2023-2024 Catalog

Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements for All Students

The following are the requirements for graduation. Students are responsible for determining that they have satisfied all requirements. To participate in the commencement ceremony, students must have completed all degree requirements. More detail about each requirements can be found below.

  • Completion of the Common Course of Study
  • An overall GPA of 2.00
  • A GPA of 2.00 in the major(s)
  • Completion of the minimum number of course credits required by the degree(s) (32 / 36 / 40)
  • Completion of all major requirements

Major Requirements

Each department has different requirements for completion of the major(s) within it. Students should work closely with their academic adviser(s) to make sure that they are satisfying all major requirements. 

The Common Course of Study

The Lafayette Common Course of Study (CCS) is an outcomes-based curriculum and 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.

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. Not every course in the catalog necessarily fulfills a CCS requirement. 

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.

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 (EPSL), 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.


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

Integrative Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Natural Sciences:



Computer Science

Environmental Science

Geology and Environmental Geosciences





GPA Requirements

Overall GPA

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.

Major GPA

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.

Course Credits

The minimum number of course credits per degree can be found in the table below.


Degree Type

Course Credits Needed

Bachelor of Arts


Bachelor of Science (non-Engineering)


Bachelor of Science (Engineering)


Dual Degree

(Bachelor of Arts + Bachelor of Science)



Dual Degree

(Bachelor of Science + Bachelor of Science)



At least one-half of the courses for the degree(s) and the major(s) must be completed at Lafayette. Some departments may have more restrictive transfer / study abroad policies regarding credits applied towards the major.

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

Policy on Statute of Limitations for Students

All graduation requirements shall normally be met in a time period not to exceed six years following admission to junior status. In the case of hardship, a petition for one additional year may be submitted to the Student Affairs Committee after consultation with the Dean of Advising & Co-Curricular Programs and the major adviser or department head. Ordinarily, no extensions will be granted beyond the seventh year.

1. To meet expectations of appropriate and current preparation for upper-level work within the major program, a time period not to exceed five years shall be permitted between the completion of a prerequisite course (including transfer credit) and the initiation of the required course for which it is specified. Students who wish to appeal this rule may file a petition to the Student Affairs Committee after having consulted with their major department.

2. If a part-time student fails to maintain minimum progress (two courses in the curriculum successfully completed in 12 months), the student's progress will be reviewed by the Student Affairs Committee, who may then recommend to the Dean of Advising & Co-Curricular Programs that the student be required to withdraw. Reinstatement to the program is not automatic and will depend on evidence that a student will be able to make reasonable progress in subsequent work. An interview will be required before reinstatement. If a student withdraws from the program for any reason (academic or personal), she or he must meet with the Dean of Advising & Co-Curricular Programs staff and her or his departmental academic adviser or academic department head before reinstatement. They will make a recommendation to the Dean of Advising & Co-Curricular Programs concerning reinstatement.


3. If a student must repeat a passing course, both courses will appear on the permanent record and grades for both will be included in the cumulative grade point average.  Course credit will only be awarded once.