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University Bulletin: Undergraduate Programs The George Washington University  

 
   
 

COLUMBIAN COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES

Dean P. Barratt / B. Vinson III (as of August 2013)

Executive Associate Dean R.J. Guenther

Associate Deans R.K. Packer, G.M. Schulz, C.H. Sterling, D.H. Ullman, T.G. Wallace

Since its founding in 1821, Columbian College, the original college of liberal arts and sciences of The George Washington University, has been the cornerstone of the campus community. Columbian College of Arts and Sciences today houses all undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts and sciences, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

The rich and diverse arts and sciences curriculum is designed to strengthen the student’s ability to analyze the social, cultural, and physical environment and to communicate findings in an articulate fashion. These purposes are accomplished by means of the study of various disciplines within the humanities, the social sciences, and the mathematical and natural sciences.

Students may elect one of more than 50 departmental or interdisciplinary majors; they may also elect double majors or individualized degree programs. Dean’s Seminars constitute a set of courses available only to first-year Columbian College students; the seminars offer a focused introduction to issues of particular significance.

The College offers its undergraduates opportunities for pre-professional education in many fields and for internships in a stimulating urban environment.

The Bachelor’s Degrees

Columbian College offers undergraduate programs leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Fine Arts. In cooperation with the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, a seven-year integrated Bachelor of Arts/Doctor of Medicine is offered.

One hundred twenty hours of academic course work must be passed with a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.0. Note that some courses outside Columbian College (notably lifestyle, sport, and physical activity courses) do not count toward the 120-credit requirement. General education, major, and other requirements described below must be met.

Each student must declare a major during the sophomore year. A student will normally declare a major in the third full-time semester but not later than the registration period during the fourth full-time semester or the semester following completion of 45 credit hours, whichever comes first. A student may change the major with the consent of the dean and of the department or committee concerned; the student must meet the requirements for the new major in effect at the time the change is approved. At least 60 hours of course work must be taken outside the major-field department or major program (this does not apply to the Bachelor of Fine Arts curriculum).

Residence

Students must complete at least 60 of the total number of credit hours required for the degree at or through the University and must complete 45 of the final 60 hours in residence in the Columbian College, including at least 12 hours of upper-division course work in the major field. (Students who study abroad must complete 45 of their final 75 hours in residence. No more than 30 credit hours may be transferred through study abroad at institutions other than those affiliated with GW.) Nine of the final 15 hours must be completed in residence.

Students wishing to transfer from another division of the University into a degree program in Columbian College must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.0 at the time of their last completed semester before transfer. Courses applicable to the degree taken while registered in any division of GW in the semester or summer sessions immediately prior to admission to degree candidacy in Columbian College are counted as courses in residence.

Advising

Students have the responsibility for determining their schedules and meeting degree requirements. Freshmen entering Columbian College are assigned a professional academic advisor who will advise them through graduation. Once students declare their major, they are also advised by the faculty of their major department. Freshmen and transfer students who have not declared a major are required to meet with a professional advisor prior to registering each semester. A CCAS advising hold prevents registration until students who have not declared a major have consulted with their advisors.

Professional advisors are available year-round in the Office of Undergraduate Studies to discuss academic issues and for an accurate appraisal of procedural issues that may arise in any student’s program of study. Specialized advising is provided to students interested in health professions, law, and other graduate programs.

The Writing Center offers walk-in and by-appointment assistance. Personal counseling is available through the office of the Dean of Students, the Counseling Center, Disability Support Services, the Multicultural Student Services Office, and the International Services Office.

Students concerned about their academic performance should see their professors, their faculty advisor, and their professional advisor.

Academic Standing

A student who is not suspended or on probation is considered to be in good standing.

The following rules governing probation and suspension are applicable to students enrolled for a full-time program (12 credit hours or more) during the fall or spring semester. Students enrolled for fewer than 12 credits during the fall or spring semester and students enrolled during the summer sessions are subject to probation or suspension on the basis of their cumulative record, with a “semester” considered to be the time interval in which at least 12 credits have accrued.

Probation—A student whose cumulative grade-point average is below 2.0 but above 1.0 after attempting a minimum of 24 credit hours is placed on probation. The course load of a student on probation may be no more than 13 credit hours. A student returns to good standing if, after a first or second semester on probation, the cumulative grade-point average is raised to 2.0 or more.

Suspension—The following circumstances constitute grounds for suspension: (1) a cumulative grade-point average below 1.0 after attempting a minimum of 24 credit hours; (2) failure to attain a cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 or more after two successive full-time semesters (or 24 additional credit hours attempted) on probation. Suspension will take effect at the end of the second consecutive semester under 2.0 immediately following two semesters on probation.

Once suspended, students may not register for or complete any courses in any division at The George Washington University. Suspended students may apply for readmission following completion of the term of suspension. Final dates for applying for readmission are the same as those governing undergraduate admission (see Admissions). A suspended student seeking readmission cannot apply for readmission until he or she has been away from GW for at least one semester. To be considered for readmission, a student suspended for academic reason must complete at least 12 credit hours of course work in one semester at an accredited institution of higher learning and maintain at least a 3.0 grade-point average. A student suspended twice for poor scholarship will not be readmitted.

Semester Warning—A first-semester freshman whose cumulative grade-point average is less than 2.0 will be issued a warning notice at the end of the semester and will be required to take corrective measures (e.g., limitation of course load to no more than 13 credit hours).

Timely Progress Toward the Degree—Students who fail to make adequate and timely progress toward the degree, through repeated leaves or repeated failure to complete an appropriate number of credits per semester, may be dismissed from the University (see Right to Dismiss Students under University Regulations). Students dismissed on these grounds may apply for readmission after supplying sufficient evidence of academic promise.

Dean’s List—The name of any student who completes 15 credit hours or more of graded course work in any one semester and attains a semester grade-point average that places the student in the highest 20% of CCAS students, with no grades below B− and no grade of Incomplete or Unauthorized Withdrawal (Z), will be placed on the Dean’s List for that semester. A course taken on a Pass/No Pass basis beyond the 15-hour minimum does not affect the student’s eligibility for the Dean’s List, nor are the credit hours of such a course computed in the above figures. However, a grade of No Pass in a credit-bearing course disqualifies the student from the Dean’s List. Once established for a given semester, Dean’s List eligibility is not recomputed.

General Education Curriculum

The general education curriculum of Columbian College educates students to engage in active intellectual inquiry by developing analytical skills, communication skills, and diverse perspectives. Across a range of disciplines, students acquire enhanced analytic skills in quantitative and scientific reasoning and critical and creative thinking, along with a global and cross-cultural perspective, local/civic engagement, and effective communication skills. A full statement of the structure of the general education curriculum, including its more specific learning goals, is found on the Columbian College website.

General education requirements include 24 credits of approved analytic courses: 3 credits in mathematics or statistics—approved courses achieve learning goals for quantitative reasoning; 6 credits in natural and/or physical laboratory sciences—approved courses achieve learning goals for scientific reasoning; 6 credits in social sciences—approved courses achieve learning goals in quantitative, scientific, critical, or creative thinking; 6 credits in humanities and 3 credits in art (visual, performing, critical, and historical practices)—approved courses achieve learning goals in critical or creative thinking.

In addition, UW 1020 and two Writing in the Disciplines (WID) courses are required. One of the two WID courses may also count toward the 24 credits of analytic course work. UW 1020 must be passed before enrolling in the WID courses that are used to fulfill this requirement.

Of the analytic courses, students must take one that includes a global or cross-cultural perspective and one that includes local/civic engagement. Students must take one course that includes a component of oral communication; the course may fulfill an analytic, WID, or major requirement as well. Courses taken to fulfill any of the general education requirements may also be counted toward the major.

With some exceptions made for transfer students, courses fulfilling these requirements must be completed in residence at GW.

The Major

In order to declare a major, all students must receive academic guidance from a faculty advisor in the major department and submit a Declaration of Major form, signed by the major advisor, to the Office of Undergraduate Studies. The Declaration of Major form must be submitted no later than the registration period during the student’s fourth full-time semester or the semester following the completion of 45 credit hours (whichever comes first). No student is considered to have declared a major until this process is completed. Thereafter, the student receives academic guidance from a faculty advisor in the major department in order to register for all subsequent semesters. In most cases, filing of the approved declaration form assures the student of admission to the major declared; however, if space, equipment, or other requirements compel a department or major program to limit the number of students in that major, admission to the major may be on a selective or space-available basis. Majors with selective admission are communication, journalism and mass communication, political communication, and English and creative writing.

Major Fields

All fields listed below (except biological anthropology, biophysics, and statistics) may lead to the Bachelor of Arts degree; a Bachelor of Science degree may be elected in those fields indicated by an asterisk. In addition to the fields listed here, students may pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in interior design.

Africana Studies

American Studies

Anthropology

Arabic Studies

Archaeology

Art History

Art History and Fine Arts

*Biological Anthropology

*Biology

*Biophysics

*Chemistry

Chinese Language and Literature

Classical Studies

Communication

Criminal Justice

Dance

Dramatic Literature

*Economics

English

English and Creative Writing

Environmental Studies

Fine Arts

French Language, Literature, and Culture

Geography

*Geological Sciences

German Language and Literature

History

Human Services

Japanese Language and Literature

Journalism and Mass Communication

Judaic Studies

*Mathematics

Music

Organizational Sciences

Peace Studies

Philosophy

*Physics

Political Communication

Political Science

Psychology

Religion

Russian Language and Literature

Sociology

Spanish and Latin American Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Speech and Hearing Science

*Statistics

Theatre

Women’s Studies

Scholarship Performance in the Major

Majors are defined in terms of credit hours, required courses, and the attainment of grades no lower than C− in the minimum number of upper-division courses required in the major field. If a student receives a grade of D+, D, or D− in an upper-division course specifically required in the major, the major department or program may permit the course to satisfy a curricular requirement even though it will not count toward the minimum number of hours required for the major. However, the department or program may instead require the student to repeat the course until a satisfactory grade (C− or better) is earned. Once the student has completed the course with a satisfactory grade, credit hours earned the first time the course was taken will count toward the minimum number of hours required in the major. Credit earned for the repetition will not count toward the degree. The minimum specific requirements for majors are listed under the department concerned in Courses of Instruction. The chair of the department, or designated departmental advisor, should be consulted before registration concerning the student’s program of courses; the entire program, including electives, must be approved by the department. The student is also expected to consult a departmental advisor in all matters affecting the program of studies, such as changes, substitutions, withdrawals, or transfer of credit from other institutions.

Double Majors

Students who complete the requirements of two majors in Columbian College (such as mathematics and physics or history and economics) may graduate with a double major. Consult with advisors in the two departments concerned before officially declaring both majors on the Declaration of Major form available in the Office of Undergraduate Studies.

A Columbian College student may pursue a second major in the Elliott School of International Affairs or the School of Engineering and Applied Science, provided that permission to do so has been obtained from the appropriate administrative office of the Elliott School or SEAS. Students in the Elliott School or SEAS may also take a second major (excluding majors in communication, journalism and mass communication, political communication, English and creative writing, and special interdisciplinary programs) in Columbian College. Students wishing to pursue one of these options must request approval through the appropriate department and Columbian College’s Office of Undergraduate Studies. In all cases, students must complete the general education requirements and a major in their home school in order to graduate.

Double majors do not result in two degrees. See Double Majors and Double Degrees under University Regulations.

Special Interdisciplinary Programs

A student may propose a special interdisciplinary major program, in consultation with appropriate academic advisors. The proposed program must have valid and clearly defined academic goals to be considered for approval. Only students with a B average or better are eligible to propose a special interdisciplinary program. The proposal must be submitted for approval by the end of the fourth semester or the semester following completion of 45 credit hours (whichever comes first).

Approval of the proposed program rests with the Committee on Undergraduate Studies, which must also approve the proposed name of the program and the composition of the committee that will oversee it. At least 45 credit hours of the program must be completed in Columbian College. Because of the broad scope of an interdisciplinary program, it may not be part of a double major.

At the discretion of the committee overseeing the program, the student must either write an acceptable senior thesis or pass a comprehensive examination in the last semester of study toward the degree. Students may apply for Special Honors by registering for CCAS 4191. To be eligible, students must meet the requirements for Special Honors stated under University Regulations, must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.5, and must receive a Pass With Distinction from all members of the major committee on the final project or thesis.

Minors and Secondary Fields

Students who wish to familiarize themselves with a field outside their major may graduate with a minor in addition to the major. Not all Columbian College departments offer undergraduate minors; the requirements prescribed by those that do are listed under the department concerned. A student interested in a minor should consult a faculty advisor in the department concerned and declare both major and minor programs on the Declaration of Major form available in the Office of Undergraduate Studies. Students may pursue at most two majors.

At least one-half of the course work required for a minor must be done in residence. Grades of C− or better must be earned in upper-division courses, including such courses transferred as advanced standing from another institution. Courses passed with a grade below C− may be used to fulfill a minor field curricular requirement but may not be counted toward the total number of credit hours required for the minor.

When taken by a student enrolled at the University in a school other than Columbian College, such minors are referred to as secondary fields. The same curricular and scholarship requirements apply to secondary fields as to minors.

Minors are available in the following fields:

Africana Studies

American Studies

Applied Ethics

Arabic Studies

Archaeology

Art History

Art History and Fine Arts

Biological Anthropology

Biology

Chemistry

Chinese Language and Literature

Classical Studies

Communication

Creative Writing

Criminal Justice

Cross-Cultural Communication

Dance

Economics

English

Film Studies

Fine Arts

French Language, Literature, and Culture

General Anthropology

Geographic Information Systems

Geography

Geological Sciences

German Language and Literature

History

Human Services

Italian Language and Literature

Japanese Language and Literature

Jazz Studies

Journalism and Mass Communication

Judaic Studies

Korean Language and Literature

LGBT and Sexuality Studies

Linguistics

Logic

Mathematics

Mind–Brain Studies

Music

Organizational Communication

Organizational Sciences

Peace Studies

Philosophy

Physics

Political Science

Psychology

Religion

Russian Language and Literature

Sociocultural Anthropology

Sociology

Spanish and Latin American Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Speech and Hearing Science

Statistics

Theatre

Women’s Studies

Just as students enrolled at the University but outside the College may pursue Columbian College minors as secondary fields, such study is permitted Columbian College students in other schools of the University. Secondary fields are available in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Business, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the School of Public Health and Health Services, and the Elliott School of International Affairs. A secondary field in naval science and a University-wide minor in sustainability are offered as well. Columbian College students are limited in the number of hours they may take in courses outside the College (“professional credit” courses). Refer to Courses Outside Columbian College, below.

General CCAS Policies

Incompletes—Conditions under which the symbol I (Incomplete) may be assigned are described under University Regulations. In Columbian College, the conditions for granting a notation of I should be documented by a written contract between the faculty member and the student. Contracts must be on official Columbian College forms and a copy must be on file in the departmental office. A notation of Incomplete disqualifies the student for inclusion in the Dean’s List for the semester in which it is received.

Changing an Incomplete—Incomplete work must be completed as specified in the contract but no later than one calendar year from the last day of the examination period of the semester or summer session in which the symbol I was assigned. In cases of well-documented extenuating circumstances, an instructor and a student may jointly petition the dean for additional time in which to complete the work of the course. Such petitions should be submitted within a year of the assignment of the symbol I. When work for the course is completed, the grade earned will be indicated in the form of I, followed by the grade. The indication of I cannot be removed from the transcript. An Incomplete that is not changed within this period automatically becomes an IF. The symbol I cannot be changed by reregistering for the course here or by taking its equivalent elsewhere.

Pass/No Pass Option—A junior or senior student in Columbian College who is in good standing may, with the approval of the instructor and the dean, take one course a semester for a grade of P, Pass, or NP, No Pass. No student will be allowed to take more than four pass/no pass courses under this regulation. The student may, however, also receive grades of P/NP in proseminars for certain majors and in other courses that are graded P/NP only. Courses required for the College’s general curriculum requirements or in the student’s major or minor field (including those courses required for the major that are offered by other departments) may not be taken on the pass/no pass basis. A transfer student may not choose this option until the second semester of enrollment in this University. Under no circumstances may a student change from pass/no pass status to graded status, or vice versa, after the end of the eighth week of class.

Preliminary Placement Examinations—All foreign language departments require students to take placement tests to determine the level of proficiency or eligibility for languages studied in high school. The student is placed in an appropriate course on the basis of these tests. Students may not register for a course other than that determined by the placement test without written permission of the language department. There is no charge to the student for placement tests, and no credit (advanced standing) is awarded for courses bypassed or waived as a result of these tests.

Students who wish to register in Math 1051, 1220, 1231, or 1252 are required, prior to registration, to take a placement examination or to have achieved indicated scores on an SAT subject test in mathematics.

Earning Credit by Examination—Assuming there is no duplication of course credit earned, a maximum of 24 credit hours may be assigned for any combination of the following:

College Board Advanced Placement Tests and International Baccalaureate Higher-Level Examinations—See Admissions. Credit may be granted for college-level courses taken in an approved secondary school if substantiated by satisfactory performance on these tests.

Special Departmental Examinations—Some departments in Columbian College offer a special examination covering the subject matter of a specific course. The student must offer evidence of sufficient background to have a reasonable command of the subject matter. Departments reserve the right to deny such requests. Assigning credit by special departmental examinations will depend on the department’s evaluation of the examination paper. These examinations will normally be of at least three hours’ duration. A fee is charged for preparation, administration, and grading of each course examination. Credit by special departmental examination is not permitted for the first two years of college-level courses in a native language other than English. A student who has previously taken examinations to waive course requirements may not subsequently take examinations for credit in the same courses.

Waiving Introductory Courses by Examination—Some departments in Columbian College offer periodic waiver examinations for introductory courses. Such examinations may be attempted at the option of the student; a fee is charged. Specific departments should be consulted for further details. Passing a waiver examination does not entitle a student to any credit toward the degree.

Courses Outside Columbian College—No more than 18 credit hours of courses in schools of the University other than Columbian College may count toward the 120 credits required for graduation with a bachelor’s degree in Columbian College. Pursuing a secondary field may increase the 18-hour limit, with prior permission of the dean of Columbian College. No credit toward the degree is allowed for lifestyle, sport, and physical activity courses. No more than 45 credit hours of courses completed by a student while in nondegree status may be applied toward a degree in Columbian College.

Naval Science—For information on naval science courses and the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, see Naval Science, under Courses of Instruction.

Academic Work Load—To encourage academic performance of high quality, the College limits the student’s work load. After the freshman year, a full-time student who is not on probation may take a course load of up to 19 credit hours. The 18th and all subsequent hours require additional tuition charges. A full-time student who, during the immediately preceding semester, has received no grades below B− and has earned grades of A or A− in three courses totaling at least 9 credit hours may take 21 credits. Students may not register for more than 21 credits without approval of the dean. The number of credits students on probation may take is determined by the Committee on Undergraduate Studies.

Earning an Additional Hour of Credit—In exceptional circumstances and with the prior approval in writing of the instructor and the dean, a student may register for and earn an additional hour of credit in certain appropriate upper- division courses within the College by doing a significant amount of extra work as assigned and supervised by the instructor.

Preparation for Medical School

A student who plans to apply to medical school fulfills the general requirements of Columbian College stated above and may select any major in Columbian College. Advice about academic preparation for medical school is provided by the health professions advisor in the Office of Undergraduate Studies. For admission to most medical schools, the student must have a minimum of 90 credit hours applicable toward a bachelor’s degree in an approved college of arts and sciences; the 90 hours must include:

Biology—8 credit hours, including laboratory. This may be either in general biology or zoology but may not include separately credited courses in botany.

Chemistry—8 credit hours of general inorganic chemistry (which may include qualitative analysis), including laboratory, and 8 credit hours of organic chemistry, including 2 hours of laboratory.

Physics—8 credit hours, including laboratory.

English—6 credit hours in the usual introductory English composition courses or their equivalents (fulfilled by the University Writing Program at GW).

Many medical schools have additional entrance requirements, which may include courses in biochemistry, genetics, and mathematics; even when such courses are not required, they are strongly recommended. With the exception of the specified requirements, applicants are urged to follow their personal interests in developing their course of study.

Seven-Year Integrated Bachelor of Arts/Doctor of Medicine—In addition to the early selection program described under the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, a seven-year integrated B.A./M.D. program has been designed for students of high ability and maturity who have decided, before applying to college, that they wish to become physicians and want to accomplish that goal in a shorter amount of time. Detailed information on this program is available through the College.

Preparation for Law School

Because a broad liberal education is the best undergraduate preparation for law school, Columbian College does not prescribe a prelegal curriculum. Advice about academic preparation for law school is provided by the pre-law advisor in the Office of Undergraduate Studies.

Second Bachelor’s Degree

Columbian College graduates who wish to receive a second bachelor’s degree following graduation must satisfy the general College requirements and the requirements of their new major and degree and must complete 30 hours in residence in Columbian College.

 

The George Washington University

© 2013 University Bulletin
The George Washington University All rights reserved.

Information in this bulletin is generally accurate as of fall 2012. The University reserves the right to change courses, programs, fees, and the academic calendar, or to make other changes deemed necessary or desirable, giving advance notice of change when possible.