graduate school or in a research field may work with a faculty member to perform a Pre-Graduate School Internship, or produce an original body of work appropriate for their field of study. This option will require students to register for 6 credit hours. The Pre-Graduate School Internship should result in a significant and appropriate contribution of new ideas to the field. Upon completion, students will do an oral presentation of their work to the campus community.


Pre-Graduate School Internship (FEX 4510)
A Pre-Graduate School Internship may be pursued by those students who are planning to attend graduate school and who meet the high stan-dards of graduate study. The Pre-Graduate School Internship fulfills the Career-Related Internship requirement. Projects for the Pre-Graduate School Internship may include but are not limited to the following:

The Pre-Graduate School Internship follows the current Career-Related Internship guidelines, as well as additional guidelines involving pre‑project and post‑project consultations. Additional information and detailed guidelines may be obtained from your advisor or from the Office of Career Services, Student Learning Commons in the Gannett-Tripp Library, (607) 735-1830.
NOTE: Normally, the Career-Related Internship and the Community Service are not completed at the same organization.



Either requirement may be waived under certain conditions on the basis of equivalent past experience (including meeting the minimum number of hours required).