Degree Requirements

The undergraduate curriculum in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences at Boston College is built on a foundation in the liberal arts. In wide-ranging courses in humanities and sciences, students learn to think critically and independently while developing communication and analysis skills.


To graduate from the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, you must take at least 120 credits over eight semesters. Included in the program are at least 45 credits in the Core Curriculum, usually 30 to 36 credits in a major department, and elective courses in other departments. You also are expected to demonstrate proficiency at the intermediate level in a modern foreign language or in a classical language. Ninety-six of the total 120 credits must be from departments in the College of Arts and Sciences.


The Core Curriculum

Our undergraduate Core is a set of 15 required courses that give students exposure to a wide range of possible majors. Core courses are generally three-credit courses, so they account for somewhat more than one-third of the courses and credits needed for graduation. The Core Curriculum consists of one course in writing, one in literature, one in some form of art, one in mathematics, two in natural science, two in social science, two in history, two in philosophy, two in theology, and one in Cultural Diversity.

BC Core Curriculum


MCAS Language Proficiency Requirement

All students in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences must demonstrate intermediate-level proficiency in a modern or classical language in order to graduate. You can demonstrate proficiency in any of the following three ways:

  • AP/IB Test Scores: You can demonstrate proficiency by receiving a qualifying score on an accepted exam, including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate. 


Qualifying Exams and Scores

  • Completion of Coursework: You must complete the second semester of an intermediate-level modern or classical language course or complete one modern or classical language course beyond the intermediate level. You cannot take foreign language courses on a pass/fail basis until you have completed the University’s language proficiency requirement. Language courses count as MCAS electives. The University currently offers the following courses fulfilling the language proficiency requirement: American Sign Language (ASL)*, Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Greek (Ancient and Modern), Hebrew, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Persian (Farsi), Portuguese*, Russian, Spanish, and Yiddish*

    *ASL, Portuguese, and Yiddish are offered at nearby universities through the Boston Consortium Cross-Registration Language Program. Please see your Academic Dean for more information.

  • Native proficiency: Students seeking to satisfy the language requirement by documentation of native proficiency should do so no later than fall semester of sophomore year. Postponement can result in a delayed graduation. Documentation of native proficiency ordinarily assumes evidence of post-elementary school education in the native language.


Language Placement Exams

Students who need to enroll in a language course to either further their language studies or to fulfill the MCAS language proficiency requirement may need to take a placement exam. Each language/department has their own process and can assist you with proper placement. 


Your Major

All BC undergraduates choose at least one major from the 30-plus options. You don’t need to keep the major you indicated on your college application; in fact, students often change their minds as they explore courses and discover new fields of study.

In your first year at BC, you may register for whatever courses you like. Keep in mind, however, that there are Core requirements that will give you exposure to a wide range of possible majors. We recommend that you find a balance between Core classes and courses that interest you.

If you have a particular major in mind, you may want to sign up for a course in that subject to help you decide whether you like it.

Majors & Minors at BC

Declaring Your Major

  • Second-semester freshmen: send an email (after February 1) to
  • Sophomores and juniors: go to the office of your chosen major to declare

Fulfilling Your Major Requirements

  • For questions about course sequences in the major, go to your major’s Undergraduate Coordinator or Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Elective Courses

College electives are courses that do not count toward your major, minor, or Core requirements, but that fulfill credit requirements for graduation. Although the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences does not require a particular number of electives outside of the major, we encourage you to use electives to explore interests outside of your chosen field, or to supplement your major. For example, an English major may benefit from electives in philosophy, just as a political science major may be interested in economics or history electives. Choose electives based on your curiosity, your career aspirations, or simply your desire to learn something new.