Bachelor of Arts
The Bachelor of Arts degree offers Cornell students the opportunity to follow a traditional, structured degree program, designed or "generated" by the whole faculty. The B.A. program is intended to give a student a well-rounded education, liberal in the inclusive sense, which will prepare a student for any career. The degree is best suited for students who want a broad education, or for those students who have not yet decided on a specific educational path. For this reason, all students are placed in the B.A. program when they enter Cornell until they choose another degree program. Also, the B.A. insists that the student not over-specialize in any one field by requiring that the student complete at least 18 courses outside of any one specific department.
The B.A. program consists of two parts. Part One contains 10-15 specific course requirements of several types. First, the B.A. introduces students to each of the major modes of intellectual thought, the ways of thinking that are found in the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. Second, it requires students to achieve a certain level of proficiency in writing, in mathematics, and in foreign languages. Finally, it requires students to be exposed to and take part in the processes used in the fine arts. Part Two consists of study in depth, which requires students to complete at least one major field of study, and to take at least nine courses at an advanced level.
The specific degree requirements are:
- A minimum of 32 course credits. No more than two 100-level courses may be taken in the senior year without the permission of the Academic Standing Committee. No more than four All-College Independent Study course credits (280/380, 289/389, 290/390, 297/397, 299/399) may be counted toward satisfying the minimum credit requirement for this degree. No more than one full credit in 500-level adjunct courses may be counted toward satisfying the minimum 32 credits.
- Of the minimum 32 course credits, at least 18 must be outside of any single department. Students who exceed 14 credits in one department will be required to take more than 32 credits to complete their degree in order to have at least 18 credits outside that department. In the calculation of departmental credits, the following disciplines, listed for administrative purposes as divisions of single departments, are reckoned as separate departments: Anthropology, Classics, Communications Studies, English as a Second Language, Arabic, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Language and Linguistics, Latin, Russian, Sociology, Spanish, and Theatre.
- A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
- A minimum of nine course credits numbered in the 300s or 400s. No more than two All-College Independent Study course credits (380, 389, 390, 397, 399) may be counted toward satisfying this requirement.
- At least one departmental, interdisciplinary, or individualized major.
- The following general education requirements:
[Courses in this Catalogue that satisfy, wholly or partially, general education requirements are identified by a parenthesis near the end of the course description, e.g., (Humanities) or (Laboratory Science). Courses not so marked do not meet these requirements even though there may be other courses in the same department that do.]
- FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR: Enrollment in any course with a "FYS" designation on the Course Schedule, during the first or second term of the first year.
- FIRST-YEAR WRITING COURSE: Any course with a "W" designation on the Course Schedule, taken in the first year.
- FINE ARTS: One course credit (or the equivalent in half or quarter credits) chosen from the departments of Art, English, Music, and Theatre.
- FOREIGN LANGUAGE: One of the following: (1) Arabic, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Latin, Russian, or Spanish 205; (2) placement into a 300-level course through an examination administered online prior to New Student Orientation; or (3) by passing a proficiency examination at the 205 level. International students whose native language is other than English satisfy this requirement through completion of or exemption from the English as a Second Language program.
- HUMANITIES: Four appropriately marked courses from at least two of the following groupings: (1) English and Foreign Language; (2) History; (3) Philosophy; (4) Religion; (5) Art, Music, or Theatre; and (6) Education.
- MATHEMATICS: One of the following: (1) MAT 110 (On the Shoulders of Giants: Great Mathematical Ideas), 120 or 121 (Calculus of a Single Variable); (2) STA 201 (Statistical Methods); or (3) CSC 151 (Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science).
- SCIENCE: Two courses, at least one of which must include laboratory work, chosen from one or two of the following departments: Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Kinesiology, or Physics.
- SOCIAL SCIENCE: Two courses chosen from one or two of the following disciplines: Anthropology, Economics and Business, Education, Kinesiology, Politics, Psychology, or Sociology.