Requirements for Graduation

Academic Catalog: 2020–2021

General Requirements

  1. Successful completion of 34 courses or the equivalent.
  2. Within these 34 course credits, students will complete at least two full-credit January Term (JAN) course credits during the January Interims. Transfer students admitted with advanced standing are also required to complete two JAN course credits.
  3. Two years (17 courses minimum) are required in residence, including the senior year. The senior year may be the last two semesters preceding the conferring of the degree or at least nine of the last 12 regular semester courses taken toward the degree. Exceptions to the senior year residency are made for students enrolled in Study Away Programs sponsored by the College and in cooperative programs with other institutions leading to a B.A. and professional degree. At least three courses of the 17 must be taken outside of the major department.
  4. Gustavus requires students to complete FOUR designated writing requirement courses from at least two different departments in order to graduate. Generally, one of the courses will be taken in the first year, typically in FTS or Three Crowns, and designated WRIT. Students then complete the writing requirement by taking three additional courses (WRITL and WRITD). At least one writing course must be designated WRITL.
  5. Completion of one course designated Quantitative Reasoning.
  6. Completion of one course designated Wellbeing.
  7. Completion of one course designated Global Affairs and Cultures and one course designated U.S. Identities and Differences.
  8. Completion of a Non-English Language Requirement. Students will complete two sequential courses of a non-English language at the college level.
  9. An approved major.
  10. A cumulative grade point average of 2.000 or higher. Each graded JAN course will be included in calculating the grade point average.
  11. All requirements from either the Challenge Curriculum or the integrative Three Crowns Curriculum.

Challenge Curriculum

The Challenge Curriculum course requirements are intended to ensure that each student has had a broadly based liberal arts education.

  1. First Term Seminar: As part of their first semester course schedule, Challenge Curriculum students entering Gustavus Adolphus College as first-year students enroll in one course designated FTS-100: First Term Seminar. The FTS is a small, discussion-based course that introduces students to skills and habits central to the liberal arts: critical thinking, writing, speaking, and recognizing and exploring question of values. The FTS professor will serve as the first-year academic advisor. Each FTS carries a WRIT (writing in the first year) designation. A list and description of FTS offerings is published for entering students before registration.
  2. Challenge Curriculum Distributive Areas Courses: Students completing the Challenge Curriculum must complete courses from each of the five designated general education areas. No more than two courses from the same department may be counted. A Challenge Curriculum course teaches the principles of a particular domain of study, provides its context, questions the values of that domain, and builds bridges towards other disciplines.
    1. Arts (ARTSC) The arts expand our capacity for imaginative, interpretive and empathetic engagement in society, and develops the innovative thinking essential for addressing the challenges of our time. Courses in this area provide students with intellectual, embodied and practical experiences that open new paths to understanding and interpreting themselves and the world they inhabit. Through engagement and immersion in the creative process, students learn how the arts historically represent, reinforce, and/or critique culture. Students also learn crucial interpersonal and organizational skills such as critical thinking, leadership, creative research and problem solving, strategies for collaboration, intercultural communication, attention to detail, discipline, and community engagement.
    2. Humanities (HUMN) The humanities examine the question of what it means to be human through the study of artistic and literary expression, history, language, philosophy, rhetoric, and religion. They equip us to understand and evaluate human thought, culture, and history, and the ways in which human beings construct meaning from experience. They offer us an opportunity to reflect on what makes a purposeful life in the wider world.
    3. Natural Science (NTSCI) Humans are a component of the natural world, which includes quantum particles, molecules, plants, rocks, ecosystems, etc., and the forces that act upon them. Science is the concerted human effort to pursue better explanations about the natural world based on systematic evaluation of physical evidence. This process of discovery allows us to link isolated facts into a coherent and comprehensive web of knowledge. Scientists are inherently curious and crave to understand the world around us. They make predictions based on past experience, investigate, and exchange their understanding with others. In natural science courses, students will examine scientific questions with a variety of methods and tools, including hands-on work in a laboratory setting and the communication of findings.
    4. Human Behavior and Social Institutions (HBSI) Human Behavior and Social Institutions courses rely on empirical data (quantitative and qualitative) to generate and answer questions, such as: Why do humans behave and think as they do? How do social institutions form and function? How do humans and institutions interact? They also develop theories that contribute to an understanding of individual and group behavior in various contexts.
    5. Theological Studies (THEOL) In Theological Studies courses, students will critically analyze the religious beliefs and ethical commitments of Christians as well as those adherents of at least one other religious tradition, and consider how those traditions have engaged politics, culture, and society. Courses in this area consider how religious people think about God and the world and how beliefs, texts, practices, and ethics relate to each other and to their cultural contexts. Because the academic study of theology is interdisciplinary in nature and interactive with the human arts and sciences, courses in this area may include approaches from multiple disciplines including religious studies, history, philosophy, and social sciences. Courses in this area will help students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate our religiously diverse world.
  3. Completion of a General Education capstone (the Challenge Seminar): The Challenge Seminar bookends the First Term Seminar by providing students an opportunity to collaboratively examine and propose responses to enduring and contemporary questions or challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students will also have an opportunity to engage in reflection about how the college’s mission and their education as a whole has influenced their personal values, plans for life after college, and the role they see for themselves in the world.

    Like the First Term Seminar, these courses will explore how values relate to a complex challenge and engage students in critical thinking, writing, speaking, and reflection.

3 Crowns Curriculum: Connections, Ideas, and Values (Integrated Core)

The Three Crowns Curriculum provides an integrated sequence of general education courses. The Three Crowns courses listed below are open only to Three Crowns students. The curriculum is open to any first-year student by application, subject to a limit of about 60 students each year; students from all disciplines are welcome. The Three Crowns Curriculum is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Three Crowns Cohort Sequence:

  • First Year Fall: CUR-100: Transformations, Values, and Identity
  • First Year Spring: CUR-115: Understanding the Past, and CUR-125: Religious Traditions
  • Second Year: CUR-215: Individual and Community, and CUR-225: The Arts
  • Third Year: One quantitative reasoning course, MCS-115: The Nature of Math;
    MCS-121: Calculus; PHI-136: Formal Logic; or MCS-140: Elementary Statistics, and CUR-260: Natural World
  • Third or Fourth Year: CUR-399: Three Crowns Seminar - Three Crowns General Education completion Requirements (taken at any point in the student’s academic career):
    1. Non-English language through the third semester of college-level language or approved transfer equivalent: FRE-201, GER-201, GRE-201, JPN-201, LAT-201, RUS-201, SPA-103, or SWE-201).
    2. Wellbeing: one 1.0 or 0.5 credit course

The Three Crowns Curriculum recognizes that flexibility in scheduling is sometimes necessary; in cases of serious academic conflicts, students may petition to use appropriate substitutions, including courses taken abroad, to fulfill Three Crowns requirements. See the director for further details.

3 Crowns Curriculum Courses (CUR)

100 Transformations, Values, and Identity (1 course) This introduction to Three Crowns trains students in self-reflection, moral knowledge and values, and personal development through literary and other texts. Learning to evaluate and interpret course materials, students will practice crafting written arguments and public presentations. Writing about personal experiences and identity in relation to the specific course topic, students will engage in personal development and moral reasoning, in building a vibrant and collaborative cohort, and in reflecting critically on individual and communal values, listening attentively, and speaking mindfully and persuasively. In addition, there will be at least one Three Crowns First-Year Symposium where sections share their work. WRIT.

115 Understanding the Past (1 course) This course trains students in the practices of historical thinking through topics such as colonialism, revolution, industrialization, war, and social change and through themes such as nationality, religion, sexuality, race, gender, and class. The course will build on the skills fostered in Transformations, Values, and Identity through training students to write for specific, diverse audiences and in different formats; to do the critical thinking necessary for evidence-driven arguments and interpretations; and to examine case studies in specific historical places and times.

125 Religious Traditions (1 course) The course critically examines religious traditions, including Christianity, as they operate within select historical and global contexts. Students will analyze primary sources in the study of religion, gaining a deeper understanding of how religious traditions have interacted with their conceptual, cultural, and social environments. The course advances knowledge and skills for interpreting religious claims and moral reasoning within a diverse world, including the place of Christianity within it.

215 Individual and Community (1 course) This course explores the relationship between individuals and their communities. What do we owe to ourselves and what do we owe to others? It examines individual agency, behavior, and participation within social relationships, interactions, and institutions, including ethical perspectives. The course uses a thematic lens, such as homelessness, inequality, or civic participation to investigate important theories from a variety of social sciences. We explore how these disciplines make both theoretical and empirical contributions to our understanding of individuals and communities using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

225 The Arts (1 course) This course draws from different arts disciplines—music, dance, performance studies, visual arts—to study the practices, concepts, histories, and/or theories of artistic creation and expression. The course trains students in the practice, theory, or history of at least one artistic discipline, grounding students in embodied practice and knowledge and their histories. Disciplines will vary based on the expertise of the faculty member. This course may include a lab component.

260 Natural World (1 course) This course introduces students to the theories, methods, and tools of empirical science through the lens of a specific scientific discipline. Disciplines will vary based on the expertise of the faculty member. Students will practice some of the elements of scientific experimentation, as one means for encountering science as process. This understanding of science is reinforced through case studies taken from the history of science, tracing how scientific successes and breakthroughs use experiment and verification to build more reliable theories.

291, 391 Independent Study (Course value to be determined.) Opportunities exist in the Three Crowns Curriculum for students to develop independent projects under the supervision of a Three Crowns professor.

268, 368 Career Exploration, Internship This internship is designed to place students in situations where their Three Crowns integrated liberal arts studies are highly valued. Prerequisites: At least three semesters of Three Crowns Curriculum courses completed.

399 Three Crowns Seminar (1 course) This capstone seminar calls upon students to contemplate questions concerning values in the context of the relationship between individual and community. Through rigorous discussion of texts that explore values in contemporary life from different cultural perspectives, students reflect on their own ethical and intellectual development. The course culminates in a major written assignment where students account for their own values from theoretical and personal perspectives. WRITL