Undergraduate Academic Policies and Procedures


1. The General Education Core Curriculum

Rationale

Lamar University agrees with the fundamental goals and principles of a traditional liberal education. This is explained as stated by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (2014):

Liberal Education is an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, culture, and society) as well as in-depth study in a specific area of interest. A liberal education helps students develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills such as communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.

Objectives

Lamar University's General Education Core Curriculum satisfies the criteria for compliance with the mandates of the Texas State Senate and the rules, recommendations and statement of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board found in Chapter 4 B §4.28-4.31. The required objectives are stated as:

  • Critical Thinking Skills - to include creative thinking, innovation, inquiry, and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information
  • Communication Skills - to include effective development, interpretation and expression of ideas through written, oral and visual communication
  • Empirical and Quantitative Skills - to include the manipulation and analysis of numerical data or observable facts resulting in informed conclusions
  • Teamwork - to include the ability to consider different points of view and to work effectively with others to support a shared purpose or goal
  • Social Responsibility - to include intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities
  • Personal Responsibility - to include the ability to connect choices, actions and consequences to ethical decision-making (Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 2013)

Components of the General Education Core Curriculum1

Communication - three semester hours: ENGL 1301 and three semester hours from COMM 1315, COMM 1321, DSDE 1371, FREN 1311, SPAN 1311

Mathematics - three semester hours from MATH 1314, MATH 1316, MATH 1325, MATH 1332, MATH 1342, MATH 1350, MATH 1414, MATH 2311, MATH 2312, MATH 2413, MATH 2414

Life and Physical Sciences – six semester hours from BIOL 1308, BIOL 1315, BIOL 1406, BIOL 1407, BIOL 2306, BIOL 2401, BIOL 2402, CHEM 1306, CHEM 1308, CHEM 1311, CHEM 1312, GEOL 1390, GEOL 1403, GEOL 1404, PHYS 1305, PHYS 1307, PHYS 1311, PHYS 1401, PHYS 1402, PHYS 1405, PHYS 1407, PHYS 1411, PHYS 2425, PHYS 2426, SPSC 1301, SPSC 1401

Language, Philosophy and Culture – three semester hours from ENGL 2300, ENGL 2310, ENGL 2320, ENGL 2322, ENGL 2326, ENGL 2331, ENGL 2371, ENGL 2376, PHIL 1370, PHIL 2306

Creative Arts – three semester hours from ARTS 1301, ARTS 1303, COMM 1375, DANC 2304, MUSI 1306, MUSI 1310, PHIL 1330, THEA 1310

American History – six semester hours from HIST 1301, HIST 1302, HIST 2301

Government/Political Science – six semester hours from POLS 2301, POLS 2302

Social and Behavioral Sciences – three semester hours from BULW 1370, ECON 1301, ECON 2301, ECON 2302, INEN 2373, PSYC 2301, SOCI 1301

Additionally, students must complete one of the three following component area options:

Component Area Option I – three semester hours from ENGL 1302, ENGL 1374, two semester hour lab sciences from BIOL 1406, BIOL 1407, BIOL 2401, BIOL 2402, GEOL 1403, GEOL 1404, PHYS 1401, PHYS 1402, PHYS 1405, PHYS 1407, PHYS 1411, PHYS 2425, PHYS 2426, SPSC 1401 and one semester hour flex course from MATH 1414, MATH 2413, MATH 2414, LIBR 1101, HNRS 2160, LMAR 1101

Component Area Option II – three semester hours from ENGL 1302 and three semester hours from MATH 1314, MATH 1316, MATH 1325, MATH 1332, MATH 1342, MATH 1350, MATH 1414, MATH 2413, MATH 2414, BUAL 2310, INEN 2301, PSYC 2317

Component Area Option III - three semester hours from MATH 1314, MATH 1316, MATH 1325, MATH 1332, MATH 1342, MATH 1350, MATH 1414, MATH 2413, MATH 2414, BUAL 2310, INEN 2301, PSYC 2317, two semester hour lab sciences from BIOL 1406, BIOL 1407, BIOL 2401, BIOL 2402, GEOL 1403, GEOL 1404, PHYS 1401, PHYS 1402, PHYS 1405, PHYS 1407, PHYS 1411, PHYS 2425, PHYS 2426, SPSC 1401 and one semester hour flex course from MATH 1414, MATH 2413, MATH 2414, LIBR 1101, HNRS 2160, LMAR 1101

Notes:

1. Students should consult their major advisor for recommended or required core courses and prerequisite courses, including Texas Success Initiative requirements.

2. Business majors must complete ECON 2301 and 2302 to satisfy degree requirements.

2. Transfer of Core Curriculum

Students who transfer to Lamar University from another Texas public institution of higher education shall be governed by the provisions of Texas Senate Bill 148 (75th Legislature). Lamar will accept, en bloc, an approved core curriculum successfully completed at another Texas public institution of higher education in lieu of Lamar´s core curriculum. Any student who transfers to Lamar University before completing the core curriculum of another Texas public institution of higher education shall receive academic credit at Lamar for each of the courses that the student has successfully completed in the core curriculum of the other institution; however, the student shall be required to complete Lamar´s core curriculum. Students transferring to Lamar from institutions of higher education outside of Texas or from private institutions within Texas shall be subject to the requirements of Lamar University´s core curriculum.

3. Advising

Advising sessions assure that students pursue a prescribed program of study which allow steady progress toward a degree. Advising can help students meet course requirements efficiently and graduate sooner. Advising can also assist students in selecting appropriate concentrations within a major based on interests and goals. We encourage students to cultivate a relationship with his or her academic advisor. It is the responsibility of the student to contact the advisor for regular advising sessions. At a minimum, all students are required to meet with an advisor at least once a semester before registering for classes.

Freshmen and sophomores with fewer that 60 earned credit hours and all pre-nursing students are advised in the Undergraduate Advising Center (UAC). juniors and seniors and nursing students will meet with advisors within their academic major. Students with over 60 earned credit hours who are on academic probation or are TSI restricted will also meet with UAC advisors to develop success plans. Students enrolled in LU Online accelerated programs will be advised by the advisor for their program. Appointments and other advising/counseling services may be facilitated through the college advising centers.

The UAC supports the mission of Lamar University to engage and empower students by providing comprehensive advising that is proactive and personalized. Students should plan to meet with his or her advisor regularly throughout each semester. Through the advising process students develop skills and knowledge necessary to explore and progress towards their academic and life goals. The advising relationship is a partnership and advisors work with students to match their interests with opportunities at Lamar University, and help them integrate their academic and career plans. The UAC's professional advisors proactively assess and respond to student needs and meet with students multiple times each semester to formulate the appropriate plan for student success toward degree completion. UAC advisors help students navigate and connect with the university community through their role as liaisons for major departments and support services.

Additional information about advising can be found at www.lamar.edu/advising

4. Course Loads

The normal undergraduate course load in a regular semester is 15-18 semester hours; for a six-week summer term, six to eight semester hours. Overloads must be approved by the student´s academic dean. No student will be allowed to enroll for more than 21 semester hours in a regular term, eight semester hours in a summer term, or four semester hours in a mini-session. Twelve semester hours is the minimum full-time load in fall and spring semesters, four semester hours in each summer term.

5. Texas Common Course Numbering System

The Texas Common Course Numbering System (TCCNS) is a voluntary, cooperative effort among Texas community colleges and universities to facilitate transfer of freshman (1000) and sophomore (2000) level general academic course work. Lamar University is a participant in this effort. The TCCNS provides a shared, uniform set of course designations for students and their academic advisors to use in determining both course equivalency and degree applicability of transfer credit on a statewide basis. When students transfer between two participating TCCNS institutions, a course taken at the sending institution transfers as the course carrying, or cross-referenced with, the same TCCNS designation at the receiving institution. For more information, including comparison tables between Lamar and other TCCNS institutions, see http://www.tccns.org.

6. Grade Replacement Policy

Students may replace an undergraduate course grade by repeating a course. If a student repeats a course, the official grade is the higher one, although all grades remain on the student´s transcript. A grade, once earned and entered on a student´s transcript, cannot be removed. The repetition of a course taken at another institution will not replace a grade in the grade point average (GPA) calculation of the Lamar University course. Eligibility for all university honors will be determined on the basis of a cumulative GPA that includes all grades earned at Lamar University, including those replaced by Lamar University's Grade Replacement policy. Any student who wishes to repeat a course must do so before completing a more advanced course in the same subject. The chair of the department offering the course will determine what constitutes a more advanced course. This policy does not apply to classes repeated before the fall of 2000. Once a degree has been conferred, a student may not use the Course Repetition/Grade Replacement Policy for any courses used to award the degree or calculate the cumulative grade point average. For more information, please contact the registrar, (409) 880-8358 or records@lamar.edu.

7. Six-Drop Rule

In accordance with Texas law (SB 1231, 80th Legislature), Lamar University does not permit an undergraduate student to drop more than a total of six courses if the student was a first-time college student as of fall 2007. The total of six includes any course a transfer student has dropped at another public institution of higher education in Texas.

Students may request an exemption from this law based on appropriate documentation of good cause. Forms for requesting a good cause exception to the six-drop rule are available from academic advisors or the Office of the Registrar. “Good cause” includes, but is not limited to, the following reasons: a) a severe illness or other debilitating condition that affects the student's ability to satisfactorily complete the course; b) the student's responsibility for the care of a sick, injured, or needy person if the provision of that care affects the student's ability to satisfactorily complete the course; c) the death of a person who is considered to be a member of the student's family or who is otherwise considered to have a sufficiently close relationship to the student that the person's death is considered to be a showing of good cause; d) the active duty service as a member of the Texas National Guard or the armed forces of the United States of either the student or a person who is considered to be a member of the student's family or who is otherwise considered to have a sufficiently close relationship to the student that the person's active military service is considered to be a showing of good cause; e) the change of the student's work schedule that is beyond the control of the student, and that affects the student's ability to satisfactorily complete the course; or f) other good cause as determined by the institution of higher education.

8. Dean´s List and President´s List

At the end of each semester, each dean prepares a list of full-time undergraduate students (those who complete 12 or more semester hours) who earned for that semester a grade point average of 3.5 or above. This list is the Dean´s List and is announced by the dean of each college. Full-time (12 or more completed credit hours) undergraduates who earn a 4.0 grade point average for a long semester are included in the President´s List. Any student with an "I" grade is ineligible for Dean´s List or President´s List consideration until the "I" is officially changed. Names of students who have a Directory Hold will not appear in the public releases of the Dean´s and President´s Lists.

9. Excluding former work from GPA: Academic Appeals Procedure

After an enrollment lapse of four or more years from Lamar University and after completing successfully (2.20 grade point average or higher) 24 or more hours of work at Lamar University, a student may petition to disregard one or two entire semesters/terms of course work taken previously at Lamar University. The petition shall be filed with the department chair and follow regular channels to the senior associate provost for a final decision. Endorsements and/or recommendations shall be required at each level. When approved by the senior associate provost, disregarded work shall not count in determining the student´s grade point average for academic progress or for graduation; however, the work shall remain on the transcript with an appropriate notation and shall be used in determining academic honors. Receiving institutions or agencies may use their own policies to compute a grade point average. Once a degree has been conferred, a student may not use the academic appeals procedure for any courses used to award the degree or calculate the cumulative grade point average.

10. Degree Requirements

A. General Education Requirements - Bachelors Degrees

  1. Satisfy all admission and graduation requirements.
  2. Complete the General Education Core Curriculum
  3. Meet the following minimum requirements
    1. A grade point average of at least 2.00 on all courses in the major field and on all courses attempted (some departments may require a higher grade point average).
    2. Successfully complete a minimum of 120 semester hours (some degrees may require more hours). In addition, the following requirements must be met:
      1. 30 semester hours in residence at Lamar University with at least 24 semester hours earned after attaining senior classification, except for special degree programs in biology
      2. 45 semester hours at the junior and senior level (upper division), of which 18 hours must be completed at Lamar University
      3. 24 semester hours in a major field with at least 12 in upper division courses
      4. No more than 59 hours may be granted for technical and experiential credit.
      5. No more than 30 hours of credit by examination may be applied to the bachelor's degree.
  4. Complete the required courses for the major listed in the catalog.
  5. Submit an application for graduation to the Records Office.

B. Second Bachelors Degree

A second bachelor´s degree may be granted upon the completion of all requirements for the degree. A minimum of 30 additional hours beyond those required for the first degree, as specified by the department granting the second bachelor´s degree, must be completed at Lamar University.

C. Multiple Majors within a Single Baccalaureate Degree

Lamar University students may earn two or more majors within a single baccalaureate degree program provided they satisfy all academic requirements for each major. Academic requirements for second majors shall be determined by the department responsible for the second major. Approval of the multi-major degree plan must be obtained, in writing, from the department chair of the second major before the student applies for graduation. Third and subsequent majors shall follow the same procedures. Non-disciplinary majors such as Applied Arts and Sciences and General Studies shall not be allowed in multi-major degree programs. Once a baccalaureate degree is conferred, additional majors may not be added to the degree. In situations where majors cross disciplinary or degree lines, the baccalaureate degree of the primary major shall be the degree awarded and shall dictate any specific core requirements needed.

D. Requirements of Specific Degrees 

Bachelor of Arts Degree

  1. Satisfy all admission and graduation requirements.
  2. Meet the University´s Core Curriculum requirements for a bachelor´s degree;
  3. Complete the course numbered 2312 in a foreign language or with approval of the major department, CMDS 4305, Sign Language III;
  4. Complete six semester hours of literature; and
  5. Meet the specific requirements of the selected program of study as listed in the department concerned.

Bachelor of Science in Biology. A student may receive the degree of Bachelor of Science, biology major, after completion of one year in an approved college of dentistry or medicine.
The following minimums are required:

  1. Satisfy all admission and graduation requirements.
  2. Complete 106 semester hours of the basic requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree; this includes all the required minimums except the total of 120 semester hours;
  3. Complete the biology core;
  4. Furnish proof of at least 30 semester hours in an approved domestic college of dentistry or medicine.

E. Minor Field Requirements

In addition to the major field of study in a baccalaureate degree program, a Lamar University student may (or, if required by his or her major program, must) choose a minor field of study from those listed and described in this Catalog. The minor will be indicated on the student´s official transcript and, with approval of the student´s department chair, two or more minors may be earned. All minors must consist of a minimum of 18 semester hours, nine of which must be earned in upper division (3000 & 4000) courses. Minor field hours must be earned in a discipline other than the major field of study. Students must earn a grade point average in the minor field of at least a 2.00, including grades for any transfer credit applied to the minor. The specific requirements for each minor will be established by the department or program offering the minor and may include additional hours (total and/or upper division), specific courses and/or certain levels of academic performance. These requirements are published in the appropriate section of this catalog. Although not all disciplines of study at Lamar are available as minors, a minor may be offered in any discipline for which Lamar University offers an undergraduate major. Normally, minor course work is an appropriate subset of the major. In certain instances, interdisciplinary minors (which must have a specified administrative home) and minors in non-major disciplines for which there are a sufficient number and offering of courses are available and are noted in this catalog. Following a review and recommendation from the University Curriculum Council, the Provost approves all minors and decides all disputes regarding minors. Questions about minors should be referred to the appropriate academic department chair or program director.