Academic Policies and Procedures
- Degree Requirements
- Core Curriculum
- Academic Regulations
- Study Abroad Policies and Processes
- Academic Standards
- Degree Conferral and Commencement
1. Degree Requirements
The following are the graduation requirements for all students in Georgetown College. Each degree candidate must:
- Complete a minimum of 120 semester hours.
- Complete the Core Curriculum.
- Complete a major:
- Requirements for each major are specified in the Degree Programs (new window) section of this Bulletin. Majors and minors assemble coursework designated by the faculty of those departments and programs. Majors leading to the AB degree comprise at least 30 credits. Majors leading to the BS degree comprise at least 39 credits. Minors comprise at least 18 credits. Completion of a major or minor represents depth of knowledge in that discipline as well as a discrete amount of work and duration of time committed to study in that field.
- Students may also elect to complete a second major, and select from an array of minors and certificates. In total students may complete up to three programs, with a maximum of two majors. For rules governing double counting, see the Academic Regulations section (3.4.ii.a)
- Achieve a final cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 2.0 or better.
2. Core Curriculum
The Core Curriculum in the College, ordinarily completed in the student’s first and second years, has two tiers: the University Core and the College Core.
The University Core, shared by all four undergraduate schools, anchors the undergraduate experience in the liberal arts disciplines of the College, in areas that nurture the intellect and the spirit, cultivating inquiry and critical reading, training a deeper sense of self within an expansive worldview. The University Core incorporates philosophy, theology, humanities, and science, with special emphasis on eloquent expression and global understanding:
- Philosophy: 2 courses
- Theology: 2 courses
- Writing: 2 courses*
- Humanities: Art, Literature, and Culture: 1 course
- Science for All: 1 course
- Engaging Diversity: 2 courses**
Each undergraduate school expands the Core, expressing distinctive values and priorities for its students through additional requirements in a school Core. The College Core encompasses the University Core, adding history, social science, quantitative reasoning, and language; these knowledge domains and modes of inquiry are essential in the formation of graduates of the College:
- History: 2 courses
- Math or Computer Science: 1 course
- Social Science: 2 courses***
- Language: mastery of a second language through the intermediate level
Students are expected to fulfill Core requirements at Georgetown. When appropriate, students may receive approval from the Dean’s Office to complete a Core course away. Certain specific courses must be completed at Georgetown, as must at least half of any requirement.
* The Writing requirement begins with WRIT-015. The second course in the requirement is an Integrated Writing course embedded in the major.
**Engaging Diversity is an overlay requirement; courses fulfilling other parts of the Core may also fulfill the Engaging Diversity requirement.
*** Some science majors are exempt from the Social Science requirement; please consult the Social Science requirement under The College Core below.
The University Core
Georgetown, with its commitment to the Jesuit tradition, believes that modern men and women should consider reflectively their relationship to the world, their fellow humans, and God. All students take a year of Philosophy and a year of Theology.
Through the Core, the Philosophy Department is committed to providing courses that promote students’ personal growth as human beings in search of meaningful lives, foster their development as responsible citizens, and offer effective introductions to the discipline of philosophy.
All students in Georgetown College must take two courses in philosophy, one in ethics and one in an area of general philosophy. Ethics courses include PHIL-010 Intro to Ethics and all PHIL courses numbered 100-149. General philosophy courses include PHIL-020 Intro to Philosophy and all PHIL courses numbered 150-199. PHIL-098 may count for either area. The first philosophy course must be an introductory course (PHIL-010, -020, or -098). The second course must be at the 100-level. Seniors are not permitted in the introductory courses, so seniors who have not taken any philosophy previously will be permitted to fulfill the requirement with two courses at the 100-level. Internal transfers from SFS to the College may fulfill one half of the core requirement with PHIL-099, which counts as either a course in ethics or a course in general philosophy. Thus, acceptable sequences are:
- PHIL-010 followed by any course PHIL 150–199.
- PHIL-020 followed by any course PHIL 100–149.
- PHIL-098 followed by any course PHIL 100–199.
- For seniors who have not taken any philosophy previously: one course from PHIL 100-149 and one course from PHIL 150-199.
- For internal transfers from SFS only: PHIL-099, followed by any course PHIL 100–199.
No course at the 200-level or above may be used to fulfill the core requirement in philosophy.
Through the Core, the Theology and Religious Studies Department is committed to fostering in students a critically appreciative awareness of the religious dimension of human existence, and to assisting students in reflecting upon their own experience and understanding in that enlarged context. The first course provides this foundation while the second course allows students to develop their critical awareness by applying it to a particular area of interest in religion or theology.
Problem of God (THEO-001) and one intermediate level theology elective fulfill the theology requirement. Introduction to Biblical Literature (THEO-011) may be substituted for Problem of God or may be used as an intermediate level elective. (Transfer students are exempt from Problem of God and may select any two intermediate level courses, including Introduction to Biblical Literature, to fulfill this requirement.
Every Georgetown student will take one writing course, WRIT-015: Writing and Culture Seminar, that provides students with opportunities to connect their writing with critical reading and thinking, inquiry, and analysis. The Writing and Culture Seminar approaches writing through three interrelated frameworks: writing as a tool for inquiry, writing as a process, and practice writing in different rhetorical situations. Each section focuses on a cultural theme, with readings and assignments that engage students with compelling questions and problems. Seminar readings provide texts for analysis as well as models and motives for student writing. Students are encouraged to complete this course during their first year at Georgetown.
The second half of the Writing Core is an intensive writing experience located within the student’s chosen major, embedded within the requirements as determined by that program. The Integrated Writing requirement will prepare students to use the relevant forms, styles, and conventions of their chosen area(s) of study. Because writing reflects ways of thinking in academic practice, attention to writing in the major will enhance the student’s learning of concepts, materials, and methods in their fields. Each major’s Integrated Writing requirement is established by the department in order to express the unique conventions and practices of the discipline.
Humanities: Art, Literature, and Culture
Every Georgetown student will take one course in the Humanities Art, Literature, and Culture. The Cultural Humanities and Arts focus on the critical study of creative works and the creative exploration of critical ideas. The Cultural Humanities and Arts enable students to analyze the complexities of their own world and better understand diverse histories and populations. Broadly defined, the Cultural Humanities and Arts are the study of how people imagine, critique, and recreate the human experience in forms of art like literature, performance, music, the visual arts, including film and other media, and language. What links the arts, literature, and culture to the ways the humanities try to understand them? In the broadest sense, these areas of human endeavor all involve imaginative creation, expression, and communication; specifically, the making and sharing of experiences, ideas, beliefs, and emotions in symbolic form. Through humanistic study we come to understand and to contribute to the creative record of our world, explore that record across the meaning systems and values of different cultures, and learn how to think critically and creatively. Such skills facilitate growth in a world marked by ambiguity and change, and are crucial to a richly lived, imagined, and ethical life. HALC courses serve as a launchpad into deeper engagement with the Humanities at Georgetown and prepare students to flourish in a wide array of professional and personal pursuits.
Courses fulfilling this requirement are identified in the course schedule with the Core:HALC – Hum, Art, Lit, Cul attribute in the Schedule of Classes.
Science For All
Every student will take one course to satisfy the Science for All requirement. These courses, identified by the “Science for All” attribute in the schedule and varying by semester, aim to illustrate, in the context of a scientific discipline, how scientific understanding is developed, tested, and revised. Science For All courses will help and encourage students to understand better the significant role that science plays in their daily lives, and will include examples of the use of scientific methods in addressing complex social problems and of the ethical issues that science can raise.
The natural sciences, and the technologies that they enable, are woven deeply into the fabric of our lives and are central to many of the important political and social challenges that we face. They are also pinnacles of intellectual accomplishment in humanity’s ancient and ongoing quest to understand the world in which we live. Thus we believe that to function as liberally educated, ethically responsible citizens, stewards of the planet, and as effective leaders, all Georgetown students should understand scientific modes of thought and concepts, both in the abstract and as they are exemplified in at least one major area of scientific inquiry. The Science For All core requirement is grounded in these beliefs.
All Georgetown students are required to take two Engaging Diversity courses to ensure the opportunity to engage with diversity issues in two different contexts: one domestic and one global.
The Engaging Diversity Requirement will prepare students to be responsible, reflective, self-aware and respectful global citizens through recognizing the plurality of human experience and engaging with different cultures, beliefs, and ideas. By fulfilling the requirement, students will become better able to appreciate and reflect upon how human diversity and human identities shape our experience and understanding of the world.
Many courses that meet the Diversity requirement also meet other curricular requirements (e.g., core, major, minor) in each school. Courses fulfilling this requirement are indicated with the Core: Diversity/Global and Core: Diversity/Domestic attribute tags in the Schedule of Classes. Note that while some courses may carry both tags (i.e., global and domestic), students are still required to take two Engaging Diversity courses in total.
The College Core
The College Core consists of the entirety of the University Core plus the following requirements.
The study of history is one of the best ways to challenge one’s ideas and assumptions about the world. The study of history leads us to question the many simplified accounts of the world and of its problems that we all encounter in our daily lives. Knowledge of history accomplishes this objective because it consists of the integrated study of all elements of the human experience as they change over time. It therefore introduces students to the interrelations between political, social, economic, cultural, religious, intellectual, artistic, and other developments, and expands their ability to engage with complex causal analysis. This holistic approach gives students a sound understanding of the complex links that characterize societies and cultures, in the past as well as in our own time. The History Core requirement thus aims for students to explore changes and continuities in all spheres of human endeavor, and to understand the human experience as a process of dynamic evolution, and at the same time to engage with the discipline of history as an evidence-based, interpretive, and analytical approach to research and knowledge.
The requirement consists of two courses. One comes from a menu of introductory surveys on the history of significant world regions over long time spans. These courses offer students access to trans-national and cross-cultural developments, raising their awareness of global themes and issues and leading them to examine the interaction of diverse cultures and groups. The vast geographic scope and long time spans covered in these courses also give students insight into the deep roots of contemporary globalization.
The other required course (for which there is a menu of choices) aims to expose students to the many components of the discipline of history through focused study of particular historical events, periods or themes. This course (HIST 099) also leads students to consider questions of historical sources, analysis, and writing, and does so less through the breadth of the covered developments, and more through focused study of specific developments and contexts.
All required History courses feature regular small-group discussion, through which students familiarize themselves with history as an analytical tool. In addition to engaged participation in discussions of primary and secondary sources, the courses also include substantive writing assignments. Altogether the courses thus help students hone their critical reading and writing skills, develop their ability to examine evidence, and improve their capacity for verbal and written argument.
History Core courses therefore both contribute to raising students into informed, thoughtful, and active modern citizens, and provide them with effective, useful skill sets for any career field.
To review: All students in the College are required to complete two one-semester courses in history:
One semester of HIST 099.*Note that this requirement has to be fulfilled at Georgetown and cannot be transferred.
One broad survey chosen among the following:
- Intro Early History (HIST-007);
- Intro Late History (HIST-008);
- Atlantic World (HIST-106);
- Pacific World (HIST-107);
- Africa I or II (HIST- 111 or 112);
- South Asia I or II (HIST-128 or 129);
- Latin America I or II (HIST- 158 or 159);
- Americas I (HIST- 151);
- Middle East I or II (HIST-160 or 161).
Majors in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Russian may satisfy the history requirement for the survey course by taking either semester of the regional history survey appropriate to their major:
- Arabic majors: Middle East I or II (HIST-160 or 161)
- Chinese majors: History of China I or II (HIST-122 or 123)
- Japanese majors: History of Japan I or II (HIST-124 or 125)
- Russian majors: History of Russia I or II (HIST-170 or 171)
These majors still need to take HIST 099. Students who take a specific area history survey as part of their initial major and then change majors do not incur an additional history requirement.
Students with AP credit in European and/or World History or IB credit in Europe/Islamic World and/or Twentieth Century/Regional Topics fulfill the core requirement differently. See Advanced Credit section of this Bulletin for full information. Students with History AP credit may not take HIST-007, 008, 099, or they will forfeit the AP credit.
Math or Computer Science
Every student in the College must complete a course in the department of mathematics or the department of computer science. Engagement in these disciplines helps students develop quantitative literacy, facility with data and statistics, symbolic and visual representations, numeracy, and related capacities that are essential when navigating the data-rich environments in the world today. Problem solving and logical reasoning are greatly enhanced by work in these fields; acute sensitivity to quantitative methods and reasoning is essential to informed citizenship and ethical leadership.
Social science is the systematic investigation of human society, including its cultural, economic, educational, governmental, and linguistic structures. Some approaches to social science are quantitative or experimental, while others are observational and interpretive; all examine the ways people think and act as members of social networks, how those networks function as complex systems, and how those systems in turn affect individual lives. Critical study of these familiar structures helps us question preconceptions and biases, guides us in examining the structures and institutions we take for granted, and leads us to greater understanding of the ways the world is organized.
All students except those majoring in Biochemistry, Biological Physics (BS track), Biology, Biology of Global Health, Chemistry, Environmental Biology, Neurobiology, or Physics (BS track), satisfy their social science requirement by taking two courses from one of the following departments: Anthropology, Economics, Government, Linguistics, Psychology, or Sociology. In addition to courses offered by the Linguistics department, certain post-advanced language courses with special focus on linguistics may count toward the social science requirement when paired with a Linguistics course. Examples include:
- ARAB-391 Linguistic Analysis of Arabic
- CHIN-391 Intro to Chinese Linguistics
- FREN-291 Making Sense of Language
- GERM-445 Literacy & FL Teaching
- ITAL-393 Contemporary Italian and its Regional Varieties
- JAPN-391 Topics in Japanese Linguistics
- RUSS-393 Russian Phonology
- SPAN-210 Intro to Spanish Linguistics
- SPAN-523 History of Spanish Language
The study of a language, literature, and culture other than one’s own enables a better understanding of the world. Language learning broadens horizons, expands minds, and enhances professional competence and personal engagement in a globalized world.
To be an effective cross-cultural communicator requires not only language proficiency, but awareness of literary and cultural traditions as well. Understanding language in all its forms, styles, and uses leads to more authentic relationships among diverse peoples.
All students in the College must study a second language (ancient or modern) through the intermediate level. During New Student Orientation, placement exams are offered in most languages. Students who do not place above the intermediate level of a language must fulfill the requirement by completing language coursework through the intermediate level. Please note that the number of courses required varies depending on the language family* and the intensity of instruction.
*In general, students must complete through the 12th credit of an Indo-European language or the 24th credit of other languages. Given the great diversity of languages, and the distinctness of their structures, challenges, and pedagogies, there are exceptions. As such, for languages routinely offered at Georgetown, the College’s language requirement is satisfied by completing the specific “exit course” listed below:
- Arabic ARAB-112: Intensive 2nd Level Modern Standard Arab II
- Chinese CHIN-112 or 114: Intensive 2nd Level Chinese
- French FREN-022 or 032: Intermediate French
- German GERM-022 or 032: Intermediate German
- Greek (Ancient) CLSG-101: Intermediate Greek
- Greek (Modern) GREE-111: Second Level Modern Greek I
- Hebrew HEBR-022: Intermediate Modern Hebrew II
- Italian ITAL-032: Intensive Intermediate Italian
- Japanese JAPN-112: Intensive Second Level Japanese II
- Korean KREN-112: Intensive Second Level Korean II
- Latin CLSL-101: Intermediate Latin
- Persian PERS-012: Intensive 1st Level Persian II
- Polish PLSH-102: Intermediate Polish II
- Portuguese PORT-050: Accelerated Portuguese
- Russian RUSS-012: Intensive First Level Russian II
- Spanish SPAN-022 or 032: Intermediate Spanish
- Turkish TURK-022: Intermediate Turkish II
Students are strongly urged to complete the language requirement no later than the end of their sophomore year.
Please note that credit can only be earned once for language study at a given level; the College does not grant credit when levels of instruction are repeated. Language placement tests are recommended for any student who has begun language study elsewhere, whether high school, prior college, etc.
Any student with advanced proficiency in a language not offered at Georgetown should contact his/her advising dean to inquire about the possibility of arranging a placement test in that language. Georgetown has recently started a partnership with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) to certify student proficiency in languages not taught on campus.
3. Academic Regulations
Georgetown College holds its students to all of the standards set forth in the Academic Regulations section of this Bulletin, including both the Academic Standards and the Honor System described therein. The former articulates university-wide standards for satisfactory academic performance, while the latter expresses the expectations for academic integrity that govern the intellectual life of our community. Additional regulations peculiar to the College are as follows:
- Residency and Matriculation: Georgetown’s intellectual community is immersive; it presumes presence, thoroughgoing engagement, and concentrated commitment of one’s time and attention to a rich, integrative learning environment. This belief animates the following policies regarding residency and matriculation:
- Undergraduate students are required to be full-time. University-wide, full-time status is defined as 12 or more credits in a semester. Departures from this standard require exceptional approval, including:
- Seniors who have met the residency requirements explained below may petition to be part-time in one semester of the senior year only.
- Students seeking to enroll less than full-time due to a chronic medical condition must seek the endorsement of the Academic Resource Center and/or Student Health each semester.
- Students are expected to retain full-time status through the semester. Course withdrawals that would result in part-time status (fewer than 12 credits) may be approved in exceptional circumstances. Requests to withdraw to below half-time status (6 credits) cannot be approved; if unable to perform at this level, students must initiate a leave of absence with their advising dean.
- Ordinarily, students are limited to a maximum of five courses of three credits or more per semester. The five-course limit safeguards time required for study, encourages intellectual seriousness and depth, and protects student wellness. Students wishing to take a sixth course (of three credits or more) must petition their advising dean to do so; they should have a sound academic reason for requesting the overload and a demonstrated record of success in previous full-time semesters. First-year students are not permitted to exceed the five-course limit under any circumstances.
- Students must complete a minimum of six semesters of full-time university study (exclusive of summer study; for these purposes a semester is considered to be fall or spring in the regular academic year only), four of which must be in residence at Georgetown University. Study abroad at one of Georgetown’s campuses (GU-Q, Villa le Balze) counts toward the four-semester residency requirement, but all other Georgetown-approved study abroad programs do not.
- Students may not work more than 20 hours per week without permission from the College Dean’s Office. A student electing to engage in a full-time commitment outside of academic coursework (e.g., employment, internship, or fellowship opportunity) should request a leave of absence.
- Any student with more than one incomplete in a given term who is unable to complete his or her work by the first day of class of the next term may not begin new courses without formal review and consent of the Dean’s Office, and may be directed to take a leave of absence.
- Undergraduate students are required to be full-time. University-wide, full-time status is defined as 12 or more credits in a semester. Departures from this standard require exceptional approval, including:
- Transfer Credits
- A minimum of 60 credits must be completed in residence, in Georgetown coursework.
- Additionally, students are required to complete at least half of the coursework for a major or minor at Georgetown. Transfer credit in excess of half of a major or minor may be counted as free electives toward the degree. Some departments and programs may set stricter limits on transfer credit within major and minor programs.
- Students are eligible to transfer a maximum of four college courses taken prior to matriculation at Georgetown (i.e., while in high school) provided that they meet the following conditions: 1) courses must have been taken after the sophomore year of high school; 2) courses must have been taught at the college campus by a member of the college faculty; 3) courses must have been open to students at that college or university, not designed specifically for and limited to high school students; 4) courses must have been eligible for credit towards a degree at the host institution; and 5) courses must be separable from the high school record without affecting or undoing high school graduation requirements. Pre-matriculation courses will generally transfer as free electives. By exception, these courses may be considered for requirements and prerequisites, but students entering as first-years must complete the following Core requirements at Georgetown: Humanities: Arts, Literature, Culture (HALC), Science for All (SFA), and HIST-099. Language courses must be confirmed with a placement test or continuation in coursework at Georgetown.
- Once matriculated, a student may transfer no more than 12 summer school credits (typically 4 courses) taken elsewhere to the Georgetown degree. Exceptions to the 12-credit limit can be granted when courses are valued at more than 3 credits. Prior approval for summer courses must be obtained from the College Dean’s Office.
- Students may not transfer coursework taken in a fall or spring semester at another institution, other than coursework taken in an approved study abroad program.
- Credits earned through the Consortium do not count toward the 60 credit residency minimum.
- Students on leaves of absence should not expect to transfer credits for courses taken elsewhere during that time. In rare circumstances and with expressed written approval of the Dean’s Office prior to the leave, students may be allowed to transfer a limited number of courses. In no instance will more than four courses be transferred to the Georgetown record, and all transfers will count against the “summer school” limit noted above (2.d).
- Additional Limits and Minimums
- Normally the College approves a maximum of four courses for summer school work at Georgetown per academic year.
- College students may not enroll in courses offered through the School of Continuing Studies (SCS) for its various degrees, certificates and special programs, with the exception of COL, SFS, MSB, and NHS courses offered through SCS’s Summer School. ENFL courses lead to a non-degree certificate, and are excluded from the College degree; students in the College seeking additional preparation in academic and professional writing are advised to take WRIT courses.
- No more than twelve credits of Military Science (MLSC) may be counted toward the degree. Preference is given to courses offered at 3 credits over courses that carry less than 3 credits in applying courses to the degree. This rule holds across the ROTC programs—Army at Georgetown University, Navy at The George Washington University, and Air Force at Howard University.
- No more than six courses from the McDonough School of Business may be counted towards the degree.
- Students in their first and second years may not take two courses in the same discipline in the same semester.
- In the spirit of a liberal education, each student is required to take at least 24 courses outside of his or her primary major department.
- A single course may satisfy a core requirement and also fulfill a major, minor, or certificate requirement.
- A single course may not fulfill two different core requirements, except in the case of the Engaging Diversity requirement, designed as an “overlay” requirement.
- A single course may not fulfill requirements in two majors, a major and a minor, or any other combination of major, minor, and certificate programs, with two notable exceptions: (1) Students may double count three credits (generally ONE course) among majors and minors, only when one of the programs requires credits in excess of these minimums. AB majors must comprise at least 33 stand-alone credits to double count a 3-credit course; 42 credits for BS majors, and 21 credits for minors in order to double count a course; (2) In many cases majors require corollary coursework in related fields, which may be counted freely toward other majors or minors.
- Any course that fulfills a major, minor, certificate or core requirement must be taken for a letter grade, unless the course is only offered as pass/fail.
- The College does not recognize courses for audit.
- Students majoring in two fields that lead to different degrees (e.g., English and Biology) must choose the degree (A.B. or B.S.) they wish to receive.
- A single course may satisfy a core requirement and also fulfill a major, minor, or certificate requirement.
4. Study Abroad Policies and Processes
For a complete overview of the study abroad application process, please see the Global Education section of this Bulletin or visit studyabroad.georgetown.edu. Study abroad is ordinarily pursued in the junior year; applications to study abroad in the spring of sophomore year or fall of senior year will be considered, but should be accompanied by a petition to the advising deans explaining the rationale. All students in the College are required to have their study proposal(s) reviewed and approved by both the major department(s) and their advising dean. Departments and programs set their own limits and maximums for transfer credit in major and minor programs; please refer to the program pages here in the Bulletin or department and program websites for full information about transfer credit policies. It is possible to fulfill core requirements abroad, but all courses must be approved by the advising dean (who will consult the core departments as necessary); note also that half of each core requirement must be completed in residence at Georgetown (single-course requirements such as the WRIT-015, HIST-099, and HALC are not eligible to be transferred from abroad). All other coursework taken abroad will be transferred as elective credit.
Upon receipt of an official final transcript, credit will be posted for all courses in which the student has earned the minimum passing mark. All transfer credit in major, minor, and certificate programs is subject to departmental review via the Transfer Credit Evaluation process. Grades from study abroad coursework are not computed in the Georgetown grade point average but are recorded on the transcript, except for students studying at a Georgetown Global Living and Learning site or at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), in which case grades are both recorded on the transcript and computed in the Georgetown grade point average. In most cases, a maximum of five courses and 17 credits per semester are transferred to the Georgetown degree.
Please note that Georgetown Global Living and Learning sites and GU-Q are considered to be “in residence,” but all other study abroad programs are not; thus (internal and external) transfer students should pay particular attention to residency requirements (in terms of both semesters in residence and credit minimums) when considering study abroad options.
5. Academic Standards
The policies and procedures described below are consistent with and in addition to the University-wide Academic Standards described elsewhere in this Bulletin.
Georgetown College is an intensive and immersive intellectual community. Students are embraced by a network of faculty, advising deans, counselors, and peer advisors who are committed to nurturing their education, their development, their intellectual potential. An advisor’s role is to guide and counsel; students’ academic performance and academic records are their own. The Associate Deans, Assistant Deans, and Academic Counselors advise students throughout their undergraduate experience. Together they make up the Council on Studies of Georgetown College. The Council is also charged with upholding the academic standards of the College.
Faculty and students, upon initiation into this intellectual community, agree to high standards of academic performance and integrity, standards that establish the conditions for personal and intellectual formation. Failure to meet these standards may result in temporary or permanent separation from the university.
The Council on Studies convenes at the conclusion of the fall and spring semesters to review the grades of each student in the College. When a student’s performance falls short of the standards of the community, the Council considers that student’s circumstance carefully, decides on the necessary course of action, delivers that decision to the student, and maintains a process by which the student can appeal the decision. The Council may take one of four courses of action: letter of concern, probation, suspension, or dismissal.
Letter of Concern: When the Council on Studies detects difficulty in a given semester, often represented by grades that are passing but low (D or D+), they may communicate their concern in a letter to the student. The letter is a reminder of both available support and the formal academic standards of the College. The letter does not constitute a change of one’s standing and does not appear on any formal record.
Probation: When a student receives a failing grade, incurs a cumulative grade point average below 2.0, or fails to complete a full-time semester for a second time in their career, the student is placed on academic probation. Probationary status is automatic, resulting from performance in the last semester attended (even if a break has intervened), and lasts through the next semester, after which each student’s performance is reviewed again. Probationary status is conveyed to the student in writing, but it does not appear on the academic transcript.
Suspension: Academic suspension is a temporary measure taken to halt a student’s progress in the degree. Academic suspension is a sobering, serious consequence, but implicit in the sanction is a hope that the student will return, having reflected deeply and learned to manage whatever issues intruded on their academic success. When the Council on Studies determines that a student’s performance warrants suspension (see Undergraduate Bulletin Academic Standards section for academic deficiencies that can result in suspension), the decision is conveyed in writing with the length and conditions of the suspension addressed.
Dismissal: Academic dismissal is permanent separation from the university. In rare cases, the Council on Studies occasionally discovers that a student’s performance is too deficient, or that improvements have not been made despite prior attempts at intervention and remediation, resulting in the difficult decision of dismissal (see Undergraduate Bulletin Academic Standards section for academic deficiencies that can result in dismissal). In the case of dismissal, students may not expect to return to Georgetown in the future.
Students who are either dismissed or suspended may appeal the decision of the Council on Studies before a Board of Academic Appeals. As an extension of the educational process, an Academic Appeal hearing is not a court of law, but an opportunity for a student to appear before an impartial body for an additional hearing. Academic Appeals are primarily appropriate when previously unseen evidence exists to shed light on extenuating circumstances that affected a student’s performance. Academic Appeal hearings represent venues for sharing that evidence, or acknowledging important contexts that were heretofore obscure, in order to argue for a different outcome or solution. Without new evidence to present or contexts to acknowledge, an appeal hearing is unwarranted.
The Board of Academic Appeals shall consist of two members of the faculty and one of the advising deans in the College; this dean will not participate in the original decision during grade review. No member of the faculty may serve on a Board if:
• He or she has at any time failed the student who is appealing.
• He or she has at any time acted as faculty advisor to the student.
Upon notice of suspension or dismissal, the student will be informed of the process for appeal and the deadline to request an appeal hearing in writing. The student’s request must be a substantive statement indicating the grounds for possible reconsideration and must be submitted within the specified time limit. The student will be notified of the date, time, and location of the hearing before the Board of Academic Appeals. Students are strongly encouraged to appear in person at the hearing; however, if circumstances prevent attendance, the student may participate by telephone or provide a written argument or summary for the Board to review.
When presenting his or her appeal to the Board, the student may appear alone or may bring a member of the University community to provide silent support. This person may not be a member of the student’s family. The Board aims to create conditions that will permit a student to speak freely and honestly, on their own behalf. The Board will have access to the student’s academic record and his or her written request for an appeal.
The student may submit evidence of extenuating circumstances and may be present for all stages of the hearing except for the final deliberation by the Board. The Board may uphold the Council’s decision or it may mitigate that sanction, e.g., instead of dismissal, a suspension; instead of suspension, a voluntary leave of absence or strict probation. It cannot assign a harsher decision or completely abrogate the original sanction.
Academic Advising Program
Students in the College are supported by advising that embraces the freedom of the liberal arts, Georgetown’s Jesuit and Catholic tradition, and each student’s distinctive interests, needs, and strengths. Cura personalis, care for individuals as individuals who are distinct, complex, full, and forming, is the central inspiration for College advising. Students enter the College with intellectual interests and goals, and with a vast array of curricular choices and possibilities. Advisors form relationships with students to introduce them to this array, to listen, learn, interrupt, inform, and accompany them through their decisions and development.
Advising in the College is shared by the advising deans and the faculty. Students with majors declared have both an advisor in the dean’s office and a faculty advisor in their major discipline. As most students remain “undeclared” until sophomore year, the advising deans help students navigate the Core Curriculum, adjust to the rigors of Georgetown’s intellectual environment, and explore broadly, mixing old interests with new and emerging interests. Students are invited to design an open-ended Academic Road Map (ARM) with their dean to discuss majors, minors, and study abroad, and to be in touch with questions, updates, and concerns throughout the year.
With the transition to their third year, students will have declared their majors and acquired faculty advisors, and are supported by advising deans within their discipline. Exploration continues as a point of emphasis in advising, while depth and focus in one’s major and in one’s progress toward graduation become more central. The advising deans help students through changes of academic program, study abroad and transfer credit, honors and thesis programs, capstone projects, degree completion and commencement, and post-graduation plans.
Faculty advisors, working in tandem with the advising deans, are essential mentors and partners in students’ chosen areas of study. They advise their students on proper sequencing of courses required for their majors, discuss students’ proposed course selections during registration periods, facilitate research opportunities, and offer professional and, where appropriate, career insights for students as they advance. Faculty advising is a hallmark of Georgetown’s intellectual community, where teaching and learning are at once personal and communal.
Most students enter the College “undeclared”, and begin a process of exploration and discernment with the help of the assigned advising deans. In general, majors are declared during the sophomore year, and at the point of the declaration the faculty advisor is chosen. By contrast, students majoring in language, science, math, and linguistics begin their Georgetown career with those majors declared and faculty advisors assigned. Transfer students enter with majors and faculty advisors assigned as well, across all disciplines.
All students, declared and undeclared, are encouraged to continue their exploration, consult with their advisors, and respond to changes in their interests and plans.
Preparation for Graduate and Professional Schools
A number of the graduates of the College each year go on to graduate and professional schools. The College attempts, through its curricula, programs, and advising system, to give its students strong preparation for graduate work.
Students who are considering graduate study are encouraged to visit the College Dean’s Office at any time during the academic year to discuss their interests. Undergraduates should also consult with faculty advisors who can offer viable guidance regarding preparation for graduate studies.
Another university resource available to assist students with graduate school plans is the Career Education Center. Students interested in pursuing competitive fellowships should research opportunities with the Office of Fellowships, Awards, and Resources (GOFAR).
Georgetown has a long tradition of preparing students to enter the legal profession. While there is no “pre-law” curriculum, students preparing for law school should concentrate on courses which require analytic thinking and clear written expression.
Most students who plan to go to law school major in one of the humanities or social sciences. However, there is no specific major required for admission to law school. The flexibility of the College curriculum gives students in any major ample opportunity to elect a diverse array of courses which may provide an appropriate background for law. Students interested in pursuing law school should plan to meet with the pre-law advisor in the Career Education Center.
Students who have achieved high honors should consider applying to the Georgetown University Law Center through the Early Assurance Program. This program allows exceptionally well-qualified students to submit an application to the Law Center during the junior year. The LSAT is not required for application and admission, though students admitted through the Early Assurance Program will be required to submit LSAT scores prior to matriculation. Students not admitted under the Early Assurance Program may apply again through regular admission during the senior year. Interested students should contact the Law Center Office of Admissions for applications and details at the beginning of their junior year.
Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental
Georgetown offers a number of programs that prepare students to enter medical, dental or other health professions schools. Some schools may have specific additional coursework, but in general, the student must take the following pre-requisite science and math courses (a full year of each):
- Mathematics (one semester of Statistics and one semester of Calculus)
- General Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Principles of Physics
- Foundations in Biology I and a second biology course with lab (e.g., Foundations in Biology II, Genetics, Mammalian Physiology)
- One semester of Biochemistry
Students may choose to major in any B.S. or A.B. program as they complete their pre-medical/pre-dental requirements.
The B.S. programs with majors in Biochemistry, Biological Physics, Biology, Biology of Global Health, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Biology, Mathematics, Neurobiology, and Physics include all or some of the above courses. The remaining courses on the list are taken as electives to round out the pre-medical/pre-dental requirements. The B.S. programs are strong science programs, and are particularly appropriate for students who are interested in taking more than the minimum of science and math courses required for medical school admission.
Students may also choose to major in an A.B. program in one of the humanities, social sciences, languages, or linguistics and at the same time fulfill the minimum science requirements for medical or dental school. Further science courses may be taken as electives at the option of the student in consultation with his or her advisor. The proximity of the College to the Georgetown University Medical Center allows the student to be exposed to the challenges of the medical professions.
The Georgetown Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Recommendation Committee includes advising deans and several faculty from the College, as well as one faculty member each from the NHS and Medical School. Students preparing to enter medical or dental school request the committee recommendation at the end of the spring semester in their junior or senior year or as an alumnus.
The College has an Early Assurance Program agreement with Georgetown Medical School whereby a select number of pre-medical students, at the end of their sophomore year, may be assured of admission to the Medical School upon satisfactory completion of their junior and senior years. The program is designed to encourage exceptional students to undertake ambitious programs with a degree of security about eventual admission to medical school. Georgetown University Medical School will exempt these students from the MCAT requirement.
7. Degree Conferral and Commencement
Degrees are conferred three times a year: in May, August, and December. Seniors are prompted by the Dean’s Office to file an application for the degree by the Dean’s Office; failure to do so in a timely fashion may delay the conferral of the degree.
Commencement Exercises take place once a year, in May. Students graduating in August may participate in the May Commencement exercises preceding or following the conferral of the degree. Students graduating in December may participate in the following May Commencement exercises. Note that for purposes of determining graduation honors, both August and December graduates are included with the following class of May graduates.