The Baccalaureate Examination
The baccalaureate examination, conducted by the baccalaureate committee, is an oral defense of the student’s performance in three areas: senior thesis, Area of Concentration, and the undergraduate education in general. It is typically the final requirement for graduation, coming in the final semester and presupposing completion of the senior thesis and substantial completion of the requirements for the Area of Concentration. No student may graduate until the quality of her/his educational achievement has been closely examined and approved by three faculty members. The ability to express ideas and information orally is assessed as part of the baccalaureate examination process. The baccalaureate examination usually is held two or three weeks prior to the semester's end, but examinations can be scheduled earlier. The dates of the baccalaureate exam week, the first three days of the twelfth week and the last two days of the fourteenth week, are announced in the academic calendar.
The procedure for announcing baccalaureate examinations, which are open to the College community, is as follows:
Not later than one week before the baccalaureate examination, the student who is to be examined shall apply to the Division Office of his or her thesis sponsor for a room in which to hold the examination. He or she shall provide the Division with the following information:
1. Name of student
2. Title of thesis or project
3. Area of Concentration
4. Members of baccalaureate committee
5. Date and time of examination
A Division staff member shall assign a room for the examination and post an announcement of the examination (consisting of all of the preceding information) on the New College website. The student may also post paper announcements in any or all of the following places:
1. Division Offices
3. Office of the Registrar
4. Office of Student Affairs
5. Any available student publication
A student’s senior thesis project committee, which is also the baccalaureate committee, includes a senior thesis sponsor and at least two other faculty members, all of whom have signed the Thesis Prospectus/Area of Concentration Form on file in the Office of the Registrar. In the event that a student wishes to change the membership of the committee, a new Thesis Prospectus/Area of Concentration Form, signed by the new committee members, must be filed in the Office of the Registrar two weeks before the baccalaureate examination. Previous committee members will be notified of the change by the Office of the Registrar. A baccalaureate examination may be held only with the approval of the thesis sponsor.
1. Fulfill conditions set by the committee to the satisfaction of the thesis sponsor;
2. Request another baccalaureate examination with the same committee;
3. Reconstitute the thesis committee. If the committee is reconstituted, then a new Thesis Prospectus/Area of Concentration form, signed by all of the members of the new committee, must be filed in the Registrar’s Office; the baccalaureate examination may not be held sooner than two weeks after the new form is filed. The deadlines in the previous paragraphs remain in effect.
The faculty members of the Student Academic Status Committee review the list of potential graduates and make their recommendation (s) to the New College faculty as a whole, in it’s executive session at the last faculty meeting of the academic year. The New College faculty, in that executive session, votes conferral of all degrees. If a student has not met the requirements for the degree by the time of the faculty meeting, the student cannot graduate in that academic year. The student may fulfill the requirements by some later time agreed upon with appropriate faculty members and be presented to the faculty as a whole no sooner than three months after the year's degree-granting faculty meeting and no later than five years after that meeting.
Enrollment of Thesis Students (The "Langston Rule")
Students who hold baccalaureate examinations between the first day of classes of the fall semester and the end of the January Interterm ISP period must be enrolled for that fall semester to hold their baccalaureates. Students who hold their baccalaureates between the first day of classes of the spring semester and two weeks after graduation must be enrolled for that spring semester. Baccalaureates held later than two weeks after graduation and before the start of classes of the fall semester require registration for that fall semester. If during the semester, the student encountered an extreme circumstance, which prevented the student from completing the thesis, a student may wish to petition this policy with the Office of the Provost. This rule is based on a memorandum from Interim Dean & Warden Douglas Langston on May 8, 1998. The memorandum was discussed in Faculty Meeting of 03/11/1998; a full text of the memorandum is appended to the minutes of that meeting.
A student may graduate after the completion of six contracts by successfully petitioning the Student Academic Status Committee (SASC), prior to beginning his or her sixth semester, for waiver of the seventh semester. A Thesis Prospectus/Area of Concentration form must be submitted either before or with the petition.
A student graduating in six semesters is expected to complete an academic program comparable in content to that of a student graduating in the standard seven semesters. The work must be of superior quality. The student must have met both the Liberal Arts Curriculum requirements and his or her Area of Concentration requirements, and have satisfactorily completed 31 units (a unit being equivalent to a full semester course or ISP). The student must obtain the support of the senior thesis sponsor and a second faculty member signing the Thesis Prospectus/Area of Concentration form. All other academic requirements must be met in order to graduate early.
Failure to complete all graduation requirements by the end of the sixth semester voids any prior SASC approval of an early graduation petition and requires enrollment for a seventh semester.
The requirement of four on-campus contracts cannot be waived by a request for early graduation. Thus, a transfer student who enters New College with credit for three contracts is not eligible for early graduation.
Extra Contracts or Semesters
Specific academic programs may require the completion of contracts beyond the seven required for graduation. Students registering for contracts beyond the seventh are required to engage in full-time academic work.
Students transferring to New College from another accredited college or university are awarded transfer credit in the form of unit, contract and Independent Study Project exemptions. Only work in the liberal arts and sciences completed at the grade equivalent of "C" or above at an accredited college or university is considered for transfer credit; such work must be certified on an official transcript. Advanced Placement examinations, or other examinations in lieu of courses, do not receive transfer credit. Course work completed at another college or university after a student’s initial enrollment at New College will not be considered for transfer credit unless registered for fulfillment of a New College contract or ISP.
For details on transfer credit for off-campus study once enrolled at New College, see the Catalog sections regarding Contracts and ISPs.For a detailed discussion of transfer credit, see the Office of the Registrar website.