Westminster College offers undergraduate courses of study leading to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees. The academic year comprises fall and spring semesters of 16 weeks each. A student normally takes 16-17 semester hours in each of the fall and spring semesters. A summer session is also offered. The graduation and other academic requirements contained in this catalog apply to students who enter Westminster College during the academic year 2023-2024 and who remain in continuous enrollment at the College until they graduate. Students who withdraw and are subsequently readmitted will be bound by graduation, major and degree requirements in force during the academic year for which they are readmitted. The College reserves the right to change curricula, courses, and graduation and other academic requirements when such changes are deemed advisable. If academic requirements are changed, continuously enrolled students may elect to comply with the new requirements or to remain under the requirements which applied at the time of the change. All exceptions to academic requirements must be approved in the following manner:
- Exceptions to the requirements for a regular program major must be approved by the department offering the major program;
- Exceptions to the requirements for an interdisciplinary major must be approved by the departments who administer the major;
- Exceptions to any other academic policy must be approved by the Academic Standards Committee, subject to limitations established by the faculty. The decision of the committee will be final.
The chair of the department(s)/school(s) or committee charged with approving exceptions to requirements are responsible for notifying the registrar whenever an exception is granted.
To qualify for graduation, all students must do all of the following:
- Successfully complete minimum of 125 semester hours for a bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, or bachelor of science in nursing degree, or at least 133 semester hours for a bachelor of music degree.
- For all courses taken, attain a minimum career grade point average (GPA) of 2.00. (The College does not “round up” GPA values.)
- Successfully complete the Westminster Plan. Transfer students should review modifications to this requirement in the Admission section of this catalog.
- Successfully complete a major program of study.
- For all courses taken in a major or minor, attain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 and earn no grade below C-. This includes supporting courses and all courses taken in the major or minor discipline.
- Successfully complete a minimum of 77 semester hours outside their major discipline, which may include supporting courses but not courses inside the major discipline, even if all major requirements are met. For students with double majors the courses in the second major may be counted towards this requirement of 77 hours outside the major. For interdisciplinary majors, the student must have this minimum of 77 hours outside the discipline which constitutes the largest number of courses in the major. Students who complete the All-College Honors Program need take only 73 semester hours outside the major discipline. For majors in the bachelor of music program, a minimum of 33 semester hours outside of music is required. For the bachelor of science in nursing degree, a minimum of 36 semester hours outside of nursing are required.
- Pass a comprehensive examination, if required by the major program. (See statements under individual program headings for majors that require a comprehensive examination).
- Spend the senior year at Westminster College.
- Participate in Commencement exercises.
Intention To Graduate - Students who plan to graduate must file an application for graduation in a manner established by the Registrar’s Office.
This involves combining two single majors. Permission of the chairs of both of the departments involved must be secured. All requirements for each major must be completed in order to graduate. Coursework must include a minimum of four semester hours of capstone in the primary major. Students must also complete an additional 4 SH of department-approved upper-level coursework in the secondary major.
A second undergraduate degree may be earned by successfully completing all requirements for the major associated with the second degree and earning a minimum of 32 semester hours beyond the first degree. If the first degree was earned at Westminster College, the second degree must be a different degree. (One cannot earn two B.A. degrees, for example). If the first degree was earned at another college or university, a second undergraduate degree may be earned at Westminster College by completing the Westminster Plan and the requirements of the major associated with the second degree, subject to the same transfer credit policies as transfer students.
From a curricular perspective, Westminster’s vision of a liberally educated person is achieved from a four-year integrated course of study involving general education, prescribed graduation requirements, a major, and electives. At the center of the curriculum is the common core, Liberal Studies, a course of study spanning all four years of the undergraduate experience. The entry point for Liberal Studies is Inquiry 111, a semester-long, first-year core requirement for all students. Communication skills are developed in conjunction with the Inquiry course. Students enroll in semester-long courses in writing and oral communication. The middle two years of the undergraduate experience are devoted to cluster courses and to courses satisfying prescribed Intellectual Perspective requirements. The general education curriculum culminates in a senior year capstone course in the major. Throughout the entire curriculum, the use of information technologies is emphasized in order to enhance teaching and learning, and to provide students with knowledge acquisition skills necessary for a lifetime of learning. Finally, the process of liberally educating students is completed by combining general education with in-depth course work in a major and with electives. The Liberal Studies portion of the curriculum is the common core for all students. This program of study is a four-year series of courses crafted to foster collaborative learning and the integration of knowledge, and structured to facilitate the acquisition of learning skills and the development of a community of learners.
Liberal Studies has four complementary parts:
- The First-Year Program
- Intellectual Perspectives
- Cluster Courses
- Senior Capstone
The First-Year Program is an integrated educational experience comprised of several curricular elements in which all new students enroll. Its components are:
INQ 111 (Introduction to a Liberal Arts Education) is a four-semester-hour course designed to introduce students to the life of the mind and engage them in liberal learning. With the exception of students who take part in the Honors Program, all first-time, full-time college students who are less than one academic year past high school graduation when they enter Westminster will take INQ 111 in their first fall semester.
WRI 111 (Writing) - Writing is a valuable and necessary tool for the investigation, analysis, evaluation and expression of ideas and experiences encountered in INQ 111. First-year students receive instruction and practice in essential skills and forms of written expression. The course in writing capitalizes on the substance of the Inquiry course to motivate learning-specific skills in written expression and to enhance teaching and learning in Inquiry. WRI 111 (Writing) or an approved equivalent is required of all first-year students. Students must earn a grade of C- or better in order to meet this requirement.
SPE 111 (Introduction to Public Communication) - Like writing, the mastery of oral expression skills is essential for success in college, a vocation, and throughout life. The first-year course in oral communication provides a basic grounding in these skills. Oral communication capitalizes on the substance of the Inquiry course to motivate learning-specific skills in oral expression, and to enhance teaching and learning in Inquiry. SPE 111 (Introduction to Public Communication) or an approved equivalent is required of all first-year students. Students must earn a grade of C- or better in order to meet this requirement.
WST 101 (Westminster 101) is a one-credit course that serves to introduce students to life at Westminster College and assist them in making a successful transition to higher education. Students will learn how to take advantage of opportunities for personal and academic growth while on campus and to develop strategies for personal and academic success.
The Intellectual Perspectives (IP) portion of the curriculum is designed to assure that all Westminster College graduates are familiar with a broad range of human intellectual endeavors and creativity. The requirements of this component of Liberal Studies are subject based and provide opportunity for students to explore significant areas of knowledge. The seven principal areas of study are:
- Foreign Language (FL)
- Humanity and Culture (HC)
- Quantitative Reasoning (QR)
- Religious and Philosophical Thought and Tradition (RP)
- Scientific Discovery (SD)
- Social Thought and Tradition (ST)
- Visual and Performing Arts (VP)
All students are required to complete four semester hours or more in each area. No more than two courses from the primary discipline of a student’s major or minor may be used to satisfy Intellectual Perspectives.
Cluster courses are taken during the sophomore or junior years. A cluster consists of two linked courses taught by two faculty members from different disciplines to the same group of students in the same semester. Clusters offer opportunities for students to integrate knowledge and to develop into a community of learners. All students are required to take one Cluster (two courses). Cluster courses may also satisfy Intellectual Perspectives.
The final component of Liberal Studies is a senior capstone course. The capstone is at least a four-semester-hour course within the major designed to provide an opportunity for students to evaluate and assess the strengths and limitations of their major field. Additionally, the capstone experience permits opportunity for structured reflection on the value of education in and beyond the major and provides another chance to strengthen communication and problem-solving skills.
Westminster College offers major programs leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Bachelor of Music. First-year and first-semester sophomore students who are unsure of a major field may have an exploratory major. All students must declare a major field of study (i.e., not exploratory) before March of their sophomore year.
The minimum requirement for a major is 36 semester hours in one discipline, but some majors require more. The maximum number of semester hours permitted in the major discipline is 48; the maximum number of semester hours permitted in the major, including supporting courses, is 64. Majors appear on the academic transcript.
Students may declare a major at any time. Students should check carefully at the time of declaring a major to ascertain both the requirements for the major and the amount of time needed to finish the program. Students should be aware that changing their major or adding an additional major or minor at any time during their course of study may require added time for completing graduation requirements. Students who choose to complete more than one major or minor may need additional time to complete all requirements. To declare a major, students must review the program of studies with the chair(s) or other adviser(s) from the department(s) involved, and then must complete the Declaration of Major/Minor form available on My.Westminster. For specific major requirements, see the appropriate program listing.
No credit toward a major can be given for any course in which the student receives a grade below C-, and the grade point average for all courses taken in the major must equal at least 2.00.
Double major. This involves combining two single majors. Permission of the chairs of both of the departments involved must be secured. All requirements for each major must be completed in order to graduate. Coursework must include a minimum of four semester hours of capstone in the primary major. Students must also complete an additional 4 SH of department-approved upper-level coursework in the secondary major.
Individual interdisciplinary major. A student may propose a major program with as few as 24 semester hours in one discipline, and a total of 52 to 76 semester hours. The program will be subject to the approval of all of the departments involved and the Dean of the College, and will be administered by a member of the department giving the core of 24 semester hours or more. Forms for declaring an individual interdisciplinary major are available in the Registrar’s Office.
Minor. A student may elect to complete one or more academic minors in addition to the required major. A minor, where available, consists of at least 24 semester hours in a single discipline, or as specified by the department. There is no maximum number of semester hours designated for minors. All grade restrictions for academic majors apply to academic minors as well. For specific minor requirements, see the appropriate program listing. Minors appear on the academic transcript.
No credit toward a minor can be given for any course in which the student receives a grade below C- and the grade point average for all courses taken in the minor must equal at least 2.000.
Concentration: A prescribed set of courses on a topic of study that is designated on the transcript. Dependent concentrations are associated with the major and must comply with the credit limits of their respective majors. Independent concentrations must be at least 9 credits and no more than 20.
Pathway: A set of courses recommended by academic advisers to direct students toward particular topics of interest; a pathway is not designated on the transcript.
Track: Refers to major programs in the Bachelor’s Degree of Arts in Music.
Electives. Electives are courses available to students outside of the major which provide opportunities for intellectual exploration. Such courses may be taken at any time during the undergraduate years and count toward the total number of semester hours needed to graduate.
Certain programs require students to take a comprehensive examination in their major field (see statements under individual program headings for majors that require this type of examination). This examination is intended to be a measurement of the student’s grasp of the major field and an incentive to integrate all personal knowledge of this field. The examination, when made mandatory by a program, must be passed with a satisfactory grade if the student is to be graduated. A failed comprehensive examination cannot be retaken during the same semester.
Westminster provides a number of opportunities for students to pursue projects beyond the regular course work. These options are offered at Westminster in the belief that one of the highest aims of education is to develop the student’s capacity to initiate and complete meaningful projects in the major field of study. Each participating student is expected to conduct an independent investigation beyond that possible in regular course work.
Independent Study. All programs list this option for students who want to pursue projects beyond the regular course work. Consent of the major program is required.
Internship. An internship, a practical on-the-job experience outside the classroom, can be an integral part of a student’s education at Westminster College. It is a short-term work experience emphasizing learning. A student takes on the role of a worker in an organization and in the process learns about a career field, gains hands-on experience, and contributes to the host organization. An internship may be served during any semester, including the summer, or during the period between semesters. The internship is structured as a three-way agreement among a student, a faculty member, and an on-site supervisor. The student is responsible for arranging the internship and completing all required paperwork. The faculty member sets standards, grants approval, evaluates the work, and assigns the grade. The on-site supervisor provides the opportunity for the student to gain meaningful experience and submits an evaluation at the conclusion of the internship.
While most students locate a sponsoring organization for an internship on their own, the Professional Development Center provides assistance in the form of on-campus internship recruiting programs, internship fairs, online postings and a database of previous sponsors. Students must register for the internship to receive academic credit, and registration begins by contacting the Professional Development Center. An internship may be graded or taken on an S/U basis, as determined by the department awarding credit. Forty hours of on-the-job internship experience are required for each academic credit awarded. When taken during the regular academic year, as part of the normal credit load, no additional tuition is charged for an internship. Fees for summer internships will be posted.
Off-Campus Study. Through off campus study Westminster students may expand their academic and cultural horizons. As a part of their educational program, students can spend as little as a month or as much as a year living and studying in an international or domestic program. Students who study off campus may be able to earn, via their off-campus study, not only credits toward graduation, but also credits toward their major or minor, or toward fulfilling part of the Liberal Studies requirements. Specific credit arrangements, however, must be worked out in consultation with the Director of Global Studies, the academic adviser, and the registrar, and require approval by the chair of the student’s major program.
The following general guidelines apply to all students who plan to study off campus:
- To be eligible to apply, students must have an career GPA of at least 2.50.
- Grades for all courses taken through the Westminster College Off-Campus Study Program are calculated as part of the Westminster College grade point average.
Information about specific off-campus programs is available from the Director of Global Studies.
Upon matriculation, all students are assigned an academic adviser. While students explore various major fields (“exploratory students), the adviser is assigned from a pool of faculty and academic staff who are prepared to help them identify a major that aligns with their interests and strengths. When students declare a major, an adviser is assigned from the faculty members who teach in the major program. Under the direction of the Dean of the College, the academic adviser helps the student to arrange a coherent academic program and is available for further consultation at the student’s request. All students are expected to meet with their advisers once each semester to determine an appropriate schedule for the following semester, and students are encouraged to consult their adviser more regularly. These meetings help students work closely with their advisers in arranging to fulfill not only the requirements of their major(s) and minor(s), but also the various other academic requirements. Although the academic adviser is expected to attempt to arrange these matters to the student’s best advantage, the final responsibility for fulfilling all academic requirements rests with the student.