The Academic Program
The Curriculum | Requirements for the A.B. Degree | Academic Regulations
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.
Requirements for the A.B. Degree
Thirty-two units of work are required for the A.B. degree. These must include:
- One College Seminar (students who entered before the fall of 2004 must complete two).
- One unit 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.
College Seminar Requirement
The aim of the College Seminar 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.
Students who matriculate in the fall of 2004 or thereafter must complete one College Seminar in the fall of their first year. Students who entered before the fall of 2004 must complete two College Seminars, the first in the fall of the first year and the second before the end of the sophomore year. Students must attain a grade of 2.0 or higher in each seminar used to satisfy this requirement.
Foreign Language 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, International Baccalaureate 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, International Baccalaureate 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 Tri-Co 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.
Students who matriculated in the fall of 2002 or thereafter may count a single course or exam towards both the quantitative requirement and a divisional requirement, so long as that course is identified as Q and Division I, II or III in the Tri-Co Course Guide. Students who entered before the fall of 2002, however, may not count the course or examination used to fulfill the quantitative requirement toward any other requirement.
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 Tri-Co 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 Tri-Co Course Guide. One performance course in music, dance or theater or one studio art course 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. Only one of the two courses used to satisfy any divisional requirement may be fulfilled by tests such as the Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or A levels taken on work done before entering Bryn Mawr.
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.
Social Sciences (Division I)
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.
Natural Sciences and Mathematics (Division II)
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.
Humanities (Division III)
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.
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.
The following is a list of major subjects.
Astronomy ( Haverford College )
Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology
Classical Culture and Society
East Asian Studies
Fine Arts ( Haverford College )
French and French Studies
German and German Studies
Growth and Structure of Cities
History of Art
Music ( Haverford College )
Religion ( Haverford 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.
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 Committee on Academic Standing 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
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 .
The following is a list of some recent independent majors.
Feminist and Gender Studies
Peace and Conflict Studies
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.
Physical Education Requirement
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 intercollegiate 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 Committee on Academic Standing 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 preregister 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 Committee on Academic Standing (CAS) 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) option. A student registered for five courses is not permitted a second CR/NC registration.
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 registration because this information should in no way affect the students responsibilities in the course.
Faculty members submit numerical grades for all students in their courses. For students registered CR/NC, the registrar converts numerical grades of 1.0 and above to CR and the grade of 0.0 to NC. 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 students 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.
Students may not take any courses in their major subject under this option, but they may use it to take courses towards the College Seminar, Quantitative, Divisional or Foreign Language Requirements. While all numerical grades of 1.0 or better will be recorded on the transcript as CR,the registrar will keep a record of whether the course meets the 2.0 minimum needed to count towards a requirement.
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 Registrars Office.
Some courses, including many introductory survey courses, are designed as two-semester sequences, but students may take either semester without the other and receive credit for the course. There are, however, a very few courses designed as yearlong, two-semester sequences that require students to complete the second semester in order to retain credit for the first semester. Such courses are designated in each department's course list. Students must have the permission of the professor to receive credit for only one semester of such a course.
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 Tri-Co Course Guide . The Tri-Co 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. Only those students present on the first day of class will be considered for a lottery.
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.
Cooperation with Neighboring Institutions
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, and throughout most of the semester will follow Bryn Mawr procedures. If extensions beyond the deadline for written work or beyond the exam period are necessary, a Bryn Mawr dean will consult a Haverford dean to make sure a student is in compliance with Haverford regulations.
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 liberal-arts 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.
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.
Bryn Mawr students enrolled in courses at Swarthmore, the University of Pennsylvania , Villanova, 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.
Conduct of Courses
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.
Quizzes, Examinations and Extensions
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 Registrar's Office. 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 and Academic Record
||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 Committee on Academic Standing 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 Committee on Academic Standing (CAS) 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 CAS 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 CAS also reviews the record of any student whose work has seriously deteriorated.
A student whose record is brought before the CAS has a consultation with her dean and receives a letter specifying the standards she must meet by the end of the following semester or before returning to the College. 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 CAS may be required to withdraw from the College and present evidence that she can do satisfactory work before being readmitted. The CAS 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.
Cumulative Grade Point Averages
In calculating cumulative grade point averages, 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 Pisa . 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.
The A.B. degree may be conferred cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude.
All students with cumulative grade point averages of 3.40 or higher, calculated as described above, are eligible to receive the degree cum laude.
Magna cum laude
To determine eligibility for magna cum laude, grade point averages are recalculated to include grades covered by CR, NC and NNG. All students with recalculated grade point averages of 3.60 or higher are eligible to receive the degree magna cum laude.
Summa cum laude
To determine eligibility for summa cum laude, grade point averages are recalculated to include grades covered by CR, NC and NNG. The 10 students with the highest recalculated grade point averages in the class receive the degree summa cum laude, provided their recalculated grade point averages equal or exceed 3.80.
Credit for Work Done Elsewhere
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. Credit will not be transferred for a course taken by correspondence or distance learning, even if it is sponsored by an accredited four-year institution. 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 Seminar, quantitative or divisional requirements) 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.
One unit of credit at Bryn Mawr is equivalent to four credits (or four "semester hours") at most schools on the semester system. One unit of credit at Bryn Mawr is also equivalent to six credits (or six "quarter hours") at most schools on the quarter system. 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 up to four units of transfer credit for courses taken prior to graduation from secondary school, provided that these courses were taught at the college and not at the high school and 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.
Departure from the College prior to Graduation
Every student who leaves Bryn Mawr prior to graduation should see her dean and complete a Notice of Departure.
Academic Leaves of Absence
Any student in good standing at the College may apply for a semester- or year-long leave of absence. For a fall-semester or year-long leave, she should notify her dean by June 15. For a spring-semester leave or one spanning spring and fall semesters, the deadline is November 15. With the dean's permission, she may later extend her leave for one additional semester by applying by June 15 for an extension through the fall or by November 15 for an extension through the spring. She should confirm her date of return by March 1 for a return in the fall semester and by December 1 for a return in the spring. Reinstatement is contingent on the availability of space in the residence halls.
Medical Leaves of Absence
A student may, on the recommendation of the College physician or her own doctor, at any time request a medical leave of absence for reasons of health. The College reserves the right to require a student to take a leave of absence for reasons of health if, in the judgment of the medical director, she is not in sufficiently good health to meet her academic commitments or to continue in residence at the College. Permission to return from a medical leave is granted when the College's Health Center receives satisfactory evidence of recovery (see below, Readmission following a Psychological or Medical Leave of Absence).
Psychological Leaves of Absence
Occasionally a student experiences psychological difficulties that interfere with her ability to function at college. Taking time away from college to pursue therapy may be necessary. The College sees this choice as restorative, not punitive. With evidence of improvement in health, Bryn Mawr welcomes the student's return. The College believes that time away for psychological reasons should, in most cases, be for an entire academic year to allow sufficient time for growth, reflection and meaningful therapy - students who hurry back prematurely tend to risk a second failure. Therefore, leaves of absence for psychological reasons are granted for a period of one year except in unusual situations (see below, Readmission following a Psychological or Medical Leave of Absence).
Readmission following a Psychological or Medical Leave of Absence
When a student is ready to apply to return following a psychological or medical leave of absence, she must apply for readmission. She should request an application for readmission from their dean. In addition, her readmission also requires the approval of Bryn Mawr's medical director or the appropriate member of the College's counseling staff. The student should ask the physician or counselor with whom she has worked while on leave to contact the appropriate person at the College's Health Center . Students who want to return in September must submit all readmission materials by June 1. Those who want to return in January must submit all readmission materials by November 1.
A student in good standing who leaves the college in the following circumstances will be categorized as "withdrawn" rather than on leave and will need to apply for readmission (see below, Readmission After Withdrawal):
- if she leaves the college in mid-semester (unless she qualifies instead for a medical or psychological leave of absence),
- if she matriculates as a degree candidate at another school,
- if her leave of absence has expired, or
- if she loses her good standing after having applied for a leave of absence.
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.
Readmission After Withdrawal
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 June 1 (for return in the fall) or November 1 (for return in the spring).
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