May 27, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Undergraduate Degree Requirements

Graduation Requirements

The requirements for graduation at Chapman are commensurate with the school’s liberal arts philosophy. The program of studies is designed to ensure a breadth of subject matter in the liberal arts as well as a depth in the preparation in the major field. A student’s curriculum includes preparatory courses, the General Education program, major requirements and free electives and must meet the following requirements:

  • A minimum of 120 credits in addition to any necessary preparatory skill credits.
  • A minimum of 42 credits earned in upper-division coursework.
  • A minimum of 48 credits earned at Chapman, 30 of which must be upper-division, with 15 of those 30 upper-division credits in the student’s major.
  • Completion of all general education requirements
  • A maximum of 24 credits transferred after matriculation.
  • A 2.000 Chapman cumulative GPA and a 2.000 cumulative GPA for all work leading to the degree, including transfer work.
  • A 2.000 GPA for all major coursework and all upper-division major coursework.
  • Resolution of all “NR”, “I”, “TI” and “SP” notations.
  • For a Bachelor of Arts Degree, a minimum of 60 credits outside of the discipline of the major.

All transfer credit applied toward the degree must be evaluated and approved by the Office of the University Registrar. In addition, transfer work going toward the student’s major may require departmental approval. No transfer work with grades earned below “C-” will be accepted toward meeting graduation requirements, but all earned grades will be counted in the student’s overall cumulative grade-point average.

Once students are enrolled at Chapman University, it is strongly recommended that, prior to taking courses elsewhere, students check the online transfer articulation database to determine whether the courses are transferable to Chapman University. Please see the Transfer Credit and Articulation webpage for more information. Students should check with the Office of the University Registrar if they have any questions regarding whether a course at another institution will transfer to Chapman.

Students transferring courses after matriculation also need to check that they are not exceeding credit load limits for the semester (See Course Load  in Academic Policies and Procedures).

Limitation of Credit

The number of credits allowed toward any baccalaureate degree may be limited by the following:

  • A maximum of 32 credits may be earned in passing courses by examination.
  • The maximum number of credits acceptable from two-year colleges is 70.
  • A total of not more than 15 credits of baccalaureate-level correspondence, extension or continuing education courses may be accepted. Of these 15 credits, no more than 6 credits may apply toward general education credit and no more than 6 credits may apply toward the major. General education courses must be approved by the Office of the University Registrar and major courses must be approved by the department chair.
  • A maximum of 4 credits in physical activity courses and 12 credits in applied dramatic art, dance performance and music ensembles will be counted toward the baccalaureate degree with the following exceptions: dance minors, B.A. in Dance major and members of athletic teams may take up to 12 credits in physical activity courses toward their baccalaureate degrees. B.F.A. in Dance majors may take up to 22 credits of physical activity courses, which includes dance technique, toward their degree. Credit taken beyond the limit will not be counted towards the minimum 120 credit requirement.
  • A maximum of 12 credits of internship may count toward the baccalaureate degree. Independent internship courses may be taken P/NP only.
  • Credits from institutions of collegiate level that are not regionally accredited are not accepted in transfer.
  • No more than 27 credits taken at Chapman in non-matriculated status may be applied toward a bachelor’s degree. Students who have not been admitted by the time they have completed 27 credits in a non-matriculated status will not be allowed to register for additional courses. (See “Classification”)
  • No more than 32 credits will be awarded for dual credit (college work taken while concurrently enrolled in high school or GED program), including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate credit.

Mathematics Preparatory Skills Requirement

Chapman University requires all students to satisfy an introductory mathematics requirement. Completing that requirement allows them to enroll in a course that will satisfy the General Education Program’s Quantitative Inquiry category. Satisfying the introductory mathematics requirement alone does not count towards completion of the General Education Program’s Quantitative Inquiry category.

Meeting the introductory mathematics requirement

The introductory mathematics requirement must be met within a student’s first semester at Chapman University. Meeting any one of the following criteria will satisfy this requirement.

  • Passing score on either the Chapman’s Algebra Test or the Calculus Readiness Test
  • Score of 570 or higher on the mathematics portion of the SAT for tests taken March 2016 or later, or a score of 540 or higher for tests taken prior to March 2016
  • Score of 23 or higher on the mathematics subscore of the ACT
  • Passing grade in MATH 100 taken at Chapman University
  • Passing grade in a qualifying transfer course completed before the student’s first day of classes at Chapman. Students should check with the University Registrar at Chapman to verify if a particular transfer course meets this requirement

Choosing and completing the correct introductory mathematics course

Any admitted student who has not met the introductory mathematics requirement by any of the test scores above or by qualifying transfer course must register for MATH 100 in their first semester.

  • MATH 100 is for students who will not be advancing to calculus-based mathematics course, and instead plan to take a course such as statistics or other mathematics course with a prerequisite of MATH 100.  
  • MATH 101 is for students who will be taking a calculus-based mathematics course, usually as required for their major. To be eligible for MATH 101, students must either pass MATH 100 or receive a passing score on the Calculus Readiness Test
  • MATH 100 and MATH 101 are Pass/No Pass courses.
  • Once a student begins taking classes at Chapman University, a student must complete this requirement in residence at Chapman. 
  • Students may not drop MATH 100 without the permission of the Mathematics Advising Team.

Students who are required to take MATH 100 and who do not make progress in completing the mathematics requirement by the end of their first semester of attendance may be subject to credit limitation at the discretion of the Undergraduate Academic Council, which oversees student progress for this requirement.

MATH 100  and MATH 101  count toward the 120 credits required for graduation.

General Education Program

General education (GE), sometimes known as core curriculum at other schools, is a required selection of courses in areas of study designed to provide a broad educational background and emphasize the core values of a university in providing an undergraduate education.

Chapman’s GE program reflects the University’s mission to provide students with a personalized education of distinction that leads to an inquiring, ethical, and productive life as global citizens.  It is designed to allow students to explore and expand their horizons, open creative possibilities and encourage flexibility, and develop an understanding of the interconnectedness of learning and knowledge that will set Chapman students apart as a dynamic and visionary citizens of the world.

Please note that the titles for the GE categories have changed for this academic year. Older category titles are shown in parenthesis following the new title. Both titles will be used in 2020/21.

Students may share credits between GE requirements and degree requirements in the following ways:

  • Up to 9 credits from the degree program or major with GE Liberal Arts and Sciences Focus (Shared Inquiry) and Global Focus (Global Citizen) courses. Courses offered in the major’s primary discipline are included in this limit even if they are not being used in the major.
  • Up to 6 credits from a minor. Courses in the minor’s primary discipline are included in this limit even if they are not being used in the minor.
  • Additional majors and minors are held to the same sharing restrictions as those listed above.

Students may not share courses in a Themed Inquiry (Inter/Multidisciplinary Cluster) with their major or major discipline, or with other GE requirements.

Liberal Arts and Sciences Focus (Shared Inquiry) Courses (18-19 credits)

Courses in the Liberal Arts and Sciences Focus (Shared Inquiry) categories are distinguished primarily by inquiry approaches rather than individual disciplinary areas. They engage students in both active learning and reflective thought, emphasizing critical inquiry in major liberal arts areas. All students take courses that have a primary focus in the following areas of inquiry:

  • Artistic Inquiry (3 credits): Students compose critical or creative works that embody or analyze conceptually an artistic form at a baccalaureate/pre-professional level.
  • Natural Science Inquiry (Natural Sciences Inquiry) (3-4 credits): Students engage in scientific investigation to explore the knowledge produced by scientific processes.
  • Quantitative Inquiry (3 credits): Students use quantitative methods to help analyze problems in particular academic or social contexts; develop in-depth arguments supported by quantitative evidence; and communicate those arguments in both verbal form and quantitative displays (e.g., tables, graphs, mathematical equations or other relevant format).
  • Written Inquiry (3 credits): Students establish active, genuine, and responsible authorial engagement; communicate a purpose-an argument or other intentional point/goal; invokes a specific audience, develop the argument/content with an internal logic-organization; integrate references, citations, and source materially logically and dialogically, indicating how forms of evidence relate to each other and the author’s position; and compose the text with: a style or styles appropriate to the purpose and intended audience, a consistent use of the diction appropriate to the author’s topic and purpose, the ability to establish and vary authorial voice(s) and tone(s), a choice of form(s) and genre(s) appropriate to purpose and audience (forms may be digital and/or multimodal), and rhetorically effective use of language.
  • Social Inquiry (3 credits): Students explore processes by which human beings develop social and/or historical perspectives.
  • Values and Ethical Inquiry (3 credits): Students articulate how values and ethics inform human understanding, structures and behavior.

First-year Focus (First-Year Foundation) (3 credits)

  • First-year Focus Course (FFC) (3 credits): In FFC, the student critically analyzes and communicates complex issues and ideas. FFC courses focus on critical engagement, exploration and communication related to complex issues rather than on mastering a body of material. The First-year Focus course is required of all new students beginning their first year of academic enrollment at Chapman. The requirement is waived for students who have completed in 24 or more credits from another institution of higher education prior to matriculation. Dual credit (AP, IB or college-level coursework) completed while in high school is not included; the 24 transferable credits must follow the completion of secondary school.

Global Focus (Global Citizen Cluster) (12 credits)

  • Global Studies Inquiry (Global Study) (6 credits): Students connect contemporary social and/ or environmental topics to their origins and analyze their effects on our increasingly globalized world. Students may choose 2 courses from a pre-approved list. Interterm or summer international travel courses (usually 3 credits) may be used towards completion of this requirement. Students may choose to spend a semester abroad, which fulfills this category in lieu of coursework. Study abroad for a semester or an international travel course are strongly recommended 
  • Citizenship, Community, Service Inquiry (Citizenship, Community, and Service) (3 credits): Students select a learning experience that focuses on citizenship, community or service and study the theoretical and applied aspects of political, civic or social engagement in group affiliations. This can be accomplished by taking an approved course or engaging in service-learning experience under the advisement of a faculty member, which is registered for 3 credits as an internship or individual study.
  • Language Inquiry (Language Study) (3 credits): Students complete part of their general education program in a language other than English. This may be accomplished through a language course at or above the 200-level [third semester proficiency], a course taught in the language of documented functional language use. Students are expected to start satisfying this requirement at the beginning of their sophomore year at the latest.

Exploration Focus (Inter/Multidisciplinary Cluster) (minimum of 12 credits)

The goal of the Exploration Focus area, which requires a secondary area of study, is to provide students with a breadth of learning and a depth of knowledge.   The purpose of requiring a secondary area of study outside of a student’s major is to provide a cohesive set of courses to complement a major or to explore an area of interest completely outside the major area of study.  A Themed Inquiry (Inter/Multidisciplinary Cluster), second major, minor or completion of the University Honors Program fulfills this requirement. Students must declare a Themed Inquiry (Inter/Multidisciplinary Cluster), second major, minor, or enroll in the University Honors Program prior to completing 60 credits. Students who complete 60 credits and do not have one of the above will be assigned a registration hold.

To complete the Exploration Focus area, a student must complete one of the following:

  • Second Major,
  • Minor,
  • University Honors Program, or
  • Themed Inquiry (Inter/Multidisciplinary Cluster) (12 credits)
    • Exploring an area of interest as either one disciplinary subject in depth or one topic from several disciplinary approaches, students complete 4 related courses selected from a pre-approved list of topics that are outside of the student’s designated program or major. At least 2 courses in the themed inquiry (inter/multidisciplinary cluster) must be upper-division. No course in the student’s major discipline, even if not used in the major, can be used to satisfy the themed inquiry (inter/multidisciplinary cluster) requirement, even if the course is not being used to satisfy major requirements.
    • Transfer students who bring in 30 or more credits prior to matriculation at Chapman may not use any of these courses to satisfy Themed Inquiry (Inter/Multidisciplinary Cluster) requirements, since they are given a waiver of courses in this category based on credit completion (See General Education (GE) Block Transfer  in Academic Policies and Procedures).

Majors and Minors


Credits and specific courses are determined by academic units (departments, schools or colleges).  Major requirements are located within department/college/school listings. Students must follow the General Education and major requirements of the same catalog year.

A minimum of 21 credits of upper-division coursework in the major are required as well as a minimum of 2.000 average on a 4.000 scale in the major overall and in upper-division coursework.

A lower-division course accepted as a substitution or equivalent to an upper-division course does not count toward the 21-credit of upper division coursework requirement.

Declaration of a Major

An undergraduate student must declare a major prior to completing 60 credits. Students who complete 60 credits and have not declared a major will be assigned a registration hold. Some majors require a separate application process prior to acceptance.

Declaration of a Minor, Second Major, or Themed Inquiry (Inter/Multidisciplinary Cluster)

When declaring a minor, second major and/or second minor students should be aware that certain combinations are not allowed due to significant overlap in course requirements. The Office of the Provost determines the acceptability of these combinations. The Office of the University Registrar will review all requests before making changes to students’ academic programs and notify students if their requested combination is not allowed.

Students declaring a themed inquiry (inter/multidisciplinary cluster) may not use any courses in their major or in the discipline of their major, even if those courses are not required or used in the major, to complete the themed inquiry (inter/multidisciplinary cluster).

Students must declare a themed inquiry (inter/multidisciplinary cluster), minor or second major prior to completing 60 credits. Students who complete 60 credits and have not declared a themed inquiry (inter/multidisciplinary cluster), minor or second major will be assigned a registration hold.

Self-Designed Major

A self-designed major is possible for a student who wishes to explore complex questions that draw from more than one traditional discipline or cross disciplinary boundaries in terms of content, theory, methodology and practice. In a self-designed major, it is expected that the student will analyze and synthesize information from multiple perspectives to construct new forms of knowledge. 

A self-designed major should reflect a program of study that cannot be replicated through any of the University’s existing majors or by any major/minor combination that is offered. The program of study must be coherent and characterized by intellectual diversity, research, scholarship, and creativity. Like other majors, a self-designed major must provide curricular depth and include the following:

  • a set of foundational courses dependent upon the discipline
  • advanced courses that give coherence and depth to the major; and
  • a significant capstone project, which synthesizes and integrates learning in the major

There should be, as appropriate to the field of study, a research methods course, theoretical studies classes, skills development classes and practical application classes.

The self-designed major must rely primarily on courses offered at Chapman.  A self-designed major is not meant to provide for academic studies that current faculty and curricular offerings cannot support. No more than two courses may be used from another institution, whether domestic or international (including study abroad).

The majors currently offered by the College’s academic departments and interdisciplinary programs are carefully designed and rigorously reviewed by the faculty for intellectual depth and coherence. Students who wish to propose a self-designed major should expect that their proposals will be held to the same standards. The self-designed major petition process therefore requires a significant amount of time and reflection, development of appropriate learning outcomes, and demonstration that the courses chosen for the major address the development of the student in achieving the stated learning outcomes. A student wishing to pursue a self-designed major must work closely with their advising faculty in the relevant departments to construct their major proposal to meet these requirements.

In order to demonstrate intentionality and appropriate planning in the design process of the self-designed major, the application for approval must be filed by the appropriate deadlines, may not be filed until a student has completed a full semester at Chapman, and should be completed before no more than 50% of the courses in the self-designed major have been completed and/or before the student has earned 75 completed credits.

Students must be in good academic standing with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Approval is required by the following:

  • a faculty advisor
  • a sponsoring department and
  • the Undergraduate Academic Council

Detailed guidelines, forms and a timetable for submission for a self-designed major are provided on the Self-Designed Major application form found on the Registrar’s Office Student Services Forms webpage. These guidelines are subject to change by the Undergraduate Academic Council.

Dual Major with the Same Degree

  • Completion of all requirements for both majors (such as political science and French) is required.
  • Each major must have 18 unique credits.
  • Only one diploma will be awarded showing the majors completed within the same degree at the time of graduation.

Dual Bachelor’s Degree (two different degrees)

  • Dual degrees (such as a B.A. and B.S.) may be pursued concurrently; diplomas will be awarded concurrently.
  • Completion of all requirements for both degrees.
  • Both degrees will be in the same catalog year.
  • Students will be held to the General Education requirements for one degree.
  • Each major must have 18 unique credits.

Second Major with the Same Degree

Once a degree has been conferred:

  • A student must apply for readmission to seek a minor or a second major in the same degree. However, if a student has not broken enrollment (see Interrupted and Re-Enrollment  in Undergraduate Admission) the student need not apply for readmission. A second diploma will not be issued.
  • Each major must have 18 unique credits.

Second Bachelor’s Degree with First Degree Earned at Chapman

Once a degree has been conferred:

  • A student must apply for readmission to seek a second bachelor’s degree, a second major or a minor. However, if a student has not broken enrollment (see Interrupted and Re-Enrollment  in Undergraduate Admission) the student need not apply for readmission.
  • A program evaluation by the Office of the University Registrar should be requested before beginning the program.
  • Students will not be held to the General Education requirements of the second degree.
  • Each major must have 18 unique credits.

Second Bachelor’s Degree with First Degree Not Earned at Chapman

  • A student must apply for admission and meet all standard admission requirements.
  • A student must meet standard degree credit, residency, upper-division and major requirements.
  • General Education requirements will be waived for all areas other than the foreign language requirement if the first degree was completed from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Each major must have 18 unique credits.

Minors (optional)

  • The minor must be in a discipline outside of the student’s major.
  • A student may minor in any approved area of study outside of his/her major as long as there are 12 unique credits in the minor that cannot be duplicated in the major through core or elective choices.
  • For students with an interdisciplinary major, the designated discipline is the department in which the greatest number of upper-division credits are used in the major.
  • A minimum of 21 credits, 12 of which may not be duplicated by the major or any other minor.
  • A minimum of 12 upper-division credits. (Check the particular minor of interest.) A lower-division course accepted as a substitution or equivalent to an upper-division course does not count toward this requirement.
  • A minimum of six upper-division credits completed in residence.
  • A 2.000 cumulative GPA and 2.000 GPA for all upper-division coursework.
  • May be completed only in those departments listing specific minor requirements. (See department listings.)

Self-Designed Minor

  • The minor must be in a discipline outside of the student’s major.
  • Its subject matter is substantially different from that offered in existing minors: i.e., it must be a program drawing on existing course offerings that opens up a new direction of study or allows for significantly more intensive study in a subject matter than is otherwise possible.
  • The self-designed minor is not intended to allow students to simply “redesign” existing minors to suit their personal preferences or schedules. Accordingly, a self-designed minor must not contain more than 40 percent of the requirements of an existing minor, and it may not include more than 2 courses (up to 8 credits) not offered by Chapman University.
  • A student must submit a self-designed minor proposal prior to completing 75 credits.
  • Self-designed minors must also meet the same requirements that recognize minors are held to (see Minors, above).
  • The program of study must include a minimum of 21 credits, at least 12 of which must be upper-division credits. A maximum of 6 credits of individual study may be included in the self-designed minor.
  • A self-designed minor must have 12 unique credits that are not duplicated in any major or other minor.
  • College requirements as to the appropriate number of upper-division and in residence requirements must be met for the catalog year under which the student is enrolled.
  • Self-designed minors must be sponsored by an academic department. A student seeking to design such a minor must locate a faculty member in the department he or she things is most appropriate for sponsorship of the minor to serve as their unit advisor. This advisor is responsible for helping to design the minor, as well as for overseeing the student’s work.
  • All coursework listed in the self-designed minor must be approved by the chair/unit head of the unit offering the course, ensuring that the course will be offered and available to the student.
  • Self-designed minor proposals are submitted to the Office of the University Registrar and reviewed by the General Education Committee for approval.
  • Guidelines for a self-designed minor are included with the required petition form found on the Registrar’s Office Student Services Forms webpage.  These guidelines are subject to change by the Undergraduate Academic Council.

Change of Major/Minor Form

Adding or changing a major requires an approval signature by department chair of the new major. Dropping a major does not require an approval signature. Approval signatures must be on the form submitted to the Office of the University Registrar. Some majors require a separate application process prior to acceptance. Some minors require approval signature of the department chair, as notated on the form.

Forms are accepted and processed by the Office of the University Registrar throughout the year except during registration periods in November and April. Any Change of Major/Minor form submitted later than one week prior to the first day of scheduled registration appointments in November or April will not be processed until the conclusion of the two-week registration appointment period. The following changes to student academic records will not be made during the registration appointment period:

  • Change of existing major or minor program.
  • Addition of a major or minor program.
  • Change of a declared area of study.
  • Change of a declared emphasis.
  • Change of a declared concentration.
  • Addition of or change to Inter/Multidisciplinary cluster (Themed Inquiry).