Degree Requirements

Credit System

The course unit is the basic measure of academic credit. For transfer of credit to other institutions, the College recommends equating one course unit with 4 semester hours. Half unit courses equate to 2.0 semester hours. The College offers a small number of quarter unit courses in music and these courses equate to 1.0 semester hour. Half unit and quarter unit courses may not be accumulated to qualify as course units for graduation; however, these courses are included in GPA calculations. Half unit and quarter unit courses may be accumulated to qualify as course units for graduation toward the 36 unit Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education Degrees.

Requirements for the Degree

The College confers four undergraduate degrees: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.), and Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.). The general graduation requirements are the same for all degree programs except where indicated for B.Mus., and B.M.E degree students.

  • 32 course units (may include a maximum of 1.00 unit of music ensembles and 1.00 unit of music applied lessons)
  • 36 course units for the B.Mus. and B.M.E. degrees
  • Minimum accumulative GPA of 2.00 and a GPA of 2.00 in the major field
  • Fulfillment of the goals of the Gettysburg Curriculum
  • Minimum of the last year of academic work as a full-time student in residence at Gettysburg College or in an approved College program.
  • Discharge of all financial obligations to the College

A list of the specific courses that may be used to satisfy the curricular goals may be found on the Registrar's web page. Curricular goals may be satisfied, with or without course credit, by students who can qualify for exemption. (See Exemption from Degree Requirements). Individualized study courses and internships may not be used to fulfill curricular goals.

The Gettysburg Curriculum

The overarching goal of the Gettysburg College Curriculum is the development of lifelong learners who

  • Are able to acquire and process information and ideas in multiple ways
  • Are integrative thinkers
  • Are skilled in communication
  • Are prepared for the responsibilities of informed citizenship

Students demonstrate their progress toward achieving these goals through their performance in a range of courses or comparable faculty-sponsored experiences, their completion of a major field of study, and their ability to demonstrate connections across the curriculum.

Multiple Inquiries Goal

The development of an understanding of multiple frameworks of analysis and of proficiency in reading texts that span the breadth of human expression. The divisional requirements are designed to begin this process of development. Students must take:

  • One course in the division of the arts
  • One course in the division of the humanities
  • One course in the division of the social sciences
  • Two courses in the division of natural sciences, at least one of which must have a laboratory component (B.Mus. and B.M.E. degree students complete one science course with lab)
  • One course in quantitative, inductive, and deductive reasoning

Through these courses, students encounter the perspectives and modes of inquiry and analysis that characterize academic disciplines, an encounter that continues in greater depth in the major field of study.

Integrative Thinking Goal

The development of a critical and open mind that seeks to adopt well-argued points of view through the active consideration and integration of alternative methodologies, perspectives, and foundational presuppositions. This process of development receives special emphasis in the curriculum in three different ways.

  • The Interdisciplinary/Course Cluster Requirement, normally completed by the end of the sophomore year, in which students take two designated interdisciplinary courses or a two-course cluster that emphasizes interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approaches to a common theme. The Course Cluster is a noncredit integrative experience connecting two courses that is graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U). Through these experiences, students gain an understanding of the connections and tensions among approaches to common issues, texts, and phenomena.
  • The Capstone Requirement, a course or faculty-sponsored experience in which students bring together what they have learned in their major curriculum and demonstrate mastery over the chosen area of concentration.

Effective Communication Goal

The development of proficiency in writing, reading, and the use of electronic media. Central to these skills is the ability to articulate questions clearly, identify and gain access to appropriate kinds of information, construct cogent arguments, and engage in intellectual and artistic expression. Emphasis on this goal begins in the first year of study and continues in the major.

  • First-Year Writing Requirement, a course that introduces students to the essentials of college-level writing. The course may be Introduction to College Writing (ENG 101), a specially designated First-Year Seminar, or an introductory course in a particular discipline.
  • Major Field Communication Requirement, a course or series of courses or experiences through which students demonstrate they have learned the communication conventions of their chosen field of study. The means through which students will learn these conventions and demonstrate their mastery are determined by the individual departments.

Writing Policy

Since the ability to express oneself clearly, correctly, and responsibly is essential for an educated person, the College cannot graduate a student whose writing abilities are deficient. Instructors may reduce grades on poorly written papers, regardless of the course, and, in extreme cases, may assign a failing grade for this reason.

Informed Citizenship Goal

The development of the skills, understandings, appreciations, and moral dispositions enabling students to be committed members of and meaningful contributors to their local, national, and global communities. Three requirements have been developed to assist students in achieving this curricular goal.

  • Second Language Requirement. All students must complete one year of language study or its college-level equivalent, as a college graduation requirement. The two-course sequence will be in the same language. International and other students who learned in a language other than English during the final three years of secondary school may petition for exemption from the second language requirement. Please contact the Office of the Registrar for additional information.
    (All B.Mus. degree vocal performance students are to complete four courses in language, one year minimum studying each in two of the following approved languages: Italian, French, German, Spanish)
  • Cultural Diversity Requirement, two courses designed to help students develop a comprehensive understanding of human diversity by a focus on cultures, roles and experiences of peoples who have historically been underrepresented in the curriculum, and/or on analysis of the construction of social identity and social difference. Students must take one Global Understanding course that has a principal focus people of Africa, Asia (including the Middle East, but excluding European Russia), the Caribbean, Latin America, and/or indigenous peoples. These courses will help students to engage the distinctive ways in which the identified people(s) view, experience, and/or act in the world. Students must also take one Conceptualizing Diversity course with a focus on the experiences of groups that have been marginalized due to race/ethnicity, gender, religion, class, sexuality, age, different ability, etc. Key themes typically include a combination of inequality, power, privilege, subaltern agency, intersection of identities, and/or social justice. These courses will help students pay attention to marginality in society, whether in the US or elsewhere.
  • Science, Technology, and Society Requirement, one course with a focus on the methodological analysis, historical context, or discussion of the social ramifications of some aspect of natural science or technology.

First Year Seminar (Effective with the Class of 2024):

These courses, designed for and offered only to students in their first semester at Gettysburg College, provide an opportunity to work closely with a faculty member and a small cohort of peers to explore a topic that they all find interesting. First-Year Seminars employ and develop a variety of skills including writing, speaking, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and the use of technology or instrumentation.

A major field of study, including a capstone experience. (See Major Requirements following this section.)

No course used to obtain a bachelor's degree elsewhere may be counted toward the requirements for a Gettysburg College degree.

Each student is responsible for being sure that graduation requirements are fulfilled by the anticipated date of graduation. The College normally requires students to complete degree requirements in effect at the time of their original enrollment and the major requirements in effect at the time that students declare the major at the end of the first year or during the sophomore year.

Major Requirements

Each student must successfully complete the requirements in a major field of study. Most majors consist of eight to twelve courses and may include specific courses from one or more other departments and/or programs. No more than twelve courses may be required from a single subject area, with the exception of the B.Mus. and B.M.E. degrees. Since the general graduation requirements are essentially the same for all degree programs, students completing the major requirements leading to two different degrees must choose which degree to receive at graduation. (Requirements of the various majors are listed in the department and program introductions in the Courses of Study section.)

The following are major fields of study at Gettysburg College:
Bachelor of Arts:

  • Africana Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • Art Studio
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Cinema and Media Studies
  • Classics
  • Computer Science
  • East Asian Studies - China
  • East Asian Studies - Japan
  • Economics
  • English
  • Environmental Studies
  • French
  • German Studies
  • Greek
  • Health Sciences
  • History
  • International and Global Studies
  • Italian Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Organization & Management Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Public Policy
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Spanish/Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies
  • Theatre Arts
  • Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Bachelor of Science:

  • Biology
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Environmental Studies
  • Health Sciences
  • Mathematical Economics
  • Physics

Bachelor of Music:

  • Music Performance with tracks for Keyboard, Strings, Voice, Winds and Percussion

Bachelor of Music Education

  • Music Education

Optional Minor:

Students may declare a minor concentration in an academic department or area that has an established minor program. Not all departments offer minor programs.

A minor shall consist of six course units, no more than two of which shall be 100-level courses. Because of the language required, an exception to the two 100-level course limitation may occur in classical studies. Students must maintain a 2.00 average in the minor field of study. Although a certain minimum number of courses constitute a minor field of study, all courses in the minor field will be considered in determining the minor average.

Minors are offered in all major fields listed earlier, except for management, music education, music performance, psychology, biochemistry and molecular biology, Globalization Studies, International Affairs, Spanish/Latin American Studies, Organization & Management Studies, and Public Policy. In addition, minor fields of study are possible in the following areas:

  • Business
  • Civil War Era Studies
  • East Asian Studies
  • Elementary Education
  • Film Studies
  • Greek
  • Judaic Studies
  • Latin
  • Latin American Studies
  • Middle East and Islamic Studies
  • Neuroscience
  • Peace and Justice Studies
  • Public History
  • Secondary Education
  • Writing

Academic Internships

Gettysburg College students have the opportunity to participate in internships during their four years of study. All students who wish to participate in an internship should schedule an appointment with a career counselor in the Center for Career Engagement, which maintains information on internship sites located in both the United States and abroad, as well as resources that can connect students to even more opportunities. The Center staff will also educate and assist students in looking for an internship site in their geographic location of preference. Internships taken for academic credit are carefully designed to provide a program with a substantial academic component, as well as practical value. These interns are generally advised by a faculty member within a student's major field of study. Academic credit is awarded by the appropriate department once the student completes the requirements of the department. Internships provide students with a valuable opportunity to apply academic theory to the daily task of business, nonprofit, and government settings. This experience also helps students identify career interests and gain valuable work experience. Students are encouraged to begin the process of finding an internship early in their college career.