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Elements of an Undergraduate Degree

It is important to understand what components make up a college degree.  Most four-year college degrees are typically made up of about 120 credit hours. These courses generally are 3 credit hour courses, though some are 1, 2, 4, 5, and even 6 credit hour courses. Each hour of credit generally means four hours of academic work (i.e., one hour per week in class plus three hours of study time outside of class), though in some programs, especially in the sciences, there are additional credit hours for laboratory or recitation work.

Courses fall into three categories: general-education requirements, major or concentration requirements, and electives. The exact courses that may be used in each of these areas vary according to the program of study.

New students generally begin with first-year seminar, general-education courses, and introductory courses in their majors. Courses are often sequential and build on the content, concepts, and skills learned in lower-level courses. Prerequisites are listed in the course descriptions in this bulletin.  General education requirements and the specific major requirements are listed in school sections of this bulletin.