Jul 20, 2024  
2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog 

Other Graduation Requirements

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Graduation Requirements


Many majors, emphases, and areas of study have graduation requirements beyond those required by the university. Examples of such requirements include, but are not limited to, satisfactory production of a portfolio, maintaining a designated cumulative and/or major GPA, earning a certain grade in certain courses, successful performance on a standardized performance measure, and successful completion of clinical requirements. Students interested in these majors, emphases, or areas of study and students already admitted to them should consult department and college program requirements listed in the individual college and department sections of this catalog. Students are also strongly encouraged to consult with an adviser to assure they continue to qualify for graduation in their chosen major, emphasis, or area of study. See individual colleges and departments.

Second Major/Emphasis

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A double major may require more semester hours than the 120-semester-hour minimum required for graduation. A student may fulfill the requirements for two separate majors (“double major”) while earning one baccalaureate degree. The student must request entrance into the second major from the appropriate academic department. If the requirements for both majors are fulfilled, both will be indicated on the academic record.

If the second major requires a second degree (for example, if the student is pursuing a B.A. in history and wants a B.S. in economics as a second major), the student must complete the requirements for both degrees.

A student who wishes to complete two majors or two emphases in the same department must have written approval by the department curriculum committee and the major college curriculum committee.

The degree the student will be granted will be that permitted by the student’s first declared major. Only one degree will be granted unless the additional requirements listed in the section entitled “Second Baccalaureate Degree” are also met.

Second Baccalaureate Degree

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A student who earns a baccalaureate degree from NIU may receive a second such degree if all requirements for both degrees are met. The curriculum for the second degree must include at least 30 semester hours in residence above the minimum 120 semester hours required for the first degree at NIU.

A student who holds a baccalaureate degree from another college or university may receive a second such degree from NIU by meeting these requirements.

Being admitted to NIU.
Earning at least 30 semester hours of undergraduate credit in residence at NIU.
Fulfilling all requirements for a major other than the first major and all degree requirements.
Earning at least 12 semester hours of major departmental requirements in courses numbered at the 300 and 400 level taken at NIU.

A student may not apply any credit in physical education activity courses toward the second baccalaureate degree.


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In order for the university to record on a student’s transcript that a minor was successfully completed during the student’s undergraduate program, the student must attain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 in all courses taken in the minor at NIU.

Foreign Language Requirements for the B.A. Degree

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Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree must demonstrate competence in a foreign language equivalent to that attained in two years of college instruction. This requirement must be met by

Successful completion of one of the following sequences.
Arabic: FLAR 103, FLAR 104
Burmese: FLBU 103, FLBU 104
Chinese: FLCH 101, FLCH 102, FLCH 201, FLCH 202
French: FLFR 101, FLFR 102, FLFR 201, FLFR 202
German: FLGE 101, FLGE 102, FLGE 201, FLGE 202
Greek: FLCL 103, FLCL 104, FLCL 203, FLCL 204
Indonesian: FLIN 103, FLIN 104
Italian: FLIT 101, FLIT 102, FLIT 201, FLIT 202
Japanese: FLJA 101, FLJA 102, FLJA 201, FLJA 202
Korean: FLKN 103, FLKN 104
Latin: FLCL 101, FLCL 102, FLCL 201, FLCL 202
Polish: FLPL 101, FLPL 102, FLPL 201, FLPL 202
Portuguese: FLPO 103, FLPO 104
Russian: FLRU 101, FLRU 102, FLRU 201, FLRU 202
Spanish: FLSP 101, FLSP 102, FLSP 201, and FLSP 202 or FLSP 215*
Tagalog: FLTA 103, FLTA 104
Thai: FLTH 103, FLTH 104

Four years of one foreign language with no grade lower than C at an accredited high school.

Exemption (no credit awarded) by

demonstrating competence equal to the work required in the last course in one of the sequences listed above on a four-skills test (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) administered through the NIU Office of Testing Services. Such examinations are available for languages taught by the faculty of the NIU Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.
registration as an international student at NIU, with a native language other than English.


Students with high school credit in French, German, or Spanish who wish to continue in that language must gain placement into the appropriate course in the desired sequence by taking the foreign language placement examination. On the basis of this examination, the student must begin the chosen language sequence in the course indicated by the placement examination, disregarding that course’s prerequisites. For example, a student gaining placement into French 201 does not have to complete the courses FLFR 101 and FLFR 102. For placement in all other languages listed above, see the appropriate coordinator in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

*With consent of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, native speakers of Spanish may substitute FLSP 215 for any and all levels of FLSP 101 through FLSP 202, as well as for FLSP 211.

Special Requirements for the B.S. Degree in Electrical, Industrial, and Mechanical Engineering

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Candidates for the B.S. degree in electrical, industrial, and mechanical engineering must earn a minimum of 18 semester hours of course work in humanities, arts, social sciences, and interdisciplinary areas. Students must consult with their faculty advisers to determine appropriate courses.

All engineering students must have their schedule reviewed, approved, and signed by their faculty advisers each semester. Any deviation from an approved course schedule may delay graduation.

Special Requirement for the B.S. Degree in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Candidates for the Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences must fulfill a special college requirement. They must demonstrate competence in laboratory science and/or mathematical/computational skills equivalent to that attained in two years of college instruction (10-15 semester hours). See the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences section for a description of the requirement.

Application for Graduation

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Choice of Catalog

The rules governing catalog choice for different categories of students are given below. However, no student may graduate under a catalog more than six years old, unless specific permission is obtained from the major college in a case where the major program in question is still available as an approved program of study. The rules given below apply only to requirements for majors, minors, and general education. All students are subject to the academic regulations stated in the most recent catalog.

Entering Freshmen

Students who enter NIU as first-semester freshmen should use the catalog current when they take their first course at NIU; they may shift to any later catalog which is in effect while they are enrolled. They may choose to satisfy all requirements from a single catalog or they may satisfy major and minor requirements from one and general education requirements from a second. Students earning a second major may choose a separate catalog for each degree only with the written approval of their college office.

Transfer Students

Students may choose the NIU catalog which was in effect when they became freshmen at their original school or any later NIU catalog, providing they were enrolled during the catalog year of their choice, but they cannot choose an NIU catalog which was in effect more than three years before their admission or reentry to NIU. They may also elect to satisfy all graduation requirements from a single catalog or major and minor requirements from one and general education requirements from a second.

Reentering Students

Students reentering NIU after an interruption of more than three years are subject to catalog provisions in effect at the time they reenter. (However, every effort will be made to count earlier courses in the way most beneficial to fulfilling current requirements.)

Students reentering NIU after an interruption of fewer than three years can use the catalog in effect at the time of their original admission to NIU or any later catalog.

Reentering students who have attended other colleges or universities while away from NIU are subject to the previously stated Transfer Students policy.

Postbaccalaureate Students

Students pursuing a second baccalaureate degree are subject to the provisions of the catalog in effect at the time of their starting their second baccalaureate program or any later catalog.

Applying for Graduation

Degrees are granted in December, May, and August.

Undergraduate students who have completed 90 or more semester hours will be notified via e-mail that they are eligible to apply for graduation. The graduation application is found in MyNIU by navigating to Self Service> Degree Progress/Graduation> Apply for Graduation. The graduation fee will be applied to the student account at the time of application.  The deadlines for applying for graduation and commencement are as follows:

December graduation: apply March 1 – July 1
May graduation: apply August 1 – December 1
August graduation: apply August 1 – May 1 (Note: August graduates who wish to participate in the May commencement ceremony must apply for August graduation by December 1.)

Further correspondence regarding eligibility towards graduation may be sent via ZID e-mail account from the department, college office, or Registration and Records. Students with graduation deficiencies should contact their academic adviser for assistance. Students who do not complete all requirements during the term for which they applied must change their graduation date in Registration and Records by the next deadline date or no later than 30 days into the following semester. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Office of Registration and Records in writing of their next intended graduation date. An additional fee is not required.

Students completing degree requirements between degree dates may request an early posting of their degree. Contact the Office of Registration and Records for details.

Degrees with Distinction

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A student must have completed at least 60 semester hours of work at NIU to be eligible for graduation with distinction. Grade point averages are computed on the basis of all work attempted during those semesters which include the last 60 hours of work completed at NIU.

Degrees with distinction are awarded as follows, dependent on a student’s GPA at the time of graduation: summa cum laude, 3.90 through 4.00; magna cum laude, 3.75 through 3.899; cum laude, 3.50 through 3.749.

Students who have completed the requirements of the University Honors Program are graduated “With University Honors.”


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