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Undergraduate Degree and Graduation Information

Baccalaureate Degrees

To receive a baccalaureate degree from NDSU, students must complete all of the requirements listed in this section as well as those specified for the particular degree program by a college within the university. Students should consult the curriculum guide or contact the academic department for further information on degree requirements. Degree candidates must satisfactorily complete one of the degree curricula offered at NDSU. Because curricula are subject to change annually, students are responsible for determining curricular expectations according to the following guidelines:

Intended majors and degrees, as well as second majors and minors, must be declared to become official by providing notice to the Office of Registration and Records , 110 Ceres Hall. Students follow the published curricula for the major program of study declared with the university from the semester/year of entrance at NDSU, from the point a new major is declared, or from the year of admission to a limited- or selective-enrollment program, whichever applies, to graduation provided enrollment at NDSU has not been discontinued for more than one year.

Students who advance in limited- or selective-enrollment programs will have their academic program/plan status changed accordingly by the appropriate academic department.

Any student who discontinues enrollment at NDSU for more than one calendar year is subject to meeting the curricular requirements in effect at the time of re-entry.

Degree and Graduation Requirements

Students must satisfactorily complete two sets of requirements: a) university-wide requirements and b) college- or department-level requirements, which include curricular requirements for completing majors and minors. College- and department-level requirements for majors and minors are listed in the college sections of this bulletin under the appropriate college listing, and in curriculum guides available online and in academic departments. Minimum degree/graduation requirements are as follows:

  1. Academic major requirements: Satisfactory completion of all requirements of the curriculum in which one is enrolled. Earn a minimum total of 120 credits in approved coursework. Requirements for some academic majors exceed this minimum.
    1. Because curricula are subject to change, intended degrees and majors, as well as second majors and minors, must be declared to be official. This may be done at the point of admission or readmission to the University or by submission of a Major Change form to the Office of Registration and Records.
    2. Students follow the published curricula in place when a major/minor is declared or from the year of admission to a limited- or selective-enrollment program, whichever applies, to graduation provided enrollment at NDSU has not been discontinued for more than one calendar year.
    3. Students who advance into limited- or selective-enrollment programs will have their academic degree/plan status changed accordingly based on information provided to Registration and Records by the respective academic department.
    4. Students who discontinue enrollment at NDSU for more than one calendar year are subject to meet the curricular requirements in effect during the term of readmission.
    5. Each program of study presented by a candidate for the baccalaureate degree is audited for meeting the degree requirements by the Office of Registration and Records. Degree candidates are certified according to total credits and grades earned and other university and degree program requirements.
  2. Total degree credits: Earn a minimum total of 120 credits in approved coursework. Requirements for some academic programs exceed this minimum.
  3. General education requirements: Satisfactory completion of the general education requirements as specified by the University and in a student's degree and major.
  4. Scholastic standing requirement: A minimum institutional grade-point average of 2.00 based on work taken at NDSU for which grades have been assigned is required for graduation. When a course is taken and repeated at NDSU, only the most recent grade and credits earned will be used in computing the cumulative grade-point average. Some academic programs require higher minimum grade-point requirements.
  5. Upper-level credit requirements: At least 37 of the credits presented for graduation must be in courses taken at the 300 and 400 level.
  6. Transfer Students: Students with transfer credit from another institution must earn a minimum of 60 semester credits from a baccalaureate-degree granting or professional institution. Of these, at least 36 must be NDSU residence credits as defined below. Within these 36 resident credits, minimum requirements include 15 semester credits in courses numbered 300 or above (37 upper-level credits must still be earned in total) and 15 semester credits in the major field of study.
  7. Residence requirements: Residence credits include credits registered and paid for at NDSU. These may include courses offered on the NDSU campus, via Tri-College , or via NDSU distance education . At least 36 credits must be NDSU resident credits and ordinarily, the last 30 credits must be earned in residence.
    Exceptions to the Last 30 Credits Requirements:
    1. Courses taken as part of a NDSU-sponsored study abroad or exchange program count as residence credit. Students must still fulfill all other graduation requirements.
    2. Students admitted to an accredited non-baccalaureate professional degree program (eg., Veterinary Medicine, Chiropractic, etc.) at another institution prior to earning their baccalaureate degree from NDSU may be eligible to subsequently earn an NDSU bachelor’s degree through the transfer of earned professional course credits. Professional coursework transferred back to fulfill major requirements must be either department-approved as equivalent to NDSU coursework or be authorized via department-approved substitution form. To be considered for this waiver, students must complete and submit an Appeal for Exception to Academic Regulations Form to the Office of Registration and Records during their last semester of enrollment at NDSU. Students must still fulfill all other graduation requirements.
    3. Courses taken as a part of a required curriculum in an NDSU-approved dual degree or joint program with another institution (i.e., HDFS/Elementary Education with VCSU).
    4. Excluding the above exceptions, students who need to complete a limited number of credits (typically not to exceed nine) to fulfill their graduation requirements, and who are unable to take them at or through NDSU may seek an exception by completing and submitting the Appeal for Exception to Academic Regulations Form to the Office of Registration prior to enrolling at another institution. To fulfill major requirements, transfer coursework must either be evaluated as equivalent to NDSU courses or be authorized via a department-approved substitution form. Students must still fulfill all other graduation requirements.
  8. Financial obligations: Satisfy all financial obligations owed to the university.
  9. Application for degree: All candidates for a baccalaureate or Pharmacy Doctorate degree must indicate their intent to graduate when registering for their last semester. The application form is available online. Failure to apply by the published graduation application deadline of the planned semester of graduation may delay the awarding of the degree until the following semester. If a student fails to complete the required courses by the intended graduation term, the student must reapply for graduation in a following term.

Majors and Minors

Majors and minors are integral parts of baccalaureate degree curricula. Specific curriculum requirements for majors may be acquired from the appropriate departmental office or from Registration and Records. Students are responsible for following the requirements in place at the time a major or minor is officially declared with the university.

Major: A major is a planned grouping of related courses that totals a minimum of 32 credits.

Minor: A minor is a similar grouping of courses that totals a minimum of 16 credits. A minimum of eight credits must be earned in residence at NDSU.

Second or Multiple Majors: A second (or multiple) major may be earned by completing the requirements of both (or all) majors offered under the same baccalaureate degree. At least 15 unique credits must exist between the majors.

Multiple majors or minors may be completed and recorded on the student's academic record after the degree for the first major has been awarded. When majors under different degrees are involved, the requirements for a second degree apply (See next section).

Second Degree

A second baccalaureate degree may be earned at NDSU with all of the following provisions:

  1. All curriculum requirements are satisfactorily completed.
  2. A 30-credit minimum is earned in residence beyond all of the credits and degree requirements for the first baccalaureate degree. All requirements for both degrees must be met, including the separate residency requirements at NDSU for each (36 for the first; 30 for the second). Any repeated courses do not count toward the 30 credits.
  3. Each baccalaureate degree must be different. However, students may complete requirements for more than one major within a given degree, if available (see second /multiple majors).


A certificate program is a specialized course of study requiring at least 16 credit hours at the undergraduate level or eight credit hours at the graduate level. Certificates may be earned while in pursuit of a degree or as standalone programs of study. Prospective students interested in certificate programs, but not seeking a degree, must be accepted to the university. Contact the Office of Admission or the Graduate College for further information. Curricular requirements and verification forms are available in academic departments offering certificates. Completed forms must be signed by the appropriate department chair (and Graduate College, if applicable) and submitted to Registration and Records in order for the certificate to be posted to a student's academic record and official documentation issued.

Exceptions to Academic Program Requirements

Academic policies and curricular requirements are designed to ensure that programs at NDSU are consistently of high quality. Students are expected to complete all curricular requirements, which includes the overall University requirements (includes general education), any college or department requirements if applicable, and major program of study requirements.  Students may request substitutions or waivers for college or departmental requirements when extenuating circumstances prevail. Depending on the nature of the requested exception, departmental or college level approval is required.

Degree Audits

Each program of study presented by a candidate for the baccalaureate degree is audited for meeting the degree requirements by the Office of Registration and Records. Degree candidates are certified by the Office of Registration and Records according to total credits earned, institutional grade-point average, and other university requirements.

A degree audit is an official review of graduation requirements to determine a student's graduation eligibility. Undergraduate students who have completed a minimum of 75 credits are notified and asked to complete the degree audit request . Degree audits are not automatically completed as student educational and degree goals vary (multiple degree, majors, minors, etc.). An official degree audit typically is completed by the Office of Registration and Records two semesters prior to the student’s reported graduation on the audit request.

At any time, however, students and their advisers may track degree progress at any time during a student’s undergraduate career using the Academic Requirements Report (automated degree audit) feature on Campus Connection. This functionality is interactive and also allows the student to plan for and register for upcoming semesters within the advisement report. Instructions and information on how to access and read an Academic Requirements Report are available to students and advisers.

Bachelor of Arts Requirement Using a Second Language

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree may be conferred upon students who complete the major requirements for their chosen field of study and have functional proficiency in at least one language other than English. The B.A. degree recognizes these students as having acquired the foundation for enhancing their ability to communicate, work, and study in an internationalized world. The B.A. signifies that these students have chosen to develop, through the equivalent of at least four semesters of coursework, both practical language skills and a comparative perspective on their own language and culture. The B.A. second language requirement fosters an awareness of the culturally conditioned nature of the students' assumptions about the world, and it better equips them with the mental agility needed to understand ways of thinking different from their own as they encounter the diversity of professional and personal relationships, as well as the intellectual and practical challenges of their future careers.

The second language requirement of the B.A. degree involves student demonstration of functional language proficiency over a sustained period of time, typically 14 credits of coursework. Given the sequential nature of language courses, the assessment of their abilities across the range of skills in speaking, reading, writing and listening comprehension is continuous and demanding. For this reason, NDSU requires that those students who have prior language-learning experience or who present language examination scores (CLEP, etc.) take, at minimum, the exit-level (202) course in order to verify their broad functional ability and basic cultural competence. It is important to note that the language requirement is not defined in credits but in terms of proficiency or communicative competence in all four skills of speaking, reading, writing and listening comprehension.

To fulfill the B.A. language requirement a student must demonstrate competence equivalent to that normally attained after four semesters of college study (NDSU level 202). Competency may be demonstrated in the following ways:

  1. Completion in any second language of coursework at the NDSU 202 level or its equivalent with a grade of 'C' or better. Note that this requirement cannot be fulfilled by coursework taken pass/fail.
  2. Successful completion of any second language course with a grade of 'C' or better that has the equivalent of NDSU 202 or higher as a prerequisite.
  3. For students having previously passed the CLEP Examination in French, German or Spanish with a CLEP score high enough for second-year college credit (59 in French, 60 in German and 63 in Spanish) or the AP exam with a minimum score of 4 in French, German or Spanish, taking one additional college-level language class at the 202 level or higher in order to demonstrate competency in all four skill levels. Students must complete this course with a 'C' or better.
  4. English satisfies the B.A. language requirement for students whose official, certified transcripts demonstrate that their secondary or higher education was completed in a language other than English. It is the responsibility of the student to provide all necessary untranslated, official documentation to the Department of Modern Languages for verification. No credit will be awarded.
  5. Students who are unable to provide the above mentioned certified documentation but who are native speakers of languages other than English may fulfill the second language requirement through proficiency in English by successful completion of the three-semester General Education English composition sequence and by passing an additional English (ENGL) course with a 'C' or better. Students having completed this sequence may apply to the Department of Modern Languages for a waiver of the Second Language requirement.
  6. Requests for determination of proficiency in languages not taught at NDSU are considered by the Department of Modern Languages . If a student would like to demonstrate proficiency through testing in a language that is not taught at NDSU, it is his/her responsibility to arrange for such testing. The proficiency test must be completed by a faculty or staff member at a college or university; the evaluator must hold at least a master's degree (in any discipline). The test must evaluate reading, writing, listening and speaking through the fourth semester (intermediate NDSU 202) college level. The student must provide documentation from the evaluator which includes a copy of the test, a letter from the evaluator assessing the level of proficiency, and a statement of the evaluator's credentials, including an explanation of his/her expertise in the language being tested, if the evaluator does not teach that language at the college level. No credit is awarded but proficiency requirement is fulfilled.

Graduation with Honor

Graduation with honor applies only to baccalaureate degrees. Candidates who have earned a minimum of 60 credits in residence at NDSU and a minimum institutional grade point average of 3.50 will graduate with honor. All final grades on the NDSU academic record will be included in grade point average calculations for graduating with honor. Students who meet these academic criteria will graduate according to one of the following honor levels:

Honor Criteria
Summa Cum Laudeequal to or greater than 3.90
Magna Cum Laudeequal to or greater than 3.70 and less than 3.90
Cum Laudeequal to or greater than 3.50 and less than 3.70