Jun 04, 2020  
2016-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
2016-2018 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 beyond their first baccalaureate degree, to earn a second 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 to earn a minor or certificate.

Liberal Studies



Liberal Studies Guide


In Fall 2005, a new liberal studies program took affect for all 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.

The Basic Requirement courses 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.

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 from the disciplines of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Geology.

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 Services at 724-738-2012, Academic Records and Summer School at 724-738-2010.

Academic Major


In addition to the liberal studies requirements, the university requires students to select a major. 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 their choice of a major. If students desire to change their major, they must complete, with departmental chairperson’s approval, the change of major form in the Office of Academic Records and Summer School.

Using their criteria, faculty determine if a student may be admitted 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. A student wishing to return to the university to earn a second degree may be admitted as a postbaccalaureate student and must earn at least 30 new credits beyond their first degree.

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. 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 credits for a minor shall be no fewer than 18, 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/winter 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 2.0 in their major (or program where applicable), and at least a 2.0 for all coursework, including the semester previous to placement in an internship. Some majors require a GPA higher than 2.0. 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, and students on the Deans’ list, 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 CGPA 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 CGPA 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


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 SRU credit bearing 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), via military service/schooling, 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 official, final cumulative GPA’s are calculated.

Honors Program


Slippery Rock University’s Honors Program is designed to enrich the university experience by fostering a student-centered learning environment and helping each student to develop his or her individual potential as a life-long learner. Honors courses emphasize reading, writing, and research through discussion-based classes that enable students to explore subjects in greater depth. Students also enhance their education through service-learning opportunities. The Honors Program provides each student opportunities to take full advantage of their time spent at Slippery Rock University through a variety of extra-curricular and travel opportunities.

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 honors designation, students must complete a minimum of seven honors courses (21 credits) while maintaining an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher (3.4 or higher for Honors scholarship recipients). Students can select from a variety of specially-designed courses in the following departments: Communication, English, Geography, History, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, and Psychology.

On occasion, Great Books honors courses are offered. These courses are geared toward in-depth study in a specialized area, and typically involve international travel. Content in these seminars varies and has included Ancient Greek Culture (Greece), The Holocaust (Germany), Latin American History (Panama), Galileo (Florence), and Irish Playwrights (Ireland).

Students may also fulfill Honors requirements through a variety of activities in place of Honors courses: research projects, conference presentations, publications, dual majors and minors, study abroad, and the Compass leadership program.

Honors students enjoy a number of benefits, both in and out of the classroom. These include: smaller honors courses, capped at an enrollment of 25 students per class; early registration privileges; learning experiences through regional, national, and international travel. Every fall, Honors Program students have the opportunity to participate in the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) conference, held in cities such as Denver, New Orleans, Boston, Phoenix, and San Antonio. In addition, courses are offered each spring and summer that provide opportunities for travel abroad. In the past, students have travelled to London, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Greece, South Africa, Mexico, and Cuba.

The program is open to qualified students in all majors. Interested students need to submit a separate application to the Honors Program. The application requires a two-page essay about their interest in the program and a résumé of extracurricular activities and can be completed online. Interested students should call 724-738-4003, e-mail honorsprogram@sru.edu, or visit the website, www.sru.edu/honorsprogram.