Graduation Rules

Choice of Catalogs for Degree, Major, and Minor Requirements

If the all-college degree requirements are altered during a student’s college career, the student may choose any set of requirements published during his or her particular career, provided that any requirements not already fulfilled can be met through the current program of the college. No special courses will be offered to meet previous catalog requirements. A student must meet all of the all-college degree requirements for the catalog chosen, with the exceptions noted below. See Expiration of Degree Credit below.

If the requirements of a major or minor are altered after a student has declared the major or minor, the student may choose the requirements listed in the catalog in effect when the major or minor was declared or the requirements of the catalog listing the change. If some courses are no longer taught in support of the old major or minor requirements, the program will allow appropriate substitutions. See Expiration of Degree Credit below.

A student may choose one catalog for the all-college degree requirements and another for major and/or minor requirements. A student who elects to change catalogs, either for all-college degree requirements or for a major or a minor, must submit the appropriate form to the Registrar's Office.

General Education Requirements - pre Fall 2011

A student who entered Principia College prior to Fall 2011 who desires to move to the current general education requirements published in the 2019-2020 catalog will be excused from the Integrated Learning Course (ILC) associated with the First Year Experience (FYE) program, if he or she completed an FYE program prior to Fall 2011.

A student who wishes to move to the current general education requirements will be regarded as having already completed the Baseline Writing Sample in the general education program if he or she completed phase one of the previous all-college writing requirement before the transition to the new requirements. However, to fulfill the purpose of the Writing Fundamentals Portfolio, the student must submit this portfolio within his or her first two terms of enrollment after the new requirements went into effect Fall 2011. It is the student's responsibility to enroll within this time frame in a course that will provide the opportunity to produce the required writing samples and to submit the portfolio by the end of that term. Failure to do so will make the student ineligible to change to the new general education requirements. See Writing Program Policy.

A student who makes this change must fulfill each Liberal Arts Distribution Requirement (LADR) with at least one course taken after the transition to the new general education requirements. Any remaining requirements may be fulfilled with courses taken before Fall 2011, provided the same course fulfills a LADR under both the old and new distribution requirements.

Expiration of Degree Credit

If a student does not complete a degree within ten years from the date of matriculation, that student will need to meet the general education requirements stated in the most recent college catalog and may be required to retake some or all of the general education courses. Courses previously taken will be reviewed to determine whether they meet the current general education standard.

With regard to courses required for majors and/or minors, each department will review credit achieved in prior years to determine which ones may be used toward completing the major/minor as described in the new catalog.

Transfer credit older than ten years will be evaluated under the same standards as above even if that credit was previously awarded as general education or major/minor credit.

Graduation Application

Each student is required to file a graduation application in the Registrar’s Office prior to graduation. Applications are due as follows:

May graduation one year prior to graduation
September graduation end of spring semester a full year prior to graduation
January graduation end of fall semester a full year prior to graduation

Specific due dates are published on the academic calendar. Late applications will be accepted with a late fee until the end of the drop/add period the semester prior to graduation. See Late graduation application fee.

Approval of Course Attributes

The College Curriculum Committee approves the attributes of courses for distribution requirements.

Fulfillment of Distribution Requirements by Examination

Where appropriate, any distribution requirement may be satisfied by examination. The department concerned gives an examination comparable to the final given in the course. Arrangements for taking examinations should be made through the department. To earn credit by taking an examination, see Credit by Examination.

One Degree with Multiple Majors

A student's transcript will acknowledge each major the student has declared and for which degree requirements have been met.

B.S. degree candidates who have completed course work for a B.A. major and B.A. candidates who have completed course work for a B.S. major will have that major acknowledged on their transcripts.

Receipt of Two Degrees

It is the policy of Principia College that no individual be awarded both a B.A. and a B.S. degree after earning 120 semester hours, even if requirements for both degrees have been fulfilled. An individual who wishes to earn two degrees must successfully complete 150 semester hours and spend a minimum of five semesters in residence. See Residency Requirement. Students earning two degrees may elect to receive the first degree upon its completion or wait to receive both degrees simultaneously upon completion of the additional requirements.

An individual with a degree from another college may be accepted as a transfer student. To earn a Principia degree, this student will have to meet all of the graduation requirements and earn a minimum of 36 Principia College semester hours. The courses which must be taken at Principia in a major program (specific courses and/or number of courses) will be determined by the department faculty.

Graduation Honors

Graduation honors are based on a student’s college work at Principia. A student whose cumulative grade point average at graduation is 3.65 or higher is granted a degree with scholastic honors. A degree with highest scholastic honors is granted for a cumulative grade point average of 3.85 or higher.


Principia College holds an annual commencement ceremony in May. Students who have met all graduation requirements are eligible to participate. Students who graduate in September or January are welcome to participate in the commencement ceremony the following May.