Academic Policies

Murphy Demming Dedication Dinner

Academic Requirements for the Bachelor’s Degree

Each student must complete all three of the following: (1) General requirements for the bachelor’s degree, described below; (2) Requirements for one major, found in the Undergraduate Course Descriptions section, or an Independent Major found under Academic Rules for Student-Designed Coursework in the following section; (3) Electives to complete the 126 semester hours required for the degree, chosen from all courses offered, within the limits stated below.

Required Credit Hours and Grade Point Average

The following are the requirements for all bachelor’s degrees:

  • a minimum of 126 semester hours
  • a maximum of 7 semester hours in physical and health education and a maximum of 15 semester hours in internships
  • a maximum of 6 semester hours of graduate-level coursework (unless admitted into a joint bachelor’s-master’s program, in which case addition credits are allowed, and additional charges will apply)
  • Cumulative, un-rounded GPA of at least 2.0 overall
  • Cumulative, un-rounded GPA of at least 2.0 in the major
  • A minimum of 18 semester hours in the major, including the senior project, taken at Mary Baldwin University
  • A minimum of 63 total semester hours taken at Mary Baldwin for students in the College for Women; a minimum of 36 total semester hours taken at Mary Baldwin for students in the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs


Program Evaluation

Students are required to participate in official activities designed to assess the effectiveness of the academic program as a condition for graduation. These activities are required by government and accrediting organizations.

Common Curriculum Requirements

All students must complete the requirements of the Common Curriculum. For a list of courses that meet the Common Curriculum requirements, see the Common Curriculum Courses section of this catalog.

Note: The following Common Curriculum requirements apply to all matriculates from fall 2010 onward and replace the previous General Education and Core requirements. Students who matriculated prior to fall 2010 should consult their advisors, the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs, or the office of the registrar with questions.

Learning Outcome One

Demonstrate an understanding of the liberal arts and sciences through:

  • Six or more hours (from two disciplines) of the humanities and history from the list of courses designated ‘H’
  • Six or more hours (from two disciplines) of the arts from the list of courses designated ‘A’
  • Six or more hours (from two disciplines) of the social sciences from the list of courses designated ‘S’
  • Six or more hours (from two disciplines) of the natural sciences from the list of courses designated ‘N’
  • Completion of at least one course with a thematic emphasis from the list of courses designated ‘T’


A liberal arts education provides students with the knowledge, context, and critical thinking abilities necessary for personal fulfillment and professional success in the 21st century. Students learn to weigh evidence, assess multiple perspectives and interpretations, and approach new ideas analytically. Students learn how different disciplines address common issues and become better equipped for participation in civic life. Liberal arts and sciences coursework consists of both a broad sampling of different disciplines and opportunities for cross-disciplinary exploration of important questions, problems, and challenges.

Learning Outcome Two

Demonstrate an understanding of the self in relationship to the broader community through:

  • Six or more hours of coursework emphasizing engagement with diverse cultures in a global context. Either six hours of a single modern foreign language (‘F’) or six hours of coursework designated “International” (‘I’) in two different disciplines or a combination of “International” courses and qualifying study abroad adding to six hours.
  • Three or more hours of coursework emphasizing the role of race and ethnicity in America from the list of courses designated ‘D’ (for ‘diversity’)
  • Three or more hours of coursework emphasizing the role of gender in shaping identity and culture from the list of courses designated ‘G’
  • One or more credit hour of community involvement credit from the list of courses designated ‘C’ (Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students may meet this requirement through a portfolio — please see your advisor)
  • Two or more credit hours of coursework emphasizing knowledge and practice of physical fitness and health from the list of courses designated ‘P’


A strong sense of identity and self-efficacy combined with an understanding of others serve as a prelude for positive contribution to society as well as ethical and effective leadership. College coursework and co-curricular activities provide students with opportunities to engage with human diversity. Areas of diversity include but are not limited to: gender, race and ethnicity, socio-economic status, religion, education, sexual orientation, and cultural and linguistic heritage. Students learn to encounter the diversity of human experience with respect and open-mindedness, while also gaining the ability to express themselves and their own values and beliefs creatively and with civility and clarity.

Learning Outcome Three

Demonstrate the capacity to make a positive impact on the world by acquiring effective skills and by addressing authentic issues and problems through:

  • Completion of ENG 102 or equivalent
  • Completion of six or more credit hours of writing emphasis coursework beyond ENG 102 or its equivalent from the list of courses designated ‘W’
  • Completion of three or more credit hours of oral communication emphasis coursework from the list of courses designated ‘O’
  • Completion of six or more credit hours of quantitative reasoning coursework from the list of courses designated ‘Q’
  • Completion of INT 103 or equivalent
  • Completion of three hours or more credit hours of coursework focused on research and information literacy from the list of courses designated ‘R’
  • Completion of three or more credit hours of coursework addressing authentic problems and issues in one’s area of academic emphasis (met through the senior requirement) from courses designated ‘M’ (for ‘major’)


Mary Baldwin College enables graduates to be “confident, compassionate change-makers” through the power of communication, investigation, and rational thought. Graduates use words and numbers fluently and accurately to communicate. They are able to access information and evaluate the credibility of sources. They construct solutions to challenges through the application of rational methods of analysis and give judicious consideration to the ethical dimensions of their actions.

Note: Common Curriculum courses may also count toward majors, minors, or certificates, when appropriate. For more information on rules and applicable courses, see the Mary Baldwin website or contact your advisor, the office of the registrar, or the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs office (for Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students).

Senior Requirement

All graduates must complete a senior requirement for a minimum of three and a maximum of six semester hours of credit. It will carry a letter grade. The senior requirement must be supervised and evaluated by full-time faculty in the discipline unless they approve some other method of supervision and evaluation. The purpose of the senior requirement is to serve as a context within which students may establish themselves as persons capable of independent scholarship on a significant level. Disciplines choose among the following options:

  • Write and defend (orally or in writing) a thesis reflecting scholarship and originality appropriate to the baccalaureate level of study.
  • Complete and report on a project that synthesizes learning and entails an application of that learning to a task or problem of major academic significance.
  • Produce and present a creative work or body of work, demonstrating mastery of a medium and an understanding of the creative problems and potential inherent in that work.
  • Participate in a special course designed to make the student synthesize and draw conclusions from the various methods and materials in the student’s field.
  • Develop an alternate method for the consideration and approval of faculty in the discipline.


Students must have a grade point average in the major equal to or greater than 2.0, or approval of major faculty, to register for the senior requirement. Except in the case of special courses that fulfill the senior requirement, the student should file and get approval of her senior requirement by faculty in the discipline by the end of the fall of her senior year. In the absence of special permission to the contrary, all senior requirements are supervised and evaluated by ranked teaching faculty at Mary Baldwin. Senior requirements are listed on the student’s transcript as Senior Requirement: (title) with grade. Senior requirements that, according to their majors’ guidelines, are deemed particularly meritorious are designated “With Distinction,” and this achievement is noted on the transcript and diploma.

Bachelor of Science Degree — Additional Requirements

Each discipline may elect to offer the Bachelor of Science. At a minimum, each discipline will require:

  • Six semester hours in mathematics at the 200-level or above
  • Three semester hours emphasizing quantitative reasoning/data analysis, and
  • At least two 200-level lab science courses


Note: Precise requirements will vary according to each major that has chosen to offer the BS and are noted in the Undergraduate Offerings section of this catalog.

Participation in Commencement Ceremony

A candidate for the baccalaureate degree may participate — or “walk” — in the May Commencement ceremony without having completed the degree if he/she satisfies four conditions:

  • No more than six credits remain after May Term
  • A cumulative GPA in the major and overall of at least 2.0
  • No outstanding financial obligations to the college or payment plan approved by the Business Office
  • The student has submitted a written plan or documented course registration to complete all requirements for graduation by the end of the following fall semester. Documentation must be accepted by the head of the student’s major department and academic administration no later than the Monday preceding Commencement.


The student’s transcript will not certify completion of the degree until all degree requirements have been met. No student may “walk” in more than one ceremony for a single degree. The Commencement program will designate students who are “walking.”

Modification of Requirement

A student who, in unusual circumstances, wishes to petition for an exception to the requirements listed above must submit a request, in writing, to the dean of the college no later than February 1 of the year in which the student expects to graduate. All waivers must be approved by the full faculty.

Academic Credit and Grading

Academic credit is expressed in semester hours (s.h.). A semester hour of credit is equivalent to one 50-minute period of class per week or one 150-minute laboratory session per week, for one semester.

Course Numbering

The following conventions apply to Mary Baldwin’s course numbering system:

100-level — introductory, generally no prerequisites
200-level — intermediate, may have prerequisites
300-level — major courses, generally have prerequisites
400-level — senior projects
500-level and above — graduate courses

Course Numerical Suffixes

These two-digit suffixes have specialized meaning beyond the course level:

77 colloquium offered on a one-time basis
80 teaching assistantship
87 internship
90 directed inquiry
97 CLEP credit in the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs only
98 portfolio credit in Baldwin Online and Adult Programs only
99 experimental course in Baldwin Online and Adult Programs only


The grading symbols used by the college are as follows:

A excellent
B very good
C competent
D minimum passing
F failing
NC no credit
P pass
EC credit by examination
I incomplete (temporary)
NR no grade reported (temporary)
ET extended time (temporary — Baldwin Online and Adult Programs only)
AU audit (satisfactory)
W withdrawn

Grade Point Equivalents

Grade point equivalents are as follows (there is no grade of A+):

A         4.0
A-        3.7
B+       3.3
B         3.0
B-        2.7
C+       2.3
C         2.0
C-        1.7
D+       1.3
D         1.0
D-        0.7

Grade point average is determined by dividing total grade points earned by the total semester hours credit attempted for a regular grade.

Grading Scale

A         93–100
A-        90–92
B+       87–89
B         83–86
B-        80–82
C+       77–79
C         73–76
C-        70–72
D+       67–69
D         63–66
D-        60–62 

Grade Changes

(Provisions in parentheses apply to Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students.)

Requests for grade changes will not be considered if initiated by students later than the first week of classes in the calendar term following distribution of the official grade which is being contested. (Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students must file grade appeals by the following deadlines: October 1 for summer courses, February 1 for fall courses, and July 1 for spring courses.)

A student with questions about a grade should first contact the course instructor to determine if there is an error. If so, the instructor must report the correct grade to the registrar (or to Baldwin Online and Adult Programs) immediately. If there is no error, and the student desires to contest the grade, the student must submit written reason(s) for the appeal to the dean of the college (or the dean of adult and graduate studies). The dean forms a hearing committee consisting of the dean, the registrar (or the student’s Baldwin Online and Adult Programs advisor), and two faculty members. The committee reviews the written appeal, hears statements from both the student and the instructor involved, and approves or disallows a change.

Repetition of Courses

Students may repeat a course in which a grade of D or NC or F was earned. Original grades are not removed from the permanent record, but in the case of D or F grades, the lower grade is removed from calculation of a cumulative grade point average. The original grade cannot be replaced by an NC. Repeat work can be done at Mary Baldwin or at another institution, subject to the guidelines for transfer of credit, and only if appropriate Mary Baldwin faculty certify that the transfer course is sufficiently similar to the Mary Baldwin course being repeated. Students will receive only credit for transfer work, not grade points. However, the D or F grade earned in the Mary Baldwin course will be removed from calculation of the Mary Baldwin cumulative grade point average.

Rules for Pass/No Credit (P/NC)

  • Courses taken P/NC are not included in the computation of grade point average.
  • A student may choose the Pass/No Credit option for up to four semester hours of credit during each of her first three academic years.
  • During the senior year a student may elect to take up to seven semester hours of credit on a P/NC basis, but the seven semester hours may not all be taken during the same semester.
  • Grades of A through D- are designated as Pass.
  • Students may change from the regular graded basis to P/NC or vice versa through the end of the withdrawal period, eight weeks for a two-term course.
  • Students may change a class from P/NC to regular grade through the last day of scheduled classes.
  • No more than five semester hours taken on a P/NC basis may be counted toward the completion of a major. No more than one course comprising the minor can be taken on a P/NC basis.
  • A course taken P/NC specifically to qualify for the BS is excluded from the five semester hour limit on P/NC courses in the major or minor.
  • All courses required by the instructor to be taken P/NC, including internships, are excluded from the above limits. All such courses are designated in the course description in the catalog.
  • All physical education classes may be taken for a grade or P/NC and are excluded from the above limits.


Rules for Grades of Incomplete and Extended Time

  • The temporary symbol of I may be given at the end of a course if, for reasons beyond her control, an MBCW student is unable to complete the course work. This policy also applies to Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students who are taking on-campus coursework.
  • An Incomplete may be given only with the approval of the dean or associate dean of the college and of the course instructor.
  • Incomplete work must be completed by the end of the next calendar term, that is, by the end of Term 3 for fall semester courses, and by the end of Term 1 for spring courses. In unusual circumstances, such as prolonged illness, with the approval of the instructor, the dean or associate dean of the college may extend the time.
  • If the work is not completed within the time specified, the registrar’s office will assign the grade awarded by the instructor based on the work completed to date.
  • Students taking Baldwin Online and Adult Programs coursework are eligible for the temporary symbol of ET (extended time) for Baldwin Online and Adult Programs coursework only, with the exception of courses taught through the College of Education, upon permission of their instructor, their academic advisor, and the director of the adult degree program and upon payment of an ET fee. ET work must be completed by the end of the following semester or a grade of F is assigned.


Rules for Examinations and Make-Up Exams

To receive credit for a course, a student must take the examination or its equivalent as prescribed for the course by the instructor. A scheduled examination may be postponed for reasons beyond the student’s control such as death in the family or illness. Approval for such postponement must be obtained from the instructor and the dean or associate dean of the college. Students who, for other than unavoidable reasons, miss an examination receive a grade of F or No Credit (NC) for the course unless, because of extenuating circumstances, they are given permission by the dean or associate dean of the college to make up the examination. All postponed examinations must be rescheduled and taken at the earliest practical date. Students involved must make these arrangements with the dean or associate dean of the college and the course instructor. Failure to make such arrangements will be considered grounds for a grade of F or NC for the course.

Auditing Courses

Students may audit courses; neither grade nor credit is awarded. Auditors should observe the following standards:

  • Permission of the registrar and the instructor of the course must be secured before the end of the first week of class.
  • Minimum attendance of approximately 75 percent of class meetings;
  • Reading assignments and class participation to the satisfaction of the instructor; exemption from papers, tests, examinations, or other written work.
  • Students who audit courses are, with the consent of the instructor and registrar, free to drop out at any time without penalty.


Academic Procedures

Add-Drop Procedure

  • To add or drop a course after initial registration, or to change a grading option, use an Add-Drop form, available from the registrar or Baldwin Online and Adult Programs Offices. A student may not add a course after the first week of classes. The student’s faculty advisor must sign the form.
  • To register for Baldwin Online and Adult Programs courses during fall or spring terms, MBCW students must have junior status and a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better. The student must secure the approval of the advisor and the dean or associate dean of the college on the appropriate form, available in the registrar’s office.
  • Drops completed during the first week of each term do not appear on a student’s record.
  • A student may drop a course at any time through the eighth week of a two-term course and the third week of a one-term course. Drops completed after the first week, but before the end of the drop period, are designated by the instructor as Withdrawals and the designation W appears on the grade reports and permanent transcript. Marks of W do not affect grade point average.
  • For any course dropped after the end of the drop period, the student will receive a grade of F, which affects grade point average, or NC, which does not affect grade point average.
  • MBCW students may drop courses for documented medical or providential reasons at any time upon approval by the dean or associate dean of the college. They will be awarded grades of W.
  • Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students may drop courses or tutorials, and receive grades of W, upon approval of the director or dean of adult and graduate studies.
  • During May Term, a student may add classes only through the first day of classes. Courses dropped on the first day will not appear on the transcript. Students may withdraw from a May Term course through the sixth day of classes in May Term, receiving a mark of W. The student may change grading option up through the sixth class day.


Declaration of Majors and Minors

Students are allowed to declare a major at the end of their freshman year. They are expected to do so by the beginning of the junior year. The Major/Minor Declaration form, obtainable from the office of the registrar, is used for this purpose. Appropriate faculty signatures are required. Faculty approval is not needed to declare a major; the signatures are required to encourage students to learn all they can about their prospective majors before declaring. A minor may be declared only after the student has declared a major. The Major/Minor Declaration form is used for this purpose and filed in the office of the registrar.

Defined Majors are listed at the beginning of this Academic Policies Section. They have required courses of study, found in this catalog in the Undergraduate Course Descriptions. Defined majors must consist of at least 33 semester hours. For Independent Majors see Academic Policies for Student-Designed Coursework.

Double Majors: Students declaring a double major must fulfill all the requirements of each major separately, including separate senior requirements. Double majors may be any combination of defined and independent majors.

Minors: Each minor must require at least 18 semester hours. No more than six semester hours may be applied to both a major and a minor (extended to eight semester hours if there are only two courses) or to two or more minors. To earn a minor, the student must have a 2.0 GPA in the minor course of study. At least nine hours applicable to the minor must be earned in work completed at Mary Baldwin.

Changing Majors and Minors may be done by completing the appropriate section of the Major/Minor Declaration Form and filing it in the Office of the Registrar.

Overloads and Credit Load Limits

  • Academic load limits for full-time students are shown in the chart below.
  • Enrollment in more than 18 semester hours per semester (unless the enrollment is for only five courses) constitutes an overload. Overload fees will apply above 20 hours to all courses except fee-based applied music.
  • No student may enroll for more than 24 semester hours in a semester, or in more than one academic course during May Term except in the case of certain May-term study abroad courses.
  • Overloads must be approved by the student’s advisor and the dean or associate dean of the college using forms available in the registrar’s office.
  • Students with cumulative GPA above 3.5 can register during the regular registration period.


Academic Period Normal Load (s.h.) Minimum Full-Time Load (s.h.) Maximum Full-Time Load (s.h.)
Fall Semester 15 12 18
Spring Semester 15 12 18
May Term* 3 3 5
Summer (optional) 10
Full-Year Total 33 27 40

Note: Normal progress toward graduation is based on participation in two May Terms during a four year career.

Transfer of Credit

Credit may be transferred for courses completed at other institutions that are accredited by regional accrediting agencies or the American Association for Liberal Education. The course must be identifiable with Mary Baldwin’s liberal arts curriculum. The college considers the transfer of credit for military training based on official American Council on Education transcripts on a case by case basis. Courses with grades below C- are not accepted. Course work done under Pass/No Credit and similar options is not accepted. Grade points or their equivalent will not be transferred.

If a transferable course taken at another institution is deemed to be equivalent to an Mary Baldwin course in which the student previously earned a D or F, the effect of the Mary Baldwin grade will be removed from the student’s cumulative GPA. Appropriate Mary Baldwin faculty must certify the general equivalence of the transfer course. It is the student’s responsibility to furnish whatever evidence the certifying faculty may find sufficient.

No more than 63 semester hours of transfer credit (90 for Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students) can be counted toward the graduation requirement. No more than 10 semester hours may be transferred during any one summer program without the approval of the dean or associate dean of the college.

Credit earned at other institutions in programs sponsored or cosponsored by Mary Baldwin is not transfer credit — e.g., Seven College Consortium, Oxford Program, etc.

GPA Amnesty
GPA policy for students returning to Mary Baldwin after at least five years

A Mary Baldwin University undergraduate who has left the college without completing a bachelor’s degree and is accepted into RCW or the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs has the option to treat their former Mary Baldwin work as transfer credit.

A student may use this upon reacceptance to Mary Baldwin after five years of academic inactivity.* The student must notify his/her advisor in writing before the first day of the semester to which they return. The request must be approved by the registrar of the college or Baldwin Online and Adult Programs director. After completing a semester or summer earning at least six semester hours with a term GPA of at least 2.0, the student’s GPA prior to their readmittance would return to zero and any prior courses in which the student received less than a ‘C-’ would be removed from the calculation of cumulative GPA on the transcript. Further, prior Mary Baldwin coursework converted to transfer credit under this policy will be treated like any other transfer credit and cannot be counted toward the fulfillment of the minimum Mary Baldwin hours required for graduation.

Students may only use this option one time while they are an undergraduate at Mary Baldwin University.

* Academic inactivity is defined as adding no additional academic work to the Mary Baldwin transcript for five calendar years of 12 months from the date of last entry of credit.


Voluntary Withdrawal: Students in the College for Women who withdraw from the college must reapply through the Office of Admissions. Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students “stop-out” and “re-activate” through the program office. In either case, students are subject to the catalog and college requirements applicable to the student’s class at the time of re-entry. In all cases of withdrawals, please refer to the Credit and Refund Policy listing in the Tuition section this academic catalog for information regarding financial arrangements. Students withdrawing from the college must depart the Mary Baldwin campus within 48 hours of the official date of withdrawal.

Financial or Personal Withdrawals: Students may voluntarily withdraw for financial, medical, or personal reasons. The student should complete a Withdrawal Form, an exit interview, and an appointment with the financial aid and business offices.

Counseled Withdrawal: A student may request and be granted a counseled withdrawal from the college. If, in the judgment of both the dean of the college and the dean of students or designee, it is either in the student’s best interest or the best interest of the college, a student will be granted a counseled withdrawal. A Withdrawal Form should be completed and an exit interview held. In addition, an appointment must be held with the financial aid and the business offices of the college.

Disciplinary Withdrawal: Students may be required to withdraw from the college for disciplinary reasons, having been served a major penalty by the Honor Council, Judicial Board, or administration. With the approval of the dean of the college, an instructor may require that a disruptive student withdraw from an individual class.

Academic Withdrawal: Students may be required to withdraw from the college for academic reasons under the requirements for suspension or dismissal. If a student is on academic deficiency status at the time of withdrawal, that status will apply if the student should subsequently return to the college.

Effect of Withdrawal, Suspension, or Dismissal: When students withdraw or are suspended or dismissed, all outstanding temporary grades (NR or I) will be converted to permanent grades based on the instructors’ assessments of work completed as of the date of withdrawal. Current work in progress will be dropped or changed to W (withdrawal), depending on the effective date of withdrawal. Students who are completing off-campus will be withdrawn after their Mary Baldwin academic record has been inactive for one calendar year from the last additions to the academic record.

Leaves of Absence

Students may arrange a Leave of Absence by applying to the Student Affairs Office. A student on leave may return to Mary Baldwin University at the end of the stated period without reapplying through Admissions. Upon re-entry, the student continues under the graduation requirements in effect at the time of original entry. Only one leave of up to two consecutive semesters will be granted. Leaves of absence are not granted in the last two weeks of the semester. A student who does not return at the end of the agreed leave period must reapply through Admissions. Such a student must meet the criteria of the Office of Admissions and is subject to the catalog and college requirements in effect at time of re-entry. At the time the leave of absence is granted, all academic work in progress is given a final grade, including W (withdrawal), as appropriate. The student is neither allowed to finish “incompletes” while on leave of absence nor to enroll in new Mary Baldwin credit work. In all cases of leaves of absence, please refer to the Credit and Refund Policy section of this academic catalog for information regarding financial arrangements. Students leaving the college must depart the Mary Baldwin campus within 48 hours of the official date of leave.

Counseled Leave: In certain circumstances, the Student Affairs Office may set conditions that must be met during the leave of absence in order for the student to return. In such a case, the student may be required to furnish information concerning those conditions for review by the Office of Student Affairs prior to her reentry to the college.

Medical Leave: A student may be granted a leave of absence for medical reasons. In order to obtain such a leave, the student must get certification from an attending physician and present it and the request for leave to the Student Affairs Office for evaluation by the college physician. In order for a student to return from medical leave, the attending physician must submit to the Student Affairs Office a statement certifying that the student is mentally and/or physically able to resume classes at the college. A student who is on academic deficiency status at the time she begins a leave of absence will continue on that status upon her return. A student who does not return at the end of the agreed leave period must reapply through Admissions. Such a student must meet the criteria of the Office of Admissions and will be subject to the catalog and college requirements in effect at time of re-entry.

Academic Policies for Student-Designed Coursework

Students have many options for tailoring their study to fit their needs. Among them are independent majors; minors, particularly interdisciplinary minors; pre-professional preparation through internships and community-based learning; directed inquiries (independent study); teaching assistantships; consortium exchange with other colleges; and cooperative programs that offer dual degrees (bachelor’s and master’s) and majors not offered at Mary Baldwin. For more information not detailed below or in the General Information section of this catalog, please see your academic advisor or contact the Registrar’s Office.

Independent Majors

Students, in consultation with their advisors, may design their own majors. Independent majors are formed by combining courses from two or more disciplines to meet a student’s academic interests or to provide preparation for a career. The following general rules apply to all independent majors:

  • The independent major must consist of at least 36 semester hours.
  • The senior academic requirement consists of the writing and defense of a thesis or the completion of a project, study, or experiment. This work must demonstrate an integration of the bodies of knowledge and approaches the independent major combines.
  • Independent majors must be approved by the coordinator for interdisciplinary studies or the dean of adult and graduate studies in the case of Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students.
  • In the case of independent majors, the senior requirement approval and evaluation process will include appropriate representation from faculty in the relevant areas.
  • The proposal for an independent major must have a coherent plan and must be accompanied by a written statement of purpose. The appropriate form may be obtained in the registrar’s or Baldwin Online and Adult Programs office and must be filed with appropriate signatures at time of declaration of major.
  • The Major/Minor Declaration form, with the completed independent major form, should be filed in the registrar’s or Baldwin Online and Adult Programs office at the close of the student’s sophomore year, but it must be filed no later than the first day of classes of the student’s final semester.
  • A maximum of 24 semester hours in one discipline can be counted toward the independent major.
  • At least one of the disciplines involved must offer a major.
  • The independent major cannot be a variation of an existing major.


Directed Inquiries/Learning Contracts

Students are encouraged to work with faculty to design individual, nontraditional courses of study. To this end, most disciplines offer directed inquiries (learning contracts for Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students) and, to advanced students, teaching assistantships. For College for Women students, directed inquiries (DIs) can be supervised only by full-time faculty and can be taken only by full-time students. To register, the student must submit special forms to the Office of the Registrar or the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs Office. Forms are available in the registrar’s office. Students do not normally take more than one directed inquiry per semester. They should have a C average. Freshmen do not take directed inquiries except in special cases. If a directed inquiry substitutes for an existing course below the 300-level, the DI is designated 290; if it substitutes for a 300-level course, it is designated 390. If a directed inquiry does not substitute for an existing course, the instructor determines the appropriate level based on content. Any exceptions to those policies must be approved by the dean of the college.

Internships and Experiential Learning

Internships and other forms of experiential learning provide students with practical experiences in working with professionals in various career fields, and therefore are valuable testing grounds for possible future careers. Faculty may suggest opportunities; students may discover possibilities themselves; and the Spencer Center and Rosemarie Sena Center also can help. Normally students must be in good academic standing in order to engage in an internship. A student must complete the internship application prior to beginning the internship, including all necessary approvals. Failure to follow this process may result in not receiving credit for the experience.

Internship credit is added to a student’s record the semester in which it is completed. In all cases, academic credit is awarded for experiential learning only if the experience produces work that can be evaluated by the supervising professor. Unless otherwise specified by the discipline, all internships are taken on a Pass/No Credit basis. Students must do a minimum of 50 clock hours of work on-site to earn one semester hour of academic credit. No more than 15 semester hours of internship credit may be applied toward the graduation requirement of 126. A student may not register for an internship after the fact unless that internship was arranged with the supervising professor prior to the commencement of work on site.

The student may register for experiential work as either a pre-professional experience or as a general career exploratory experience. A pre-professional level internship is designated EXPL 387, where EXPL is the acronym for the discipline (e.g., BIOL 387). A career exploratory internship is designated EXPL 287. Internships at the 387 level count toward the major requirements Internships at the 287 level may apply to the major at the discretion of the faculty in the major discipline.

Students who are off-campus due to participation in experiential learning must assume responsibility for any additional costs of housing, meals, and transportation. Further information about internships may be obtained from the Rosemarie Sena Center.

Summer Study

During the summer break, students in the College for Women may enroll in courses offered online, during Baldwin Online and Adult Programs Summer Week on campus, in Mary Baldwin Regional Centers, and in directed inquiries and internships that require direct supervision by Mary Baldwin on-campus faculty. Students are billed separately for summer courses and must abide by the policies and deadlines of the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs.

Teaching Assistantships

During any term, qualified students may assist in the instruction of courses with the approval of the professor in charge. Tasks involve preparation of class materials, tutoring, teaching, and/or research. To register for Teaching Assistantship 380, students must submit an application form, available from the registrar’s office. Credit for teaching assistantships is based on a minimum of 39 clock hours of work for each hour of credit. Students must have taken the course in which they are assisting or its equivalent.

Academic Standards

Academic Classification Standards/Satisfactory Progress

Academic classification after the freshman year is defined as a level of academic accomplishment in terms of semester hours earned.

To Achieve Standing As:
Minimum Semester Hours Required:
Sophomore 27
Junior 58
Senior 90

Academic Honors

Honors and Dean’s Lists: To be eligible for the honors or Dean’s List — which are compiled at the end of each official grading period — a student must be a degree candidate and must have earned a minimum of 12 semester hours of credit for the preceding grading period. Of that total, at least nine semester hours must have been on a regular-graded basis. There can be no grades below C or incomplete or missing grades. Only work done with Mary Baldwin faculty is applicable. In addition to meeting the above requirements, the following grade point averages must have been attained during the preceding grading period: Honors List: 3.75 or better, Dean’s List: 3.50–3.74

Global Honors Scholars: A student who has achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher in at least 24 semester hours of graded work at Mary Baldwin University will be invited to apply to the Global Honors Scholars Program. Students accepted into the honors program are expected to pursue an Honors Degree (requirements listed below). Students may also enter the honors program as freshmen on the basis of SAT scores, overall high school records, written applications, and interviews. To continue in the program, all Global Honors Scholars are required to sustain their academic excellence. Freshmen must achieve a minimum 3.25 in the first semester, a 3.3 cumulative GPA after the second semester, a 3.4 after the third semester, and 3.5 cumulative GPA in subsequent semesters. All other Global Honors Scholars must maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA.

Honors Degree: The Honors Degree is awarded to a Global Honor Scholar upon successful completion of all phases of the Honors Program. Applications for candidacy for the Honors Degree must be submitted to the Honor Scholars Committee by November 1 of the student’s senior year (March 1 for January graduates). To be eligible as a candidate for the Honors Degree, a student must be designated as an Honor Scholar for at least three semesters, complete at least one year of foreign language courses and at least one lab science, currently hold a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher, and must have earned nine semester hours of Honors credit through Honors courses and/or Honors contracts. Upon application, the student must submit a proposal for an independent honors project or thesis. The project or thesis must be subject to close supervision of a faculty member and must be approved by an interdisciplinary examining committee. Final approval for award of the Honors Degree is made by the dean of the college on the recommendation of the Global Honors Scholars Committee. Students who complete an Honors Degree will have the citation “Honors Degree” inscribed on their diplomas.

Rank in Class is determined by grade point average. Grade points are given only for work done on the regular graded basis. The college does not officially rank students.

Senior Requirement with Distinction: Students whose work for the senior requirement shows exceptional merit as judged by the members of discipline(s) involved will have the citation “With Distinction” inscribed on their transcripts and diplomas.

Graduation with Latin Honors: The honors designations of summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude will be inscribed on the diplomas of students of outstanding achievement in accordance with criteria established by the faculty.

Students who have earned greater than or equal to 50 credit hours but less than 66 credit hours at Mary Baldwin:

  • Summa cum laude: Cumulative GPA greater than or equal to 3.94
  • Magna cum laude: Cumulative GPA greater than or equal to 3.88 but less than 3.94
  • Cum laude: Cumulative GPA greater than or equal to 3.7 but less than 3.88


Students who have earned 66 or more credit hours at Mary Baldwin:

  • Summa cum laude: Cumulative GPA greater than or equal to 3.9
  • Magna cum laude: Cumulative GPA greater than or equal to 3.8 but less than 3.9
  • Cum laude: Cumulative GPA greater than or equal to 3.6 but less than 3.8


Academic Probation

Students may be placed on academic probation if their GPA falls below the levels outlined below:

Minimum Cumulative GPA

Mid-year, first-time college students: 1.50

End of first year/freshman standing: 1.65

Sophomore standing: 1.75
(for all those other than students completing their first year)

Junior standing: 1.95

Senior standing: 2.00

Probation Procedures and Rules:

  • A student on probation (and dependent student’s parents, where applicable) is notified in writing of the improvements necessary
  • MBCW students on academic probation may take no more than 13 semester hours of credit in a semester, excluding May Term. Physical education is excluded from these limits.
  • Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students on academic probation may take no more than seven semester hours of credit in a semester, excluding physical education courses.
  • MBCW students on probation are required to meet with the dean of the college (or his/her designee) periodically to review progress and may be required to meet other special provisions.
  • Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students on probation may be required to consult with their advisor or meet other special provisions.


Academic Suspension and Dismissal

Students may be suspended if their GPAs fall below the standards listed below. Except as specified below, College for Women students must also have been on probation for one term immediately preceding suspension and have failed to meet the requirements outlined during the term of probation. Except as specified below, Baldwin Online and Adult Programs students must have been on academic probation for one full year without showing significant improvement. A student who is suspended may not re-enroll before a year has elapsed. After one year the student desiring to re-enroll must apply through the Admissions or Baldwin Online and Adult Programs office and must provide evidence that the problems that led to suspension have been mastered. Readmission is not automatic. Students may appeal a suspension decision and subsequent to a student’s appeal the college may, at its sole discretion, allow the student to return on probation.

Suspension Below Cumulative GPA:

End freshman year: 1.50

End sophomore year: 1.65

End junior year: 1.85

Immediate Suspension

Students whose semester GPA is 1.0 or below may be subject to immediate suspension, without having spent the usual period on probation. Such suspensions may be for one semester or a full year. This rule applies to students at all levels and in both the College for Women and Baldwin Online and Adult Programs.

Summary Suspension: Pending action of the Judicial Board, Honor Council, other administrative body, or civil courts, the status of a student should not be altered or her right to be present on campus and to attend classes suspended except for reasons relating to the safety and well-being of students, faculty, or college property. If such a threat to safety and well-being exists, the dean of students may summarily suspend the student until resolution by the appropriate body is achieved.

Dismissal: A student readmitted following a suspension will be dismissed if the student’s work requires academic probation and the student has made unacceptable progress toward raising her GPA to the required levels. Dismissal means that Mary Baldwin University will not consider the student for readmission.