Office of the Registrar
Campus Address
Hanover, NH
Phone: (603) 646-xxxx
Fax: (603) 646-xxxx
Email: reg@Dartmouth.EDU

Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2017-18

Requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts

The degree of Bachelor of Arts is awarded by the Board of Trustees to qualified students who have been recommended by the Faculty. Certain changes in degree requirements, which take effect for the Class of 1998 and later classes, were voted by the Faculty and Trustees in 1992; members of the Class of 1997 and earlier classes should consult previous editions of this Catalog for details of the distribution and major requirements as they apply to them. (Note: The Faculty have voted a change in some requirements, effective date to be determined.)

The degree requirements, given in detail below, fall into several basic categories: Residence (fall, winter, and spring of the first and senior years and summer following the sophomore year), Course Count (35 courses passed), Specific Course Requirements (including Writing and First-Year Seminar, Foreign Language and General Education requirements), a Physical Education Requirement, and a Major Requirement. The details of each of these requirements are given in the following sections as they apply to students who matriculated as first-year students. Students who matriculated at Dartmouth after one or two years’ work at another institution should note the modifications of the graduation requirements that apply to them. (To matriculate is to be accepted by Admissions and to be enrolled as a full time degree-seeking student at Dartmouth College. Students studying as exchange students, as special community or as special high school students, are not matriculated at Dartmouth. Any credits these students earn prior to matriculation, if awarded after matriculation, may count as transfer credit only, and do not count towards meeting residency requirements.)

I. A student must fulfill the academic requirements of the College and must, as an absolute minimum, complete six terms in residence, registered and enrolled in courses. (Terms spent elsewhere while enrolled in absentia in the various Dartmouth off-campus programs do not serve for any part of this requirement, nor do exchange or transfer programs.) A student must be in residence for all three terms of the first year, for the summer term following the sophomore year, and for the fall, winter, and spring terms of the senior year, in every case being registered and enrolled in courses. A student will normally be enrolled for twelve terms, but will be allowed thirteen if two of these are summer terms. For further details and information regarding certain exceptions, see the section on Enrollment Patterns.

II. A student must pass thirty-five courses, although this number may be reached in part by credits transferred from another institution. No credit will be awarded for a course dropped or withdrawn from before completion; unless the withdrawal is authorized, the course will be included with a failing grade in the student’s cumulative average. No more than eight courses passed with the grade of D (including those received under the Non-Recording Option) may be counted toward the thirty-five courses required for graduation. No more than 17 transfer courses may be counted toward graduation.

No student may count toward graduation more than a combined total of eight final standings of CT (Credit), NC (No Credit), NR (Non-Recorded from courses under the Non-Recording Option), and E (when resulting from courses under the Non-Recording Option).

A student otherwise eligible for graduation but not in good academic standing as a result of his or her performance in the last term of enrollment preceding intended graduation may graduate only with the approval of the Committee on Standards. No student may graduate with the standing of Incomplete in any course even though the count of courses passed may exceed thirty-five.

Students are subject to the requirements listed in the ORC in the year they matriculate. An exception is made for students in good standing who are readmitted after 10 years of absence from the College. These students should contact the Registrar and the chair of the department/program in which they wish to major. The Registrar would work with the student to determine appropriate general education requirements, which could be a combination of prior and current requirements. The chair of the major department/program would determine appropriate major requirements (and minor requirements, if applicable) and an academic plan for graduation would be reviewed, possibly modified, and approved by the Committee on Instruction.

III. A student must pass the following courses, although they may be substituted in part by credits on entrance or by proficiency demonstrated then or later. Either a passing letter grade or a CT (Credit) will suffice. The standing NR assigned under the Non-Recording Option will not serve.

  1. Writing: Writing 5; Writing 2-3; or Humanities 1. Students must complete the requirement by the end of the second term of the first year. Writing 5, Writing 2-3, and Humanities 1 are not eligible for use of the Non-Recording Option.
  2. First-Year Seminar: One seminar chosen from an approved list which is available on the College website: These seminars, which have Writing 5 (or 2-3) as prerequisite, are designed both to further the student’s proficiency in writing and to provide an opportunity for participation in small group study and discussions with an instructor on a subject of mutual interest. This requirement must be completed during the first year. A First-Year Seminar may satisfy a distributive or world culture requirement if so indicated on the College website at It is never possible to include a First-Year Seminar as an actual part of a major. No First-Year Seminar may be taken under the Non-Recording Option.
  3. Language: Foreign language courses numbered 1, 2, and 3; or proficiency equivalent to three terms of study in one foreign language at the college level, or fluency in some language other than English. A student must demonstrate the ability (1) to read with understanding representative texts in a foreign language; and in the case of a modern foreign language, (2) to understand and use the spoken language in a variety of situations. Every student will take qualifying tests upon entrance. If the student passes these examinations, he or she will have fulfilled the Foreign Language Requirement. Where no department or program exists to determine a student’s fluency in a language, the Associate Dean of Faculty for the Humanities shall make whatever arrangements are necessary for such a determination.

    Unless exempted, as above, a student must normally complete the requirement before the end of the seventh term, either in a language offered for admission or in another language begun at Dartmouth.2 There are two options: (1) study on the Dartmouth campus in any of the languages offered, or (2) participation in one of Dartmouth’s Language Study Abroad (D.L.S.A.) programs offered in several of these languages.

    Language courses numbered 1, 2, or 3 and other beginning language courses (e.g., Greek 11, 12, and 13) may not serve under any circumstance in partial satisfaction of the General Education requirement. They may not be taken under the Non-Recording Option until the Foreign Language Requirement has been satisfied in another language (and then only if the department/program so authorizes); no course studied off-campus may be taken under the Option.

    The language requirement may be waived under certain special circumstances.

  4. General Education Requirements: There are two separate requirements under this heading: World Culture Requirement and Distributive Requirement. These requirements are outlined below, and are explained in detail later (including the codes used to designate which courses fall into which categories.)
    1. World Culture Requirement. Each student must take and pass one course in each of three areas: Western Cultures, Non-Western Cultures, and Culture and Identity

    2. Distributive Requirement. Each student must take and pass ten courses, as follows:

      • one in the Arts;
      • one in Literature;
      • one in Systems and Traditions of Thought, Meaning, and Value;
      • one in International or Comparative Study;
      • two in Social Analysis;
      • one in Quantitative and Deductive Sciences;
      • two in the Natural Sciences;
      • one in Technology or Applied Science.
      • One of the courses in the Natural Science or Technology categories must have a laboratory, field, or experimental component.

    A course may satisfy categories in two of these requirements. For example, a course might satisfy the Western category in the World Culture requirement and the Literature category in the Distributive requirement. Consequently, by careful choice of courses, it is possible to satisfy all of these requirements with just ten courses. Note also that the fact that a course falls within the student’s major department or program does not invalidate its use toward meeting these requirements. Courses satisfying general education requirements must be taken subsequent to college matriculation.

    Credits received prior to matriculation, even for courses which would qualify for one or more of these requirements if taken after matriculation, do not count, even though they receive course credit or advanced placement credit. Courses satisfying these requirements must be passed with a regular letter grade. Courses which are failed, for which the regular grade has been replaced by NR due to the student’s election of the Non-Recording Option, or for which the grade is CT (Credit) or NC (No Credit) do not satisfy these requirements. Graduate courses (those numbered 100 or higher) never serve in satisfaction of any part of these requirements. 

IV. A student must complete satisfactorily the program of Physical Education.

V. A student must receive credit for completion of a major program at least satisfactorily, as certified by the department, program, or other appropriate body supervising the major. The supervising body may in advance require a minimum grade average in the major or other demonstrations of learning in the field of the major. A student may elect a major no earlier than the first day of the fourth term in residence and must do so by the end of the student’s fifth term, or immediately thereafter, depending upon the student’s enrollment pattern. The major is elected by securing the approval of the appropriate department/program using the online major/minor system. See Registrar's website for more information. A student may change major, or type of major (including the addition of a second major), at any time through the end of the first week of the last term in residence, but not thereafter.

A full statement of the purpose and the various forms of the major follows. Only those courses passed with a letter grade, or a grade of CT (Credit) if previously approved, may be counted in satisfaction of the major. Courses failed, or taken under the Non-Recording Option and resulting in a standing of NR (Non-Recorded), may not be used toward completion of the major.

VI. A student is expected to make satisfactory progress at all times toward the degree. All students should be familiar with the requirements for satisfactory academic progress as set forth in the Student Handbook. The Committee on Standards has been empowered by the Faculty to place a student on Risk, Warning, or Probation, or to vote Suspension or Separation for failure to meet the academic standards detailed there.3


2 Under certain circumstances the Registrar will allow an extension of the seven-term rule; such action may allow a student, otherwise prevented by complications of course scheduling, to undertake the Language Study Abroad program. 

3 Students who have disciplinary cases pending are not eligible for a degree until the case has been resolved. In any case when penalties are imposed, the case is not resolved until the suspension, period of probation, or other penalty has been completed.