Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences
The Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences is the oldest and largest of the undergraduate colleges of the University. It offers either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree, depending upon the major discipline, and prepares graduates for careers in a broad range of fields, as well as graduate training in both professional and academic disciplines.
In the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences a student's program consists of required Core courses, intensive study in a major field, and a choice of individual electives reflecting a student's personal interests.
Core—A modern version of the traditional Jesuit Ratio Studiorum, the Core in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences provides an introductory exposure to the various disciplines that define a liberally educated individual in today's world as well as to the philosophical and theological ideas that help integrate these different areas of knowledge into a student's own intellectual perspective. All Morrissey College of Arts and Science students must complete the University Core requirements in the Arts, Cultural Diversity, History, Literature, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Philosophy, Social Sciences, Theology, and Writing, as well as a Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement.
Major—All students in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences must select a major field of study from the 39 majors offered in the college. Work in the major is not necessarily directly related to career training, but it is meant to develop critical and analytical thinking, professional and presentational skills, and an appreciation for the complexity of an area of study beyond the introductory level. A major generally consists of at least 30 credits (ten to twelve focused courses) in a field, 27 of which are not used to fulfill requirements for another major or minor. Some of these are sequentially organized required courses. Some of the courses are more narrowly focused major electives. A list of majors is available at the Majors and Minors page.
Electives—Electives in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences are designed to challenge students to help define their own individual education. Students may use electives to pursue intensive work in another field with a second major or minor; to study fields that bridge traditional disciplines through organized interdisciplinary minors; to pursue professional interests in management, education, or nursing; or to explore their own individualized personal, intellectual, and artistic interests.
Thus, the purpose of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences is to produce broadly-educated, as well as highly-skilled graduates.
To ensure a coherent, well-developed program, students must meet with their faculty advisors before registration for each semester. They should also consult with other faculty, students, the Deans, the Pre-medical and Pre-law advisors, the Counseling Office, and the Career Center.
Scholar of the College
Scholar of the College is a designation given at Commencement to exceptional students (those with overall GPAs of 3.700 or higher) who have done independent work of the highest quality for a significant part of their senior year under the supervision of scholars in their major fields. The program is administered by the Dean's Office. Students apply through their major departments and ordinarily complete Advanced Independent Research projects within that department. Interdisciplinary projects require the approval of all of the relevant departments, one of which must be the student's major department.
Normally, the Advanced Independent Research that qualifies for Scholar of the College recognition will consist of 12 academic credits, 6 each in the fall and spring of senior year, although occasionally a 3-credit senior thesis in the fall may develop into a 6-credit Advanced Independent Research in the spring. Students who successfully complete Advanced Independent Research projects with grades of A- or better and maintain cumulative GPAs of 3.700 or higher may be nominated for Scholar of the College recognition at Commencement.
To be considered for Scholar of the College recognition, finished projects, along with the evaluations of the faculty advisor and a department-appointed second and independent reader, must be submitted to the Office of the Dean in mid-April. Student should consult the Dean’s office for the exact deadline for the current year. The Scholars of the College will be selected from among the nominated student authors. All projects nominated for the McCarthy Prize will be reviewed by a faculty committee appointed by the Dean.
The designation of departmental honors is reserved for above average students who have demonstrated academic achievement in additional or more difficult courses or by successfully undertaking an approved research project, as determined by each department.
A departmental minor consists of at least 18 credits (typically six, 3-credit courses). These must include one introductory-level course and at least one upper-level course or seminar. Students choose courses for the minor in consultation with the director of the department's minor program. The following restrictions apply:
- No more than two Core courses may be used toward a minor.
- Core courses that do not count toward a departmental major will not count toward a departmental minor.
- Students may not major and minor in the same department unless that department offers more than one major.
- Students must have at least 15 credits in the minor program that are not used to fulfill requirements for another major or minor.
Minors are available in Arabic Studies, Art History, Biology, Chemistry, Chinese, Classics, Computer Science, Economics, English, Environmental Studies, Film Studies, French, Geological Sciences, German Studies, Hispanic Studies, History, Irish Studies, Italian, Linguistics, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Russian, Sociology, Studio Art, Theatre, and Theology. Information regarding specific requirements is available in the departments.
The Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences offers a variety of interdisciplinary programs and minors. Visit the Interdisciplinary Programs and Minors page for more information.
Six-Year Bachelor and Law Degree Program
In order to respond to changing student needs, the Boston College Law School has instituted an accelerated admissions program (3+3 Program). The 3+3 Program allows students to earn an undergraduate degree and a law degree in six years instead of seven.
Under this program, exceptionally well-qualified students from the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences will be allowed to enter the Boston College Law School after completing their junior year of undergraduate study. During their junior year, students seeking to participate in the 3+3 Program apply to Boston College Law School. If accepted for admission, they begin law school immediately following completion of their junior year. Upon successful completion of the first year of law school with grades of “C” or better, students earn a bachelor’s degree from the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. Upon successful completion of the remaining two years of law school, students earn a J.D. from Boston College Law School.
The 3+3 Program is limited to undergraduates in the Morrissey College who have completed at least four full-time semesters in residence in the College. Interested students should contact the pre-Law advisor early in their program of study for more information and advisement.
Fifth Year B.A./M.A.
The Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences—Graduate School offers a five-year B.A./M.A. program in some departments. Application to the program normally takes place early in the second semester of the junior year. The applicant must complete an application to the master’s degree program in the Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, Gasson 108. Admission to the B.A./M.A. program normally requires an overall GPA of 3.333 and a GPA of 3.5 in the major. Although specific B.A./M.A. program requirements will vary across departments, the program limits the number of credits that can be applied towards the master’s degree to 6 credits that may also be applied to the 120 credits required for the undergraduate degree. The undergraduate degree will be conferred upon completion of undergraduate requirements. The master’s degree will be conferred upon completion of degree requirements specified by the department.
Accelerated Bachelor of Arts—Master of Social Work Program
The Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences and the Boston College School of Social Work offer an Accelerated B.A./M.S.W. Program whereby a limited number of Psychology and Sociology majors may begin the Social Work foundation courses during their junior and senior years and receive the B.A. at the end of four years and the M.S.W. after the fifth year. Students must meet all standard requirements for admission to the Boston College School of Social Work and enroll as final-year M.S.W. candidates for their fifth year. Interested students should contact the Director of Admissions of the School of Social Work by spring semester of the sophomore year at the latest. For prerequisites and application information, consult the School of Social Work, McGuinn 118, 617-552-4024.
The School also offers an upper-division introductory course that is not applicable to the M.S.W. degree, SCWK6600 Introduction to Social Work, which is cross-listed with the Departments of Psychology and Sociology in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences.
Minors in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development for Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences Students
Arts and Sciences students completing minors in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development must fulfill all major, Core, and elective requirements in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences and have completed at least 96 credits in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences.
There are five minors offered to non-Lynch School of Education and Human Development students: Applied Psychology and Human Development, Foundation in Education, Inclusive Education, Leadership in Higher Education and Community Settings, and Secondary Education.
The minor in Secondary Education is open to Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences students in specific majors. See the Lynch School of Education and Human Development section for more information.
Minors in the Carroll School of Management for Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences Students
Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences students completing minors in the Carroll School of Management must fulfill all major, Core, and elective requirements in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences and have completed at least 96 credits in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences.
There are six minors offered to non-management students: Accounting for CPAs, Accounting for Finance and Consulting, Finance, Management and Leadership, Managing for Social Impact and the Public Good, and, Marketing. Interested students should visit bc.edu/csom-minors for more information.
The aim of international study is to enable students to become fluent in a foreign language and to better understand a different culture. Students wishing to spend a year or a semester abroad and transfer the credits earned to their Boston College degree must receive approval from a Dean and enroll in a program approved by the College. To qualify for Dean's approval, a student must have at least a 3.0 cumulative average, have completed a significant number of courses in the major and have made substantial progress on Core requirements, have the approval of the Chairperson of the major department, and have adequate proficiency in the language of the country in which he/she plans to study. For students who have not passed the language proficiency requirement, a minimum of one year of college-level language study is required.
Students should begin the application process by contacting the Office of International Programs early in their sophomore year.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
A student in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences must complete at least 120 credits to earn the bachelor’s degree 96 of which are Morrissey College credits over at least 8 full-time semesters. Particular requirements for gaining those credits, or compiling those courses, are stated elsewhere in this section. All Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences students must complete the University Core requirements in Arts, Cultural Diversity, History, Literature, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Philosophy, Social Sciences, Theology, and Writing, as well as the Language Proficiency requirement. For more information, visit the Policies and Procedures section.
To continue normal progress in a full-time program of study, a student must ordinarily maintain a cumulative average of at least 1.667 as the minimum standard of scholarship and must not fall more than 7 credits behind the total number of credits a student of their status is expected to have completed (an average of 15 credits each semester). Any student who is permitted by the Deans to continue enrollment in a full-time undergraduate program, with the exception of students on probation, is considered to be in good standing.
Failure to maintain good standing either through a low cumulative average, or by incurring deficiencies including failures, withdrawals, incompletes, or unapproved underloads, will result in the student being placed on warning, probation, or being required to withdraw, as the Dean shall determine.
Morrissey College Academic Warning and Probation Policy
A student who falls 8–11 credits behind, at the end of the semester, will be the subject of academic concern for the Associate Deans. These students are required to take summer courses to make up their academic deficiencies.
A student who falls 12–14 credits behind, at the end of a semester, will receive an academic warning. Incompletes are considered deficient credits for the purpose of this determination. An academic warning will push the student’s graduation date back by one semester, though the original graduation date may be regained if and when adequate make up credits are completed. A student may request restoration of their original graduation date when they are within three credits of their original graduation date.
A student who falls 15 or more credits behind at the end of a semester will be academically withdrawn for the subsequent semester, or placed on probation. Incompletes will be counted as deficient credits for the purposes of making this determination. A student on probation is not considered to be in good academic standing. In order to return to academic good standing and continue as a degree candidate in MCAS a student on probation must:
- Demonstrate their capability of continuing by successfully completing at least 12 credits in MCAS day courses.
- Achieve an average term GPA of at least 2.00 in those 12 credits.
- Earn sufficient credits to be within 3 of the number expected for their revised graduation date.
While courses taken at BC while on probation will count towards graduation, the probationary semester will not count as one of the 8 semesters required for the degree. Hence, after a probationary semester, the student’s graduation date will normally be delayed at least one semester. A student who has been on probation may become eligible to regain their original graduation semester by satisfying all degree requirements by their original graduation date.
A student failing to meet all the conditions of the probationary semester will be academically withdrawn from the college and can only apply for readmission after making up all credit deficiencies by approved methods. Probation will not be extended to a second consecutive semester. A student is allowed no more than 2 probationary semesters. Subsequent credit deficiencies can lead to permanent academic dismissal.
If a student does not want to meet the conditions of a probationary semester in MCAS they can choose to be academically withdrawn. While withdrawn, a student can apply to take pre-approved makeup courses as a non-degree student in the Woods College or at an appropriately accredited external college or university. After completing the required makeup credits, the student can apply for readmission to the Morrissey College. Upon readmission, their graduation semester will be postponed at least one semester.
Importantly, in all cases, there is normally a limit of 24 external credits that can be applied to a Morrissey College degree. A student who finds they are unable to meet the requirements of their academic warning or probationary semester should contact their Dean immediately.
For information regarding acceleration, visit the Graduation section of Undergraduate Academic Policies.
Procedure of Appeal
Students with questions of interpretation or petitions for exception from the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences Regulations, apart from those specified in the University's academic integrity policy, may submit them to the Associate Deans.
A student should always attempt to resolve problems concerning the manner in which grades have been awarded or the academic practices of an instructor by direct contact with the instructor. In the rare case of an unresolved question the student should first refer the matter to the Chairperson or Director of the relevant department or program.
A formal appeal of a course grade, which ought not be entered lightly by a student nor lightly dismissed by an instructor, should be made no later than the sixth week of the following semester. In making a formal appeal, a student files a written statement with the Dean for his or her class. The Dean will then request written responses from both the instructor and Chairperson and submit the case to the Appeals Committee of the Educational Policy Committee. The committee will review the case thoroughly and make a recommendation on resolution to the Dean of the College. The Dean's decision will be final.