Degree Requirements and Graduation
Upon admission, a student is a candidate for the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in the major for which he or she indicated a preference. Entering freshmen must fulfill all the requirements for graduation contained in the St. John Fisher University catalog in effect in the year in which they enter the University. Transfer students must fulfill the requirements for graduation in effect when their transfer credit is evaluated. If academic requirements change, students may choose any single subsequent catalog to satisfy their graduation requirements. University-wide policy changes (such as the Core) with specific implementation dates may be exceptions. It is the student’s responsibility to know and fulfill all the requirements for the declared degree and major.
Academic advice is offered to all students through freshman seminar, departmental and program advisors, as well as the Center for Career and Academic Planning. Ultimately, the final responsibility for knowing and meeting all graduation requirements rests solely with the student.
Students will be approved for graduation based on the degree requirements outlined in the University catalog they are following. Freshmen follow the catalog that is published in the fall semester they enter the University. Transfer students follow the catalog under which their transfer credits were evaluated. Note: Transfer students who enter in the fall semester follow requirements in the previous year’s catalog.
Catalog information is available in Fish ‘R’ Net, and, unless changed, the online degree evaluation will be based on the entering catalog. Students may stay with the catalog under which they entered the University or choose to follow any subsequent catalog in place while they are in attendance. A change in catalog is a serious decision since it will affect the major, minor, and degree requirements. Core Requirements will remain unchanged. A change of major, concentration or minor does not result in a change of catalog unless requested by the student. A request to change a student’s catalog must be made on the online Academic Program Change form submitted to the Center for Career and Academic Planning.
Students who are away from the University for more than four calendar years will be readmitted under the degree requirements outlined in the current University catalog. Readmitted students continue to follow the Core Requirements in effect during their first period of attendance.
Bachelor’s Degree Requirements
To earn a bachelor’s degree from St. John Fisher University, the student must:
- Complete a minimum of 120 credits and have no incomplete grades.
- Earn a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 for all courses taken in residence and for all courses taken in residence for the major and minor, unless otherwise specified.
- Satisfy the residency requirement by earning at least 30 credits at St. John Fisher University. At least 30 of the last 36 credits must be earned in residence, unless waived in individual cases by the Academic Standing Committee. In addition to credit hours earned at St. John Fisher University, credits earned in approved study abroad programs will be considered in residence. Credits earned through St. John Fisher University’s Credit by Examination are considered in residence.
- Satisfy the degree requirements of the declared major. At least one-half of the required credits in the major must be completed in residence unless this requirement is waived in writing by the department chair and the provost or his designee.
- Complete the appropriate Core Requirements. Core requirements are determined by the semester that a student begins study at St. John Fisher University and not by the catalog that a student may be following.
- Freshmen who enter the University in the fall of 2020 or after, and transfers who enter the University in the spring of 2021 or after, and who are pursuing B.A. degrees, must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language at the 112 level. See Language Proficiency Requirement below.
- Complete the courses required for the declared minor. A minor is required in all B.A. degree programs.
- File an Application for Graduation. Students who qualify for graduation must notify the Registrar’s Office by completing the online graduation application. Submission of this form initiates an administrative process in which the student’s record is reviewed with regard to program requirements for graduation and potential difficulties. Notification of the availability of the online application will be sent to students using their Fisher email accounts. Failure to apply on time may result in a delay in graduation. St. John Fisher University confers degrees three times per year, in May, August, and December.
Note: A student who has been certified as a graduate will be allowed to remain in attendance at St. John Fisher University in matriculated status only if pursuing a second degree.
Liberal Arts and Sciences Requirements
The Board of Regents of the State of New York has established minimal credit requirements in the liberal arts and sciences for the bachelor’s degree:
- At least 90 of the credits for the B.A. degree must be in the liberal arts and sciences.
- At least 60 of the credits for the B.S. degree must be in the liberal arts and sciences.
At St. John Fisher University, the following courses are not considered to be in the liberal arts and sciences: accounting, accounting law, cybersecurity, finance, human resources, management, marketing, nursing, education, as well as certain computer science, interdisciplinary, criminology and criminal justice, and sport management courses. Certain courses transferred to Fisher in other disciplines, such as arts, communication, and computer science may not be accepted as liberal arts courses; consult with the Registrar’s Office in doubtful cases.
All B.A. candidates, including transfer students, must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English at a level equivalent to one academic year of college-level language instruction. This level of proficiency provides basic communication skills in a second language as well as knowledge of the cultures connected to the language.
Students are strongly advised to complete this requirement during their first year at Fisher to avoid problems with retention of language structures.
Students may fulfill this requirement by choosing one of the following options:
- Complete with a “C” or better Elementary II (112), or above, in a language other than English offered at Fisher.
- Complete with a “C” or better the equivalent of a second semester course in a language other than English at another college or university.
- Complete with a “C” or better the equivalent of a second semester course in a language other than English through a study abroad program approved by Fisher.
- Score the equivalent of the second semester level on the University’s Language Placement/Proficiency Exam page. No credit is awarded for taking this exam. Fisher also offers its own Credit by Examination through individual academic departments.
- Achieve a qualifying score on a related Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), College Level Exam Program (CLEP) exam or other credit-by-examination sources accepted by Fisher. Consult the AP, IB, and CLEP Scores page or contact the Registrar’s Office for further information.
- Achieve a qualifying score on an approved language proficiency test through ACTFL. Contact the modern languages and cultures department chair for specific information on this.
Students who have achieved proficiency in a language are encouraged to pursue a minor or major in languages, or to study a new language.
Students may receive degrees in two distinct academic disciplines. Official recognition of such dual degrees will be made on the transcript of a student who has met all the requirements set by the two academic departments and the liberal arts requirements for each degree as established by the State of New York. In addition, a student desiring to obtain dual degrees will be required to complete a minimum of 30 credits beyond the credits used for the first degree. In the case of a student pursuing both a B.A. and a B.S. degree, the minor required for the B.A. degree may not be in the discipline of the major for the B.S. degree. In the case of a student pursuing two B.A. degrees, a minor is required for each degree. The two minors must be in separate fields and distinct from either major.
Students certified as graduates who have consistently maintained a high average and have successfully completed all requirements for the bachelor’s degree will have the degree awarded cum laude (with honors). To be considered for such honors, a student must have earned at least 54 credits (in addition to credits earned S/U) in residence. Courses which are only graded S/U may be counted as part of the 54 credits required to be taken “for grade” in the determination of graduation with honors as long as the course fulfills a major requirement.
- Students who have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 and have taken at least 54 credits at St. John Fisher University, as noted above, will be awarded the bachelor’s degree, cum laude.
- Students who have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.70 and have taken at least 54 credits at St. John Fisher University, as noted above, will be awarded the bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude.
- Students who have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.85 and have taken at least 54 credits at St. John Fisher University, as noted above, will be awarded the bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude.
Participating in Commencement
August and December potential graduates who will need no more than fifteen credits to complete their degrees may request permission to attend the May commencement ceremony. Students allowed to participate in the May commencement ceremony who have not completed all graduation requirements are noted on the commencement program with an asterisk (*) and are not eligible for Latin Honors until their requirements are completed. For those students who complete their graduation requirements after the commencement ceremony, the official date of graduation noted on the diploma and all official University records will be the graduation date at the end of the semester in which the student completes requirements.
If a student is more than 15 credits away from completing graduation requirements, the student may petition the Committee on Academic Standing to participate in the commencement ceremony. A student whose appeal is approved by the Committee after the commencement program has been published will not have a name printed in the program, but the student may still participate in Commencement. A student may participate in the undergraduate commencement ceremony only once.
Extended Absence from the University
A student who is away from the University for more than four calendar years from the semester of last attendance will be held to the degree requirements in place at the time of the student’s return to St. John Fisher University. Upon return to the University, the student’s previous coursework will be evaluated by the appropriate department chair. Depending upon the age of prior credit, the chair may require that some or all coursework be repeated.
Attending Fisher After Degree Completion
Earning a Second Degree
Individuals who have already earned a bachelor’s degree from St. John Fisher University or from another institution may apply for admission to pursue a second degree. This second degree must be in a discipline that is distinct from the major of the first degree. For example: a first degree in English with a second degree in history would be appropriate. A first degree in English with a second degree in English with adolescence education would not be appropriate. Pursuit of a second degree qualifies for matriculated status, and the student is eligible for federal and state financial aid.
Completion of the requirements for the second degree requires that the student:
- Earn a minimum of 30 credits beyond the credits earned for the first degree.*
- Complete at least half of the credits for the major at St. John Fisher University.
- Satisfy the residency requirement for the second degree.**
- Satisfy the liberal arts and science requirements (90 credits for the B.A., 60 credits for the B.S.) for the second degree.***
If the first degree was a B.S. from Fisher or any degree from another institution, and the second degree is a B.A., the student must satisfy the requirement of completing a minor in another discipline. This minor may not be in the same field as the first major or a minor that was part of the first degree. The coursework to complete the minor may be coursework taken as part of the first degree.
*Example: If the first degree was awarded with 126 credits, the minimum necessary for awarding the second degree is 156.
**If only 30 credits are required for the second degree, all 30 must be taken at St. John Fisher University. If more than 30 additional credits are required, then 30 of the last 36 credits for the second degree must be completed at St. John Fisher University.
***Students pursuing a second degree are exempted from the Fisher Core.
When the requirements are completed, the second degree is awarded and noted on the official transcript with a distinct award date. If qualified, based on the cumulative GPA, the second degree may be awarded with honors. The student must apply for graduation according to the published deadlines. A second diploma is issued.
Earning an Additional Major after Graduation
Individuals who have completed a bachelor’s degree at St. John Fisher University may return to complete the requirements for a second major. Pursuit of a second major does not qualify for matriculated status and therefore the student is not eligible for any financial aid. The decision to pursue a second undergraduate major should be carefully weighed against the benefits of pursuing this new field of study at the graduate level.
Completion of the requirements for an additional major requires that students complete at least half of the credits for the major at St. John Fisher University and as outlined in the catalog in force at the time they return to the University. When the requirements are completed, the second major is noted on the official transcript with a statement indicating the date on which the requirements were completed.
At the point in time when the requirements are completed, it is the responsibility of the student to inform the Registrar’s Office so that completion may be noted on the student’s transcript.