Academics – Albright College


Degrees and Graduation

The College offers a general liberal arts and sciences education. The curriculum includes the general studies component, the specific major, and elective courses selected by the student.

Albright offers two undergraduate degrees, the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science. The minimum requirements for graduation are completion of no fewer than 32 course units, completion of all general studies and major requirements, a minimum 2.00 cumulative grade point average and a minimum 2.00 grade point average in the major, and completion of the Albright Cultural Experience.

At least 16 of the 32 course units must be earned at Albright College. The senior year is to be spent as a full-time day student at Albright (at least three courses per semester).

Albright uses a course-unit system to support a greater depth of learning. Each course unit is the equivalent of four credits at schools using a credit system, so the 32 units is equivalent to 128 credits. For classes that meet three hours weekly, the fourth credit is earned through alternative learning opportunities that occur outside the classroom and are above and beyond the expected academic readings, homework, and examinations. This is typically referred to as the “fourth-hour of quality.”

In addition to these academic requirements, to be eligible for graduation a student must have satisfied all obligations to the College including, but not limited to, payment of any outstanding charges and return of equipment and library books. The student also must be in good standing under the Student Code of Conduct as administered through the judicial system of the College.

General Studies at Albright

Albright College is strongly committed to the philosophy of a general studies program that insures both breadth of educational experience and mastery of skills and knowledge essential to all well-educated individuals. The following plan represents a newly envisioned approach to general education.   The new General Education curriculum takes effect starting with the freshman class entering Albright in the fall of 2013.  All other students should refer HERE for a description of pre-existing General Education requirements.  Albright’s General Education program offers all students a sequence of courses that invites them to encounter, engage with, and understand the world. The plan equips students at each step to undertake increasingly sophisticated and integrative forms of learning and analysis in a full range of disciplines, and yet balances that coherent, structured progression with Albright’s traditional emphasis on flexibility, responsibility and creativity. At the end of their Albright years, all students will have shared a journey; yet each student will have experienced that journey in a unique way.

Albright’s General Education has three overarching goals for students:

  1. Knowing the World | Students will learn about different disciplines, their objects of study, and their approaches to knowledge, thereby establishing a broad foundation upon which to build understanding and engagement.
  2. Engaging the World | Students will understand other groups—broadly defined—as well as the differences within and among them. They will learn different perspectives and contexts that shape the natural and human worlds and recognize the importance of social and ethical engagement in a local and global context.
  3. Understanding the World | Students will learn to think critically, communicate effectively, and solve problems creatively by acquiring intellectual, practical and integrative skills. They will examine the different questions and methods of the arts, humanities, and natural and social sciences. Students will learn to interpret, synthesize and adapt knowledge and skills to different situations, thus preparing themselves for an informed engagement with the world.

General Studies Requirements:

Each student must successfully complete the general studies program requirements listed below. Independent studies and internships may not be used to fulfill general studies requirements.

First-Year Seminar (1 course)
The First-Year Seminar is a special academic seminar intended for the student’s first year. This course introduces students to academic study in the liberal arts at the college level and provides first-year students with the opportunity to become active, integrated members of the Albright community and to develop skills needed for academic success.. Transfer students who enter as sophomores or juniors are not required to complete a First-Year Seminar.

English Composition (1-2 courses)
Competency in written English is a basic goal of general studies requirements. Two semesters of English composition are offered. Students typically begin with Composition (ENG 101); students who demonstrate competence as determined by test scores and past performance will schedule only Writing about Texts (ENG 102).

Foreign Language (1-3 courses)
Students are expected to achieve competency at the intermediate level of a language. Students may complete the language requirement in one of the following ways, depending on background and interest:

  • Elementary I and II (101 and 102), and Intermediate I (201)
  • Elementary II (102) and Intermediate I (201)
  • Intermediate I and II (201 or 203 and 202)
  • Advanced (301)

Foundations (5 courses)
Students will take one course in each of five foundational areas of study; in addition to exploring its particular topic, discipline, and methods, each Foundation course will introduce students to the approaches to knowledge characteristic of that area of study.

  • Arts (Art, Music or Theatre)
  • Humanities (Literature, History, Foreign Language Cultural course, Philosophy or Religious Studies)
  • Natural Sciences (laboratory-oriented course from Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science or Physics)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (designated course that involves quantitative reasoning and numerical analysis)
  • Social Sciences (Anthropology, Economics, Education, Political Science, Psychology or Sociology)

Particular designated courses in each area of study are available to satisfy the Foundations requirement.

Connections (2 courses)
Connections asks students to connect the range of knowledge they have acquired in the Foundations courses to the wider contexts of difference and interdependence within which knowledge is constructed and used.  Students will also learn to situate their understanding and their actions within an increasingly interconnected world that routinely puts them into relation with other persons and communities and the natural environment, both locally and globally. By fostering an understanding of these issues among our students, we prepare them for their lives beyond Albright—making informed choices in their jobs and in their roles as responsible citizens. Students will take two designated Connections courses, at least one in the Humanities and at least one which deals substantively with global issues (if one course satisfies both criteria, the student also chooses a second Connections course in a different department than the first). Because Connections builds upon foundational learning, the First Year Seminar and three of the five Foundations courses must be completed before enrolling in a Connections course.

Synthesis (1 course)
The synthesis course is a capstone to the General Education sequence and asks students to reflect on the whole of their learning, on the relations among academic disciplines and, on their own growing understanding of the world. This course, open only to juniors and seniors who have completed at least one Connections course, addresses directly the idea and practice of interdisciplinarity, encouraging students to move beyond disciplinary boundaries to a new understanding of a theme or topic.

The Cultural Experience
This requirement promotes ongoing participation in the rich cultural and intellectual life available outside the classroom. The Experience Program at Albright College presents to students (and to the broader community) a large number and wide range of challenging, live, public, non-commercial cultural events ranging from lectures and exhibitions to concerts and theatrical performances. Each of these events, often in multiple ways, intensifies and complements the learning in other components along the General Education path. Students must attend 16 events by the end of the sophomore year (fewer for transfer students).

Writing Skills
Albright believes that students should acquire good writing skills during their undergraduate education and that writing is a tool that enhances a student’s ability to think clearly and analyze effectively. Albright students will be expected to write frequently and systematically. While the freshman composition sequence introduces students to the fundamentals of good writing, this introduction is supplemented by other writing experiences as students pursue their work at Albright. Each student can expect to take at least one course in his or her area of study with a significant writing component. This will help ensure that writing skills acquired during the freshman year do not diminish over time. It also will help students develop the ability to express themselves effectively on topics related to their majors.


A major typically consists of 12-14 courses. (In addition, a department may require specific general studies and introductory courses.) Students must complete at least one 400-level senior seminar course and achieve a minimum 2.00 grade point average in the major. Requirements may include courses from related disciplines.

The following majors lead to the degree of Bachelor of Arts (B.A.):

The following majors lead to the degree of Bachelor of Science (B.S.):

Combined Majors

Students may choose to major in two or more areas of study. The combined major requires seven courses in each area. (In addition to the required seven courses, a department also may require specific general studies and introductory courses.) Students must complete a 400-level senior seminar course in each major and achieve a minimum 2.00 grade point average in all required courses in EACH major.

A faculty adviser is chosen from each departments. The program must be approved by the chairs of both departments. If a student has combined a major leading to a B.A. degree with a major leading to a B.S. degree, he or she may choose either a B.A. or a B.S. degree after consulting with the adviser.

Certain areas of study are available only as a part of a combined major. The following areas must be taken in combination with another area of study; students may not major solely in one of these areas:

Education and Teacher Certification Programs
Albright offers Teacher Certification Programs in Secondary Education (grades 7-12), Art Education (K-12) and Foreign Language Education (K-12).

Albright Education programs preserve a liberal arts focus while meeting Pennsylvania’s teacher certification requirements. Students in the Art, Foreign Language (French or Spanish), and Secondary Education programs major in the academic subject area they wish to teach and take additional specified courses for certification. Secondary Education students may be certified in English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Social Studies (students interested in teaching Social Studies usually major in History or Political Science).

See the Education Department website for specific requirements for these programs.

Individualized Study

At any time prior to the end of the sophomore year, a student may submit an Individualized Study Program (ISP) proposal to the  Curriculum Development Committee (CDC) for a major different from those outlined in the College catalog. The CDC can approve proposals during the junior year for cases of extenuating circumstances that prevented an earlier development of the ISP. The proposal should outline the circumstances for any late submission.  The ISP must provide for completion of the general studies requirements; include at least three academic disciplines; contain at least one 400-level course in each of two different disciplines; consist of 14 courses (five courses in the first discipline, five courses in the second discipline, and four courses in the third discipline); and be clearly superior to standard major requirements in meeting the student’s academic or occupational goals.

The specific courses for each discipline must first be approved by the discipline’s department chair or program coordinator. The entire ISP must be approved by the CDC.

Students interested in developing an ISP should find an adviser familiar with the student’s goals as well as the general areas of study in which the student intends to concentrate. With the help of the adviser, the student will submit the ISP proposal to the CDC.

January Interim

Albright’s academic calendar consists of two semesters and optional summer and January Interim sessions. The Interim offers students the opportunity to study on an intensive basis. Instructors are encouraged to use innovative course design and teaching methods during the Interim, including off-campus study and experiential learning.  Interim may also include online, hybrid, or other alternative scheduling that requires students to begin before the official Interim calendar start-date or end after the official calendar end-date.  In such cases, courses are designed not to interfere with students’ work on Fall or Spring courses.  Students may take an Interim course each year they are at Albright.

Experiential Learning and Career Development Center

The Experiential Learning and Career Development Center serves to provide Albright students with opportunities to extend their learning beyond the traditional classroom and gain invaluable experience to go along with academic credits. Services inclued Career Development, Study Abroad/Study Off-Campus, Internships, Service Learning, and the Honors Program.

Study Abroad/Study Off-Campus Program
Albright College offers study off-campus opportunities with both international and domestic options. The Study Abroad/Study Off-Campus office is located in the Experiential Learning and Career Development Center.

Students must declare their intent to study abroad/study off-campus one semester prior to their departure by completing an Albright application in addition to the application for the international or domestic program. Students may study off-campus at any time after their freshman year. Students must discuss their plans with their adviser(s) and receive approval for all academic coursework. Students must be in good academic, social and financial standing. Final approval for study abroad/study off-campus is granted by the Provost.

In addition to receiving prior approval for all courses, students must meet with the Financial Aid Office and the Controller’s Office to discuss appropriate costs and billing procedures. Costs vary by program. If a student will be seeking college housing upon their return to Albright College, a meeting with the director of housing and residential learning is required.

Internships are short-term, on-the-job learning experiences designed to allow students to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a real-world, professional work setting.

Service Learning
Service Learning is a form of experiential learning that allows students to test theories learned in the classroom, enhance problem-solving skills within a community environment, and work collaboratively with diverse groups of people

Undergraduate Research
The Undergraduate Research Program provides students with opportunities to conduct and present research. One such opportunity is through the Albright Creative Research Experience (ACRE) program. ACRE allows students to explore their own specific interest in detail together with a faculty member. This program is open to students of all majors and is designed to foster undergraduate scholarship, creative activity and research. Through this experience, students will increase their skills in their chosen field, foster professional relationships with faculty and advance their knowledge in the chosen project area.

Honors Program

The Honors Program allows students fulfilling the requirements to graduate with College Honors. The goals of the Honors Program are to:

  • Provide additional academic opportunities to students with talent and motivation
  • Encourage independent thought and initiative
  • Give Honors students opportunities to meet and work together

Students may qualify to join the Honors Program in one of two ways. Incoming Warren L. Davis and Jacob Albright Scholarship recipients, and select additional scholarship recipients, qualify to join the program before they begin study at Albright on the strength of their high school record. Other students may join the program upon earning an Albright cumulative grade point average of 3.5 and by contacting the Honors Program director.

Members in good standing of the Honors Program are students who have registered for the program, maintain at least a 3.5 cumulative grade point average, complete two of the three honors course requirements by the end of their sophomore year and successfully complete the honors thesis by the end of their senior year.

Probationary members of the Honors Program are students who meet all of the requirements for membership in good standing except that their cumulative grade point average has fallen to between 3.25 and 3.5.

Students who have registered for the Honors Program but subsequently fail to meet the requirements for probationary membership will be withdrawn from the program. They may apply for readmission to the program upon meeting the requirements for probationary membership.

Further information about the Honors Program may be found here.

Students in the Honors Program must complete three honors course units.

Honors Courses: The required honors courses all count toward the total required for graduation. These courses do not increase overall course load; instead, they make it possible to fulfill some course requirements in an enriched way. Of the three honors courses a student takes, at least one can be an introductory level course, such as ENG 102, or PSY 100, as well as more advanced courses. These courses are designed to also count towards general studies or major requirements. Honors courses are inquiry-oriented courses with a limited enrollment; topics vary from semester to semester and discipline to discipline.

Unit requirements may also be completed using honors modules, or an honors independent study. Students must complete two of these courses by the end of the sophomore year and the third by the end of the junior year in order to remain a member in good standing of the Honors Program. (If there is a specific reason a student is waiting longer than usual to fulfill these requirements, he/she should speak with their adviser and the director of the Honors Program).

Honors Modules: An honors module provides the opportunity to take a regular course for honors credit by supplementing or replacing part of the course requirements with a special honors project. These projects vary from course to course, so students should consult with the professor teaching the course to work out the specific details. This consultation should take place as soon as possible, but no later than the first week of the semester in which the course is being taken. Students must take the initiative in setting up this meeting, and are encouraged (although not required) to arrive at the meeting with a suggestion of what the project might entail. Students are encouraged to have regular meetings with the instructor who is part of the module they design. Students are also encouraged to put the plans for the module in writing so that expectations for both student and instructor are explicit.

If there’s a choice between taking an honors course and an honors module, it’s usually preferable to take the honors course. On some occasions, however, an honors module may be precisely what is desired, since it may provide an opportunity to explore in greater depth a topic that is studied only in non-honors courses. An honors module also makes it possible to use a regular course to meet the honors requirements, as well as possibly a general studies or major requirement. This may be particularly useful if there’s a scheduling conflict with the honors courses that are being offered.

Honors Independent Study: An honors independent study provides the opportunity to arrange a specialized study with a particular professor. This makes it possible to explore specific areas of interest that are beyond the scope of regular course offerings. Students may want to consider taking an honors independent study in conjunction with the senior honors project, either during the junior or senior year.

Grade Point Average
In order to be a member in good standing of the College Honors Program and to graduate with College Honors, a student must maintain at least a 3.5 cumulative grade point average.

Senior Thesis
The Honors Committee determines the specific policies relating to the senior thesis and publishes them in the Honors Guide. The senior thesis is a year-long independent research project completed in the spring of the senior year. The same project may be submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for both College Honors and Departmental Distinction.

Students not enrolled in the Honors Program may take honors courses, on a space-available basis with the permission of the instructor, if they have at least a 3.5 cumulative grade point average.

Higher Education Council of Berks County

Albright College is a member of the Higher Education Council of Berks County (HECBC) with Alvernia University, Kutztown University, Penn State Berks and Reading Area Community College. The consortium allows students the opportunity to take courses at any other member institution at no additional tuition charge.

A full-time, day division, degree student in good academic standing may cross register for one course per semester at one of the member institutions. The course should be beneficial to the student’s overall educational program. The student must obtain the approval of his or her adviser, the chair of Albright’s department in which the course will be taken and the Registrar. The host school must also approve the cross registration. The course must be in the normal academic load and not produce an overload. The student assumes responsibility for the costs and means of transportation and accepts the inconvenience of different academic calendars. Further information regarding the HECBC may be obtained at the Registrar’s Office.

Summer Program

The Albright College Summer Sessions offer a variety of courses from late May to early August that allow students to make progress toward their degree or simply explore a topic of interest. Typically courses run either five or ten weeks. Courses are open to Albright students, students from other colleges and universities, and to dual-enrollment students seeking college credit while in high school. Students entering Albright in the fall may also take summer courses to get ahead. Courses are taught either in the classroom or online or in a hybrid mode. One to two courses is a usual summer load.  Maximum course-load during summer is four courses, no more than two at one time. Summer course-lists are usually published in February. For further information please contact the Registrar’s Office.