Senior Handbook


The Senior Handbook, now updated for the 2014-2015 school year, contains information of interest to current seniors at Whitman College.

Table of Contents

The Senior Year

Graduation Application

The Bachelor of Arts Degree


THE SENIOR YEAR

Please review the following sections to ensure you have completed everything necessary for you to receive your diploma during Commencement. If you have any questions about the status of your college requirements for graduation, please contact Jennifer McNeil in the Registrar's Office (x5910). If you have concerns about completing requirements for your major(s), speak with your faculty adviser.

* You are ultimately responsible for completion of degree requirements. *

Graduation Date

Is the Anticipated Completion Date listed on the top left of your current Academic Evaluation accurate? Another way to check is the student listserve. Is the listserve correct for you? If not, please contact Jennifer McNeil to have your record evaluated and graduation date updated. This date is when you are to complete all degree requirements for graduation, and if you are finishing requirements in May, you are then expected to participate in Commencement.


Graduation Application

The Graduation Application is for you to verify that you will complete all graduation requirements by your anticipated graduation date. May graduates will receive applications in their Whitman mailboxes in the Fall during the first week of October. December graduates will receive their applications in the Spring during the first week of February. Additional copies of the Whitman Graduation Application are available online and in the Registrar's Office.

View full information


Calendar

Graduation Application deadline for May 2015 Candidates 11/19/14
Honors application to Depts for Spring 2015 10/10/14
Graduation Application deadline for December 2015 Candidates 2/27/15
Honors application to Depts for Fall 2015 2/27/15
Commencement 5/24/15


Credits

You must complete a minimum of 124 credits for a degree. You may transfer work from other accredited colleges, but a minimum of 54 credits must be earned on the Whitman campus, 44 of which must be in regularly-graded courses (not Cr/NC or P-D-F). Note that there are limitations on activity and applied music credit (see the "Academics" section of the online catalog). Also note that any activity or applied music credit in excess of the maximums allowed will not count toward the 124 credit minimum needed.  Lastly, to participate in Commencement, a minimum of 116 credits must be completed by the end of the Spring term, though a diploma will not be conferred until all degree requirements have been successfully completed.


Transfer Credit

If you wish transfer credit to be considered toward your graduation requirements, but it is not already a part of your record, you must request of the registrar of the institution attended that an official transcript be sent directly to the Whitman Registrar's Office.  In addition, you must submit a completed Request for Approval of Transfer Credit form to the Registrar. We must receive all notification of transfer credit on or before Reading Day for spring graduation.

 Note: Whitman is on the semester system, thus approved courses will transfer on a credit-to-credit basis from other semester-based institutions. If, however, the other institution is on the quarter system, for every three quarter credits of an approved transfer course, you may receive two Whitman credits. In addition, remember that grades from other colleges will not be included in your Whitman GPA.


Distribution Requirements

Five of the six Distribution Requirements should be completed by the end of the sixth semester of college work. The total requirements must be fulfilled not later than the seventh semester or at the time 110 degree credits have been earned if this occurs prior to the seventh semester.

See the "General Studies Program" section of the online catalog for further information.


Major Requirements

For a list of the course work needed to complete the major(s), refer to the catalog that was current during the second semester of your sophomore year when you submitted your Declaration of Major. Your catalog year is printed at the top left on your Academic Evaluation. If any deviation from the required course work has been approved by your major department and is not already shown on your academic evaluation, a written request, email is preferred, to the Registrar's Office from the department chair is needed.  Please discuss completion of your major requirements with your faculty adviser.  Note that a maximum of one-third of the credits required for your major may come from transfer work, and that several departments and programs have lower transfer credit limits. In any case, the remainder of the work must be completed at Whitman. If you are pursuing a double major, courses applying to one major may not apply to the other major.


Minor Requirements

Submit the 'Declaration of Minor' form at the time you submit your Graduation Application. Check this year's catalog for requirements for any minor you choose to pursue and complete a form for each. If you intend to apply any transfer work toward a minor, you must obtain the signed approval of the chair of the appropriate department. As with the major, any course substitutions will require an accompanying written request with the department chair's signature on the minor form. Courses applied to your major cannot be also applied to your minor.  Likewise, courses used for one minor cannot apply to another minor.


Honors in Major Study

Check the guidelines for the Application for Honors in a Major Study by clicking here.

The approval for candidacy begins with the major department's receipt of the Honors in Major Study Application.  In the case of Individually Planned Majors, this form is submitted to the major committee.  Students must declare candidacy within the first six weeks of the semester prior to the semester of enrollment in thesis. That is, for students expecting to enroll for Honors in the Spring semester, petitions should be submitted by the Fall deadline (see calendar). No student will be permitted to enroll in Honors Thesis unless her or his application has been approved and the department has in turn submitted the candidacy form to the Registrar's Office before the end of the term in which candidacy is declared.

For Application for Honors in Major, the following criteria must be met:

  • at the time of announcing candidacy, completed at least 87 credits and two semesters in residence at Whitman College

Honors in Major Study will be awarded if the following criteria are met upon completion of the thesis:

  • A cumulative minimum GPA of 3.300 for credits earned at Whitman
  • A major GPA of 3.500 or better
  • Submission of two acceptable copies of the thesis or report to the library by the deadline
  • Earn a grad of "Pass with Distinction" for the Senior Assessment
  • A grade of at least A- in the Honors thesis course or project

See the Penrose Library web site for more information.

 Please note: Honors Thesis is a course and must be added and dropped in accordance with rules governing regular course work. If the criteria for Honors is not met, registration will be adjusted to either Senior Thesis or Independent Study, depending on your major department.


GRADUATION APPLICATION

Consult the Academic Evaluation via the Portal, my.whitman.edu, for much of the information needed to complete this form. Please make sure that the expected graduation date at the top of your Academic Evaluation reflects the end of your final semester at Whitman.

  • Completion Date Check the correct box in the top section indicating when you expect to complete all degree requirements.
  • Commencement Indicate in which year you plan to participate in Commencement.
  • Completion Plan Indicate which courses, and when, you plan to complete for your major, distribution, minor, and degree credit requirements.  Carefully review your Academic Evaluation with your faculty adviser to ensure a plan to complete requirements. Check your distribution requirements to ensure completion of all six areas (see the "General Studies Program" section of the online catalog).
  • Majors Indicate your area of major study.
  • Minors Check if you will, or will not, declare a minor.  If you are declaring, see instructions above.
  • Honors in Major Study Check if you are to be a candidate for Honors in Major Study.
  • Certification Before signing, carefully review your application with your major adviser(s) to ensure that all of the information is accurate. For a combined or double major, both advisers must sign the form. You must submit the Graduation Application in person, in case we have any questions regarding the completion of your degree program. The application and Commencement Information Form must be submitted to the Registrar's Office by the deadline.

THE BACHELOR OF ARTS DEGREE

Honors in Course

Honors in Course are based on your cumulative (combined) GPA. Honors in Course may be awarded to those students who have been in residence at Whitman College during the past four semesters, or for a total of six semesters. Do not confuse this with Honors in Major Study for which certificates are issued.

summa cum laude   Whitman GPA of 3.900 or greater with no course grades of F
magna cum laude    Whitman GPA of 3.800 or greater with no course grades of F
cum laude               Whitman GPA of 3.650 or greater


Final Grades

If you have an expected graduation date of May or September, your final semester grades will be made available to you on the Friday prior to Commencement, if not sooner. Other senior grades are not due until after Commencement, and will be available on the web when grades are available to continuing students.


Commencement

A green Commencement Information Form will be sent to you with your Whitman Graduation Application during the first semester of your senior year. Please complete both forms in their entirety and write clearly. You may choose to write your full name as it appears on your Whitman record, or substitute or eliminate a middle initial. Please notify the Registrar's Office immediately if there are any changes. Your name will be printed, as it is on this form, on your diploma and it will be listed with your major and hometown in the Commencement Program. The Program will also list any Honors in Major Study and/or Honors in Course.

  • You are required to participate in Commencement ceremonies at Whitman. If you are unable to do so, you must Petition the Board of Review for a waiver.
  • You may participate in Commencement if you need eight credits or less to complete your degree requirements, but you will not receive your diploma during the ceremony. Those students completing requirements prior to the September deadline will receive their diploma in the Fall.
  • If you will need more than eight credits for graduation and you expect to finish your degree requirements in December, but wish to 'walk' with your class, you must petition the Board of Review for approval. Otherwise you are required to participate in Commencement ceremonies the following May and will graduate then.

Commencement information will be sent out by the Alumni Office and by the President's Office prior to Commencement. This will include information about graduation announcements, gowns, etc. Please retain these mailings for reference.


Transcripts

Final transcripts will not be available after grade processing begins at the end of the Spring semester and for about three weeks following Commencement. You may order transcripts before you leave campus and mark the box 'Send transcript after grades for this term have been recorded.' These will then be mailed out at the earliest possible opportunity.

Winter break is a busy time for transcripts, so please be sure you order well ahead of time for graduate school or other applications. Again, transcripts cannot be issued until all grade processing for Fall courses has been completed.

Transcript order forms can be found in the Registrar's Office and online. It usually takes one to three business days to process a request.


December Graduates

If you expect to complete your degree requirements at the end of the Fall semester, you will have had to participate in a Commencement ceremony or petition the Board of Review to have that requirement waived in order to receive your diploma in December.


Diplomas

The diploma that you receive following your graduation from Whitman is unique. There are no copies on file at Whitman. Verification of your degree in a foreign country, e.g. Japan, may require your original diploma, in place of or in combination with a transcript, so keep it in a secure location.

A new diploma may be ordered if you can verify that the original has been destroyed. However, replacements are generally produced only when diplomas are ordered for May and September graduates.  See the 'Replacement Diplomas' section of our website for more information.