Requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree
All students are required to earn a minimum number of credits in academic areas outside their majors. The academic areas in the Hopkins curriculum are humanities (H), natural sciences (N), social and behavioral sciences (S), quantitative and mathematical sciences (Q), and engineering (E). Students earn at least 30 credits in courses from areas outside their major area.
Area designators represent an association between the course and a broad field of knowledge. In general, courses offered in a particular department tend to reflect the intellectual traditions and approaches of the discipline embraced by the department. Courses with area designators are expected to do more than employ basic techniques, they are to advance knowledge and increase a student’s understanding of the theory. Courses that are teaching a basic skill, and therefore do not expose the student to modes of analysis and scholarship that represent the essence of a given discipline, will not be assigned an area designator. If taught within a Homewood academic department, the department is responsible for assigning area designators to their courses. Courses not offered through Homewood academic departments will be reviewed by the appropriate deans’ office to review proposed designators.
To assure that all students in the humanities or social sciences have some exposure to the sciences and math, at least 12 of the 30 credits required for distribution must be in N, Q, and/or E areas. Students in the natural sciences, quantitative studies, or engineering must earn at least 18-21 credits (6-7 courses of 3 credits each) in H and/or S areas.
The area designations of courses (H, S, N, Q, and E) are included in the course information in the JHU catalog and in the online schedule of classes. The area designation also appears beside the course title on a student’s academic record. When a course has more than one area designation (HS, EN, EQ, etc.), students may use only one of the designations to satisfy the distribution requirement.
In Arts and Sciences, courses taken for the distribution
requirement may be taken for a letter grade or for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory
credit. Courses passed with a letter grade of D or better, or passed
with a Satisfactory grade, may fulfill the distribution requirement.
For any student whose first-semester grades are covered under the current
first-semester grading policy, an earned D will satisfy the distribution
requirement even though the grade will appear as Unsatisfactory on the
In Engineering, each department determines whether or not the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading option will be permitted for courses used to satisfy the distribution requirement. However, for both AS and EN students, all Satisfactory grades earned in a student’s first college semester at JHU may satisfy the distribution requirement if they have the correct area designations.
Only courses or other credit-bearing opportunities with area designations may be used to satisfy the distribution requirement. Area designators are not assigned to the following:
Area designations can be assigned to courses taken elsewhere, to courses taken in other divisions of the university, or to graduate courses taken by undergraduates. These assignments are made by the appropriate deans’ office based on the course content and the recommendations of the faculty. The most useful criteria for determining an appropriate area designator will be the course description and a similar JHU departmental offering.
Writing-intensive courses are indicated by a “W” in the JHU
catalog and in the course schedule. An asterisk (*) denotes writing-intensive
courses on a student’s transcript. Courses taken to satisfy the
writing requirement must be taken for a letter grade and passed with
a grade of C- or better. Writing-intensive courses taken to satisfy the
requirements of a major or the distribution requirement may also count
toward the writing requirement.
All students in the School of Arts and Sciences and candidates for a
B.A. degree in the School of Engineering must complete 12 credits (four
courses) in writing-intensive courses. Candidates for a B.S. in Engineering
must complete 6 credits (two courses) in W courses.
Students who wish to receive writing-intensive
credit for a course taken at another college or university must obtain
written approval from Professor Kain. No more than 6 credits may be
transferred to meet the writing requirement. Students must have a grade
of B or higher in the course and must provide Professor Kain with the
Students in the School of Arts and Sciences who enter the university with SAT scores below 600 on the SAT writing test or the SAT verbal test are advised to take Introduction to Expository Writing (060.100) during the fall term of their first year.
of Credits Required for Graduation
Grade Point Average Required for Graduation
of Full-time Semesters Required for Graduation (Residence Requirement)
All transfer students must complete at least four semesters in residence
as a full-time student at JHU. In addition, transfer students are expected
to register as full-time students for the number of semesters that it
will take them to complete their degree requirements at the rate of approximately
15 credits per semester. For example, a transfer student who enters the
university with 30 transfer credits would be expected to be a full-time
student for six semesters at the university. Transfer students must be
in residence for at least two of their final four semesters, including
the final semester prior to graduation.
Students who study abroad during the fall or spring semesters are not considered to be in residence in the schools of Arts and Sciences or Engineering while abroad. Transfer students who plan to study abroad should be aware that they will have to complete at least four full-time semesters in residence at Homewood in addition to the time that they spend abroad.