2015-16 General Bulletin

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Case Western Reserve University offers a broad range of programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, management, accountancy, and nursing leading to the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees. These programs provide depth through concentrated study in a major field, breadth through the fulfillment of general education requirements, and open electives.

The BA is available in more than forty fields in the humanities and arts, the social and behavioral sciences, and the natural sciences and mathematics. The BS in Engineering is available in twelve major fields. The BS in Management is available in three major fields. In addition, BS programs are offered in accounting, the natural sciences, mathematics, computer science, statistics, nutrition, art education, music education, and nursing.

The Bachelor of Music (BM) degree is offered by the Cleveland Institute of Music through a joint program with Case Western Reserve University.

General Requirements for all Bachelor's Degrees

The bachelor’s degree programs require students to study one field in depth (the major) and to complete general education requirements as appropriate to the major field and degree program selected. There is overlap among general education requirements, which allows students flexibility in the choice of majors and degree programs.

Every candidate for a baccalaureate degree from the university must:

  1. complete the requirements of the Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship (SAGES), as described below;
  2. complete two semesters of physical education through a combination of half and/or full semesters in Physical Education activity courses, as described below;
  3. complete the requirements of the major field of study, as described in the relevant sections of the Bulletin;
  4. complete the general education requirements of the school and degree program in which the student's major field of study falls, as described in the relevant section of this chapter of the Bulletin (Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Management, Nursing);
  5. complete a course of studies with a cumulative grade point average of no less than 2.000 for work taken at Case Western Reserve University; and
  6. earn in residence at Case Western Reserve University a minimum of 60 credit-hours, of which at least 15 must be earned after the student has earned a total of 105 credit-hours.


The Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship (SAGES) provides a foundation in critical thinking, written and oral communication, the use of information, quantitative reasoning, engagement with ethical issues and diversity, and exposure to experimental and theoretical approaches to understanding human culture and behavior, scientific knowledge, and methods of research.

The First Seminar

The First Seminar (4 credit-hours, taken in the first semester of enrollment) introduces students to the seminar format through reading, discussion, and intensive writing, and incorporates activities with University Circle institutions.  The course focuses on the development of critical thinking and communication skills through the use of a variety of approaches, media, and perspectives to explore the human mind and the nature of inquiry. This course is designed to strengthen writing and analytical skills while building a foundation in ethics, information literacy, and cultural diversity.

Students select a course from:

  • First Seminar: Natural World (FSNA 1xx)
  • First Seminar: Social World (FSSO 1xx)
  • First Seminar: Symbolic World (FSSY 1xx)

Based on test scores and a writing sample, some students will be placed in FSCC 100: The Life of the Mind, designed to provide additional writing support.  Most students for whom English is a second language will continue their First Seminar experience in a second semester by enrolling in and completing FSCS 150 First Seminar Continuing Semester (3 credit-hours).

*Transfer Students only: Transfer students who have completed the English composition/expository writing requirement with a grade of C or higher at the college/university at which they previously matriculated will receive transfer credit for FSCC 100-TR (3 – 6 credit-hours) and will be required to complete a supplemental 1-credit-hour SAGES introductory seminar – FSTS 100 SAGES Transfer Supplement.

University Seminars

After completion of the First Seminar with a passing evaluative grade and before the end of the second year, students must complete two University Seminars (totaling 6 credit-hours). University Seminars provide continued experience in critical reading, writing, and oral communication, as well as information literacy, ethics, and cultural diversity.  Each University Seminar explores content determined according to the interests of the faculty.  A student's First Seminar and two University Seminars must include a course from each of the three thematic areas: Natural World, Social World, and Symbolic World.

Students select courses from:

  • University Seminar: Thinking About the Natural World (USNA 2xx)
  • University Seminar: Thinking About the Social World (USSO 2xx)
  • University Seminar: Thinking About the Symbolic World (USSY 2xx)

Students who complete their First Seminar requirement with FSCC 100, FSCS 150, or FSTS 100 may fulfill the University Seminar requirement by choosing courses from any two of the three thematic areas.

University Composition Requirement: The SAGES Writing Portfolio

Students develop a Writing Portfolio comprised of final graded writing assignments from the First Seminar and University Seminars. The Writing Portfolio is due the semester after completing the final University seminar.

Departmental Seminar

The Departmental Seminar (3 credit-hours), generally taken in the junior year after the completion of the University Seminars, focuses on discipline-specific methods and modes of inquiry and communication characteristic of the Departmental Seminar's discipline. The Departmental Seminar may be taken in the department of the student's major or in another department. A course used to fulfill the Departmental Seminar Requirement may not also be used to fulfill a Breadth Requirement.  Courses meeting this requirement include the designation "Approved SAGES Departmental Seminar" in their course descriptions. Some majors include a specific Departmental Seminar as part of their requirements.

Senior Capstone

The Senior Capstone assimilates the knowledge and skills gained throughout the educational process. Students engage in a unique one- or two-semester experience (3 - 6 credit-hours) designed in consultation with a faculty member. Each Senior Capstone must include key elements:

  1. Demonstration of critical thinking and writing skills;
  2. Regular oversight by the Capstone advisor;
  3. Periodic reporting of progress;
  4. Regular writing (e.g. drafts, progress reports, critiques) throughout the project including a final written report which may be a thesis or equivalent document associated with the project or activity (e.g., such pursuits as performance, experiment, live case analysis, or creative writing), as approved by the department of capstone origin; and
  5. Oral reports including a final public presentation at the Senior Capstone Fair, a conference, a performance, a public lecture, a teaching presentation, or another setting, as approved by the department of capstone origin.

Courses meeting this requirement include the designation "Approved SAGES Capstone" in their course descriptions. Some majors include a specific a Senior Capstone course as part of their requirements.

Physical Education

All students must complete two full semesters of Physical Education activity courses at zero credit-hours.  Students may choose from half-semester and full-semester course offerings.  If possible, a student should begin meeting this requirement in the first semester and complete it early in his or her undergraduate years.

Requirements for Specific Degrees

Students are expected to complete a bachelor’s degree in a timely fashion and will ordinarily be subject to the degree requirements in place at the time of matriculation at Case Western Reserve University, although they may chose to update their requirements to those included in a later General Bulletin.

If a student extends study towards a bachelor’s degree beyond 10 years after first matriculating as an undergraduate student, the major-field department(s) will review the student’s academic record and may update major field requirements. Also, if the student has not already completed the applicable general education requirements in place at the time of matriculation, the appropriate dean in the school offering the major will also review the student’s academic record and may update general education requirements.

Dual Undergraduate Degree Programs

To qualify for two undergraduate degrees, i.e., a BA and a BS degree, or two BS degrees, a student must satisfy all requirements for each degree, and complete for the second degree thirty credit-hours of study beyond the hours required for the first degree. A student may, however, complete two or more Arts and Sciences majors within the 120 hour minimum requirement for the BA degree, or two or more Engineering majors within the 128-133 hour minimum requirement for the BS in Engineering degree, or two or more Management majors within the 122 hour minimum requirement for the BS in Management degree. Students who seek a dual-degree program that involves the BM degree must meet Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western Reserve admission requirements, and seek approval of both the Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western Reserve University.

Students completing both a BA and a BS degree are exempted from six hours of the 90-hour requirement of arts and sciences courses for the BA.

A student pursuing two degrees is encouraged to meet with a dean in the Office of Undergraduate Studies, 357 Sears Bldg., to discuss requirements.