The Academic Year
Calendar and Credit
The academic calendar at Macalester is divided into a 14 week fall semester (September to December) and a 14 week spring semester (January to May).
Macalester courses are offered for semester credit. Most courses are offered for four semester credits, but the amount of credit may vary. Each course description in this catalog indicates the amount of credit assigned to the course. Credit policies for physical education activity courses, forensic and theater practica, music ensembles and lessons, and dance technique courses and ensembles are described in the departmental sections of this catalog, under curriculum.
Macalester students may earn up to two semester credits in independent projects, internships, or Macalester-sponsored off-campus courses. Further information about January study options is available in the Registrar’s Office.
Macalester students may earn up to eight semester credits in independent study during the summer through independent projects or internships. A learning contract must accompany each registration. Summer independents and internships are available only to current Macalester students.
In addition to independent study options there are occasionally credit-bearing institutes offered by Macalester faculty. These institutes are open to non-Macalester students.
Further information about summer independent study options or summer institutes is available on the Registrar’s Office website.
As a general rule, there is no financial assistance available for summer study. In addition, no special tuition rates are offered.
- The number of credits required for graduation will be 128. These credit hours must include:
- Eight (8) semester credits in courses designated as meeting the social science distribution requirement.
- Eight (8) semester credits in courses designated as meeting the natural science and mathematics distribution requirement.
- Twelve (12) semester credits in courses designated as meeting the humanities and fine arts distribution requirement; at least four (4) semester credits must be in courses in the humanities and four (4) semester credits in the fine arts.
- No more than ninety-six (96) semester credits in courses in any one of the four areas: social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics, humanities, and fine arts.
- No more than sixty (60) semester credits in courses in a single academic discipline.
- No more than twenty-four (24) semester hours in various types of independent study (courses numbered 601-646).
- One (1) First Year Course completed in the first semester.
- Four (4) semester credits earned in a course designated as meeting the Internationalism requirement.
- Four (4) semester credits earned in a course designated as meeting the United States Identities and Differences requirement.
- Three (3) Writing courses, designated as argumentative writing (WA), writing as craft (WC) or writing as practice (WP). Of the three courses, at least one must be WA and no more than one may be WP. Every student must take either a WA or WC course during the first semester of college.
- One (1), two (2) or three (3) courses satisfactorily completed which are designated as meeting the quantitative thinking requirement. Students may take one or more courses with a Q3, Q2 or Q1 designation. A single Q3 course satisfies the requirement or students may take a Q2 course together with any other Q2 or Q1 course, or students may take three Q1 courses.
- Proficiency in a second language equivalent to four (4) semesters of college instruction in a single language.
- Approved major plan filed and completed.
- A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.00.
- At least four (4) semesters spent in residency. At least one of these must be in the senior year. Participation in off-campus study programs does not count toward satisfaction of this requirement.
- Declaration of Intent to be Graduated form filed. Degree-seeking students must submit this form to the Registrar’s Office one year prior to the intended date of graduation.
Explanations and Regulations Concerning Graduation Requirements
- Courses: All credit courses offered in fall, spring or summer terms are applicable toward the graduation requirements. Course credits may also be earned through successful completion of combinations of activity courses in forensics and music. (See departmental listings in the curriculum section of this catalog.) Credits toward graduation are subject to limitations in certain areas, including maximum credits that may be earned in a single division or in a single discipline, as listed above, or through independent studies, as described under Independent Study .
General Distribution Requirement:
Not all courses fulfill this requirement. Credits earned through Advanced Placement Exams, International Baccalaureate or GCE A-Level examinations can not be used to meet the College’s general distribution requirement. For courses which meet this requirement see the General Distribution Requirement section of each academic department.
Each student must take at least:
- Eight semester credits in courses which meet the social science distribution requirement. For a list of course that are designated as meeting the social science distribution requirement, see the General Distribution Requirement section in each of these departments: American studies, Anthropology, Asian Languages and Cultures, Economics, Educational Studies, Environmental Studies, Geography, International studies, Linguistics, Media and Cultural Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality studies.
- Eight semester credits in courses which meet the natural science and mathematics distribution requirement. For a list of courses that are designated as meeting the natural science and mathematics distribution requirement, see the General DIstribution Requirement section in each of these departments: Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, Philosophy, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
- Twelve semester credits in courses which meet the humanities or fine arts distribution requirement, at least four credits of which are in the humanities and at least four in the fine arts. For a list of courses that are designated as meeting the fine arts distribution requirement, see the General Distribution Requirement section in each of these departments: American Studies, Art and Art History, Asian Languages and Cultures, Classics, English, International Studies, Media and Cultural Studies, Music,Theatre and Dance, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. For a list of course that are designated as meeting the humanities distribution requirement, see the General Distribution Requirements section in each of these departments: American Studies, Asian Languages and Cultures, Classics, Educational Studies, English, Environmental Studies, French and Francophone Studies, German and Russian Studies, Hispanic Studies, History, International Studies, Linguistics, Media and Cultural Studies, Philosophy, Religious Studies and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
- First Year Course Requirement: Students enter Macalester with a wide range of experiences and expectations. Many have only a vague notion of what a liberal arts college is all about. It is critical for the students’ success at Macalester that they receive extra guidance during their first semester to help them adjust to Macalester’s expectations and philosophy. The First Year Course requirement is designed to help incoming students in their transition to college, specifically to the liberal arts model, and to Macalester’s academic expectations of them. All First Year Courses have a common emphasis on basic library research skills. To instruct students in writing, every First Year Course either contributes to Macalester’s Writing General Education Requirement as a WA or WC course or requires concurrent enrollment in a WA or WC course. A critical component of the program is the role of the faculty member as advisor to the students.
||The goals of the First Year Course requirement are:
- To introduce students to critical inquiry within at least one discipline or interdisciplinary area.
- To introduce students to library research skills.
- To ensure that students receive explicit writing instruction, including opportunity to revise writing, based on faculty feedback.
- To help students adjust to Macalester’s academic expectations.
- To connect incoming students to advisors who get to know the students well from the start.
- To provide a supportive community of other first-year students with shared interests and experiences to aid in the transition to college.
- Internationalism (I) Requirement: A rich campus life, language acquisition, study away, and interaction with diverse students and faculty all contribute to students’ intellectual and experiential grasp of difference and of their own place in relation to the “other” and the world. In this context, the Internationalism graduation requirement is designed to prepare students to contribute as members of a thoughtful and principled citizenry in a global society. These courses provide specific knowledge about the complexity of internationalism abroad, in the U.S., and in the rich campus and local communities in which Macalester participates. While internationalism and multiculturalism are distinguished as two components of the College mission, in reality they are intertwined. Peoples divided by national boundaries may, for example, be more homogenous culturally and linguistically than peoples within a nation like the United States. Systems of power and privilege that help create and maintain hierarchical relations among peoples operate within the U.S. and other nations, among nations and between the U.S. and the rest of the world. All lives are shaped by historical dynamics and contemporary structures that operate on transnational, international, and global levels.
The Internationalism Requirement recognizes not only the conceptual interconnectedness of internationalism and multiculturalism, but also the need for students to engage with complexities of difference within the community where they live and work, as well as within an international and global context. In learning about other peoples, cultures and global systems one dislodges presuppositions about others and, crucially, about one’s individual and collective self.
- United States Identities and Differences (USID) Requirement: By recognizing that social groups and identities emerge from complex cultural, economic, political, social and institutional processes, the United States Identities and Differences Requirement focuses on the historical origins and contemporary implications of these power-laden processes. An understanding of identities and differences provides students with particularly important knowledge about the contemporary world, as global citizens need to appreciate the nuance, complexity, and history of group differences. Inequalities in power influence identities and differences throughout the world. The United States Identities and Differences Requirement focuses on the United States as an exemplar, but the knowledge and skills that it fosters will be transferable to other national and international contexts.
Students must take at least one course devoted to the study of forms or forces that create, reflect, maintain, or contest identities of, and differences amonst, U.S. social groups (based in, for example, race, class, ethnicity, gender, language, nation, dis/ability, religion, sexuality).
Students completing the United States Identities and Differences Requirement will be able to:
- Recognize that group identities and differences are socially constructed or historically contingent;
- Examine forms or forces that create, reflect, maintain, or contest identities and differences;
- Evaluate the significance of identities and differences for life and culture in the United States.
- Writing Requirement: Macalester seeks to ensure that all students receive instruction in writing that gives attention to writing as a process (writing is rewriting), and that provides students individually with feedback on the mechanics and substance of their writing. Courses will be classified as teaching argumentative writing (WA), as providing instruction in writing as craft (WC) or as offering significant practice in writing (WP). All students must successfully complete at least three Writing courses. Of the three courses, at least one must be WA and no more than one may be WP. Every student must take either a WA or WC course during the first semester of college, a requirement which may be met by a designated WA or WC First Year course.
||Students completing the Writing Requirement will be able to:
- Plan, draft, and revise a piece of prose;
- Demonstrate competence in the writing conventions appropriate to a genre, rhetorical context, and anticipated audience;
- Demonstrate appropriate use of standard written language, including clarity and correctness;
- Express ideas clearly using sentence and paragraph-level structures appropriate for genre and rhetorical context;
- Communicate others’ perspectives effectively;
- Integrate a student’s own ideas with those of others, where appropriate;
- Use evidence to support arguments, interpretations, or findings;
- Cite sources of evidence properly for the intended audience;
- Demonstrate intellectual reach.
- Quantitative Thinking Requirement:
Many policy debates, scientific discussions, political issues, and personal and organizational decisions involve judgments about claims based upon quantitative evidence. To critically evaluate these claims, the individual must have basic familiarity with such concepts as counting, measurement, estimation, and data analysis. Equally important is the capacity to ask and answer questions in a manner appropriate to these quantitative tools and to understand when the use of quantitative tools is or is not appropriate. The purpose of the Quantitative Thinking requirement is to ensure that students have the opportunity to develop such skills. Students will learn approaches to collecting, interpreting, and presenting information about the world based on numerical, logical, and statistical skills.
Students must take one or more courses with a Q3, Q2, or Q1 designation. A single Q3 course completely satisfies the requirement; alternatively, a Q2 course together with another Q2 or Q1 course, or three Q1 courses, can meet the requirement.
Q1 Fulfills the Quantitative Description goal, plus 1-2 other learning goals.
Q2 Fulfills the Quantitative Description goal, plus 3-4 other learning goals.
Q3 Fulfills the Quantitative Description goal, plus 5-6 other learning goals.
In expressing the Quantitative Description learning goal, all students completing the Quantitative Thinking Requirement will be able to:
- Describe objects and/or events quantitatively in terms of their number, probability, proportion, frequency of occurrrence, price, volume, weight, etc.;
- Use basic skills such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, statistics and/or logic to examine the relationships between variables.
Depending on the skill(s) emphasized in a course satisfying the Quantitative Thinking Requirement, students may learn the following:
- Interpret common visual presentations of data (e.g., graphs, charts, maps) accurately and critically;
- Create clear and accurate visual depictions of data.
Quality of Data:
- Locate or create data appropriate to the question being addressed;
- Describe potential limits to a research study’s validity based either on how well the sample represents the total population (i.e., recognizing potential sources of biases and/or error within a data collection process) or on the fit between the study’s variables and the phenomena it seeks to illuminate (i.e., construct validity).
Association and Causation:
- Know the different ways that factors identified in research findings can be linked (e.g., correlation, causation);
- Critically assess the strengths and limitations of research findings involving linkages between factors (e.g., identify cases where correlations might not provide evidence of causality due to “lurking” or confounding variables).
- Apply techniques to quantify the trade-offs associated with phenomena such as time, life expectancy, money, risk, scientific measurement, or environmental quality;
- Demonstrate knowledge of the strengths and limitations of trade-off quantification as a tool for decision making.
- Generate and apply probabilistic information to decision-making;
- Explain the limits of probabilistic information.
Estimation and scale:
- Use scale to place quantities in context;
- Generate reasonable rough estimates based on readily available data.
- Second Language Proficiency Requirement (SLPR): Second language proficiency supports Macalester’s central commitments to high standards of scholarship, internationalism, multiculturalism, service to society, and global citizenship. It promotes skills and perspectives associated with many aspects of Macalester’s liberal arts aims and goals for student learning: critical thinking, effective communication, intercultural interactions, and enhanced understanding of local and international communities.
Macalester requires proficiency equivalent to four semesters of college coursework to ensure that, at minimum, students can meaningfully engage in the language and culture. For example, students will be able to initiate and sustain conversations in a culturally appropriate manner, comprehend a variety of texts, and produce written work. Second language proficiency enables students to surpass the limitations of engaging knowledge in only one language. Students proficient in more than one language can achieve more intellectual depth and access a broader range of perspectives. The study of a second language reveals perspectives, challenges assumptions, and nurtures sympathies with world views not one’s own.
Students completing the Second Language Proficiency Requirement will be able to:
- Demonstrate a level of oral writing, listening, and reading proficiency in a second language equivalent to what one would achieve in four semesters of college level instruction, as determined by the Language, Literature, and Culture Department providing instruction in the language;
- Recognize and negotiate cultural differences (e.g., customs, traditions, etiquette, taboos, histories, ideologies, institutions, and literatures) between the target culture and other cultures.
- Types of Majors: To insure appropriate depth within an area or related areas of knowledge, students are required to elect among: 1) a departmental major; 2) an established interdepartmental major; or 3) an individually designed interdepartmental major. Within each of these types of majors the student is required to complete a capstone experience. The purpose of this capstone requirement is to give students experience with reading original research literature, doing original work, or presenting a performance. This requirement may be met in many ways, e.g., senior seminar, independent project, honors project. The means of completing this experience are designated by the major department, interdepartmental programs, and IDIM committees and so indicated in the catalog in the cases of departments and interdepartmental programs.
A student may obtain more than one major by fulfilling the respective requirements in those majors. Individual courses, where appropriate and approved by the department chairs involved, may be counted toward both majors. A student may not graduate with only one or more minors.
- A departmental major consists of not less than thirty-two nor more than forty-four semester credits in courses within one department. Supporting courses included, a major may not require more than sixty-eight semester credits. Departments will determine those courses, and sequences of courses, which constitute the various patterns for the major in that field. Departments will also designate the appropriate means for completion of the senior capstone requirement within each major. A department may also recommend (but not require) additional electives from among its own offerings or in supporting fields as indicated by the student’s educational and career objectives.
- An interdepartmental major established by the faculty shall consist of not less than thirty-two semester credits nor more than sixty-eight semester credits in courses, including supporting courses. The sponsoring departments will determine those courses, and sequences of courses, which constitute the various patterns for the major in the field. No more than forty-four semester hours may be included from any one department. The interdepartmental program will also designate the appropriate means for completion of the senior capstone requirement within each major. The departments may also recommend additional electives as indicated by the student’s educational and career objectives.
- An individually designed interdepartmental major (IDIM), reflecting a disciplined area of inquiry crossing departmental lines, may be designed and submitted for approval to the Educational Policy and Governance Committee acting on behalf of the faculty. The provision for an IDIM-as one of the ways in which a student may satisfy the graduation requirement of a major-is to accommodate students with special educational goals which may be achieved within the College’s overall curriculum but not through any of the existing majors or interdepartmental majors (see 1 and 2 immediately above) set forth in detail elsewhere in this catalog. To take advantage of this provision, students are expected to design their program of study in advance of doing the bulk of the course work for it.
Students seeking an individually-designed interdepartmental major (IDIM) must present, not later than the beginning of the registration period for the first semester of their junior year, a completed proposal, signed by the student and three faculty members, to the IDIM Subcommittee of the Educational Policy and Governance Committee for consideration. In consultation with three faculty members of the student’s choosing, the student must design a program of courses of study which crosses departmental lines and, in doing so, represents a disciplined area of inquiry not conveniently possible within the provisions of any of the existing majors in the College’s curriculum. The proposal must include the following: 1) A list of courses to be taken to complete the IDIM. This list must include a minimum of forty-four semester credits in courses from a maximum of three departments, and may include up to twenty-four additional semester credits in courses (for a maximum of sixty-eight semester credits) from any relevant department. There must be evidence of progression in the proposed courses. One way to show progression is to use courses that have one or more prerequisites. 2) Letters of support from the three faculty who comprise the student’s IDIM committee (a coordinator and two sponsors). These committee members must be from departments that offer courses listed on the student’s proposal. Two letters of recommendation must be from faculty members who have had the student in class, who may or may not be members of the student’s IDIM committee. 3) A carefully prepared written rationale. In this rationale the student is expected to describe the focus and cohesiveness of all the courses of study included in the IDIM and to indicate how this program of study meets the student’s particular educational goals. The IDIM committee will also designate the appropriate means for the completion of the senior capstone requirement within the IDIM. The committee will meet with the student at least once every semester to discuss the student’s progress towards completion of the IDIM.
No proposal for an IDIM will be accepted by the Subcommittee after a student has validated his or her registration for the first semester of the junior year.
Students who wish to undertake an Honors project should work with their IDIM committee to describe the procedures to be followed as well as the type of project to be completed for an Honors project. This information should be included in the original proposal for the IDIM and will be examined as part of the review of the IDIM proposal.
Regulations Concerning Majors, Minors, and Concentrations
Students must file an approved plan for a major no later than the start of the registration period for the first semester of their junior year. A major plan must be filed before their registration can be completed.
When students declare a major, they will be given in writing from the department a full description of the requirements for completing that major. This will include, in addition to course work, a description of any diagnostic and evaluation processes and procedures required as part of the major. Where such processes and procedures are included, copies of representative examinations or other instruments involved will be furnished in department offices and in the library for student use. When changes in major programs occur, students already declared in that area will be permitted to complete the program under the description given them at the time of original declaration or under the new program, at their discretion.
Courses included in a major, minor, or concentration should not be taken on the S, SD, N basis, except with specific permission of the department chair. Ordinarily, if a student decides to change his or her major to a new area and already had taken courses in that area on an S, SD, N basis, the courses will be allowed by the department, but written permission must be given by the department chair. Courses with a grade of D, D+, or D- may not be included on a plan, except with the specific permission of the department chair.
Intent to be Graduated: All degree seeking students must file with the Registrar’s Office their “Declaration of Intent to be Graduated” form one year prior to the intended date of graduation.
The Bachelor of Arts degree is conferred at the end of the term in which the student successfully completes all graduation requirements.
Minors and Concentrations
A minor in a given department consists of not less than twenty nor more than twenty-eight semester credits in courses within one department. Departments will determine those courses, and sequences of courses, which constitute the various patterns for the minor in that field.
A concentration in an interdepartmental program consists of not less than twenty nor more than thirty-two semester credits in courses drawn from a list of approved courses linked by some theme or topic.
Latin honors are awarded upon graduation. To be eligible for Latin honors a candidate must have earned at least half of the number of semester hours required for graduation in courses at Macalester, and may have no more than the equivalent of one course per semester graded on the S, D, NC grading option.
The designation cum laude is based on achieving a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.65. The designation magna cum laude will be based on achieving a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.80. The designation of summa cum laude will be based on achieving a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.90.
The Honors Program is designed to enable seniors with demonstrated ability to undertake substantial independent work that culminates in a project of exceptionally high quality. Departments or programs that participate in the Honors Program have designed specific criteria and procedures for pursuing Honors work in their department or program. Departments and programs that have Honors programs are so indicated within their individual sections of this catalog. Detailed information about the specific expectations of the individual departments or programs is available from the departments or programs themselves or from the Director of Academic Programs. The minimum cumulative grade point average established by the College for entrance into the Honors Program is 3.30; however, some departments or programs may require a higher grade point average.
Students expecting to apply for acceptance into the Honors Program should consult with their particular department or program early in their junior year as the official application deadlines are normally during the second semester of the student’s junior year.
Students pursuing an IDIM should work with their IDIM committee to describe the procedures to be followed as well as the type of project to be completed for an Honors project. This information should be included in the original proposal for the IDIM and will be examined as part of the review of the IDIM proposal. Students in the Honors Program are invited to occasional special events and colloquia. Bound copies of the completed Honors projects are added to the library collection, and successful completion of an Honors project is noted on the student’s transcript following graduation.
Second Degree Program
Students who have completed a bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution of higher education can be admitted to the College for the purpose of earning a second bachelor’s degree. A bachelor of arts degree is awarded to such students upon the successful completion of sixty-four Macalester semester hours, and all other graduation requirements as previously listed. The general distribution and general education requirements for graduation may be partially or completely fulfilled as a result of the evaluation of courses taken while earning the initial degree.
Students are normally expected to satisfy the graduation requirements in effect at the time of their matriculation at Macalester (or readmission if they have withdrawn). If graduation requirements change after this date, students have the option of satisfying either the requirements in effect at the time of matriculation (or readmission) or the requirements in effect at the time of graduation if such a change is feasible. This provision applies only to all-college graduation requirements. See the preceding section for regulations concerning majors, minors and concentrations.
Grading Options: For the fall and spring semesters the regular grading option is: A, A-,B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, NC (no credit); the alternate grading option is S (satisfactory), SD (passing), N (no credit). The grade of S is equivalent to a C- or better. Courses taken on the alternate grading option do not compute in the Macalester grade point average. For January or summer independent study, registered at Macalester, the options are the same.
Activity Courses: S and N will be the only grades in any of the physical education activity courses, dance technique courses and forensic practicum courses. Music majors and minors will be graded on the regular grading option for ensembles and performance courses; non-music majors and minors should refer to the music department section of this catalog. Theater and dance majors and minors will be graded on the regular grading option for practicum courses; non-majors will receive S or N grades for these courses.
Written Evaluations: Instructors may provide written evaluations of performance for those students who request them. A student who opts for a written evaluation may take the course on either grading option. A student who chooses a written evaluation is encouraged to file with the instructor a statement of his or her objectives, to aid the instructor in the evaluation. The request for written evaluation must be made at the time of grading option selection and requires the approval of the instructor. Students may request to have the written evaluations accompany transcripts, with the understanding that either all or none of the written evaluations will be sent.
S, SD, N Option Regulations: Each student is limited to one course taken under the S, SD, N option without written evaluation, in the fall and spring semesters. Courses may be taken under this option in a summer term, but each course so taken reduces by one the number of such options available to the student in the fall or spring semesters. There is no limitation on the number of courses a student may take under the S, SD, N option with written evaluation, or in activity courses. Courses taken under this grading option may not be included on major, minor or concentration plans without specific departmental approval.
Time of Selection of Grading Options: The choice of grading option is made by the student from the available options at the start of the fall or spring semester or by the published deadline for summer term. Forms must be returned to the Registrar’s Office by the published deadlines.
Incompletes: Students are expected to complete the work in each course by the deadlines established by the instructor; the final deadline for work cannot exceed the end of the final examination period for that term. However, a grade of incomplete may be awarded at the discretion of the instructor, if requested by the student, under the following conditions: 1) at least three-quarters of the required work for the course has been completed, 2) unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control (usually restricted to illness or family emergency) preclude completion of the remaining work for the course by the semester deadline, 3) the student is not on strict academic probation. Note that poor planning or having a lot of work to complete at the end of the term are not, in fairness to other students, considered circumstances beyond a student’s control. Faculty and students with questions about whether the conditions for an incomplete are met should consult with the Director of Academic Programs.
If the conditions for an incomplete are met, a course completion agreement form specifying the work yet to be completed must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar by the last day of classes for the semester. Both the student and the instructor are expected to sign the form. For a fall semester course, students have until the first class day of the spring semester to complete an incomplete; for a spring semester course, students have until July 1 to complete an incomplete. Students may not petition to extend the college deadline for the completion of an Incomplete, except with the approval of the course instructor and the Dean of Students. Medical reasons or family emergencies are typically the only conditions under which an extension will be granted. If the student and the professor have set a deadline for completion of the work that is earlier than the official college deadline, the faculty member may approve an extension of that deadline up to the official deadline for that term.
Students who have multiple incompletes for a term will be reviewed by the Academic Standing Committee and are subject to the College’s satisfactory academic progress rules. Students who plan to request more than one incomplete for a term are advised to consult with the Director of Academic Programs, who serves as Chair of the Academic Standing Committee. As in all matters, it is also wise for students to discuss their circumstances with their faculty advisors.
Grade Point Averages: The grade point average (GPA) is calculated by the Registrar’s Office. Each grade is assigned a point value, as follows:
The GPA is calculated by dividing the total grade points by the number of semester hours attempted on the regular grading system. Grades for courses taken on the S, SD, N grading option, or courses with a grade of W, will not figure in the GPA. Grades for courses transferred to Macalester are not included in the GPA
Repeated Courses: In cases where a course is repeated both courses remain on the record and one course (if the grade is D- or above) will be counted toward the degree; grades for both courses will be included in the GPA.
Reporting of Grades: Instructors report grades to the Registrar’s Office. Written evaluations will be reported on standardized forms provided along with the grade report forms. Copies of standard written evaluations will be provided to the student and the instructor. The original copy will be kept in the Registrar’s Office.
Recording of Grades: For each student there is only one transcript, and all grades are recorded on it. A copy of the written evaluations for each student will be filed as a supplement to the official transcript. Students choose whether or not to include the written evaluations with transcripts they request, with the understanding that either all or none of the written evaluations will accompany the transcript.
Auditing Courses: To audit a course, a student must register in the Registrar’s Office with the approval of the instructor. Refer to the section on Tuition and Fees in this catalog for information on additional charges (if any) for auditing an additional course. A student may only audit one course per semester. An audited course will appear on the transcript with a grade of AU. That grade is only indicative of a registration as an auditor and does not imply attendance or a particular level of success in the course.
The following policies are observed by students and faculty with regard to final examinations:
The Registrar announces in advance a final examination schedule. In this schedule, each course is reserved a place and a designated two-hour period for a final examination.
Students may negotiate exemptions or changes in schedule with instructors whenever circumstances warrant such considerations. Students who are scheduled for three or more examinations on the same day have the option of rescheduling with their instructor one of these examinations.
Proctoring, special materials, time allotment and other matters pertaining to the actual circumstances of the examination are entirely the responsibility of the instructor.
Through a strong faculty advising system, the College assists students in making informed curricular decisions. Students begin with advisors who usually are their instructors in first year courses. After students select a major, they may change to an advisor in that department or program. Information about faculty advising is available from the Academic Programs Office.
Registration and Validation
Students are required to register and/or validate (confirm previous registration) at definite times announced in advance by the Registrar’s Office. Students are responsible for accurate registration; credit can be received only in those courses for which a student is properly registered. A student is also held responsible for every course for which he or she registers unless he or she officially cancels it within the stated deadlines explained below.
Registration and validation are not complete or official until fees are paid or arrangements for payments have been made with the Student Accounts Office.
Late Registration and Validation Fees: Returning students will be charged a late fee for registering after the announced times of registration. The fee for late registration is $100. Late registration will be accepted during the first two weeks of classes with the payment of the late fee. Students may not register or validate after that time except with special permission from the Registrar.
Student Course Load
A student normally enrolls in courses earning 16 credits during each of the fall and spring semesters. A student may not register for more than 20 credits in a single semester. A course load of at least 12 credits is required to be considered a full-time student.
A student may add a course at the start of the fall or spring semester by obtaining the written or on-line permission of the instructor of the course. Transactions must be completed by the published deadlines, whether on-line or by returning the properly signed form to the Registrar’s Office.
Dropping and Withdrawing From Courses
A student may drop a course at the start of the fall or spring semester on-line or by completing the proper form available in the Registrar’s Office. Transactions must be completed by the published deadlines, whether on-line or by returning the properly signed form to the Registrar’s Office. An officially dropped course will not appear on the student’s record or transcript. Part-time students and students whose course load changes from full-time to part-time as a result of officially dropping a course are subject to the tuition refund policy described elsewhere in this catalog.
For courses where first day attendance is required, as specially noted in the class schedule, instructors have the option of dropping students who did not meet that requirement. For all courses, instructors have the option of dropping students who have not attended within the first week of classes. The Registrar’s Office must be informed by the instructor which students should be dropped for non-attendance.
A student may withdraw from a course between the end of the second and ninth weeks of classes by obtaining the signature of the instructor of the course on the proper form available in the Registrar’s Office and returning the form to the Registrar’s Office by the published deadlines. If a student officially withdraws from a course, a “W” (withdraw) grade will be recorded on the record and transcript. A “W” grade is not computed into the GPA.
If a student remains registered after the ninth week of classes, one of the grades described under Grading Options must be recorded.
Classification of Students
Normal progress toward graduation is as follows:
Class standing granted and number of semester hours for that standing: Sophomore, 32; Junior, 64; Senior, 96.
Special student classification is assigned to students not seeking a degree from Macalester.
The Dean’s List at Macalester College is published at the end of each semester. For fall semester, it will be published one week after the grade submission deadline. For spring semester, it will be published three weeks after the grade submission deadline. To be eligible for the Dean’s List a student must have been registered as a full-time, degree-seeking student and may not have been on a study away program. Furthermore, a student must have achieved a semester grade point average of at least 3.75, twelve or more credits on a regular (A, A-, B+, etc.) grading option, no grades below C-, and no withdrawal or incomplete grades for the semester. Grades for activity, practicum, and technique courses in dance, music, and physical education are not factored into eligibility for the Dean’s List.
Probation and Dismissal
The College monitors the academic performance of every student in order to offer support and services to those not making satisfactory academic progress. Students are expected to earn their degree within a four-year period. The Academic Standing Committee of the faculty conducts this review at the end of term. After the Academic Standing Committee has reached its decisions at the end of a term, a student’s status will normally only be reconsidered by the Committee in cases where an action has been taken which prevents a student from re-enrolling in the College and there has been a change to the student’s academic record. Probationary status is never a part of a student’s public record unless the student gives authorization to release this information.
Academic probation is intended as an indication a student is not making the expected progress toward the completion of a Macalester Bachelor of Arts degree. Every effort is made through faculty advisors, the counseling services of the Health and Wellness Center and the MAX Center to provide assistance to students who are placed on academic probation.
As a result of the Academic Standing Committee’s review of student records, a student may be placed on one of the categories of probation listed below. In addition to specific term performance guidelines, the Committee also takes into consideration a student’s classification, the cumulative grade point average and any prior probationary status in determining the appropriate category of probation.
Academic Warning. Students with a term grade point average between 2.00 and 2.50 and/or at least one NC grade in a course carrying two or more credit hours may be placed on Academic Warning if the Academic Standing Committee sees reason to be concerned about their level of achievement.
Academic Probation. Students with a term grade point average below 2.00 and/or two or more NC grades in a course carrying two or more credit hours will be placed on Academic Probation. Additionally, students with a persistent pattern of poor grades and/or course withdrawals may be placed on Academic Probation if the Committee is concerned the pattern will impede timely completion of the degree. Students on Academic Probation are not eligible to participate in internships. Students may apply for study away while on probation; however, approval to participate is conditional. See the Off-Campus Study Handbook for details on eligibility and process.
Strict Academic Probation. Students will be placed on Strict Academic Probation when they are liable for academic probation for a second consecutive semester or when the Committee considers their record to indicate serious academic difficulties that warrant the addition of specific criteria to be met during the next semester. These criteria usually are: a term grade point average of a least 2.00 and no grade lower than C-; registration as a full-time student taking twelve or more credit hours; no grades of Incomplete. A student on strict academic probation is ineligible to practice or compete in intercollegiate athletics, to hold an elected office or a leadership position in a student organization, to undertake a role in a major music or theatre production or forensic activity, or to register for an internship. A student may submit an application for study away while on strict probation, but any approval would be subject to the condition of getting off strict probation during the semester preceding study away. A student who is approved for study away who falls into strict probation between the time of approval and the program start date will have approval revoked.
Suspension. A student will be suspended from the College for failure to meet the criteria established for removal from Strict Academic Probation. Additionally, students are suspended for one or two semesters after two consecutive semesters on academic probation or strict academic probation unless the Academic Standing Committee finds that this action would not be appropriate. Under exceptional circumstances, the Academic Standing Committee may suspend students from the College without first placing them on probation. This action is typically taken when the Committee is concerned about the student’s current ability to be successful.
Students who wish to return after a suspension must apply for readmission to the College. In order for a student to be readmitted, the Academic Standing Committee expects to see evidence the student is ready to return and have a successful experience. Shortly after receiving a suspension letter, students are expected to work out a plan with either the Dean of Students or the Director of Academic Programs for how they will provide this evidence of readiness to return. In most cases students will attend another institution of higher education during their suspension period and earn grades that demonstrate their ability to perform successfully in an academic environment.
Dismissal. A student is subject to dismissal from the College whenever, in the view of the Committee, the level of scholarship is so low as to make the completion of a Macalester degree unlikely.
Students should be aware that maintaining good academic standing does not automatically insure continued financial aid eligibility. Refer to the financial aid section of this catalog for information.
Appeals of suspensions are typically based on procedural grounds, although other extenuating circumstances may be considered. Appeals should be made in writing to the Provost through the Director of Academic Programs by the deadline stated in the letter. The Provost may or may not choose to hear the appeal. The Director of Academic Programs will inform the petitioner and all concerned College officials of the results of the Provost’s determination. The decision of the Provost is final.
Macalester College expects academic honesty from all students and faculty. Academic honesty encompasses accurate portrayal of contributions and appropriate use of resources.
For more specific information about Macalester’s Academic Integrity Policy please refer to the Academic Programs website, or contact the Director of Academic Programs.
Withdrawal from the College
A student may request complete withdrawal from the College at any point in a term. Students should make an appointment with the Dean of Students to complete the appropriate withdrawal form. In order to obtain tuition or room and board refunds, the student must follow the policy described under the “Refunds” section of the college catalog.
The Dean of Students may grant a temporary withdrawal for a duration of one semester up to one year to any student requesting to temporarily withdraw from Macalester for personal reasons or for the purpose of attending another institution.
In order to request a temporary withdrawal, a student must have completed the first term as a new student and be in good academic standing. First year students withdrawing in their first term at Macalester are not eligible to return before the following Fall.
A form requesting a temporary withdrawal must be completed in the Office of Student Affairs no later than the 10th day of the current term. Any student who wishes to leave Macalester for the purpose of entering military service or fulfilling mandatory religious obligations shall be granted a temporary withdrawal upon notification of the Dean of Students.
Returning students should note the following: applications for financial aid and housing in the term following a temporary withdrawal, and room and board deposits, must be made by deadlines required of all students in residence. A temporary withdrawal does not exempt or defer a student from repayment of Macalester loans, or extend the deadlines for the makeup of incomplete courses.
Questions about a temporary withdrawal should be addressed to the Office of Student Affairs.
Involuntary Temporary Withdrawal
A student may be placed on involuntary withdrawal when they demonstrate developing and/or continuing behavior that threatens the life or health of themselves or another member of the Macalester community or if there are clear indicators a student will be unable to make academic progress. The Vice President for Student Affairs is responsible for placing a student on involuntary withdrawal.
A student placed on involuntary withdrawal must request readmission to the College. The complete involuntary withdrawal policy may be found in the Student Handbook. Questions should be addressed to the Office of Student Affairs.
Readmission to the College
Any student who has not temporarily withdrawn from the College, or who was suspended from the College, or who did not complete the prior semester at Macalester, is required to make application for readmission to the College for the term in which he or she wishes to register. Application forms should be requested of and returned to the Registrar’s Office at least one month prior to the date of intended registration. When a student is readmitted to the College, he or she must then satisfy the graduation requirements in effect at the time of readmission in order to complete their degree.
Credit by Examination
Any full time, degree-seeking Macalester student may receive credit for a course listed in the catalog by successful completion of an examination or other type of evaluation to be determined by the instructor. There is a fee for Credit by Examination (see “Tuition and Fees” section of the college catalog). Credit and a grade will be certified to the Registrar’s Office by the instructor and endorsed by the department chair. Such credit may be granted only during a fall or spring semester in which the student is registered for at least twelve semester credits, or a summer term in which the student is registered for at least four semester credits. The grade received will be included in the student’s GPA.
A student is limited to earning eight semester hours of credit by examination in courses not described in the catalog and each such course must be approved by the Educational Policy and Governance Committee before work is begun.
The student will receive no instruction from a faculty member in obtaining credit by examination. No such credit will be granted for a course previously registered, or audited. The student may not sit in on the class.
The student is expected to demonstrate a competence comparable to, but not necessarily identical with, that attained by students receiving credit for the course in the usual manner.
Note: Departments may designate those lower level courses for which credit may not be received if comparable courses have been taken at the secondary level.
Transfer of Credit
Liberal arts courses taken at regionally accredited undergraduate institutions, and comparable in content to Macalester courses will be considered for transfer. The grade earned must be at least a C-; grades of S or P must be certified in writing by the instructor of the course to be the equivalent of C- or better before that course can be transferred.
Use of transfer credit towards a major, minor, or concentration is subject to the approval of the department or program.
The Macalester course system is based on the semester credit. Macalester does not award more credit for transfer courses than what is awarded by the host institution for those courses, as indicated on the host’s official transcript. Therefore, semester credits will be transferred as equivalent from the host institution, and quarter credits will be converted at a ratio of six (6) quarter credits equivalent to four (4) semester credits.
No strict correlation exists between contact hours in courses taken off-campus and credits awarded by Macalester.
No more than the equivalent of one half of the semester credits required for graduation (64) may be transferred from another institution to Macalester.
No more than the equivalent of eight (8) semester credits earned through a correspondence program or through distance learning may be included among the academic credits transferred to Macalester.
Students who have attended non-accredited or non-regionally accredited institutions must have their work validated by examination or by showing competence to carry advanced work successfully. Award of credit in such cases may be delayed for one or more semesters awaiting such evaluations.
For currently enrolled students, Macalester will consider summer and January work for credit transfer. Credits taken during a semester while on a leave of absence will be considered on a case-by-case basis according to transfer credit policies. However, participation in a semester-long study away program, whether domestic or international will not be granted transfer credit. Students wishing to study away for a semester must apply for and receive prior approval from the Study Away Review Committee and comply with study away policies for registration and credit.
For students admitted to Macalester through the first-year admissions program, Macalester will accept for credit no more than the equivalent of twenty Macalester credits from courses earned at a college or university prior to matriculation as a First Year Student at Macalester. Summer session college credits, Minnesota Post-Secondary Education Options Program credits, International Baccalaureate credits, and Advanced Placement Program credits are included under this limitation. (The only exception to this limitation applies to students who have achieved the equivalent of twenty-four Macalester credits solely through College Board Advanced Placement Examinations.)
Credits earned through Advanced Placement Exams, International Baccalaureate or GCE A-Level examinations cannot be used to meet the college’s general distribution requirement.
College- or university-level courses must be taken directly at the college or university from which the credit is granted. Macalester will not award credit for courses which were taken in secondary school, or which were used to satisfy any of the requirements for graduation at the student’s secondary school.
ROTC is designed to prepare students to be commissioned officers in the United States military. Air Force ROTC is available to Macalester students through the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities at the University of St. Thomas. For more information call St. Thomas at 651-962-6320 or 1-800-328-6819, ext. 6320. Navy and Army ROTC is also available to Macalester students at the University of Minnesota. For more information on Navy ROTC, call 612-625-6677. For more information on Army ROTC, call 612-625-3062. Macalester College grants credit for ROTC courses on a case by case basis.
College Board Advanced Placement Examinations
Students who have taken the College Board Advanced Placement Examinations may be eligible for advanced placement and appropriate credit. Freshmen who wish to have their scores considered should have them sent to Macalester College. Scores of 3, 4, or 5 may result in credit or exemption. Academic departments determine which scores result in credit or exemption for their subject. Some departments require the student to discuss their scores with the department chair before a credit determination is made. A score of 2 will receive no credit, but the academic department involved may recommend some exemption. A score of 1 will receive neither credit nor exemption. Advanced Placement credit is only granted on the basis of the examination scores.
Macalester does not recognize the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests for advanced standing.
International Baccalaureate and General Certificate of Education
Students whose scores on Higher Level Examinations of the International Baccalaureate Program are 5, 6, or 7 receive the equivalent of four or eight semester hours of credit for each such examination. Credit is determined by the appropriate academic department on an individual basis and is subject to the limitations described in “Transfer of Credit” under the Advanced Standing Section.
International students who have not earned university level academic credit will have their advanced standing limited to no more than twenty semester credits. Those who have completed A-Level Examinations in order to earn a General Certificate of Education (GCE) receive the equivalent of eight semester credits for each A-Level Examination with a score of A, B, C, or D. No more than the equivalent of twenty semester credits can be earned in this manner.
Minimum Size of Classes
The College does not hold itself bound for instruction in any elective course for which fewer than five students have registered. Such classes may, however, be organized at the option of the department with approval by the Provost.