Degrees and Requirements

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The University offers undergraduate bachelor's degree programs in liberal arts, professional studies, and education for teacher certification. In addition, there are also several certificate and post-baccalaureate teacher certification programs. Visit Programs and Degrees for the list of majors, areas of concentration, and minors.


Bachelor of Arts degrees are awarded to students who fulfill all of the requirements of a major in an academic discipline, usually specified at approximately 30 credits. There will be at least 27 credits of electives which may be used at the student's choice for a second major, one or two minors, a concentration, or for completely free electives. This degree program provides a broad and flexible liberal arts background and prepares a student to enter a variety of careers.


Southern offers a B.A. degree in interdisciplinary studies for students whose objectives are not met by the University's established liberal arts majors. This approach is especially attractive to part-time students, older, returning students, and full-time students who either have non-professional goals or who want to combine two minors in different areas of study to create individual programs that suit their own personal needs. For details, see Interdisciplinary Studies.


This degree is awarded to students who fulfill all major requirements, usually specified, in an academic discipline, and in greater depth than the B.A. degree program. In addition to the major and the Liberal Education Program, students pursuing a B.S. degree program take a sequence of courses in a field or fields related to their chosen major. An internship or other professional application is also required. A minimum of 12 credits is reserved to the student for electives. This program therefore guarantees depth in the major and related fields and prepares a student for entry into specific career possibilities. Requirements for each B.S. degree program in the liberal arts are found in the appropriate departmental offerings listed in this catalog.


Southern offers a B.S. degree in interdisciplinary studies for students whose professional objectives are not met by the University's established majors. This approach is also attractive to students who want to combine three minors in different areas of study to create personalized programs of study. For details, see Interdisciplinary Studies.


The B.S. degree is awarded to students who have fulfilled requirements of a major in a professional area. Specific knowledge, understanding, and technique are acquired relating directly to preparation for adequate performance as a member of a particular profession. In addition to these professional and Liberal Education Program requirement, certain cognate requirements must be met. Some of the professional programs allow a student to develop a minor or a concentration in addition to the major. This program is oriented to a particular professional career or a set of related professional careers.


The student must meet the graduation requirements for their selected undergraduate program as published in the catalog in effect at the time of the student's initial enrollment as long as they maintain continuous matriculating status. For all students, the initial enrollment shall be the first day of classes following matriculation in a regular semester at the University.

Courses listed in this catalog are subject to change through normal academic channels. New courses and changes in degree requirements are initiated by departments and approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Forum and the Provost.  The student will have the option to change catalog years to meet or substitute these degree requirements. 

By changing catalog years, a student becomes responsible for fulfilling all the graduation requirements for their new catalog year, including all changes in general education requirements, major requirements, or other areas. To ensure timely graduation, the director of the LEP may approve substitutions of courses in the LEP, and the Chairperson of the Department may approve a change in catalog year or substitutions of courses in the program. 

Matriculated students re-enrolling at the University may elect to revert to their original catalog year provided that it is no more than 5 years prior to the current term. Students may not revert to a catalog year that is prior to their initial admission term. Students may elect to switch to a newer catalog year once enrolled. 


Southern offers undergraduate and post-baccalaureate certificates. Post-baccalaureate certificates are undergraduate programs of study requiring a bachelor's degree for admittance.  All certificate programs offer a defined set of courses that focus on an academic specialty to update or expand skill sets though they do not lead to a degree.  Courses used to satisfy a degree may be used to satisfy the requirements of a certificate.


The University offers post-baccalaureate teacher certification programs of study; these are undergraduate programs that require a bachelor's degree for admittance.  These programs offer a defined set of courses beyond the undergraduate degree that focus on an academic specialty, to prepare for teacher or education certification, though they do not lead to a degree.


Every degree-seeking student who graduates from the University must have satisfactorily completed a major (or areas of concentration for Interdisciplinary Studies or General Studies) in a B.S. or B.A. degree program. A student who is undecided or uncertain about their choice of major should explore different fields of potential interest through selections from the varied offerings within the Liberal Education Program and through electives.  Most degree programs require 120 credits but some require more.

The "Major" is a planned sequence of a minimum of 30 credits in one discipline; various options are available with departmental consent, and electives may be utilized to enhance the basic requirements.  Up to three courses in the major may also be used to fulfill requirements in the Liberal Education Program.  Students may attain additional breadth or depth in the curriculum in several ways:

  • The "Minor" is a planned sequence, a minimum of 18 credits, typically earned in addition to one's major requirements, with options available under departmental or minor program advisement. Courses in a cognate or courses used to satisfy the Liberal Education Program may be used as courses in a minor.
  • The "Concentration" is a required set of courses within a major that define a specific area of study.
  • The "Cognate" is a supplement of credits in a related discipline (or disciplines), outside of one's major or minor, planned with departmental or program advisement. Courses in a cognate may be used to fulfill requirements for a minor and/or the Liberal Education Program.
  • The "Electives," which vary in number depending upon the major degree program being pursued and the student's degree of commitment to the foregoing options.

Liberal Education Program Guiding Principles

The Southern community values education for its ability to enrich and change students' lives. We want our students to embrace their own principles from a knowledgeable position and to carry their University experience beyond the boundaries of Southern's campus. Consequently, we aspire to graduate enthusiastic and serious learners who, as critical inquirers, can find and evaluate evidence, can articulate and examine their own evolving values, and can continue to transform their lives by pursuing lifelong learning.

As a means to these ends, Southern's liberal education program promotes active student learning in an environment that demands intellectual honesty and rigor. It requires students to analyze and solve complex problems, and to express themselves cogently and articulately, both in speaking and in writing. While exposing them to issues from different disciplinary perspectives, the program encourages students to integrate their learning throughout the curriculum and to carry the learning process beyond the confines of any one particular course of study. It challenges students to confront unfamiliar ways of looking at themselves and others, to grapple with new ways of apprehending the world, and to make thoughtful choices with an informed understanding. By fostering independent, creative, and innovative thinking, Southern's liberal education program encourages a curiosity and respect for learning. Finally, we at Southern envision liberal education as liberating; therefore, we ask students to think independently and vigorously and to expand their viewpoints in order to prepare them to function as intelligent, discerning, and responsible citizens in our global society.

Please refer to the Liberal Education Program section for details regarding the structure and courses approved within the LEP. 


By the completion of 90 credits, the student who wishes to be a candidate for a double baccalaureate (a B.A. and B.S. degree; a B.A. and B.H.Sc. degree; or a B.S. and B.H.Sc. degree) shall file a Double Baccalaureate Contract with the Registrar’s Office, which must be approved by the chairpersons of both departments.

Approval to enroll in this demanding program is granted only to students whose cumulative GPA is 3.0 or higher at the time of application. The student must complete a minimum of 150 credits and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in order to be eligible to continue each term. Failure to meet these requirements will result in the student being required to return to a single degree program.


The candidate for a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree may elect a double major (as a double major Bachelor of Arts or double major Bachelor of Science degree). In this case the requirements of both majors must be satisfied, and courses used to satisfy one major cannot be used to satisfy a requirement of the other major.


Students with a major in the early childhood, elementary education, elementary bilingual education, or collaborative special/elementary education certification program, must complete a second major concurrently, in a subject area outside of education. Students will be admitted to an education program with a dual major in B.S. Liberal Studies and will complete two areas of concentration.


University Requirements

The University requires a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 to earn an undergraduate degree or certificate. Transfer students seeking a degree must complete at least 30 credits at Southern; transfer students seeking a certificate must complete at least 25% of these programs' overall credits at Southern.  

Program Requirements

Students should be acquainted with the Programs and Degrees section of this catalog and with the requirements of their degree program. Students are responsible for maintaining regular contact with their academic advisers. Students are responsible for fulfilling the specific program requirements for their own degree program. The department chairperson has the authority to waive or provide substitute course work for departmental requirements.

Students should be aware that additional requirements may be imposed for certification or licensure (even once a plan of study has been prepared) if such requirements are imposed by outside licensing or accrediting agencies. A plan of study may be subject to revision to reflect such additional requirements.

Diplomas and Transcripts

A student's official graduation, or conferral date, is determined by a student's final course completion date, once all academic program requirements have been met.  The degree or certificate awarded will be reflected on the student’s official transcript.  Diplomas and certificates will be mailed to the permanent address on file with the university within approximately 30-45 days.  Visit the Student Records website for more information on how to obtain an official transcript or diploma following graduation. 


Students earning a degree in the current academic year will be invited to participate in the commencement ceremony held annually each May. This includes students who graduated in the most recently completed fall or winter term, and students pending graduation for the upcoming spring or summer term. Pending graduates are students with at least 100 credits (including in-progress) who are registered for all remaining requirements in the upcoming spring and/or summer term.  Visit the Commencement website for more information and details about the event.


High School students with outstanding academic ability may request to apply to the Honors College. Admissions deadlines and information about the application process may be viewed on-line at the Honors College website.  

The Honors College is a small, dynamic learning community of exceptionally motivated, high-achieving students. The Honors College features small class sizes that encourage seminar-style discussions, faculty mentors that work with students inside and outside of the classroom, a cutting edge curriculum, and a transdisciplinary course of study that examines knowledge from multiple perspectives. Students in the Honors College may select a major in any department and may be enrolled in any school of the University. They must complete the same requirements set by their major as would students not in the Honors College.

The Honors College offers two levels of study: Honors Foundations, and the Honors Minor in Transdisciplinary Concepts and Perspectives. Students who wish to graduate from the Honors College complete both levels of study. Freshmen accepted into the Honors College enroll in Level One: Honors Foundations, a 16-credit program taken during freshman and sophomore years that includes small, seminar-style classes that investigate a broad range of topics across multiple disciplines. Students continue on to Level Two: Honors Minor in Transdisciplinary Concepts and Perspectives, culminating in an Honors College Capstone experience.

Qualified students (including transfer students) who do not enter the program as first semester freshman are invited to transfer into the program. Transfers into the program who wish to graduate from the Honors College enter the Honors Foundations level, and will have some Honors Foundations courses waived, as determined by the Director. All students who wish to graduate as an Honors College student must complete a minimum of 5 credits from Level 1, and must complete all requirements from Level 2. Transfers who do not wish to complete the Honors College curriculum but who wish to complete the Honors Minor in Transdisciplinary Concepts and Perspectives apply to Level 2 of the program; successful completion of the "Honors Minor" will be designated on their transcripts.

The Honors College curriculum serves as an alternative to the University's LEP program. Students who complete both the Honors Foundations Level and the Honors Minor Level complete the University's LEP requirement (including the W-course requirement), with the exception of the Quantitative Reasoning requirement appropriate to their major and the Multilingual Communication requirement. It is imperative that Honors College students confer with an adviser in their major to determine if any additional Liberal Education Program requirement normally covered by the Honors College curriculum is required for their major. Students who complete only Level 1: Honors Foundations will receive credit for 2 W-courses, as well as 16-credits towards the LEP program. Students who complete only Level 2: Honors Minor in Transdisciplinary Concepts and Perspectives, do not receive LEP credit.

Level 1:Honors Foundations Core Courses (16 credits)
All students in Honors Foundations complete the following courses:

  • HON 100 - First Year Leadership Colloquium
  • HON 102 - First Year Research Colloquium
  • HON 150 - Introduction to Critical Inquiry
  • HON 200 - Conceptions of Self and Community Seminar
  • HON 201 - Conceptions of Self and Community Plenary Session
  • HON 202 - Conceptions of Community and Context Seminar
  • HON 203 - Conceptions of Community and Context Plenary Session
  • HON 270 - Scientific Investigation and Civic Engagement

Level 2: Honors Minor in Transdisciplinary Concepts and Perspectives (18 credits)


Course listings include those courses which have been offered within the past five years.  The subject abbreviations for undergraduate courses are:

Accounting ACC
Anthropology ANT
Arabic ARB
Biology BIO
Chemistry CHE
Chinese CHI
Communication COM
Communication Disorders CMD
Computer Science CSC
Cooperative Education CTR
Counseling and School Psychology CSP
Data Science DSC
Earth Science ESC
Economics ECO
Education EDU
Engineering EGR
English ENG
Environmental Studies ENV
Exercise Science EXS
Finance FIN
French FRE
Geography GEO
German GER
Health and Movement Sciences HMS
Healthcare Studies HLS
Hebrew HBR
History HIS
Honors HON
Information and Library Science ILS
Intellectual/Creative Inquiry INQ
Interdisciplinary IDS
Italian ITA
Japanese JPN
Journalism JRN
Judaic Studies JST
Latin LAT
Literature LIT
Management MGT
Management Information Systems MIS
Marine Studies MAR
Marketing MKT
Mathematics MAT
Media Studies MDS
Music MUS
Nursing NUR
Philosophy PHI
Physics PHY
Political Science PSC
Portuguese POR
Psychology PSY
Public Health PCH
Reading RDG
Recreation and Leisure Studies REC
Respiratory Care RSP
Russian RUS
School Health SHE
Science Education SCE
Social Work SWK
Sociology SOC
Spanish SPA
Special Education SED
Sport Management SMT
Theatre THR
Teaching English Learners TESOL TSL
Women's Studies WMS
World Languages and Literatures WLL