Undergraduate Degree and Graduation Information
To receive a baccalaureate degree from NDSU, degree candidates must satisfactorily complete one of the degree curricula offered at NDSU in accordance with the requirements listed below and those requirements specified for their primary academic major offered by a particular academic department in a college within the university. Students are responsible for reviewing and understanding these requirements. As such, students should consult the official curriculum guide of their primary major and work with their assigned academic advisor in the academic department of their major to help guide them in this process.
Degree and Graduation Requirements
Students must satisfactorily complete two sets of requirements: a) university-wide requirements including general education and b) college- or department-level requirements, which include requirements for completing majors and minors. Official college- and department-level requirements for majors and minors are available in the curriculum section of this bulletin and in curriculum guides available online. Minimum degree/graduation requirements are as follows:
- Minimum Total Credits: Students must present a minimum of 120 semester credits before a degree can be posted to record. Requirements for some academic programs may exceed this degree credit minimum.
- Degree and Major Requirements: Students must satisfactorily complete all degree requirements; this includes the primary major requirements and any college and/or department requirements outlined on the official curriculum.
- Declaring a major: Students must officially declare their degree and major intent. This is done:
- at the time of admission to the University on the application form submitted to the Office of Admission; or
- at the time of readmission to the University on the Undergraduate Reactivation/Petition for Readmission form submitted to the Office of Registration and Records; or
- by submitting a Major Change Request form to the Office of Registration and Records.
- Completing declared major: Student follow the curricula that is published in the Bulletin at the time they officially declare their degree and major intent described in 2.a.i-iii. Students follow the published curricula until graduation provided their enrollment at NDSU has not been discontinued for more than one calendar year or a new major is declared (2.a.iii.).
- Adding majors/minors: Students who wish to pursue additional majors/minors/multiple degrees/certificates must officially declare these programs to the Office of Registration and Records (2.a.iii).
- Pre-requirements majors and selective admission majors: Students enrolled in majors with pre-requirements or selective admission enrollment will have their program degree status changed from the pre-program to full-degree status based on information provided to the Office of Registration and Records by the respective academic department.
- Discontinue enrollment: Students who discontinue enrollment at NDSU for more than one calendar year are subject to meeting the curricular requirements published in the Bulletin during the term of readmission.
- Degree audit: Each program of study presented by a candidate for the baccalaureate degree is formally audited for meeting degree requirements by the Office of Registration and Records.
- Declaring a major: Students must officially declare their degree and major intent. This is done:
- University General Education Requirements: Students must satisfactorily complete the university’s general education program requirements as outlined by the university in the general education section of the Bulletin from the year of admission or readmission to the university.
- Minimum Scholastic Standing: Students presented for graduation must meet a minimum cumulative institutional grade-point average (GPA) of 2.00. This GPA is based on coursework taken at NDSU. Coursework transferred to NDSU is not included in this GPA calculation. Some academic programs may require a higher minimum GPA, which must be clearly outlined on the official curriculum when higher than the university minimum of 2.00 is required.
- Resident Credit Requirement: Resident credits are earned from courses that a student has registered and paid for at NDSU. Students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 36 credits from courses offered at NDSU or via Tri-College registration as an NDSU student.
- Upper Level Credit Requirements: Students must present a minimum of 36 credits in courses taken at the 300-400 level for degree completion. These credits may or may not be earned at NDSU.
- Transfer Credits: Students with transfer credit from one or more institutions of higher education must earn a minimum of 60 credits from a baccalaureate degree granting or professional institution – which may or may not be NDSU credits. Of these 60 credits, at least 36 credits must be NDSU residence credits as defined in #5. Within these 36 NDSU resident credits, a minimum of 15 semester credits must be in courses numbered 300 or above, and 15 semester credits must be in the student’s curricula for their declared major.
- Satisfy All Financial Obligations: Students must satisfy all financial obligations owed to the university. Diplomas and official transcripts will not be released to students who have outstanding debts owed to the university.
- Application for degree: Candidates eligible for a baccalaureate degree or a Doctor of Pharmacy degree must complete the Application for Graduation found in Academic Records in Campus Connection. When eligible, students will apply for graduation from the Graduation menu within the published semester deadline. This is a hard deadline and failure to apply by the published deadline of the planned semester could delay the awarding of the degree until the following semester. Failure to satisfy all degree requirements can also delay the awarding of a degree requiring a student to have to reapply in a future semester.
Undergraduate Majors and Minors
Majors and minors are an integral part of the baccalaureate degree curricula. Specific curriculum requirements in place for each academic year may be acquired from the NDSU Bulletin (catalog). Minimum credit for degree programs, including majors, minors, and certificates are guided by Policy and Procedure 409 from the North Dakota University System (NDUS) State Board of Higher Education (SBHE). Students are responsible for following the requirements in place at the time a major or minor is officially declared with the university. Program declaration is outlined in Degree and Graduation requirements in the overview section.
Major: An undergraduate major is a planned grouping of courses in an academic discipline to which a student formally commits to studying by declaring the major. Majors must total a minimum of 32 semester credits. Resident credit for a major is defined in the Degree and Graduation Requirements section. Majors are earned under a specific degree type; some majors are earned as either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts Degree, while other majors are specialized and earned under a specialized degree type. The types of degrees offered by NDSU are listed separately in the Bulletin under Degree Types and Diploma Information.
Minor: A minor is a similar grouping of courses in an academic discipline that students may declare to enhance their undergraduate studies. Minor must total a minimum of 16 credits. A minimum of eight credits in the minor must be earned in residence at NDSU.
Second or Multiple Majors: Students may pursue a second or multiple majors under the same baccalaureate degree. All requirements for the each major must be completed and at least 15 unique credits must exist between majors. Additional majors may be completed and recorded on the student's academic record after the degree for the first major has been awarded. These subsequent majors/minors will appear as a milestone statement on the academic record following the term for which the requirements were completed. Important Note: When majors with different degree types are declared, the requirements for a second degree apply - see the next section Second Degree).
Accelerated/Combined Degree Programs: See Degree Types and Diploma Information
A second baccalaureate degree type may be earned at NDSU with all of the following provisions:
- All curriculum requirements must be satisfactorily completed.
- Each baccalaureate degree must be different (ex. B.S. & B.A. or B.S. & B.S.E.E.). However, students may complete requirements for more than one major within a given degree, if available (see second or multiple majors).
A certificate program is a specialized course of study requiring at least 9 credit hours at the undergraduate level or eight credit hours at the graduate level, per the NDUS SBHE Policy & Procedure 409. Certificates may be earned while in pursuit of a degree or as standalone programs of study. Prospective students interested in certificate programs, but not seeking a degree, must be accepted to the university. Contact the Office of Admission or the Graduate College for further information. Curricular requirements and verification forms are available in academic departments offering certificates. Completed forms must be signed by the appropriate department chair (and Graduate College, if applicable) and submitted to Registration and Records in order for the certificate to be posted to a student's academic record and official documentation issued.
Exceptions to Academic Program Requirements
Academic policies and curricular requirements are designed to ensure that programs at NDSU are consistently of high quality. Students are expected to complete all curricular requirements for a degree program; this includes:
- Overall University requirements (including general education),
- Any college or department requirements if applicable, and
- Major program of study requirements.
Students may request course substitutions or waivers for college or departmental requirements and major program of study requirements when extenuating circumstances prevail. Only the academic department chairperson or curriculum coordinator can approve such changes using the substitution/waiver form process established by the Office of Registration and Records.
It should be noted that academic departments should plan to teach all of the classes associated with each academic program of study curricula so that students may complete their degree in a timely manner. If required courses in the major can no longer be taught, the academic unit has two options available so students may complete their degree requirements:
- The department chairperson or curriculum coordinator may file individual substitution/waiver forms for students requiring a curricular adjustment, or
- Move the student to a newer curriculum in the same major in order to complete the required courses outlined on the major program of study.
The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree may be conferred upon students who complete the major requirements for their chosen field of study and have functional proficiency in at least one language other than English. The B.A. degree recognizes these students as having acquired the foundation for enhancing their ability to communicate, work, and study in an internationalized world. The B.A. signifies that these students have chosen to develop, through the equivalent of at least four semesters of coursework, both practical language skills and a comparative perspective on their own language and culture. The B.A. second language requirement fosters an awareness of the culturally conditioned nature of the students' assumptions about the world, and it better equips them with the mental agility needed to understand ways of thinking different from their own as they encounter the diversity of professional and personal relationships, as well as the intellectual and practical challenges of their future careers.
The second language requirement of the B.A. degree involves student demonstration of functional language proficiency over a sustained period of time, typically 14 credits of coursework. Given the sequential nature of language courses, the assessment of their abilities across the range of skills in speaking, reading, writing and listening comprehension is continuous and demanding. For this reason, NDSU requires that those students who have prior language-learning experience or who present language examination scores (CLEP, etc.) take, at minimum, the exit-level (202) course in order to verify their broad functional ability and basic cultural competence. It is important to note that the language requirement is not defined in credits but in terms of proficiency or communicative competence in all four skills of speaking, reading, writing and listening comprehension.
To fulfill the B.A. language requirement a student must demonstrate competence equivalent to that normally attained after four semesters of college study (NDSU level 202). Competency may be demonstrated in the following ways:
- Completion in any second language of coursework at the NDSU 202 level or its equivalent with a grade of 'C' or better. Note that this requirement cannot be fulfilled by coursework taken pass/fail.
- Successful completion of any second language course with a grade of 'C' or better that has the equivalent of NDSU 202 or higher as a prerequisite.
- For students having previously passed the CLEP Examination in French, German or Spanish with a CLEP score high enough for second-year college credit (59 in French, 60 in German and 63 in Spanish) or the AP exam with a minimum score of 4 in French, German or Spanish, taking one additional college-level language class at the 202 level or higher in order to demonstrate competency in all four skill levels. Students must complete this course with a 'C' or better.
- English satisfies the B.A. language requirement for students whose official, certified transcripts demonstrate that their secondary or higher education was completed in a language other than English. It is the responsibility of the student to provide all necessary untranslated, official documentation to the Department of Modern Languages for verification. No credit will be awarded.
- Students who are unable to provide the above mentioned certified documentation but who are native speakers of languages other than English may fulfill the second language requirement through proficiency in English by successful completion of the three-semester General Education English composition sequence and by passing an additional English (ENGL) course with a 'C' or better. Students having completed this sequence may apply to the Department of Modern Languages for a waiver of the Second Language requirement.
- Requests for determination of proficiency in languages not taught at NDSU are considered by the Department of Modern Languages. If a student would like to demonstrate proficiency through testing in a language that is not taught at NDSU, it is his/her responsibility to arrange for such testing. The proficiency test must be completed by a faculty or staff member at a college or university; the evaluator must hold at least a master's degree (in any discipline). The test must evaluate reading, writing, listening and speaking through the fourth semester (intermediate NDSU 202) college level. The student must provide documentation from the evaluator which includes a copy of the test, a letter from the evaluator assessing the level of proficiency, and a statement of the evaluator's credentials, including an explanation of his/her expertise in the language being tested, if the evaluator does not teach that language at the college level. No credit is awarded but proficiency requirement is fulfilled.
Graduation with Honor
Graduation with honor applies only to baccalaureate degrees. Candidates who have earned a minimum of 60 credits in residence at NDSU and a minimum institutional grade point average of 3.50 will graduate with honor. All final grades on the NDSU academic record will be included in grade point average calculations for graduating with honor. Students who meet these academic criteria will graduate according to one of the following honor levels:
|Summa Cum Laude||equal to or greater than 3.90|
|Magna Cum Laude||equal to or greater than 3.70 and less than 3.90|
|Cum Laude||equal to or greater than 3.50 and less than 3.70|
Official Degree Audits
A degree audit is an official review of graduation requirements by the university to determine a student's degree progress and graduation eligibility. Undergraduate students who have completed approximately 70% of their degree requirements within their primary major of study are notified by the Office of Registration and Records via their NDSU email account. Students are required to complete the official university degree audit request linked within this email. The official degree audit is submitted to the Office of Registration and Records and is completed by a Degree and Records Analyst. This analyst performs a comprehensive audit notifying the student and the student's assigned academic advisor via NDSU email where to locate the official audit results in Campus Connection.
It should be noted that degree audits are not automatically completed as student educational and degree goals vary (multiple degree, majors, minors, etc.). Before an official audit can be completed, the student must provide additional information for a comprehensive review. If the student fails to submit the official audit, graduation could be delayed if critical graduation requirements are missed.
Tools for students to use to continually monitor degree progress
At any time, undergraduate students and academic advisers can track degree progress using the Academic Requirements Report (automated degree audit) feature in Campus Connection. In addition to this report, which details all degree requirements, students can also use Degree Map to plan out their course requirements in an interactive semester-by-semester plan of study that integrates with the registration tool Schedule Planner. Both tools function using real time enrollment data that displays completed requirements, in-progress requirements, and those requirements that are yet to be satisfied.