General Graduation Requirements
Thirty-three and a half semester course units, including eight to 12 units in a major field and six units in specified distribution areas, all successfully completed, are required for graduation and are ordinarily earned in four academic years. Also required are a 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) overall and in the major and minor fields, based on St. Lawrence University courses only. The normal course load is four units per semester, except for an additional half unit as required by the First-Year Program during the two semesters of the first year. Each full unit is equivalent to 3.6 semester hours.
To graduate from St. Lawrence a student must complete a number of requirements. All students declare a major at the end of the sophomore year. In addition to the major, students must successfully complete a series of courses designed to provide breadth, called distribution requirements. The distribution requirements vary based on the date of a student’s matriculation at St. Lawrence: one set applies to students who matriculate prior to fall 2001; the other to students who matriculate in fall 2001 or later. Students also must satisfy the First–Year Program requirement and the writing competency requirement, which are described below.
First–Year Program (FYP)/ First–Year Seminar (FYS)
In addition to three other courses drawn from the general curriculum as described in the following pages, students in their first semester enroll in a combined academic and residential program that emphasizes critical thinking and active student participation in both the classroom and the residence. The program consists of four parts:
- An interdisciplinary, team-taught course illustrative of some of the enduring themes of the human experience.
- An emphasis on communications skills, in particular, writing, speaking and research.
- An advising system that ensures systematic and supportive involvement of faculty with students through coursework and out-of-class meetings.
- A residential college system wherein each first-year residence houses students enrolled in the same section of the team-taught course, with the goal of developing integrated living and learning communities.
In the FYP, first-year students meet with the other students in their residence and several faculty members, including their advisors, on a regular basis and in the context of a broad-based course that focuses on the breadth of the liberal arts and encourages student participation, collaborative intellectual experiences, self expression and critical thinking.
All first-year students enroll in one of approximately 12 sections of FYP 187. Each section explores a distinct set of themes or issues. In the summer before matriculation, students receive descriptions of these sections and may choose the FYP sections they find most interesting. Each section of the FYP corresponds to a residential college. Each section meets twice a week with a faculty team of two or three; smaller groups within each section meet twice weekly with one of the faculty members, who also serves as the academic advisor to the members of the group.
The residential college faculty also plan co-curricular programs related to the course themes and they enourage students to take advantage of the full schedule of University social and intellectual activities. The residents, the residential staff and the faculty of each teaching team work together to design programs and encourage maximum student involvement in the life of the residential college. In addition to encouraging students to participate in their own colleges, the FYP coordinates a first-year council, made up of student representatives from each of the colleges. The council provides an opportunity for students to develop leadership skills, participate in University governance, address issues of concern to first-year students and plan social events for the entire first-year class.
In the second semester of the first-year, students continue to develop their research, writing and oral communication skills in one of approximately 36 research seminars. Although they will be guaranteed a space in the course taught by their fall FYP advisor, students may also choose to enroll in a seminar with a different faculty member. In the fall semester, students will be asked to indicate which first-year seminars they find most interesting. At the same time, student life and faculty will continue to work with the residential communities to facilitate both the continued development of these communities and the transition to upper-class residential life. The first-year council also continues to plan events for all first-year students.
Because of the importance of the FYP and FYS in orienting students to St. Lawrence, withdrawal from those courses is not permitted. Students who fail the FYP must complete alternative coursework to be determined on a case-by-case basis by the associate dean of the first year and the director of the University writing program.
Students who fail the FYS must retake the FYS in their sophomore year.
Writing Competency Requirement
To be eligible for graduation, all St. Lawrence students must demonstrate throughout their college careers the ability to write prose that is judged competent by their professors.
- The instructor will indicate on the grade report an unsatisfactory writing (U/W) notation when a student has not shown satisfactory writing skills.
- When a student acquires two notations of U/W, he or she is required to complete an individualized writing program developed by the Writing Center. Seniors must demonstrate writing competency before receiving their degrees.
- The notations of U/W are monitored by the registrar and do not appear on student official transcripts.
It is a basic requirement that two years (16 units), including at least one semester of the final year before graduation, be taken in residence at St. Lawrence. Programs of study at other institutions during the senior year must have prior approval from the major advisor and the committee on off-campus study and must be authorized by the dean of academic affairs. Permission to pursue such programs during the final semester and/or summer session before graduation is granted only in extraordinary circumstances.
No students will be graduated, allowed to participate in the May graduation exercise or receive a transcript of their records if they have not discharged all financial obligations to the University or if they are not present at or formally excused from the graduating exercises at which the degree is to be conferred.
Major and Minor Requirements Please review the curriculum section of the College Catalog relevant to your matriculation date for major and minor program requirements.
Distribution Requirement: Click here for further information.
Diversity Requirement: Click here for further information.