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General Requirements

Each student is responsible for knowing all regulations governing the curriculum and course registration, and is responsible for planning a course of study in accordance with those regulations and the requirements for the degree.

The requirements for the undergraduate degree are:

  • Minimum 128 credits of academic work. (See Degree Restrictions.)
  • Cumulative grade point average of 2.0 for all institutional work (including Smith Programs Abroad and Five College Interchange).
  • Completion of a major.
  • Satisfactory (C– or better) completion of a writing-intensive course during the first year of enrollment.
  • Four semesters of academic work, a minimum of 64 completed credits, in academic residence at Smith College in Northampton. Two of these semesters must be completed during the junior or senior year.
  • Bachelor of Arts: completion of 64 credits of academic work outside the department of the major (64-Credit Rule).
  • Bachelor of Science: additional requirements for the bachelor of science degree are listed in the Smith College Course Catalog (under "Engineering") and on the Picker Engineering Program website.

Degree Restrictions

  • A limited number of performance credits may be counted toward the degree:

    • Exercise and Sport Studies (ESS): maximum of 4 credits
    • Music (MUS): maximum of 24 credits
    • Dance (DAN): maximum of 12 credits for non-dance majors, 20 credits for dance majors

    Courses completed beyond these limits are listed on the transcript but are not counted towards the degree.

  • A maximum of 16 credits of optional Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grades may be counted toward the degree.
  • A maximum of 16 credits of special studies may be counted toward the degree.
  • A maximum of 12 approved summer school credits and a maximum of 12 approved interterm credits at Smith or elsewhere may be applied to the degree, with an overall maximum of 32 credits of combined summer, interterm, AP and other pre–matriculation credits.

Completion of Degree Requirements (Senior Certification)

Completion of degree requirements (senior certification) is completed through Workday. Second-semester seniors will be prompted to begin the process of certification by the registrar’s office. Major and minor requirements will be certified by the respective advisers. The 64-credit rule will be certified by the registrar’s office and confirmed by the major adviser(s). Latin Honors will be reviewed by the registrar's office.

Students and advisers should review the Academic Progress report, and advisers should submit overrides to requirements as needed. Prior to certification, all requirements must appear as Satisfied or In Progress; no requirements should be outstanding.

Latin Honors

Each year approximately 25 percent of the graduating class is awarded the Bachelor of Arts or Science degree with Latin Honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude) and/or departmental honors. Latin Honors are awarded to graduating seniors who have meet the eligibility requirements:

1. Complete the distribution requirements in seven fields of knowledge
2. Complete 48 graded credits during the sophomore, junior, and senior years.
3. Meet the minimum Latin Honors GPA for the graduating class (not published or disclosed).

1. Distribution of courses in the seven major fields of knowledge

If you wish to become eligible for Latin Honors at graduation, you must elect at least one course (normally 4 credits) in each of the seven major fields of knowledge:

  • Arts {A}
  • Foreign Language* {F}
  • Literature {L}
  • Historical studies {H}
  • Mathematics and analytic philosophy {M}
  • Natural science {N}
  • Social science {S}

Not all Smith courses carry Latin Honors designations. Any particular 4-credit course may be used to cover only one field of knowledge. Partial credit courses completed at Smith or through transfer may be combined with other courses in the same field for a total of at least 4 credits to satisfy distribution requirements. A course may be used only once to satisfy distribution requirements.

*One year of an introductory language course or one course at a higher level satisfies the foreign language Latin honors requirement. Students who are non-native speakers of English may, with the permission of a class dean, take any two courses in the English department at the 100-level (or one course at a higher level) to satisfy the foreign language Latin honors requirement. Non-native speakers of English are considered to be those who indicated on their advising form that English was not their first language, have had several years of education in a school where the language of instruction was other than English, and can read, write and speak this language.

  • All Smith College courses totaling 4 credits or more with a Latin Honors designation taken in any year (including the first year).
  • All Smith College courses less than 4 credits with a Latin Honors designation taken in any year (including the first year). Must complete a total of 4 credits in each Latin Honors designation to earn the designation.
  • Five College, transfer and non-Smith study abroad courses with approval from the registrar's office. Send course description and requested Latin Honors designation to
  • A Smith special studies course with approval of the department and Subcommittee on Honors and Independent Programs (SHIP). Designation must be requested as part of the special studies application.

  • Advanced Placement (AP) exams
  • A-Level exams
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) exams
  • Pre-matriculation courses (College courses taken while in high school)

2. Minimum Number of Graded Credits After First Year

In order to be eligible for Latin Honors, you must have a minimum of 48 graded credits (non S/U, non-transfer) that have been taken after your first year (i.e., in the sophomore, junior, and senior years). If you spend your sophomore, junior, or senior year away from campus (with the exception of Smith JYA or Washington programs), grades from the remaining two years are counted. Grades from the first year are never counted in the Latin Honors GPA although courses taken in the first-year can be used to fulfill Latin Honors designations.

3. Grades/Latin Honors GPA

The minimum grade point average for Latin Honors varies each year depending on the overall grade distribution of those eligible in the senior class and is not published or disclosed. It is impossible to determine the minimum GPA in advance. The Latin Honors GPA is calculated using eligible grades after the first-year of enrollment. For Transfer students and Ada Comstock scholars, the Latin Honors GPA is the same as your cumulative GPA.

  • Smith College grades
  • Smith JYA grades
  • Smithsonian Program grades
  • Picker Program grades
  • Five College interchange courses (taken during the semester only, not during interterm or during the summer)

  • First-year grades, even those taken at Smith*
  • Transfer grades of any kind including summer
  • Study abroad grades on non-Smith JYA programs
  • All S/U or P/F grades*

*Courses successfully completed during the first year or with grades of S/U or P/F may be used to satisfy the distribution requirements but are not calculated in the GPA and therefore do not count in the minimum 48 graded credits need to be considered for Latin honors.

Progress Toward Completion of Requirements

Latin Honors fulfilment can be tracked on the Academic Progress on Workday. The report displays if a requirement is statisfied, not satisfied, or in progress.
Note that the courses used to fulfill requirements are not the only courses used to calculate the Latin Honors GPA (see Grades above).

A notation of "Liberal Arts Commendation" will be added to the transcript of any student who completes the distribution requirements but is not awarded Latin honors.

Students must complete the Latin honors distribution requirements in order to be considered for election to Phi Beta Kappa.

Senior Year

You enter your senior year after completing a maximum of six semesters and attaining a cumulative total of at least 96 credits.

You may not enter your senior year with a shortage of credits; exceptions require a petition to the Administrative Board before your return to campus for your final two semesters.

Studying Away Senior Year

If you wish to complete part or all of your senior year away from campus on a Smith or non-Smith program or at another undergraduate institution, you must petition the administrative board. The petition must include a plan for the satisfactory completion of the major and degree requirements (including residency) and must have the approval of the department of the major. The petition must be filed in the Office of the Class Deans by the deadline to request approval for off-campus study.

If you are studying away from campus during your final semester, you will not be awarded your degree or diploma until the Office of the Registrar receives a final official transcript and confirms completion of the degree requirements.


The Smith College diploma is printed with the graduate's name, degree and graduation honors. Majors do not appear on the diploma unless the graduate has been awarded departmental honors. The diploma displays the college seal and is individually signed by the president of the college.

During your senior year, the registrar's office will contact you to confirm the spelling of the diploma name.

Official translation of the diploma from Latin to English can be obtained by contacting