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Graduation Requirements

Are you on the home stretch to Commencement? This page lays out the framework of the College-wide graduation requirements.

The information contained on this page is intended as a good-faith guideline to help students prepare for graduation. It is a supplement to the officially published Catalog requirements and policies. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in both the Catalog and on this page, it must be understood that all academic information described herein is subject to change or elimination at any time without notice or published amendment. In addition, Washington College reserves the right to update its policies or requirements at any time and without prior notice. Students and prospective students assume any risks associated with relying upon such information without checking other credible sources, such as the information provided directly to the student by his or her academic advisor or by the Registrar.

  1. All undergraduate students must accumulate a minimum of 128 credit hours. At least 56 of these credits must have been completed at Washington College or in a WC-administered program (e.g. study abroad at a partner institution, approved internships, etc.). An exception to the 128-credit requirement is made for any student with transfer coursework from another institution when the courses are worth three credit hours apiece. A student with one three-credit transfer course is eligible to graduate with only 127 credit hours; a student with two or more such courses is eligible to graduate with only 126 credit hours. Note: The credit reduction policy only applies to students who entered WC prior to the 2013-2014 Catalog year. Beginning with the 2013-2014 Catalog, all students must attain 128 credit hours regardless of how much transfer credit they’ve earned.
  2. Students must complete 24 of the last 32 credits in residence at Washington College or in a Washington College-administered program.
  3. All students must achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 rounded to the nearest hundredth. Washington College does not round up, thus a 1.99 cumulative GPA is below the acceptable standard. Further, a 2.00 is required for all courses counted towards a student’s major requirements. Students who are near these thresholds may find the GPA Calculation page a helpful resource.
  4. No student may offer more than 6 “D” grades among the 128 credit hours presented for graduation. For each additional “D” grade, a student must either repeat the course to earn a higher grade or offer an additional course toward graduation. For example, 7 “D” grades requires a minimum of 132 credit hours, 8 “D” grades requires a minimum of 136 credit hours, and so on. Further, no more than 2 of the total 6 “D” grades may be in a student’s major courses that are presented for completion of the major requirements. If the student earns a third “D” grade within the major, he or she must either repeat the course or meet with the department chair to find a suitable option for taking an additional course within the major.
  5. All students must complete the distribution requirements appropriate to his or her entering class and the corresponding catalog year. The distribution requirements for all current Catalog years can be found on the Distribution Requirements page.
  6. A Senior Capstone Experience (SCE) is required for all students regardless of major. Students should be in contact with their advisor by the last semester of their junior year to establish the major department’s requirements related to completion of the SCE. Students with a double major should plan to speak with both advisors to ensure compliance with each department’s SCE procedures. Although each student may complete seminar courses and other pre-SCE coursework as part of the major, all students must enroll in and complete at least one course marked with the “SCE” designation, typically in the final semester of the senior year.
  7. All students will automatically receive a memorandum from the Registrar’s Office during the spring semester of their junior year (or after they have accumulated 72 credit hours on their WC transcript). A copy is also sent to the student’s faculty advisor(s). This mailing will identify any specific College-wide requirements that are still outstanding and which the student must address in their senior year registrations.
  8. Students who plan to complete all degree requirements in a given academic year, whether in the fall, spring or summer of that year, must apply to graduate by the deadline. By the end of November, the Registrar’s Office will mail a Graduation Clearance letter to all students who applied to graduate by the deadline, with subsequent mailings sent in December and January to those who have specific deficiencies that have not yet been addressed. Once a student has been cleared by the Registrar’s Office, they must still confirm that all major, minor and concentration/specialization requirements have been completed with their faculty advisor(s).
  9. Students who complete all graduation requirements by the end of the fall semester of their senior year, including finished SCE coursework with a passing grade, are eligible for Winter Conferral of their diploma. They will receive a specific memorandum indicating their eligibility for this special early conferral. Students who satisfy their degree requirements in the fall are still expected to participate in all Commencement exercises unless they request specific permission not to do so.
  10. Failure to do any of the above may result in a student’s inability to graduate on time or participate in any and all activities associated with Commencement. Ineligible students will be notified by the Registrar’s Office in a timely fashion by use of the Graduation Clearance letter process described above.
  11. No student shall be allowed to participate in the Commencement ceremony without having met all of these requirements. The deadline for meeting all requirements is no later than 4:30 PM on the Tuesday before Commencement. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure all degree, major and graduation requirements have been met by the end of their expected graduation semester. While faculty, advisors, the Registrar, and the Assistant Dean for the First Year Experience and Student Success are available to consult and provide advice, the ultimate responsibility lies with each student.