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    Jul 17, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Degrees and Graduation

Catalog of Entrance

Requirements for a major or minor may change while students are in their course of study. Students may elect to be governed by the requirements which were stated in the catalog upon entrance to the college, or, any later catalog requirements for a departmental major, minor or Anchor Plan requirement.


Degrees Offered

Hope College offers programs that lead to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees. Degrees may be pursued on a full-time or part-time basis.


Degree Awards and Commencement

The college awards degrees in December (at the conclusion of the fall semester), in May (at the conclusion of the spring semester) and in July (at the conclusion of the final summer term). Students must inform the Registrar of their intention to graduate in the fall prior to their graduation. Students who will be emailed an invitation to apply for graduation. Students completing degree requirements in any summer term will be considered to be July graduates.

Degrees will be awarded to students on the basis that their Degree Works shows all requirements as complete.

The Registrar’s Office closes each degree awarding period about two months after the degree date. Closing dates are listed on the Registrar’s Office website. Students who do not meet degree requirements by the closing date will have their graduation application deferred to the next degree awarding period.

Diplomas will be withheld for students who have a financial hold.

Hope offers one Commencement ceremony a year, in May. All degree candidates are encouraged to participate.

Graduation Honors

Graduation honors for Hope’s Bachelor’s degrees, conferred upon those who have met all the requirements for the degree, will be conferred as follows:

SUMMA CUM LAUDE: Cumulative grade point average of 3.90 or higher

MAGNA CUM LAUDE: Cumulative grade point average between 3.70 and 3.89

CUM LAUDE: Cumulative grade point average between 3.50 and 3.69.


Degree Requirements

Basic requirements for a Bachelor’s degree are:

  • Completion of at least 120 semester credits with a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average
  • Completion of the Anchor Plan requirements
  • Completion of a major program with a 2.0 cumulative grade point average in the major
  • No Incomplete (I) or NR grades

All programs may be completed within four years. Some programs require higher cumulative and major/minor grade point averages for graduation.

Minors are not required except in some teacher education programs. If a minor is declared, the student must have a 2.0 cumulative GPA in the minor courses.

Two degrees

An additional bachelor’s degree can be awarded only under special circumstances. For a degree-seeking student, two degrees will be awarded only if the student has completed 30 additional credits beyond the first bachelor’s degree, and has two major concentrations in different degree programs, e.g., a B.A. degree and a B.S. degree. Completing two majors does not merit the awarding of two degrees, unless the above criteria are met. If a student has already earned a bachelor’s degree from another college or university, and applies to earn a second degree at Hope College, the student will be required to meet all degree requirements of Hope College and have a total of 150 credits earned in combination. The senior residency requirement must also be met by these students. The Anchor Plan requirement reductions for Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees do not apply to students who are completing two degrees.



The departmental major is the most common means by which Hope’s students engage in an intensive study in one field of knowledge. Completion of a major program is required to graduate with a Hope degree. Students should become familiar with all the major requirements listed in Degree Works. Degree Works will certify to the Registrar that all the criteria for the major have been met, including the GPA required in the major area coursework.

First-year students may declare a major after completion of their first semester at Hope. Transfer students may declare anytime. It is recommended that students declare by the end of the sophomore year. Students must declare before senior status is obtained (90 earned credits).

To declare, students must complete a Major Declaration Form and have it signed by the department chairperson. The department will assign a new advisor, then the student or the department sends the form to the Registrar’s Office for processing. Some majors have additional requirements that must be met before a student may declare.

Composite Major

The composite major is an alternative to a departmental major. While the composite major seeks to fulfill the same objectives as the departmental major, namely, the ability to engage in intensive, in-depth scholarly inquiry, the composite major allows for special alignment of courses from several departments to fulfill a particular academic or vocational objective. The composite major is just as rigorous as a department major, but it allows the tailoring of an academic program to a field or topic of inquiry other than a departmental field.

Students interested in pursuing a composite major should consult with the Registrar about the application procedure. The following guidelines are established for those contemplating a composite major and for those responsible for approving such a major:

  1. Applicants must present a written rationale for their composite major. This must include a definition of the field of inquiry. This field must be more specific than a random collection of courses from several departments in the same division.
  2. The composite major should consist of at least 36 credits of coursework aimed at providing depth in the defined field of inquiry. A list of courses should be included with the rationale.
  3. Of these credits, at least half should be in upper-level courses (300- or 400-level courses).


Name Change Policy

Name changes are processed only for currently registered students. Legal proof of the name change must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office. Valid sources of proof include a driver’s license, passport, court papers, or marriage license.


Senior Residency Requirement

Under normal circumstances, the final 30 credits of the Hope College degree program must be completed at Hope College or in an approved off-campus program. In certain individual cases, an exception may be granted through the following procedure:

  1. The Registrar, in consultation with the student’s department chairperson, may approve the taking of a maximum of 15 semester credits of the final 30 at another educational institution.
  2. If a student seeks permission to complete the entire senior year at another educational institution, approval must be given by both the Student Standing and Appeals Committee and the Registrar. Such requests should be submitted to the Registrar who will forward each request to the appropriate persons.
  3. In both of the above exceptions, approval must be granted in advance of the student’s enrollment in the other institution and all degree requirements must be completed by the graduation date. No student will be graduated from Hope College who has not spent a minimum of one full academic year as a full-time student on the Hope College campus during the period in which the student has junior or senior class standing.