Ferrum College awards the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), and Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) degrees, depending on the major that students pursue. All degree candidates must complete at least 121 hours of coursework, of which 30 hours must be at the 300-400 level, with at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average within their academic major. At least 50% of the hours required for a major or a minor must be completed at the College. (This requirement may be waived at the discretion of the program coordinator in association with the School Dean.) Please refer to the detailed listing for graduation requirements.
The undergraduate program of study consists of two complementary parts: General Education requirements and Major requirements. Students must complete both sets of requirements to earn the Bachelor’s degree. Some Majors may require the completion of a Minor as well. Students may also meet a Minor requirement by completing a second Major.
General Education Requirements
The General Education requirements are designed to provide students with a breadth of knowledge, skill, and understanding that will prepare them to perform successfully as well-informed citizens and professionals in their community, nation, and world. General Education courses also provide an enriching context for the in-depth study required in every major. All students, regardless of their major program of study, must complete the General Education requirements. Students who enter Ferrum College with an Associate’s Degree from an accredited college are exempt from the General Education requirements.
The General Education Curriculum
The General Education Curriculum is divided into two main parts: Core Competencies (first-year courses), and Exploration Areas (first year and beyond).
The General Education Curriculum rests on a foundation of three “Core Competencies”: Written Communication (WC), Quantitative Reasoning (QR), and Global and Social Responsibility (GSR). In their first year, students at Ferrum College take two WC courses (one of which is ENG 112), one QR course, and one GSR course. All Core Competency courses are offered at the 100- and 200-levels.
The bulk of the General Education Curriculum is structured around four “Exploration Areas.” Each of these areas focuses on a “big question”:
- What shapes human identity?
- How do we interact with different cultures and times?
- How do we evaluate and solve problems?
- How can we prepare for and engage in a meaningful life?
Students select a total of twenty-one credit hours from these four areas, at least three credit hours from each area. Within these twenty-one credit hours, students must take at least one course from each of the following areas: humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral sciences, and natural sciences/mathematics. Remaining courses may be selected from any available offerings.
All Exploration Area courses carry specific emphases: reading, writing, quantitative, speaking, or experiential. Students take at least three credit hours in each emphasis during their time at Ferrum College.
- Reading Emphasis – Courses with a Reading Emphasis are aimed at helping students acquire and practice critical reading skills that will help them succeed not only in college, but also after graduation. Reading Emphasis courses are taught in a variety of academic disciplines, and emphasize the development of reading skills appropriate to the field and subject matter of the course. Prerequisites for Reading Emphasis courses are set at the course level, at the discretion of the program offering the course.
- Writing Emphasis – In Writing Emphasis courses, students practice and build on skills that were introduced during their Written Communication Core Competency Courses. Writing Emphasis courses are taught in a variety of academic disciplines, and emphasize the development of writing skills appropriate to the field and subject matter of the course. Satisfactory completion of ENG 112 is a prerequisite for all Writing Emphasis courses.
- Quantitative Emphasis – In Quantitative Emphasis courses, students practice and build on skills that were introduced during their Quantitative Reasoning Core Competency Courses. Quantitative Emphasis courses are taught in a variety of academic disciplines, and emphasize the development of quantitative skills appropriate to the field and subject matter of the course. Satisfactory completion of a Quantitative Reasoning Core Competency course is a prerequisite for all Quantitative Emphasis courses.
- Speaking Emphasis – Courses with a Speaking Emphasis are aimed at helping students acquire and practice oral communication skills that will help them succeed not only in college, but also after graduation. Speaking Emphasis courses are taught in a variety of academic disciplines, and emphasize the development of reading skills appropriate to the field and subject matter of the course. Prerequisites for Speaking Emphasis courses are set at the course level, at the discretion of the program offering the course.
- Experiential Emphasis – Experiential Emphasis courses at Ferrum College encourage students and faculty to take a hands-on approach to learning, and to break the mold of the traditional classroom. These courses are taught in a variety of academic disciplines, and emphasize experiential learning appropriate to the field and subject matter of the course. Prerequisites for Experiential Emphasis courses are set at the course level, at the discretion of the program offering the course.
Students must utilize online Eight-Semester plans and assistance of faculty advisors in the formulation of an acceptable course of study leading to a degree. Students should review their progress frequently by using the Panther Portal Academic Planning link and Program Evaluation link to be sure they are in compliance with all degree requirements. Both the student and the advisor will review the catalog, program evaluation and academic planning tool each semester and adjust the academic plan based on the course rotations and schedule of offerings. Prior to registration, all second semester sophomore and junior students will be provided with an audit and pre-graduation clearance from the Office of the Registrar.
Students reaching Senior status will be required to complete an Application for Participation in Commencment form with their Advisor. The student and the advisor will update the student’s academic plan in the student planning tool. The student is ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with all degree requirements.
To graduate, a student must:
- successfully complete 121 semester hours, with 30 of these hours at the 300-400 level, maintaining a grade point average of at least 2.0 for hours earned at Ferrum College. Students must also maintain a 2.0 grade point average within their academic major.
- meet the appropriate general education requirements and major/minor requirements
- be enrolled for at least one academic year or its equivalent at Ferrum College.
- have completed at least 50% of total hours required for a major at Ferrum College.
- have completed at least 50% of total hours required for a minor at Ferrum College.
- complete the last semester of academic work at Ferrum College.
- clear all financial obligations to the College.
Commencement Participation (Walk Policy)
To participate in commencement, a student may not fall short of the required minimum of 121 credit hours by more than one course or an internship. Also students must have attained at least a 2.0 cumulative and major grade point averages. Students lacking a course or internship must complete the work prior to the beginning of the next fall term. All degree candidates are encouraged to participate in commencement exercises.
Programs of Study (Majors)
A major is a focused, disciplinary or interdisciplinary program of academic concentration. There are two kinds of majors at Ferrum College: those which require a minor and those which do not. If a program of study requires a minor, a student may choose to satisfy that minor by completing a second major. Every bachelor’s degree candidate must complete a major. Programs of more than 39 hours are normally interdisciplinary with significant content drawn from two or more disciplines. A major may require up to 57 hours of which no more than 39 hours can be required in a single discipline or subject designation. In addition to the particular courses required in the major, a school may specify up to 20 hours within the general college Liberal Arts requirement. Note: At least 50% of the required courses for any major must be completed at the College.
Program Specific Requirements
Program specific requirements may consist of up to 12 hours of additional coursework as designated by the Program (Majors & Minors).
Minors are groups of related courses with at least 9 hours at the 300-400 level. At least 50% of the required courses for any minor must be completed at Ferrum College.
Declaring/Changing Programs Majors/Minors
Students may declare a major or a minor in consultation with their academic advisor. Students complete an online form to request program changes.
The catalog for the year in which a student enters Ferrum College is the governing document for requirements for graduation. However, students who change their program of study after their first year of enrollment must apply the regulations in the current year’s catalog.
Earning a Second Degree
A student currently working on a first baccalaureate may acquire a second major or minor by completing the courses and hours required. If a student wishes to earn two different degrees simultaneously (i.e., seeking a B.A. and a B.S.), instead of one degree with multiple majors, he or she must meet the conditions listed below.
To earn a second degree, the student must meet the following requirements:
- All Liberal Arts Requirements in effect at the time of the second degree must be completed (either by current or previous coursework);
- The student must meet all prerequisite and course requirements in the major field of the second degree, with at least half of the required courses in the major taken at Ferrum College;
- The student must complete at least 30 hours of additional coursework at Ferrum College beyond the earned hours of the first degree;
- The student must earn a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher in coursework completed for the major and second degree;
- A person seeking a second degree must be admitted through the regular admissions process.
A second baccalaureate degree may also be earned by persons who already hold a bachelor’s degree from Ferrum College or from another accredited institution.