Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Arts

32 courses are required for graduation, subject to restrictions on residency, fractional credit, transfer credit, and course load. Except where noted, individual courses may be counted toward multiple requirements.

First-Year Seminar in Critical Inquiry (1 course)

Students will complete the First-Year Seminar in Critical Inquiry in their first semester.

Writing (1-2 courses)

In coordination with the First-Year Seminar Program and the Program in Writing:

  • Students will demonstrate basic writing proficiency in their first year, through placement examination or completion of the College Writing Tutorial.
  • Students will complete a course designated as Writing Intensive (W) in any semester between the completion of the First-Year Seminar and the beginning of Junior Independent Study.

Global and Cultural Perspectives

  • Foreign Language (0-2 courses). Students will demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language through the second-level course in a given language sequence, through placement examination or course work.
  • Global Engagement (1 course). Students shall take a global course, which examines in depth either or both of the following: 1) Global or transnational matters, either contemporary or historical, in a way that allows students to appreciate better their own position in relation to these processes or issues; 2) The contours of a culture outside of the United States in a way that helps students understand how individuals and communities from that culture have viewed their own lives and the world. (GE)
  • Diversity, Power and Privilege (1 course). Students will explore the differences between individuals and groups of people, focusing on the ways difference shapes interactions between individuals and groups, and examine how power and privilege shape social situations, structures, and institutions. Diversity will be understood within the context of social categories, including race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status, social class, ability, culture, and religion (among others). (D)

Religious Perspectives or Social Justice (1 course)

  • Religious Studies Option. Students will complete a course (R) from any department or program that examines the religious dimension of humankind in relation to issues of cultural, social, historical, or ethical significance.
  • Social Justice Option. Social justice speaks to the responsibilities and obligations people have to confront different forms of inequity and emphasizes a commitment to community, civic engagement, and serving others. The study of social justice seeks to understand both the complex networks constitutive of injustice (whether cultural, economic, or environmental) and the efforts societies have undertaken and could undertake to bring about a more just world. (SJ)

Note: A student may not use the same course in fulfillment of D, GE requirements and the R/SJ requirement.

Quantitative Literacy (1 course)

Students will demonstrate quantitative proficiency through completion of a course that involves a significant focus on quantitative literacy in the course’s discipline (QL).

Learning Across the Disciplines (6 courses)

Students will complete no fewer than two approved courses in each of three academic areas: Arts and Humanities (*), History and Social Sciences (#), Mathematical and Natural Sciences (+). [An individual course may be counted toward only one of these three areas.]

Learning in the Major (7-9 courses in one department)

Students will complete a major in a department or program. The number of courses required in the major, excluding Independent Study, shall be no less than seven and no more than thirteen, of which no more than nine shall be in the same department. A maximum of twelve course credits in any one department, excluding Independent Study, may be counted toward graduation.

Independent Study (3 courses)

Students will complete three courses in Independent Study:

  • One course in Independent Study, normally taken in the junior year, that will focus on the development of research skills and methods in the discipline.
  • A two-course Independent Study Thesis, normally taken in the two semesters of the senior year.


(1) Student-Designed Major

Some students may find their educational objectives best served in a curricular pattern other than the normal one. In such cases, after consultation with the appropriate faculty members, the student may present a plan to the Upperclass Programs Committee for approval. The student will be expected to outline precise aims and a plan of procedure in accordance with established guidelines. This plan must be submitted to the Upperclass Programs Committee no later than one month prior to registration in the second semester of the sophomore year. In considering applications for special majors, the Committee shall make decisions based on the intellectual content and rigor of the proposed program, and its integrity as a major in the liberal arts. While the Committee may also take into consideration preparation for graduate education, certification, or licensing, these shall not be the determining factors in the Committee's decision. Students interested in this option should consult the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement. Once a major has been approved, any subsequent changes to the major must be submitted to the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement for approval by the Upperclass Programs Committee.

(2) Double Majors

With the approval of the chairpersons of the two relevant departments and the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement, students are permitted to declare double majors. Requirements for each major in a double major are the same as those for a single major with the exception that, subject to the approval of both departments, a joint Senior I.S. project may be done on a topic that incorporates materials and approaches from both disciplines and fulfills the requirements of both departments. Students who declare double majors must complete two separate Junior I.S. courses (401), one in each major department. Students who declare double majors must register for the Senior Independent Study Thesis in one major during fall semester and in the second major in spring semester. Students enrolled in student-designed majors, dual degree, pre-professional programs may not double major. Double majors are not permitted in International Relations and its participating departments (Economics, History, Political Science) nor in Urban Studies and its participating departments (Economics, Political Science, Sociology).

(3) Minor

Astudent may declare a minor, consisting of six courses in a department or program. See the appropriate listing in the Catalogue.

Additional Requirements

  • A minimum of 16 courses, including the Independent Study Thesis, must be completed at The College of Wooster. A maximum of 16 Wooster course credits completed at other accredited institutions and approved for transfer credit may be counted toward the 32 credits required for graduation.
  • The usual load is 4 courses for credit per semester, with 3 as the minimum for full-time status and 4.50 as the maximum permitted without the approval of the Dean for Curriculum and Academic Engagement. Students may register for up to 1/8 course credit in music performance groups beyond the maximum specified. For Bachelor of Music Education and Bachelor of Music Therapy majors the maximum course load is 4.875.
  • Students are required to be in residence for the two semesters preceding the fulfillment of their degree requirements and permitted to take no more than 4.250 (including 1/8 course credit in music performance groups) courses for credit per semester in the two semesters in which they undertake the Independent Study Thesis. The last 6 courses (including the two-course Independent Study Thesis) counting toward graduation must be completed in the College's curricular program.
  • Two years of residence at Wooster are required for the B.A. degree, with one of them the senior year.
  • A maximum of two (2.000) course credits in performance and physical education activities may be counted toward the minimum of 32 courses required for graduation. These two courses may include at most the equivalent of one (1.000) Wooster course credit for private music instruction, music performance ensembles and groups, and workshop courses in Communication Studies, and Theatre. All music performance courses are offered for both full (1.000) and fractional (.125, .250, .500) credits. Communication Studies workshops are .250 credit courses, and Theatre workshop and performance courses that count toward the allowable 1.000 performance course are .250 credit courses. Exceptions to these regulations are made for majors or minors, and are stated by individual departments.
    Four physical education activities courses that count for one-quarter-credit make up the second 1.000 course credit that can be counted toward the minimum of 32 courses required for graduation. Students who participate on intercollegiate athletic teams may count only one graded varsity sports course, Physical Education 130, toward the four allowable physical activities courses.
  • To permit effective course selection, students will be permitted to add courses without penalty until the end of the second week of classes and to drop courses without record of registration through the end of the sixth week of classes.
  • Full-time students are permitted to audit one course without charge in any semester. Permission of the instructor must be obtained on an add/drop form during the first two weeks of the semester.