The Academic Program
The Curriculum | Academic Regulations | College Seminars | Praxis Program
The Bryn Mawr curriculum is designed to encourage breadth of learning and training in the fundamentals of scholarship in the first two years, and mature and sophisticated study in depth in a major program during the last two years. Its overall purpose is to challenge the student and prepare her for the lifelong pleasure and responsibility of educating herself and playing a responsible role in contemporary society. The curriculum encourages independence within a rigorous but flexible framework of divisional and major requirements and fosters self-recognition for individuals as members of diverse communities and constituencies.
The Bryn Mawr curriculum obtains further breadth through inter-institutional cooperation. Virtually all undergraduate courses and all major programs at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges are open to students from both schools, greatly increasing the range of available subjects. With certain restrictions, full-time Bryn Mawr students may also take courses at Swarthmore College, the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University during the academic year without payment of additional fees.
For students who matriculated in the fall of 1998 or thereafter
Students who matriculated with the classes of 1995-2001 from the fall of 1991 to January 1998 should consult the Requirements for the A.B. Degree on pages 52-54 of the Undergraduate College Catalog and Calendar 2000-01.
Thirty-two units of work are required for the A.B. degree. These must include:
- Two units of College Seminars (one unit for the class of 2008).
- One course to meet the quantitative skills requirement.
- Work to demonstrate the required level of proficiency in foreign language.
- Six units to meet the divisional requirements.
- A major subject sequence.
- Elective units of work to complete an undergraduate program.
In addition, all students must complete eight half-semesters of physical education, successfully complete a swim proficiency test and meet the residency requirement.
The aim of the College Seminars is to engage students in careful examination of fundamental issues and debates that can illustrate the choices we make in our daily lives. By encouraging critical thinking, focused discussion and cogent writing, the seminars help prepare students for a modern world that demands perceptive understanding both within and outside of the frameworks of particular disciplines.
Each student must include in her program two units of College Seminars, the first to be taken in the first semester of the freshman year and the second before the end of the sophomore year. (Students in the class of 2008 must complete only one college seminar, to be taken in the fall of the freshman year.) Students must attain a grade of 2.0 or higher in each seminar used to satisfy this requirement.
Bryn Mawr recognizes the inherent intellectual value and fundamental societal importance of acquiring a level of proficiency in the use of one or more foreign languages. The study of foreign languages serves a number of convergent curricular and student interests, including the appreciation of cultural differences, a global perspective across academic disciplines, cognitive insights into the workings of language systems, and alternative models of perceiving and processing human experience.
Before the start of the senior year, each student must have demonstrated a knowledge of one foreign language by:
- Passing a proficiency test offered by the College every spring and fall or
- Attaining a score of at least 690 in a language achievement test of the College Entrance Examination Board, or by passing with an honor grade an Advanced Placement, IB or A-level test or
- Completing at the College two courses (two units) above the elementary level with an average grade of at least 2.0 or a grade of at least 2.0 in the second course or
- For a non-native speaker of English who has demonstrated proficiency in her native language, two semesters of College Seminars or one College Seminar and one writing intensive course.
Before the start of the senior year, each student must have demonstrated competence in college-level mathematics or quantitative skills by:
- Passing with an honor grade an Advanced Placement, IB or A-level examination in mathematics or
- Passing one course with a grade of at least 2.0 from those designated with a “Q” in the Course Guide.
For students in the classes of 2002-05, the course or examination used to fulfill the quantitative requirement may not also be counted toward any other requirement. For students who matriculate in the fall of 2002 or thereafter, a course used to fulfill the quantitative requirement may also be counted toward divisional requirements, so long as that course is identified as Q and Division I, II or III in the Course Guide.
The purpose of the quantitative requirement is to provide the Bryn Mawr graduate with the competence to evaluate and manage the wide array of information underlying many of the decisions she will make as a member of society and in her personal life. The range of potentially useful quantitative skills is extensive and cannot be covered by any individual course. However, a single course can give the student an appreciation of the value of quantitative analysis as well as increase the facility and confidence with which she uses quantitative skills in her later academic, professional and private roles.
A course meeting the quantitative requirement will provide the student with the skills to estimate and check answers to quantitative problems in order to determine reasonableness, identify alternatives and select optimal results. It will also provide her with a recognition that mathematical and statistical tools have limits. Such a course is designed to help students develop a coherent set of quantitative skills that become progressively more sophisticated and can be transferred to other contexts. In all cases, courses meeting the quantitative requirement will have rigor consistent with the academic standards of the department(s) in which they are located.
The goal of the divisional requirements is to increase the breadth and variety of the student’s intellectual experience at the College. The divisions represented in these requirements describe not only different portions of human experience, but also characteristic methods of approach. Although any division of knowledge is imperfect, the current divisions — social sciences, the natural sciences and mathematics, and the humanities — have the advantage of being specific while still broad enough to allow the student a good deal of flexibility in planning her coursework.
The social sciences are concerned with human social behavior; the motivations, institutions and processes that shape this behavior; and the outcomes of this behavior for different groups and individuals. The areas of social-sciences inquiry include such wide-ranging topics as policy-making, cultural change, revolutions, poverty and wealth, generational conflict and international relations. The social sciences disciplines provide the student with a set of theoretical frameworks with which to organize her analysis of these substantive areas, and a set of methodological tools with which to test empirically — in the uncontrolled laboratory of the real world — the hypotheses that these frameworks generate.
Knowledge of the physical world is a fundamental part of human experience; understanding the workings of nature is essential to our lives. To achieve this understanding, the student should be familiar with the concepts and techniques of the natural sciences as well as mathematics, the language of science. This understanding must go beyond a knowledge of scientific facts to include a facility with the scientific method and the techniques of scientific inquiry, logical reasoning and clear exposition of results.
In humanities coursework, the student creates and interprets many different kinds of artifacts, compositions, monuments and texts that are and have been valued by human cultures here and throughout the world. The humanities encompass the histories, philosophies, religions and arts of different cultural groups, as well as the various theoretical and practical modes of their investigation and evaluation.
Before the start of the senior year, each student must have completed, with a grade of 2.0 or higher, two courses in the social sciences (Division I), two courses in the natural sciences and mathematics (Division II), and two courses in the humanities (Division III). Courses satisfying this requirement are marked “I”, “II” or “III” in the Course Guide. Courses identified as interdivisional, e.g. “I or III,” may be used by a student to satisfy either one — but not both — of the appropriate divisional requirements; but only one of the two courses used to satisfy any divisional requirement may be such an interdivisional course.
At least one required course in Division II must be a laboratory course, designated “IIL” in the Course Guide. Performance or studio courses in the Arts Program may be used to fulfill one of the two course requirements in the humanities. A student may not use courses in her major subject to satisfy requirements in more than one division, unless the courses are cross-listed in other departments. Courses taken to satisfy the College Seminars requirement will not be counted as fulfilling divisional requirements. Only one of the two courses used to satisfy any divisional requirement may be fulfilled by tests such as the Advanced Placement, IB or A levels taken on work done before entering Bryn Mawr.
In order to ensure that the student’s education involves not simply exposure to many ideas and disciplines but development of competence and some degree of mastery in at least one, she must choose an area to be the focus of her work in the last two years at the College.
Each student must declare her major subject before the end of the sophomore year by consulting with the departmental adviser with whom she completes a major work plan that she then submits to her dean.
No student may choose to major in a subject in which she has incurred a failure, or in which her average is below 2.0.
A student may double major with the consent of both major departments and of her dean, but she should expect to complete all requirements for both major subjects.
Students may choose to major in any department at Haverford College, in which case they must meet the major requirements of Haverford College and the degree requirements of Bryn Mawr College. Procedures for selecting a Haverford major are available from the Haverford Dean’s Office at all times and are sent to all sophomores in the early spring. Permission of the Haverford dean is required for a double major that includes a Haverford department.
Every student working for an A.B. degree is expected to maintain grades of 2.0 or higher in all courses in her major subject. A student who receives a grade below 2.0 in a course in her major is reported to the Undergraduate Council and may be required to change her major. If, at the end of her junior year, a student has a major-subject average below 2.0, she must change her major. If she has no alternative major, she will be excluded from the College. A student who is excluded from the College is not eligible for readmission. A student whose numerical grade average in her major remains above 2.0 but whose work has deteriorated may also be required to change her major.
A student with unusual interest or preparation in several areas can consider an independent major, a double major, or a major with a strong minor or a concentration involving work in several departments built around one major as a core. Such programs can be arranged by consulting the dean and members of the departments concerned.
Each department sets its own standards and criteria for honors in the major, with the approval of the Curriculum Committee. Students should see departments for details.
The Independent Major Program is designed for students whose interests cannot be accommodated by an established departmental or interdepartmental major. An independent major is a rigorous, coherent and structured plan of study — from introductory through advanced work in a recognized field within the liberal arts — constructed largely from courses offered at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges.
Students interested in the Independent Major Program should attend the informational teas and meet with Associate Dean Judy Balthazar in the fall of their sophomore year. In designing an independent major, students must enlist two faculty members to serve as sponsors. One, who acts as director of the program, must be a member of the Bryn Mawr faculty; the other may be a member of either the Bryn Mawr or Haverford faculty. To propose an independent major, students must submit completed applications by the end of the fourth week of classes in the spring of their sophomore year or, for junior transfer students, by the end of the fourth week of classes in the fall of their junior year.
The application for an independent major consists of:
- A proposal developed with the advice of the sponsors describing the student’s reasons for designing the independent major and explaining why her interests cannot be accommodated by a related departmental or interdepartmental major.
- An independent major work plan of 11 to 14 courses, at least seven of which must be taken at Bryn Mawr or Haverford. The plan will include up to two courses at the 100 level and at least four at the 300 or 400 level, including at least one semester of a senior project or thesis (403).
- Supporting letters from the two faculty sponsors, discussing the academic merits of the independent major work plan and the student’s ability to complete it.
- A letter from the student’s dean regarding her maturity and independence.
- A copy of the student’s transcript.
The Independent Majors Committee, composed of four faculty members, two students and one dean, evaluates the proposals on a case-by-case basis. Their decisions are final. The fact that a particular topic was approved in the past is no guarantee that it will be approved again. The Committee considers the following issues:
- Is the proposed independent major appropriate within the context of a liberal arts college?
- Could the proposed independent major be accommodated instead by an established major?
- Are the proposed courses expected to be offered over the next two years?
- Will faculty members be available for consistent and good advising?
- Does the student’s record indicate likely success in the proposed independent major?
If the Committee approves the proposed major and its title, the student declares an independent major. The Committee continues to monitor the progress of students who have declared independent majors and must approve, along with the sponsors, any changes in the program. A grade of 2.0 or higher is required for all courses in the independent major. If this standard is not met, the student must change immediately to a departmental major.
Many departments, but not all, offer a minor. Students should see departmental entries for details. The minor is not required for the A.B. degree. A minor usually consists of six units, with specific requirements to be determined by the department. If a course taken under the Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) or Haverford College’s No Numerical Grade (NNG) option (see below, page 67) subsequently becomes part of a student’s minor, the grade is not converted to its numerical equivalent. There is no required average for a minor.
Minors are also available in several programs that do not offer majors: Africana Studies, Computational Methods, Computer Science, Creative Writing, Dance, Education, Film Studies, and Theater Studies. Concentrations are available in Creative Writing, East Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, Feminist and Gender Studies, Hispanic and Hispanic-American Studies, Neural and Behavioral Sciences, and Peace and Conflict Studies. See Curricular Options and Areas of Study for additional information on these courses and programs.
Throughout its history, the College has been committed to developing excellence. The Department of Athletics and Physical Education affirms the College’s mission by offering a variety of opportunities to promote self-awareness, confidence and the development of skills and habits that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. The College’s comprehensive program includes competitive intercollegiate athletics, diverse physical education and wellness curricula, and leisure and recreational programs designed to enhance the quality of life for the broader campus community.
All students must complete eight credits in physical education and successfully complete a swim-proficiency test. Semester and half-semester courses are offered in dance, aquatics, individual sports, team sports, outdoor recreation, wellness and fitness. Physical-education credit is awarded for participation on inter-collegiate teams, rugby, equestrian and ultimate frisbee club teams. Students may earn up to two credits in physical education for pre-approved independent study. Students are encouraged to complete the requirement by the conclusion of their sophomore year.
Each student must complete six full-time semesters and earn a minimum of 24 academic units while in residence at Bryn Mawr. These may include courses taken at Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges and the University of Pennsylvania during the academic year. The senior year must be spent in residence. Seven of the last 16 units must be earned in residence. Students do not normally spend more than the equivalent of four years completing the work of the A.B. degree. Exceptions to this requirement for transfer students entering as second-semester sophomores or juniors are considered at the time of matriculation.
All requests for exceptions to the above regulations are presented to the Curriculum Committee for approval. Normally, a student consults her dean and prepares a written statement to submit to the committee; a student may, in unusual cases, request permission to appear before the committee.
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Each semester all Bryn Mawr students pre-register for the next semester’s courses in consultation with their deans. Failure to do so results in a $15 fine. Once a student has selected a major, she must also consult her major adviser about her program each semester. Students must then confirm their registration with the deans and submit their final programs to the registrar on the announced days at the beginning of each semester. Failure to confirm registration results in a $25 fine.
Students normally carry a complete program of four courses (four units) each semester. Requests for exceptions must be presented to the student’s dean. Students may not register for more than five courses (five units) per semester. Requests for more than five units are presented to the Curriculum Committee for approval.
A student may take four units over four years, not more than one in any semester, under the Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) or Haverford College’s No Numerical Grade (NNG) option. Transfer students may take one CR/NC unit for each year they spend at Bryn Mawr.
A student registered for a course under either option is considered a regular member of the class and must meet all the academic commitments of the course on schedule. The instructor is not notified of the student’s CR/NC or NNG registration because this information should in no way affect the student’s responsibilities in the course.
A student may not elect both the CR/NC and NNG option in the same semester. A student registered for five courses is not permitted a second CR/NC or NNG registration.
Faculty members submit numerical grades for all students in their courses. For students registered CR/NC, the registrar converts the numerical grades of 1.0 and above to CR and the grade of 0.0 to NC for recording on the students’ official transcripts. Numerical equivalents of CR grades are available to each student from the registrar, but once the CR/NC option is elected, the grade is converted to its numerical equivalent on the transcript only if the course becomes part of the student’s major.
The grade submitted by the faculty member is not factored into the student’s grade point average. However, that grade is taken into consideration when determining the student’s eligibility for magna cum laude and summa cum laude distinctions.
No course in the major subject may be taken under this option.
For students who matriculate during or after the fall of 1998, a grade of 2.0 is required to meet the College Seminar, quantitative and divisional requirements, even though the grade may be covered with a CR. Similarly, any student may elect to take a course to complete the language requirement under the CR/NC option, but when grades of 2.0 or averages of 2.0 are required, that requirement must be met. The registrar monitors completion of requirements.
For regulations concerning the NNG option, see the Haverford College Academic Regulations.
Students wishing to take a course CR/NC must sign the registrar’s register by the end of the sixth week of classes. No student is permitted to sign up for CR/NC after that time. Students who wish to register for CR/NC for year-long courses in which grades are given at the end of each semester must register CR/NC in each semester because CR/NC registration does not automatically continue into the second semester in those courses. Haverford students taking Bryn Mawr courses must register for CR/NC at the Haverford Registrar’s Office.
A few courses, including all introductory languages, are designed as year-long, two-semester sequences. In these courses students must complete the second semester in order to earn credit for both semesters. Students must have the permission of the professor to receive credit for only one semester of a year-long course. Credit is not given for one semester of an introductory language course, although the grade is included in the grade point average. Courses to which this rule applies are so designated in each department’s course lists.
Some courses, including many introductory level survey courses, are designed as two-semester sequences, but students may take either semester without the other and receive credit for the course.
Half-credit courses may be taken for credit at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania. Bryn Mawr does not permit half-credit registration for the lecture or the laboratory portion of any course that normally includes both. Exceptions to this rule are made by the Curriculum Committee.
Most departments allow students to pursue independent study as supervised work, provided that a professor agrees to supervise the work. Students pursuing independent study usually register for a course in that department numbered 403 and entitled Supervised Work, unless the department has another numerical designation for independent study. Students should consult with their deans if there are any questions regarding supervised work.
Students may audit courses with the permission of the instructor. There are no extra charges for audited courses, and they are not listed on the transcript. Students may not register to take the course for credit after the stated date for Confirmation of Registration.
Some courses are designated as limited enrollment in the course guide. The course guide provides details about restrictions. If consent of the instructor is required, the student is responsible for securing permission. If course size is limited, the final course list is determined by lottery. Students who have preregistered are given preference for inclusion in the lottery, but only those present on the first day of class to sign a list circulated by the instructor are considered.
Students who confirm their registration for five courses may drop one course through the third week of the semester. After the third week, students taking five courses are held to the same standards and calendars as students enrolled in four courses.
No student may withdraw from a course after Confirmation of Registration, unless it is a fifth course dropped as described above. Exceptions to this regulation may be made jointly by the instructor and the appropriate dean only in cases when the student’s ability to complete the course is seriously impaired due to unforeseen circumstances beyond her control.
Full-time students at Bryn Mawr may register for courses at Haverford, Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania during the academic year without payment of additional fees according to the procedures outlined below. This arrangement does not apply to summer schools. Credit toward the Bryn Mawr degree (including the residency requirement) is granted for such courses with the approval of the student’s dean, and grades are included in the calculation of the grade point average. Bryn Mawr also has a limited exchange program with Villanova University.
Students register for Haverford courses in exactly the same manner as for Bryn Mawr courses, but students who register for Haverford courses that are limited in enrollment must follow Haverford procedures as described in the Course Guide.
To register for a Swarthmore course, a student must take a note of permission from her dean to Parrish Hall at Swarthmore and return it, with the Swarthmore Registrar’s signature, to the Bryn Mawr Registrar. She must also secure the instructor’s permission.
Bryn Mawr students may register for up to two courses a semester in the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of General Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, on a space-available basis, provided that the course is not regularly offered at Bryn Mawr or Haverford. Scheduling problems are not considered an adequate reason for seeking admission to a course at Penn.
Not all courses offered at Penn are acceptable for credit toward the A.B. degree at Bryn Mawr. Students are responsible for determining that the courses they wish to take are acceptable for credit toward their degrees and should consult their deans before registering for courses at Penn.
In order to register for a course at Penn, the student should consult the Penn course guide, take a note of permission from her dean to the College of General Studies at Penn and return it, with an appropriate signature, to the Bryn Mawr Registrar. Notes of permission are available in the Dean’s Office.
If the Penn course guide indicates that permission of the instructor is required for enrollment in a course, the student is responsible for securing this permission. Bryn Mawr students may not register for courses at Penn until the first week of each semester and must meet all Penn deadlines for dropping and adding courses. It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements for variations in academic calendars. Students should consult their deans if they have any questions about Penn courses or registration procedures.
Bryn Mawr juniors and seniors may take one course per semester in the College of Arts and Sciences at Villanova University on a space-available basis, provided that the course is not offered at Bryn Mawr or Haverford. If the course is fully enrolled, Bryn Mawr students can be admitted only with the permission of the Villanova instructor. This exchange is limited to superior students for work in their major or in an allied field; students must have permission of both their major adviser and their dean.
Courses at Villanova may be taken only for full grade and credit; Bryn Mawr students may not elect Villanova’s pass/fail option for a Villanova course. Credits earned at Villanova are treated as transfer credits; the grades are not included in the student’s grade point average, and these courses do not count toward the residency requirement.
In order to register for a course at Villanova, the student should consult the Villanova course guide, available in the Dean’s Office, and obtain a registration form to be signed by her major adviser and returned to the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office forwards all registration information to Villanova; students do not register at Villanova. Students enrolled in a course at Villanova are subject to Villanova’s regulations and must meet all Villanova deadlines regarding dropping/adding, withdrawal and completion of work. It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements for variations in academic calendars. Students should consult their deans if they have any questions about Villanova courses or registration procedures.
Regular attendance at classes is expected. Responsibility for attendance, and for learning the instructor’s standards for attendance, rests solely with each student. Absences for illness or other urgent reasons are excused, and it is the student’s responsibility to contact her instructors and dean. The student should consult her instructors about making up the work. If it seems probable to the dean that a student’s work may be seriously handicapped by the length of her absence, the dean may require the student to withdraw from one or more courses.
Announced quizzes — written tests of an hour or less — are given at intervals throughout most courses. The number of quizzes and their length are determined by the instructor. Unannounced quizzes may also be included in the work of any course. If a student is absent without previous excuse from a quiz, she may be penalized at the discretion of the instructor. The weight is decided by the instructor. If a student has been excused from a quiz because of illness or some other emergency, a make-up quiz is often arranged.
An examination is required of all students in undergraduate courses, except when the work for the course is satisfactorily tested by other means. If a student fails to appear at the proper time for a self-scheduled, scheduled or deferred examination, or fails to return a take-home exam, she is counted as having failed the examination.
A student may have an examination deferred by her dean only in the case of illness or some other emergency. When the deferral means postponement to a date after the conclusion of the examination period, she must take the examination at the next Deferred Examination Period.
Within the semester, the instructor in each course is responsible for setting the date when all written reports, essays, critical papers and laboratory reports are due. The instructor may grant permission for extensions within the semester; the written permission of the dean is not required, although instructors may ask students to inform their dean of the extension or may themselves inform the dean that they have granted an extension.
All essays and written reports in any course must be submitted to the instructor no later than the last day of classes in each semester. In special cases when a student has been prevented from completing her work due to circumstances beyond her control, with the joint written permission of the instructor and her dean, the date for handing in a piece of written work may be extended beyond the last day of classes, and the date for handing in a paper in lieu of examination may be extended beyond the examination period. In these cases, the student must request an extension slip from her dean, take it to the instructor for approval and signature, and return it to her dean.
When written extensions are submitted to the registrar by the student’s dean, the instructor submits a grade of Incomplete, which is temporarily recorded on the transcript. If the student does not meet the date set in her extension, and does not request and receive a further extension, the instructor is required to submit a final grade. When official extensions are not received by the registrar from the dean, and the instructor submits a grade of Incomplete or fails to submit a grade, that grade is temporarily recorded on the transcript as an Unauthorized Incomplete. No grade, except a failure, can be recorded in place of an Unauthorized Incomplete without an extension or other appropriate action taken jointly by the student’s dean and instructor.
Seniors must submit all written work at least 48 hours before the time senior grades are due in the Office of the Registrar. Extensions beyond that date cannot be granted to any senior who expects to graduate that year.
Specific dates for all deadlines are published and circulated by the registrar. It is the student’s responsibility to inform herself of these dates.
Grading Scale Letter Grade Explanation
||Letter Grade Equivalent
Merit grades range from 4.0 (outstanding) to 2.0 (satisfactory). Courses in which students earn merit grades can be used to satisfy the major and curricular requirements.
||Letter Grade Equivalent
||Letter Grade Equivalent
Once reported to the Registrar, a grade may be altered by the faculty member who originally submitted the grade, or by the department or program chair on behalf of the absent faculty member, by submitting a change-of-grade form with a notation of the reason for the change. Once reported to the Registrar, no grade may be changed after one year except by vote of the faculty.
A student must attain grades of 2.0 or higher in at least one-half of the total number of courses taken while at Bryn Mawr. She may be excluded from the College at the close of any semester in which she has failed to meet this requirement and is automatically excluded if more than one-half of her work falls below 2.0 at the close of her junior year. A student who is excluded from the College is not eligible for readmission.
Every student working for an A.B. degree is expected to maintain grades of 2.0 or higher in all courses in her major subject. No student may choose as her major subject one in which she has received a grade below 1.0 or one in which her average is below 2.0.
A student receiving a grade below 2.0 in any course in her major subject (including a course taken at another institution) is reported to the Undergraduate Council and may be required to change her major.
At the end of the junior year, a student having a major subject average below 2.0 must change her major. If she has no alternative major, she is excluded from the College and is not eligible for readmission.
The Undergraduate Council reviews the records of all students whose work has failed to meet the academic standards of the College. A student’s record is brought to the attention of the council when she has incurred a failure or NC following a previous failure or NC, or when her work has failed to meet either the general standards embodied in the Merit Rule or the specific standards in the major subject. The Undergraduate Council also reviews the record of any student whose work has seriously deteriorated.
A student whose record is brought before the council has a consultation with her dean and receives a letter specifying the standards she must meet by the end of the following semester. The student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) receive a copy of this letter. A student whose record has been reviewed by the council is put on probation the following semester, or the semester of her return if she has been asked to withdraw, and may be required to meet regularly with her dean. Faculty members are requested to submit mid-semester reports for students whose work has been unsatisfactory. Students who meet the standards specified by the council during the semester on probation are then no longer on probation.
Any student whose record is reviewed by the council may be required to withdraw from the College and present evidence that she can do satisfactory work before being readmitted. The council may also recommend to the president that the student be excluded from the College. An excluded student is not eligible for readmission to the College.
The A.B. degree may be conferred cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude.
Cum laude G.P.A. 3.40
In calculating the grade point average, grades behind CR, NC or NNG are not included. Summer school grades from Bryn Mawr earned on this campus are included, as are summer school grades from Avignon and Florence. No other summer school grades are included. Term-time grades from Haverford College, Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania earned on the exchange are included. Term-time grades transferred from other institutions are not included.
Magna cum laude G.P.A. 3.60
In calculating the grade point average, grades behind CR, NC or NNG are included. Summer school and term-time grades are included or not, as for cum laude.
Summa cum laude G.P.A. 3.80
The degree is awarded summa cum laude to the 10 students with the highest grade point average in the class, providing they are 3.80 or higher. Grades behind CR, NC or NNG are included. Summer school and term-time grades are included or not, as for cum laude.
All requests for transfer credit must be approved by the Transfer Credit Committee. Credit may be transferred for liberal arts courses taken at accredited four-year colleges and universities, provided that the student earns grades of 2.0 or C (C- grades are not acceptable for transfer credit) or better in these courses. Work done at approved foreign institutions is also accepted for transfer credit; in cases where numerical or letter grades are not given, the Transfer Credit Committee considers written evaluations of the student’s work to determine whether she has earned the equivalent of at least 2.0 grades for this work. Grades earned in courses accepted for transfer credit are not included in the grade point average.
A student wishing transfer credit must submit an official transcript to the registrar. A student who wishes to meet College requirements (such as the College Seminars, quantitative or divisional requirements) at Bryn Mawr with courses taken elsewhere must obtain approval from her dean or the registrar. In some cases, the student may be asked to obtain the approval of the appropriate department. Note that the foreign language requirement cannot generally be satisfied via transfer credit.
Credit is calculated on an hour-for-hour basis. Four semester hours are the equivalent of one unit of credit. Students taking a semester or year of coursework away from Bryn Mawr must take the normal full-time course load at the institution they are attending in order to receive a semester (four units) or a year (eight units) of transfer credit. Usually 15 or 16 semester hours, or between 22 and 24 quarter hours, is the equivalent of four units at Bryn Mawr; between 30 and 32 semester hours, or 45 and 48 quarter hours, is the equivalent of eight units at Bryn Mawr. Students who complete less than a full-time program with grades of at least 2.0 or C receive proportionally less transfer credit.
A student who wishes to spend a semester or a year away from Bryn Mawr as a full-time student at another institution in the United States should have the institution and her program approved in advance by her dean, major adviser and other appropriate departments. A student who plans foreign study needs the approval of the Foreign Study Committee in addition to that of her dean, major adviser and other appropriate departments.
Students who transfer to Bryn Mawr from another institution may transfer a total of eight units. Exceptions to this rule for second-semester sophomores and for juniors are considered at the time of the student’s transfer application.
Students may use work that is not transferred for credit to satisfy College requirements, provided that such work would meet the standards for transfer credit.
A student who wishes to present summer school work for credit must obtain advance approval of her plans from her dean and must submit an official transcript to the registrar. No credit is given for a course graded below 2.0 or C (C- grades are not acceptable). Credit is calculated as closely as possible on an hour-for-hour basis. A total of no more than four units earned in summer school may be counted toward the degree; of these, no more than two units may be earned in any one summer.
Students may receive no more than four units of transfer credit for courses taken prior to graduation from secondary school, provided that these courses were not counted toward secondary school graduation requirements. These courses may include those taken at a community college. In all other respects, requests for transfer credit for work done prior to secondary school graduation are subject to the same provisions, procedures and limits as all other requests for transfer credit.
Every student who leaves Bryn Mawr prior to graduation must see her dean and complete a Notice of Departure. For a student departing during the academic year, some fees may be refundable. The specific dates of the refund schedule are published annually and are available in the Office of the Comptroller. For resident students, the date of departure is the date on which keys are returned to the Office of Public Safety. The comptroller does not calculate a refund until notice is received that keys have been returned.
A student who is in good academic standing at the College may apply to her dean for a leave of absence. (A student who loses her good standing after having been granted a leave of absence will normally be required to change her status to “withdrawn.”) A leave may be requested for one or two semesters and, once approved, reinstatement is granted contingent on residential space available at the time a student wishes to return to the College. Application should be made in writing by June 15 of the academic year preceding the requested leave (or November 15 for a second-semester leave). The deans and members of the student’s major department review any questions raised by the student or her dean regarding the approval of leave. A student should confirm her date of return, by letter to her dean, by March 1 preceding return for the fall semester and by December 1 for return in the spring semester.
A student may extend her leave of absence for one additional semester beyond the originally agreed upon date of return, with her dean’s permission. Application must be made in writing by June 15 of the academic year preceding the requested extension (or by November 15 for a second-semester extension). A student who does not return after a leave without permission for an extension, or who does not return after an extension of leave, is withdrawn from the College and must apply for readmission.
For academic regulations on medical and psychological leaves, see Student Life.
Any student may be required to withdraw from the college because she fails to meet the academic standards of the college, because of an infraction of the honor code or other community norm, or because she is not healthy enough to meet her academic commitments.
In addition, any student whose behavior disrupts either the normal conduct of academic affairs or the conduct of life in the residence halls may be required to withdraw by the Dean of the Undergraduate College. If the student wishes to appeal the decision, a committee consisting of three faculty members from the Undergraduate Council, the president of the Self-Government Association and the head of the Honor Board hears the student and the dean. The committee makes its recommendations to the president of the college; the president’s decision is binding. In cases of required withdrawal, no fees are refunded.
Students who withdraw, whether by choice or as a result of the above procedures, must apply for readmission if they wish to return. Students who wish to return from withdrawal should request an application for readmission from their dean. Students must submit their readmission application and all supporting documents no later than July 1 (for return in the fall) or November 15 (for return in the spring).
Bryn Mawr students in Haverford courses are subject to Haverford regulations as applied and interpreted by the Haverford deans. For the purposes of these regulations, a course is defined as a Haverford or Bryn Mawr course solely on the basis of its designation in the course list (“B” for Bryn Mawr and “H” for Haverford), not the campus on which it is taught.
Bryn Mawr students enrolled in courses at Swarthmore, the University of Pennsylvania or by special agreement with other institutions are subject to the regulations of these institutions. It is the student’s responsibility to inform herself about these regulations.
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Gail C. Hemmeter (English)
Stephen Salkever (Political Science)
Linda Caruso-Haviland (Dance)
Jody Cohen (Education)
Alison Cook-Sather (Education)
Robert Dostal (Philosophy)
Michelle M. Francl (Chemistry)
Paul Grobstein (Biology)
E. Jane Hedley (English)
Mark Lord (Theater)
George S. Pahomov (Russian)
Bethany Schneider (English)
Seminars offered in recent years include:
The Dance of the Spheres: The Interplay Between the Arts and the Sciences in the Search for Knowledge
This seminar will explore the dynamic exchange among the arts and sciences as they give shape to various ways of knowing identified with the Western intellectual tradition. We will time travel from the Renaissance and the Age of Reason to the tumultuous early decades of the 20th century, examining and experiencing the dialogic, intuitive, practical and sympathetic relationships of the arts and sciences. These investigations will lead to a reassessment of widely held assumptions, “self-evident” givens, and cherished beliefs about the spheres of human endeavor and our quest for knowledge.
Public and Private
What do chat rooms, best-selling memoirs and “reality TV” have to do with White House scandals, the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and the battle over reproductive rights? From the banal to the political, all are invasions of privacy. But is it society that invades the life of the individual, or the other way around? By grounding this problem in the thinking of philosophers, cultural critics, historians and artists, we will address one of the funda-mental problems of modern life — the conflict between the public and the private. We will also examine how writing shapes our identities, as individuals and in academic public sphere; assign-ments will mix the usual, private kinds of writing with experiments in collaboration and exchange, in both spoken and online forums.
Questions, Intuitions, Revisions: Telling and Retelling Stories About Ourselves in the World
This course explores the variety of ways in which we are all continually searching for new understandings. In addition to long-established elements of inquiry — acting, enacting, observing, experimenting, reading, talking and writing — we will explore the new potentials of the Web and other aspects of developing information technology. Together we will apprehend a wide range of literary, cultural and scientific stories, intuiting and imagining what they might mean, continuously telling and retelling them for ourselves in an attempt to “get it less wrong.”
Questions of Gender: Engendering Questions
What does it mean to be male or female in our culture? Fact and myth interact in complex ways to produce a society’s “knowledge” of sex and gender: the process of that interaction in our own society will be the guiding thread of this course. We’ll look at how sex difference is established biologically in human beings, and consider various ways in which male-female difference matters, or is supposed to matter, in everyday life.
Worldviews and Ways of Life
How can we best make sense of the universe?, and What ways of life are more or less worth pursuing? We consider and connect these questions in texts from several different times and places. The first set of readings comes from Athens in the fifth and fourth centuries BC: Sophocles and Plato are our primary authors. From an analogous moment of controversy about worldviews and ways of life in ancient China, we look at writings from Confucius and Chuang Tzu. Turning to early modern Europe, we compare three different visions of the modern “self”: Machiavelli’s Prince, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Descartes’ Discourse on Method. We conclude with one nineteenth and one twentieth century novel, both of which express considerable anxiety about philosophical and religious worldviews in the context of a shared longing for freedom: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Don DeLillo’s White Noise.
This course is intended to be a selective and critical engagement with key concepts and methodologies for studying and writing about culture. The methods will include hands-on experience and analysis of cultural objects, field trips to relevant and irrelevant collections of artifacts, plus reading and assignments from the fields of anthropology, cultural studies, film and television studies, history, folklore, literary criticism, material culture and museum studies. We will ask questions such as: What is culture? In what ways can culture be read, and how do these readings change over time and across spaces? What are the politics of cultural represen-tation? How will I intellectually engage this history as I construct my own cultural fictions?
Classical Mythology and the Contemporary Imagination
The myths of the Greeks and Romans have provided an inexhaustible imaginative source for artists throughout the history of Western civilization, and each age has rewritten these myths (by translating them or adapting them) to reflect its own interests and anxieties. Upon the source myth writers have superimposed their visions, and in turn these visions have been examined by literary criticism, creating a kind of archeology of interpretation on three levels. In the tension between the source myth and its reinterpre-tations lies the interest and the challenge for us as critics and as writers.
Finding the Bias: Tracing the Self Across Contexts
The bias is a line cutting diagonally across the weave of a piece of fabric; figuratively, it is a slant, a preference, a perspective, a prejudice. Finding a bias is the process of deciding how one will cut across various facts, ideas, experiences and contexts, or discerning how others have done so. Students who elect this course will explore the idea of finding biases through reading, discussion and weekly writing workshop.
This seminar will explore collective memory in relation to the Holocaust and several traumas in American history: slavery and its aftermath, the war in Vietnam, the AIDS crisis and 9/11. After introductory reading of texts that define collective memory, our aim will be to analyze the dynamics of collective memory that emerge in and through trauma, in theory and in various art forms: fiction, dance, comics, photography and film, and memorials in the United States and Europe.
The Periodic Table
The Periodic Table, an innovative and resonant literary work by Primo Levi, will be at the heart of this course. As a survivor of the Nazi genocide, which raised in him an awareness of the potentially anti-humane behavior that unfettered scientific “progress” may produce, Levi passionately sought to bring scientific and literary creativity together. The Periodic Table raises philosophical questions about the nature and goals of scientific investigation, and the degree to which the sciences and the humanities do or should complement one another. We will use Levi’s work to focus on issues such as how and why the sciences and the humanities lose touch with each other, and how this can be redressed.
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Praxis Program Director:
Praxis Faculty Liaison:
James A. Martin
The following descriptions are intended as guidelines and may be tailored to suit individual situations.
There are three levels of Praxis courses (see below), which require increasing amounts of fieldwork but do not need to be taken successively: departmental courses (Praxis 1), interdepartmental seminars (Praxis 2), and independent study (Praxis 3). Praxis courses may be offered in any department and students may enroll in more than one Praxis course at a time. Students enrolled in more than one Praxis course are sometimes able to use the same field placement to meet the requirements of both courses. Praxis-style courses taken at other institutions are subject to prior approval by the Praxis Office and faculty supervisor.
A Praxis I Departmental Course uses fieldwork as a form of experiential learning to enrich the study and understanding of a single disciplinary topic. Fieldwork typically constitutes 25 percent of total coursework assigned. Students typically complete one 2 -to 3 hour fieldsite visit a week. Students are eligible for Praxis I courses according to departmental guidelines.
A Praxis II Interdepartmental Seminar is a multidisciplinary course combining more substantial fieldwork with an academic focus on a central topic (e.g., geographic location, historical period, social issue, etc.) studied from several disciplinary perspectives. Field-work typically constitutes 50 percent of total coursework assigned. Students typically complete two 2- to 3 hour fieldsite visits a week. Praxis II courses are available to sophomore and higher-level students who are in good academic standing.
A Praxis III Independent Study places fieldwork at the center of a supervised learning experience. Fieldwork is supported by appropriate readings and regular meetings with a faculty member who must agree in advance to supervise the project. Faculty are not obligated to supervise Praxis III courses and may decline to do so. Departments may limit the number of Praxis III courses that a faculty member may supervise.
Students who plan to undertake a Praxis III Independent Study should submit a Praxis III Learning Plan Cover Sheet at preregistration. The full proposal — which must include a description of the student’s project, all stipulated work and a proposed fieldsite — is due by the end of the semester preceding the Praxis III experience. The plan must be completed in consultation with a supervising faculty member and approved by the Praxis Program Director. Students are encouraged to visit the Praxis Office to discuss possible field placements, although they are not discouraged from developing their own fieldsites.
Praxis III fieldwork typically constitutes 75 percent of total coursework assigned, with students typically completing two 4-5 hour fieldsite visits per week. Praxis III courses are available to sophomore and higher-level students who are in good academic standing. No student may take more than two Praxis III courses during her time at Bryn Mawr.
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