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2016-2017 Catalog

Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements for All Students

An overall grade-point average of at least 2.00 is required for graduation. Considered in determining the cumulative average are courses taken at Lafayette or at other member colleges in the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC) under the cross-registration agreement or affiliated study abroad programs. Students must complete an approved major program with an average of at least 2.00 in courses taken in the major. In the majority of majors, this normally includes all courses in the major subject area and excludes collateral/co-curricular courses. Interdisciplinary majors and programs are exceptions and will include multiple subject areas as determined by the major/program. Questions should be referred to the Registrar's Office.

Students must complete at least 32 course credits for the A.B./B.S. Science degree and at least 36 or 38 course credits for the B.S. Engineering degree, with at least one-half of the courses for the degree and the major being completed at Lafayette.  Some departments may have more restrictive transfer/study abroad policies regarding credits applied towards the major.

The senior year must be completed in full-time residence at Lafayette. "Fulltime" is defined to be a minimum of three courses per semester.

Students are responsible for determining that they have satisfied all requirements for graduation. To participate in the commencement ceremony, students must have completed all degree requirements.

Academic Divisions

The College is divided into four academic divisions with program membership as listed below. The divisional membership of a specific program needs to be considered when selecting courses to satisfy the Common Course of Study as required. Departments and programs not listed below are considered Interdisciplinary.




Film and Media Studies

Foreign Languages and Literatures



Religious Studies


Social Sciences:

American Studies

Anthropology and Sociology


Environmental Studies

Government and Law


International Affairs


Engineering Studies

Chemical Engineering (within the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)

Civil Engineering (within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Natural Sciences:



Computer Science

Environmental Science

Geology and Environmental Geosciences





The Common Course of Study

The Lafayette Common Course of Study (CCS) was revised by the faculty in 2012 to create an all-inclusive core. In addition, it is our first outcomes-based curriculum and so includes goals that will be assessed on a continuing basis. The result is an organic general education program that will evolve and change as we review how well we are accomplishing what we aspire to teach our students.

While this curriculum comprises fewer requirements than we have had in the past, we intend that these be concentrated and focus on disciplinary experiences for our students. Consequently, not every course in the catalog necessarily fulfills some CCS requirement. For example, the redesigned Global/Multicultural and Values requirements will be fulfilled by courses that address specifically those issues rather than more general courses that simply include Global and Multiculturalism and Values concerns.

First-Year Seminar, taken in the fall semester of the first year, is designed to introduce students to intellectual inquiry by engaging them as thinkers, speakers, and writers.

Distribution Requirements, require the completion of: one course with a Humanities (H) designation, one course with a Natural Science with lab (NS) designation, one course with a Social Sciences (SS) designation; and two additional courses in two different divisions outside the student’s home division. Courses may be selected from Engineering, including courses designated as Science and Technology in a Social Context (STSC); Humanities; Natural Science w/lab or Natural Science w/STSC; and Social Sciences.

Courses designated as Science and Technology in a Social Context (STSC) are courses in science or engineering without a lab in which students will address a scientific or technological issue of timely importance.

Quantitative Reasoning Requirement (Q), is to be satisfied by one course in which students learn to use mathematical methods to solve problems, represent and interpret quantitative information, and critically analyze mathematical results.

A Writing Requirement (W), is to be satisfied through the First-Year Seminar and three additional W-designated courses that use process writing methods with at least one course in the major and at least one course outside the major.

Global and Multiculturalism (GM), requires the completion of two separate courses, a GM1 and a GM2, that examine the structure of identity, diversity, and differences in domestic and global contexts.

Values Requirement (V), is to be satisfied by a course where students construct and evaluate answers to questions of moral and political concern.

Elementary Proficiency in a second language, requires the completion of a year (or less depending on the entry level, 102 or higher) of study of a language. Students may be exempted via advanced placement credit or testing.

Courses can be used to meet more than one requirement, but students must complete at least seven unique courses, the FYS, the five distribution requirements, and the quantitative reasoning requirement.