Academic Programs Catalog

College of Arts and Letters

Undergraduate Programs

The College of Arts and Letters offers departmental and interdepartmental majors that lead to either Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degrees. Most departmental majors, except for certain programs in art, theatre, and foreign languages, consist of between 30 and 40 credits in courses identified by the department as counting toward the major. In general, the departmental major is appropriate for a student who wishes to develop the habits of mind and methods of study that are associated with a single scholarly discipline or who wishes to pursue graduate study in the discipline. Specific course and credit requirements for majors are explained in the sections of this catalog devoted to individual academic units within departments. In addition to completing course work in the major, students have the freedom to choose from among many fields of related intellectual importance to fulfill cognate requirements.

The interdepartmental major is especially appropriate for students who wish to combine work in several fields into a unique course of study. An interdepartmental major consists of between 50 and 58 credits in courses stipulated by the college as counting toward the major. Course and credit requirements are described later in this section under the heading Interdepartmental and Interdisciplinary Programs.

The college, departments or programs will provide academic advice and other assistance, but the final responsibility for meeting the requirements remains with the student.

 


Freshmen

Students meeting the general requirements for admission to the university shown in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog may enroll with a major preference in the College of Arts and Letters and be assigned an academic advisor from the college. During the freshman year, students are enrolled in the Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative.

 


Citizens Scholars

All College of Arts and Letters first-year students are invited to become aspiring Citizen Scholars as they prepare themselves to be the next generation of diverse, high-achieving, and engaged citizen leaders.  Students aspiring to be Citizen Scholars will be encouraged to succeed academically while gaining experience in high-impact learning environments. Aspiring Citizen Scholars will take three required courses during their first year and will participate in co- and extra-curricular activities to earn badges in Global Engagement, Professional Networking, Research and Creative Activity, and Citizenship over their time at Michigan State. Upon successful completion of requirements, students will be provided with funding to use for study abroad, research, or other activities.

 

Admission to the College of Arts and Letters

  1. Completion of at least 28 credits acceptable to the college.
  2. An academic record in all work accepted by the college which meets the requirements of Academic Standing of Undergraduate Students.
  3. Acceptance as a major by a department or interdepartmental program in the college.

 


Graduation Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree in the College of Arts and Letters

1. The University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of the catalog.
2. The requirements of the College of Arts and Letters for the Bachelor of Arts degree that are listed below:
a. Courses used to satisfy the University Integrative Studies requirement cannot be counted in the fulfillment of any other requirement.
b. The specific requirements, including a capstone experience, of a major leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree in the college.
c. Second–year competency in a foreign language.  This  requirement may be satisfied by placing into a 300–level foreign language course based on a MSU placement test. 
d. Cognate requirement:
(1) Students must complete two cognates of 12 credits each or an approved alternative noted below.  Both the cognates and the related courses must be approved by the department of the student’s major.
(2) Each cognate may be completed inside or outside the College.
(3) The courses in each cognate shall be in a single discipline or thematic area. With departmental approval, a secondary or additional major or a minor may serve as an approved substitute for both cognates.  Some majors have specific cognate requirements. Consult Academic Programs or the department advisor for current requirements.
(4) For students who are seeking a teaching certificate, an approved teaching minor may be substituted for the two cognates with the approval of the student’s academic advisor.
(5) With department approval a specialization may substitute for one cognate. Twelve credits used to fulfill the requirements of the specialization cannot count toward the major.
(6) One 300 or 400-level course of at least 3 credits must be included in one of the cognates or alternatives.
(7) Courses at the 300 or 400-level in the same language that was used to satisfy the college’s foreign language requirement, or courses at the 100 or 200-level in another foreign language, may be counted toward the cognate requirement.
(8) The two cognates are not required for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities, the Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities-Prelaw, the Bachelor of Arts degree in Experience Architecture, or for Bachelor of Fine Arts majors.
e. Credit requirement.
(1) No more than 9 credits that are used to satisfy the departmental or interdepartmental credit requirement for a primary major, second degree, or additional major in the College of Arts and Letters may also be used to satisfy the departmental or interdepartmental credit requirement for another primary major, second degree, or additional major in the College of Arts and Letters.
(2) For students with a department major leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree:
(a) At least 30 credits in courses at the 300 level and above.
(b) At least 30, but not more than 40, credits in courses in the major that count toward the degree with the following exceptions. For example, a student with a major in German must earn at least 30, but not more than 40, credits in German courses.
(i) A student with a Bachelor of Arts major in Theatre may earn a maximum of 50 credits in Theatre and Dance courses.
(ii) A student with a major in a foreign language may earn a maximum of 40 credits in courses above the 100-level in that language.
(iii) A student who combines a major in Japanese with a major in another field is required to earn a minimum of 28 credits in Japanese courses.
(iv) A student who combines a major in Chinese with a major in another field is required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in Chinese courses.
(v) A student who combines a major in German with a major in another field is required to earn a minimum of 28 credits in German courses.
(vi) A student who combines a major in Russian with a major in another field is required to earn a minimum of 26 credits in Russian courses.
(vii) A student who combines a major in Arabic with a major in another field is required to earn a minimum of 27 credits in Arabic courses.
(c) A minimum grade–point average of 2.00 in courses in the major that count toward the degree. For example, a student with a major in German must earn a minimum grade–point average of 2.00 in the German courses that count toward the degree.
(3) For students with an interdepartmental or interdisciplinary major leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree:
(a) At least 30 credits in courses at the 300 level and above. 
(b) At least 50, but not more than 68, credits in courses in the major that count toward the degree. For example, a student with a major in Interdisciplinary Humanities must earn at least 50, but not more than 68, credits in courses related to Interdisciplinary Humanities.
(c) A minimum grade–point average of 2.00 in courses in the major that count toward the degree. For example, a student with a major in Interdisciplinary Humanities must earn a minimum grade–point average of 2.00 in the courses related to Interdisciplinary Humanities that count toward the degree.

Graduation Requirements for the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in the College of Arts and Letters

  1. The University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of the catalog.
  2. The requirements of the College of Arts and Letters for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree that are listed below:
    1. Courses used to satisfy the University Integrative Studies requirement cannot be counted in the fulfillment of any other requirement.
    2. The specific requirements, including a capstone experience, of a major leading to the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the Departments of Art, Art History and Design, and Theatre.
    3. Credit requirement.
      1. At least 30 credits in courses at the 300 level and above.
      2. No more than 9 credits that are used to satisfy the departmental or interdepartmental credit requirement for a primary major, second degree, or additional major in the College of Arts and Letters may also be used to satisfy the departmental or interdepartmental credit requirement for another primary major, second degree, or additional major in the College of Arts and Letters.
    4. A minimum grade–point average of 2.00 in courses in the major that count toward the degree. For example, a student with a major in Studio Art must earn a minimum grade–point average of 2.00 in the Studio Art courses that count toward the degree.


Honors Study

Many honors students develop distinctive undergraduate programs in College of Arts and Letters departments. The departments of the college offer honors courses and seminars at both introductory and advanced levels, chiefly, but not exclusively, for members of the Honors College. An Honors Option is possible for many of the courses in the college through prior arrangement between student and instructor. Such agreements permit the student to earn Honors credit for specialized study beyond the usual requirements of the course. 

 

Preprofessional Programs

Since the admission requirements to professional programs such as human and veterinarian medicine, business, and law vary among post-baccalaureate professional schools, it is not feasible to establish a single program for each profession that satisfies the admission requirements of all such schools. However, many majors within the College of Arts and Letters prepare students for application to these graduate programs. In addition, students  may create a program of study that meets the specific admission requirements of the professional college of their choice. Early advising and careful planning are critical in these instances.

The College of Arts and Letters does have, however, a suggested program of study in Humanities-Prelaw which will satisfy the admission requirements of most professional law schools. It is the responsibility of the student to determine whether or not the proposed program meets the entrance requirements of a chosen professional college. For details, consult the following sections Interdisciplinary Humanities, Humanities-Prelaw Program, and the College of Arts and Letters 3 + 3 Option.


 


Minors

In addition to undergraduate major programs, the college offers multiple minors which may be combined with the requirements of a student’s degree program. A complete list of College of Arts and Letters minors is available at www.reg.msu.edu/AcademicPrograms/.

Students in Arts and Letters with an interest in medicine or philosophy may also complete a Bioethics, Humanities, and Society Minor (see the College of Human Medicine section of this catalog).

In addition, students in Arts and Letters may complete a Minor in Documentary Production (see the Department of Media and Information section of this catalog).