May 21, 2019  
2012-2014 Undergraduate Catalog 
2012-2014 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Life

A quality academic life for all students is the focus of Slippery Rock University. Students will find that their priority actively centers on the intellectual development necessary to successfully achieve their bachelor’s degree.

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How Long Will It Take?


At SRU, the undergraduate program of study requires a minimum of 120 semester hours of course credit hours to receive a bachelor’s degree. Some students will actually complete more than 120 credit hours. This occurs for one of three reasons:

  • Some students will be required to take additional courses necessary to develop basic academic competencies. These courses are not counted as credit toward graduation. (See Liberal Studies basic requirement section for more detail.)
  • Some students may choose to take more than 120 credit hours. For Example: when students choose to complete more than one major, or a minor/additonal specialization.
  • Some majors require more than 120 credit hours for a bachelor’s degree.
  • Post-baccalaureate students must complete at least 30 new credit hours at SRU to earn a baccalaureate degree.


What Degree Will I Receive?


The bachelor’s degree awarded depends on a number of factors particularly the major selected. If a student completes more than one major, one or two degrees may be awarded depending upon the total number of credits earned and the degrees associated with each major. See the “Earning 2 Degrees or 2 Majors” section in the Academic Policies portion of this catalog.


Choosing an Academic Program


What Makes Up an Academic Program?

Courses a student takes during their SRU experience can be broadly divided into three types: Liberal Studies, Major and Electives. Beyond this, individual students may also take courses in a minor field or for a certificate.

Liberal Studies


In Fall 2005, a new liberal studies program took affect for all students. This new Liberal Studies Program benefits Slippery Rock University continuing students as well as new incoming students.

The program contains six critical goals or areas of study. For each area, students select one or two classes from a selection of “goal courses.” In addition, in some areas of study, students select a course from a wide class selection identified as “enrichment courses.” These courses provide the opportunity to broaden and deepen knowledge in the goal area.

Goal I: Basic Requirements
The educated person must be able to communicate effectively in oral and written modes using varied media and information sources. A university education should give attention to encouraging intellectual levels that will equip the individual for an energetic and productive life.

Goal Courses (9 credits)
Some students may be exempted from one or more of the required courses based on entrance examination and/or pertinent experience. If students are exempted from a required goal course, no credit will be awarded, and the student will still be required to complete at least 45 credits of liberal studies coursework.. Some students may be required to take additional courses to develop basic academic requirements in mathematics. However, credits earned in those courses are not applicable toward the credits required for a baccalaureate degree.

Goal courses in this category, with the exception of Interpreting Literature, will be graded as A, B, C, or NC (no credit).

The basic requirement courses, with the exception of Interpreting Literature, are subject to continuous registration. Students during the first semester of enrollment will be placed into the appropriate basic requirement course(s). Students who receive an “NC” in these courses must repeat the course(s) the following semester. After the first week of classes students may not withdraw from basic requirement courses, with the exception of Interpreting Literature.

Goal II: The Arts
Through the creative process, writers and artists express, challenge, and extend societal values. To understand our own and other cultures, one must come to terms with artistic efforts. Ideally, such understanding will lead to experiences in which the individual seeks to be a participant in the arts, finding creative ways to express feelings and insights.

Goal Courses (3 credits)
It is strongly recommended that all students enrolled in arts goal courses attend a minimum of two arts events.

Goal III: Global Community
The educated person who is aware of other people, places and values exhibits an enlightened perspective and appreciates cultural diversity. The university must assist in developing insights and skills, which will enable every student to value humanity’s worth, dignity and contributions.

Goal Courses (9 credits)
Three credits of US courses and six credits of non-US courses taken will meet the requirement. The modern language courses used to satisfy the BA requirement may not be used in the portion of this global community perspective block.

Goal IV: Human Institutions and Interpersonal Relationships
Our society depends heavily upon groups, organizations and institutions to function. The student will demonstrate an understanding of individual and group behavior by developing cooperative work strategies, examining individual and societal values, and exploring social issues.

Goal Courses (3 credits)

Goal V: Science, Technology and Mathematics
The educated person studies science, technology and mathematics not only to master specific disciplinary content, but also to understand the modes of thought and methods of inquiry of the scientist.

Rigorous, disciplined inquiry enables us to access information and process that enhance physical well being and our natural resource use.

Goal Courses (9-10 credits)
Students are required to have one laboratory experience in either the goal or enrichment areas in the Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Geography, Geology or the Environment departments.

Goal VII: Challenges of the Modern Age
The essential characteristic of the educated person is the ability to weigh alternatives and make thoughtful choices. The rapidly changing world in which we live demands that we all make enormously difficult decisions, choosing wisely and responsibly in an area of competing persuasions. Courses in Goal VII will have a minimum prerequisite of “Advanced Standing.”

Goal Courses (3 Credits)

Enrichment Courses (9 credits)

Students must choose one course from each of three of the following four areas:

  1. The Arts (Select one-three credit course or three different one-credit courses)
  2. Global Community
  3. Human Institutions and Interpersonal Relationships
  4. Science, Technology and Mathematics

For assistance with the liberal studies requirements, please contact Academic Advisement at 724-738-2009, Academic Services at 724-738-2012, Academic Records and Summer School at 724-738-2010, or Enrollment Services at 724-738-4868.

Academic Major


In addition to the liberal studies requirements, the university requires students to select a major or a curricular area of concentration. Students are typically responsible for meeting the major requirements in effect at the time they enter the university or change majors. When students leave the university and are later readmitted, they become responsible for meeting the major requirements in effect at the time they are readmitted.

If students would benefit from meeting a set of major requirements other than those in effect at the time they declared their major or were admitted/readmitted to the university, their advisor may request of the students’ academic dean that a different set of major requirements be met.

At the time of enrollment or by the end of the sophomore year, students must select a major. The university encourages students to select during their early semesters the exploratory (undeclared) student status if they have uncertainty or apprehension about the choice of a major. If students desire to change their major, they must complete, with departmental chairperson’s signature, the change of major form in the Office of Academic Records and Summer School.

Using their criteria, departments determine the admission or rejection of students into their departments to pursue their major. Students may obtain these criteria from the departmental advisor or chairperson. Course requirements for a major may not be taken using a Pass/No Credit grade option. Courses taken within a student’s first major department may not be used to meet any Liberal Studies program requirements.

Students may declare a second major by completing a declaration of second major form. The requirements for all majors must be completed prior to the awarding of the student’s first baccalaureate degree. Once graduated, students may not return and add additional majors to their undergraduate record. Undergraduate courses taken after graduating will be recorded as post baccalaureate courses on the transcript.

Students may earn two majors or two degrees simultaneously. Also, the university’s modern language requirement is a bachelor of arts degree requirement and not a requirement of a major. Therefore,  students earning a second major would not be required to complete the modern language requirement for the second major. However, students earning two degrees would be required to complete the modern language requirement,  if one of the degrees is a B.A.

All academic majors must consist of at least 30 credits; at least 50% of which must be completed at SRU and 50% of which must be at the upper division (numbered 300 or above).

Academic Minor


A minor is a set of courses that meet specified guidelines and is designed to allow a sub-major concentration in an academic discipline or in a specific area within a discipline. Unlike a specialization or a concentration, the minor is recorded on the students’ transcripts, providing the students have maintained at least a 2.0 minimum quality point average (some minors may require a higher GPA) for all coursework required for the minor. Courses used to meet the academic requirements of a minor may not be taken on a Pass/No Credit basis.

The minimum hours for a minor shall be no fewer than 18 credit hours, excluding courses required for professional certification.

A minimum of 6 credit hours of the minor must be upper division (courses numbered 300 and above). For each student at least 6 credits must be completed at Slippery Rock University.

Ordinarily, a minor is a subset of some major. But, 1) a minor may concentrate on an area which involves two or more academic disciplines, each of which is related to the minor, (For example, no major exists in journalism, but the departments of English and communication jointly offer a minor in journalism, which includes courses from each of the disciplines) or 2) a minor may be offered in a discipline where no major is given. (For example, East Asian Studies.)

Students cannot major and minor in the same discipline/academic area. For example, they cannot major and minor in mathematics, but they can major in mathematics and minor in statistics.

Students may declare minors at any time by completing a declaration of minor form available in the Office of Academic Records and Summer School.

The requirements for all minors must be completed prior to the awarding of the first baccalaureate degree. Once graduated, students may not return and add additional minors to their undergraduate record. If students, however, are pursuing a second baccalaureate degree, the majors and minors completed will be added to the transcript under the second degree.

Students are typically responsible for meeting the minor requirements in effect at the time they enter the university or change minors. When students leave the university and are later readmitted, they become responsible for meeting the minor requirements in effect at the time they are readmitted.

If students would benefit from meeting a set of minor requirements other than those in effect at the time they declared their minor or were admitted/readmitted to the university, their adviser may request of the student’s academic dean that a different set of minor requirements be met.



Slippery Rock University offers a diverse program of internships through which students may earn from 1 to 12 credits. A minimum of 40 hours of work is required for each credit earned. In some cases an internship or other field experience is required for a major. Internships provide students with an opportunity to apply their academic preparation in a variety of professional or occupational settings. Through an internship, students have the opportunity to expand their knowledge and to enhance their learning of the theories of academic disciplines and programs of study through appropriate career-related experiences and to provide them with the knowledge and experience necessary for obtaining certification or licensing. Students may enroll in semester, academic year, or summer internships with governmental agencies, private firms, or non-profit organizations both in the United States and abroad.

Students must have a minimum quality point average of 2.000 in their major (or program where applicable), and at least a 2.000 for all coursework, including the semester previous to placement. The agency, academic department or program may specify higher standards and/or other academic requirements. Acceptance into the internship program must occur prior to registration for the course. Registration in the course, however, does not guarantee placement in the field. Agency supervisors’ evaluations are a requirement for completion of the internship and may be a factor in determining the final grade. Students must be at least a junior in good standing at the time they begin the internship.

Interested students should check with their major department for internship information in their fields. Students are permitted to earn no more than 12 credits in any one internship and a total of 15 credits for all internships taken.

Special Recognition of Academic Achievement


Slippery Rock University faculty and administration place a high value on the academic accomplishments of its students. SRU’s academic reputation and its stature in the community of universities are tied inextricably to the scholastic achievements of its students. The university’s rich and extensive resources provide a foundation of support for the realization of this goal. Scholarly and dedicated university faculty strive to challenge students’ intellectual development and their achievement of excellence. The university community believes that student efforts in the attainment of high levels of scholarship deserve appropriate recognition and officially acknowledges student achievement throughout the academic year.

Academic Honors Convocation


In the Spring, the university observes its Academic Honors Convocation, a formal ceremony with regalia and academic procession. The convocation provides for the recognition of Deans’ List students and the twenty students in the sophomore, junior, and senior classes who attain the highest cumulative averages for coursework completed at Slippery Rock University. These individuals are presented with the President’s Award of Achievement. The convocation also recognizes scholar athletes, service scholars, academic scholarship recipients, students on the Dean’s List and top ranking graduate students and serves to set the tone for an academic atmosphere where excellence in scholastic endeavors is given the highest priority.

Academic Honors Month


During the month of April many of the university colleges and departments honor their students who have excelled academically. The events take various forms, including banquets that are held on and/or off campus where recognition awards are presented. In addition, the director of the Honors Program coordinates a month-long program of lectures, seminars and presentation of papers by Slippery Rock University students and faculty and by special guests.

Dean’s List


Undergraduate students who earn a semester grade point average of 3.500 or higher on a schedule of at least 12 newly earned credits will achieve the Deans’ List as long as their cumulative GPA is at least 2.000. Student teachers may achieve Dean’s List status if they have earned 90 or more credits and have a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher at the end of the semester in which they student taught. P/NC courses will not be computed into the 12 credit-hour minimum.  During the Academic Honors Convocation, these students will be formally presented to the university community. There is no Deans’ List during the summer or winter sessions. Post-baccalaureate and graduate students are not eligible for the Dean’s List.

Honors at Graduation


The policies for awarding Latin honors are currently under review. If changes should occur they will be noted in this catalog and announced to the university community.

At both the December and May commencement ceremonies, the university recognizes students who have met the academic criteria for Latin honors.

  • Undergraduates working on their first baccalaureate degree may qualify for honors at graduation. Post-baccalaureate and graduate students are not eligible for these honors.
  • A minimum of 60 credits must be earned at Slippery Rock University. These credits may include: all credit course work; all credits earned through SRU’s credit by exam program, including the NLN Mobility Profile II, administered by the Department of Nursing; SRU credit earned with a “P” grade; and credits earned as a visiting student at another PASSHE institution.
  • Credits earned by any other form of credit by exam (AP, CLEP, PEP, DSST and NLN (other than the Mobility Profile II), credits earned at other universities (transfer & transient) and non-SRU course work taken abroad will not count toward the 60 credit minimum.
  • The following cumulative GPA’s must be earned to qualify for honors at graduation.

    Summa Cum Laude (With the Highest Honor) 3.800 - 4.000
    Magna Cum Laude (With High Honor) 3.600 - 3.799
    Cum Laude (With Honor) 3.500 - 3.599

No restrictions will apply to students who repeat grades of D or F and who still meet the criteria for honors at graduation.

At commencement the names of these honor students are specially designated in the commencement program. In addition, the Summa Cum Laude graduates wear medallions around their necks, which are gifts of the Slippery Rock University Alumni Association; Magna Cum Laude graduates wear white honor cords; and Cum Laude graduates wear green honor cords.

Students identified by the director of the University Honors Program as having completed the requirements of the Honors Program will also wear special honor cords at graduation.

Recognition of honors at graduation will be based upon students’ cumulative GPA at the end of the semester preceding graduation. Designation of honors on the university transcript will not be determined until the students’ final semester grades are submitted and an official, final cumulative GPA is calculated.

Honors Program


Slippery Rock University’s Honors Program is designed to enrich the university experience by fostering a student-centered learning environment and by helping each student develop his or her individual potential as a life-long learner. Designed to encourage critical thinking and communication skills, honors courses emphasize reading, writing and research and encourage students to assume responsibility for their learning experiences, both on and off campus, through discussion-based classes and by participating in service-learning opportunities. Students in the program are fine scholars, but they are also committed to taking full advantage of their years spent at Slippery Rock University by participating in the extra-curricular and travel opportunities which the program offers.

All honors courses fulfill liberal studies requirements, which means that participation in the program will not extend a student’s stay at Slippery Rock University. To graduate with an honors designation, students must complete a minimum of seven honors courses (21 credits) while maintaining an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher or 3.4 or higher if the student has an Honors scholarship. Students may select from a variety of specially-designed courses in the following departments: communication, English, political science, history, mathematics, philosophy, geography, geology, environmental science, physics and professional studies.

Students also have the opportunity to take Great Books courses, which are geared toward extensive reading in a specialized area. Content in these seminars varies from semester to semester and have included, Ancient Greek Culture (Greece), War and Peace (Russia), The Holocaust (Germany), Latin American History (Panama), Galileo (Florence), and Irish Playwrights (Ireland). Because a research project is a component of this course, the Great Books course is especially valuable for students contemplating graduate education.

Honors students enjoy a number of benefits, both in and out of the classroom, including seminar-style classrooms where enrollment is typically capped at 25 students per class; early registration privileges, and learning experiences through national and international travel opportunities. Every fall, Honors Program students present their research papers and projects at the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) conference in cities like Kansas City, Washington D.C., Denver, San Antonio, Chicago, and Los Angeles. In addition, courses are offered every spring and summer, which include opportunities for travel abroad. In the past, students have traveled to Greece, London, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Mexico and Ecuador.

The Honors Program is open to all qualified students, regardless of their major field of interest. Interested students must enroll formally by completing an application and submitting a two-page, typed essay in which they discuss what they hope to gain from their university experience and a resume that includes their leadership, service and extra-curricular involvement. If you are interested in participating, please call 724-738-4003, e-mail, or visit the Honors Program Web Site