Graduation Requirements

To graduate from Earlham College with the Bachelor of Arts degree, students must:

  • Complete a total of 120 academic semester credits (including transferred credits; see below)
  • Complete all general education requirements (See General Education Requirements)
  • Complete 36 upper-level semester credits (courses numbered 300 and above)
  • Meet the expected requirements of an academic major (The above requirements may overlap)
  • Complete a course designated as a Writing Intensive and a Research course.
  • Achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better
  • Achieve a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the major field
  • Complete two full years of academic work (four semesters) and 60 academic credits within the Earlham curriculum. (This defines Earlham’s residency requirement for transfer students.)
  • Be in good academic standing prior to degree being awarded. Given that, an Earlham degree will not be awarded to a student on final probation in their eighth semester.

Declaring a major

  • Students are required to file a declaration of major at the Registrar’s Office no later than the end of their fourth semester; transfer students must declare a major after earning 58 credits. Regular majors require approval from the department and the Registrar. Interdepartmental majors require approval of each participating department and the Registrar.
  • Each major will have a course designated as writing intensive and research. This requirement for graduation ensures that every student learns to write and conduct research within their chosen field of study.
  • Earlham allows students to apply for an independent, self-designed major. Petitions for such majors are considered by the Curricular Policy Committee and the Registrar, and are evaluated on these considerations: whether the proposed major is intellectually coherent, whether it is feasible, whether they contain all the required courses (R, WI, Capstone) and whether it is sufficiently different from available, curricular options. Please see petition for details and deadlines.
  • Students who fail to declare their majors by the end of the fourth semester are fined $25. If the major is not filed by the end of the fifth semester, a $50 fine will be assessed; if not filed by the end of the sixth semester, a $100 fine will be assessed each semester thereafter. It is essential for students to declare their majors in a timely manner to ensure that all courses required for the major are available as well as to assist in planning for senior capstone experiences, comprehensive examinations, internships, research and off-campus study opportunities.

Declaring an independent major

Earlham offers majors in disciplinary and interdisciplinary subjects, as well as offering a rich array of minor fields.
The College also offers the opportunity for double majors and interdepartmental majors. Much thought and time have gone into developing and staffing this curriculum, so that almost all students will find an appropriate combination of major and minor fields to suit their interests. However, it is possible for a student to propose an independent major in a course of study that is not available within the existing major/minor offerings. In such a case it is the responsibility of the student to prepare an independent major proposal in consultation with at least two academic advisers. Such a major may well prove more demanding to complete than a standard major, as it will involve a pattern of courses drawn from a variety of departments that addresses the topic of the independent major in a comprehensive and integrated fashion. Petitions for such majors are considered by the Curricular Policy Committee and the Registrar. Decisions are based on whether: 

  • the proposed major is intellectually coherent
  • it is feasible
  • it contains all the required courses (R, WI, Capstone)
  • it is sufficiently different from available, curricular options.

Please see petition for details and deadlines.

Declaring a minor

Students who plan to declare a minor must have declared their major and submitted the form to the Registrar’s Office for approval. Please review each of the requirements with the Academic Department or Program. Earlham allows students to apply for an independent, self-designed minor. With departmental approval, the minor must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office for approval by the end of the mid-semester break of the Spring Semester of the Senior year.

Conduct and the Earlham degree 

An Earlham degree testifies not only to a student’s academic accomplishments, but to a student’s good conduct. The College may refuse the degree to a student who, despite completing all academic requirements for the degree, has demonstrated willful disregard for Earlham’s social policies, as described in Principles and Practices. Students who are charged with violating a College policy (whether academic or social), or a law, should expect that the degree may be withheld until all appropriate judicial processes have been completed. 

December graduates

Seniors who plan to complete their degree by December of an academic year must be within 18 credit hours of degree completion. The student must submit a petition to the Registrar outlining a plan of completion with approval from their academic adviser prior to March 1 of the intended year of completion.

Students completing credits for the Earlham degree by transferring work may transfer only up to a total of 16 credits, and need to have met the residency requirement and to be in good academic standing as defined by the Academic Advisory Committee. Therefore, students on Probation or Final Probation cannot complete their degree by transfer work. Requests for exceptions to this policy may be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs. 

Graduation and Commencement 

Seniors who expect to graduate must file an application for graduation in the Registrar’s Office one full semester prior to the date of graduation.  

Students who will have completed all the College graduation requirements by the time of the scheduled May Commencement will receive their diploma within 3 weeks of the Commencement ceremony. The degree conferral date on the transcript will coincide with the last date of the term. 

Students who have not yet met the requirements to graduate will be permitted to participate or “walk” at Commencement only if the following conditions are met:

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 (GPA are unrounded)
  • A minimum major GPA of 2.00 
  • Students are within 18 credits of completing their degree and will complete their requirements by the following December (December graduates), OR Students in the 3+2 pre-engineering program have completed their requirements at Earlham College and will be attending an engineering school the following fall semester. 

Students may participate in Commencement only once for a single degree.