Graduation Requirements

Virginia Wesleyan offers a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science degree with numerous options for majors in the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences. Students successfully carrying the normal course load of 16 semester hours can expect to graduate after eight semesters. A brief overview of the requirements for graduation are listed below.

Please note: This Web page is just a brief overview of the graduation requirements. You can search and read the VWU Catalog on line or refer to the print version of the catalog.

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General Studies

The faculty of Virginia Wesleyan University has created an educational program that emphasizes cultural breadth, intellectual depth and flexibility of mind. This program will enable students to fulfill themselves personally, prepare for a productive life, and meet the demands of democratic citizenship and social responsibility—qualities essential for a life well-lived.

Application for Degree

Applications for Degree are available on WebAdvisor. Each candidate for a degree is required to file an Application for Degree according to the following schedule:

Degree Received: December May August**
Apply for Degree on WebAdvisor by: 9/15 of same year 9/15 of previous year 9/15 of previous year
Completion of all Degree Requirements: End of fall semester End of spring semester 8/15
Date of Degree Conferral: December May August
Date of Commencement Exercises: May of following year May Previous or following May**


Students must successfully complete at least one of the five types of majors offered by the University. A student's major professor, or major committee, must certify that the student has successfully completed all the requirements for the major. Degree candidates are required to choose a major by the end of the sophomore year.


Students have the option of completing minors in addition to a major program. This choice must be approved by a full-time faculty member in the minor's department who will certify that the student has completed the requirements prior to graduation.

Course Hours

Students are required to complete at least 128 semester hours of academic course work, two-thirds of which must be traditionally-graded.

First Year Experience (FYE)

FYE Is designed for first-year students to help them engage and succeed both academically and socially in Virginia Wesleyan's liberal arts learning community. Students will engage in an array of activities and exercises that invite them to explore the nature of liberal arts learning, connect to the campus community, and develop the personal resourcefulness that leads to college success.

  • FYE 101 is available (but not required) to students entering with fewer than 24 earned college credits;
  • FYE 101 is required of students entering with fewer than 12 earned college credits. (College credits reflects courses taken in a college classroom setting.)
  • Students who enroll in FYE 101 must complete the course, but not with a passing grade.

Grade Point Average

A candidate for graduation must have at least a 2.0 (C) average both in the major and as a cumulative average. The Comprehensive Liberal Studies and History/Social Science majors require a 2.5 GPA. The Individualized major requires a 2.7 GPA.

Residence Requirement

Students must complete at least their last 32 semester hours and must earn at least 16 semester hours in their major area at Virginia Wesleyan University.

Oral Communications Proficiency

All first-year and transfer students must demonstrate the ability to speak well in the English language. Each academic major has an approved plan to help students develop good speaking skills and to assess their competency with oral communications.

Foreign Language Proficiency

Students must demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language (other than English), equivalent to the minimal passing grade on the exit examination in the 213 course as a condition for graduation. A student may demonstrate proficiency prior to entering Virginia Wesleyan by scoring at least 600 on the CEEB Foreign Language Achievement test or a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement exam.

Computer Literacy

All entering students should be able to demonstrate basic computer literacy prior to entering Virginia Wesleyan. Specifically, this means competency in the following computer skills:

  • Ability to send and receive e-mail messages with attachments
  • Ability to use a word processor
  • Ability to use a web browser to access information on the Internet

Nearly every student arrives at Virginia Wesleyan with at least a basic knowledge of and experience with technology. On-campus resources permit students at any level to attain higher skills levels through additional computer training within their major or in addition to their major field of study. Any student who believes—or whose adviser believes—that his or her educational skills would benefit from additional training in computer technology has the option of enrolling in several different credit courses (e.g. CS100).

Students graduating from VWU must meet a standard of computer literacy set by their major program. Each of those major programs identifies specific computer skills which they expect undergraduates working in their disciplines to learn and a plan explaining how students may acquire the requisite computer skills for that major.

Limitation on Course Credits

Students may have more than one major listed on their transcript, but no more than 64 semester hours in any one discipline, nor more than 88 semester hours in any two disciplines, may be submitted for graduation. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the Management, Business and Economics department, however, a Business major taking the 12-semester-hour internship course (MBE 416) may have no more than 60 semester hours in MBE courses, nor more than 78 semester hours in any two disciplines submitted for graduation. A student who wishes to take more than 64 semester hours in one discipline or 88 semester hours in any two disciplines will have to take additional hours beyond the 128 semester hours required for graduation.

Two-Course Rule

If a potential graduate has at most two courses remaining to be completed by the end of the spring semester of their graduating year, that student, upon receiving permission from the Office of the Registrar, may participate in May commencement exercises. In order to secure such permission, a student must:

  1. have submitted an Application for Graduation by the mandated September deadline;
  2. have at most two courses remaining to complete all graduation requirements;
  3. have at least a 2.0 oveall grade point average;
  4. have at least a 2.0 grade point average in a traditional major, or at least 2.5 in a Comprehensive Liberal Studies or History and Social Science major, or at least a 2.7 in an Individualized major; and
  5. enroll in Virginia Wesleyan's summer sessions for the remaining graduation requirements.

For purposes of determining two courses, the following applies: an internship will be regarded as one course, regardless of the number of semester hours it carries.

If the student receives permission to participate in the ceremony, special notice will be made of the student's status as an August candidate and the student will be granted a degree in August upon successful completion of the required hours. Honors status will not be determined until all summer coursework is completed.

Latin Honors

All potential graduates should understand the process for determining eligibility for graduation with Latin honors. Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude) are not awarded solely on grades. "In order to be considered for any category of graduation with honors, students must fulfill all institutional requirements described in the VWU catalog under which they are to graduate." (VWU Catalog)  Students guilty of violating academic honesty policies, such as through cheating or plagiarism, are not eligible for Latin Honors.

Each of the following requirements must be satisfied to graduate with Latin Honors (effective with December 2012 graduates):

Semester hours completed at VWU


*Minimum cumulative GPA (including transfer courses)


cum laude

minimum 3.50 cumulative GPA

magna cum laude

minimum 3.70 cumulative GPA

summa cum laude

faculty vote

minimum 3.90 cumulative GPA

4 semester hours of independent research at the 400 level with distinction as certified by the supervising independent research committee

*Transferred grades cannot increase to VWU GPA


To qualify for any honors category, students with transfer credit must satisfy the quality point average requirements both in the set of all courses counted toward graduation and in the set of courses taken at VWU.

An explanation of the Two-Course Rule for potential August graduates can be found above. The honors status for students who are August candidates for graduation will be determined after all summer course work is completed.
Additional details for graduating with honors can be found in the current catalog under "Graduating with Honors."

Students who plan to graduate should submit their Application for Degree through WebAdvisor by Sept. 15 preceding their expected graduation in December, May or August.

Commencement Exercises

All students who complete degree requirements are expected to participate in commencement exercises with their graduating class in the May commencement. The previous December potential graduates are also encouraged to attend the December reception. Degrees are conferred in May, August and December.

A student is eligible to participate in the first commencement held after that student has completed all graduation requirements. However, a student who has participated in the May commencement exercises as an August candidate may not participate in a later commencement. If all of the work is not completed by Aug. 15, the degree will be conferred at the next conferral date (December, May or August) following successful completion of all degree requirements.