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FAQ On Graduation Requirements

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This document has been put together to help faculty and students with commonly asked questions about graduation requirements. For other questions or further details, consult the college catalog, your advisor and/or the College Registrar.


Can one course count for two or even more requirements?

Yes, the principle is to be very free in double-counting. One course may fulfill more than one requirement, so long as it is officially recognized as fulfilling each of the requirements. A few of the many possible examples:

  • Black Studies 101 can serve as a Social Sciences Foundations course and also for the Understanding Diversity competency.
  • Math 131 satisfies Math Proficiency and can also serve as a Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning Foundations course.
  • Philosophy 399 can fulfill both the Writing and Speaking competencies.
  • Many courses in a major or minor field can also be used to fulfill the Foundation area for that discipline (e.g. Theatre 121 for the Theatre major and for an Arts Foundation course)

Where can I find out which courses count for what requirements?

The Knox College Catalog, section on "The Academic Program." For additions to these lists approved during the year, ask the Registrar or the Dean of the College.

What can I do if I've taken a course that I think really should count for a particular requirement, but it's not on the approved list?

Talk to the instructor of the course. If s/he agrees that the course should count, you can submit a petition to the Curriculum Committee (via the Dean of the College), asking that the course be counted.

I received a transfer credit for a course (or from an AP, IB, or A-level exam) and it isn't showing up as satisfying a college requirement. What should I do?

For courses to be counted in a major or minor, pick up the relevant form in the Registrar's Office and then go talk to the Chair of that department or program. For all other graduation requirements, go talk to the College Registrar, Chuck Schulz. He will assess which requirements may be fulfilled by which courses or exams. Credit by examination (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, A-level Exams) may not be used to fulfill the Foundations requirements, even when credit is awarded.

What does it mean that some requirements can be fulfilled by a "credit-equivalent experience"?

Some of the components of the educational program can be fulfilled through experiential learning that is judged to be the equivalent of a credit: Foundations, Understanding Diversity, and part of a self-designed minor (should you have one). Examples of fulfilling the Understanding Diversity requirement experientially could include off campus programs like the ACM Tanzania program or some community service activities. Such use of "credit-equivalent experience" for Foundations or Understanding Diversity needs approval from the Curriculum Committee; address a brief petition explaining your request to the Dean of the College. For use in self-designed minors, approval of the faculty advisor of the minor is necessary. Credit-equivalents are recognized for planned, intentional experiences, rather than being assigned retroactively.

The same work may be used for the Experiential Learning requirement, so long as it fulfills the guidelines and is approved by your EL sponsor.

Why doesn't English 101 or 102 fulfill the Writing Competency?

These composition courses are great for helping you develop the fundamentals of writing, but for the writing competency, we want to see you using writing within the context of the pursuit of the particular subject matter of a course.


Where can I find guidelines for the Educational Plan?

You can find two sets of suggested questions, one in Academic Knox, section 11, and one on a sheet handed out by your advisor at the Fall Institute (also available on the Registrar's web page under "Guidelines for Graduation"). These guidelines are just that -- guidelines for use. You may find other questions more helpful to guide your thoughts, or your advisor may ask you to consider some other things. The form of the document is up to you and your advisor, and your advisor is the person who submits a note of approval to the Registrar.

When is my Educational Plan due?

Before you declare a major. The Ed Plan is to be worked out between you and your advisor in the sophomore year. (Students usually change advisors when they declare a major, with the new advisor after declaration being someone in your major field.) Students transferring in at the beginning of the junior year should complete the ed plan by the end of their first term.

What happens if I haven't turned in my educational plan by that time?

You will have missed a productive time to step back, reflect, and plan! You'll get nagging reminders from your advisor and the Registrar. Your registration may get held up. And the very bottom line: you cannot graduate without submitting an approved educational plan.


Where can I find guidelines for Experiential Learning?

Your advisor will give you a copy at the Fall Institute, and you can also find them online at the Registrar's website (click on "Guidelines for Graduation"). Academic Knox also includes a helpful description. All the questions below are covered more fully in the guidelines and in Academic Knox.

When can I do my Experiential Learning?

Anytime after you have sophomore standing.

Who can sponsor an Experiential Learning project?

A faculty or staff member. The idea is to find someone with interest and, where possible, expertise in the area of your EL project.

What are some examples of things people have done for Experiential Learning?

The possibilities are endless! The key thing is to plan ahead, in consultation with a sponsor. Some examples include: internship with a lobbying group in Springfield, IL; community service with Carver Center; Rep Term; Knox program in Argentina; TA for FP; Editor of TKS. . . and many more.

What if I have done something that is very much like the Experiential Learning requirement, but I didn't get approval ahead of time, and didn't write up a proposal before I did it? Can I do something retrospectively?

The pre-planning is an essential part of the Experiential Learning experience. And yet it may happen that something you didn't plan that way turns out to be a significant experiential learning experience. In this case, you should find a sponsor with whom you can do a significant retrospective reflection on the experience. It will then be up to your sponsor as to whether s/he will sign off on this as fulfilling the experiential learning component of your educational program.


Are there any restrictions on choosing one's second field of specialization? (I'm thinking of Biology and Biochemistry, for example.)

Yes, there are some restrictions. See the section on "Multiple Majors and Minors" in the College Catalog (in the Chapter on "Academic Rules and Regulations"). The general principle is that each of the programs "must be essentially independent of the other(s) and the total educational plan of the student must present a sound liberal education. Normally no more than two credits may overlap between two programs in an approved combination" (2014-15 Catalog, p. 289).


Do I have to be here on campus my last year?

You need to be here two out of the last three terms, and one of those two must be your final term. Exceptions may be granted through appeal to the Associate Dean of the College.

How are transfer credits figured between semesters and terms?

One semester hour equals .3 Knox credits, so a 3 semester hour course will transfer in as .9 Knox credits. Conversely, one Knox credit will transfer out as 3.3 semester hours.

Because of some transfer credit, I'll have 35.9 credits at the end of my fourth year. Can I graduate with less than 36 credits?

Yes, you need a minimum of 35.8 credits to graduate.

I'd like to count a course I'm transferring in towards the major, but it's only .9 credits instead of 1. Will this fulfill the requirement?

Yes, as would .8 credits (but not 0.7 credits).

Knox College

Printed on Sunday, October 21, 2018