Degrees Offered

The Wake Forest College of Arts and Sciences offers undergraduate programs leading to the bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. 

The bachelor of arts degree is conferred with a major in African American studies, anthropology, art history, biology, chemistry, Chinese language and culture, classical languages, classical studies, communication, computer science, critical and creative media, economics, elementary education, English, environment and sustainability studies, environmental science, French studies, German, German studies, Greek, history, Japanese language and culture, Latin, mathematics, music, philosophy, physics, politics and international affairs, psychology, religious studies, Russian, sociology, Spanish, studio art, theatre, or women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. 

The bachelor of science degree is conferred with a major in applied mathematics, applied statistics, biochemistry and molecular biology, biology, biophysics, chemistry, computer science, engineering, health and exercise science, mathematical business, mathematical economics, mathematics, physics, or statistics. The bachelor of science degree may be conferred in combined curricula in engineering and medical technology. 

The School of Business offers undergraduate programs leading to the bachelor of science degree with a major in accountancy, business and enterprise management, finance, or mathematical business. 

A student may receive only one bachelor’s degree (either the bachelor of arts or the bachelor of science) from Wake Forest.

General Requirements

The basic and divisional course requirements leave students in the College considerable flexibility in planning their courses of study. Students who entered under the bulletins of previous years may make use of new alternative basic and divisional courses announced in this bulletin while still following their original contract for the required totals thereof. Except for HES 100, only courses of 3 or more semester hours count towards satisfying basic and divisional requirements.

All students must complete:

  1. the core requirements (unless accepted for the Open Curriculum),
  2. a course of study approved by the department or departments of the major, and
  3. elective courses, for a total of 120 hours.

In general, no more than 12 hours toward graduation may be earned from among all of the following courses: MSC 140-MSC 147, MSC 150-MSC 151, MSC 175A-MSC 175H, and MSC 183-MSC 185 (repeatable music courses); DCE 128; and elective 100-level courses in health and exercise science. However, music majors may count up to 16 hours in these courses toward graduation. A cross-listed course may be taken one time for hours toward graduation, unless otherwise specified by the course description, and no more than six hours in LIB courses may count toward graduation.

All students must earn a minimum cumulative 2.0 grade point average in Wake Forest College and the School of Business. Once enrolled at Wake Forest, a student may subsequently count, at most, 30 hours of credit from sources other than Wake Forest programs toward the graduation requirement of 120 hours. Students who transfer into Wake Forest must subsequently earn at least 60 hours in Wake Forest programs. Except for combined degree curricula, the work of the senior year must consist of courses in Wake Forest programs. Any exceptions must be approved by the Committee on Academic Affairs. No more than 15 credit hours earned through fully online courses may be applied towards graduation; of these no more than 8 credit hours may be transferred from another institution.

Transfer credits will not be used in calculating a student’s GPA. This includes affiliate study abroad programs (approved non-Wake Forest programs). However, work from other institutions accepted in transfer, along with the grade(s) earned, will be recorded on the transcript. Graduation distinctions will be based solely on the Wake Forest GPA.

A student graduates under the requirements of the bulletin of the year in which he or she enters. However, when a student declares a major or a minor, the requirements for the major or minor that are in effect at the time of declaration will apply. Such requirements might not be congruent with those stated in a given bulletin. Newly admitted majors to the School of Business, will be assigned a catalog year that will reflect their first full academic year as a major in the School. If coursework is not completed within 6 years of entrance, the student must fulfill the requirements for the class in which he or she graduates.

The University issues degrees in August, December, and May. All requirements must be completed and certified before a student will be issued a degree and/or can participate in the commencement exercises. However, students may petition for permission to participate in the commencement exercises if all three of the following conditions are met:

  1. The student will have completed at least 112 hours by the end of the spring semester preceding commencement.
  2. The student will have a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and a minimum 2.0 GPA in the major(s).
  3. The student has no outstanding judicial sanctions (unpaid fines, owed community service hours, etc.). 

Commencement is a celebration of graduation, but not required for graduation. Participation in commencement is at the discretion of the appropriate Dean. The University reserves the right to refuse participation in commencement in certain circumstances (e.g., unfulfilled sanctions for judicial or honor violations).

No further entries or alterations may be made toward the undergraduate degree once a student has been graduated. 

To become a degree candidate, a student must submit an online application for graduation that will prompt a review of the student’s academic record to assure that all degree requirements have been met. The application for graduation is available online in WIN. Students who are not enrolled in the term prior to their desired graduation date must contact the Office of the University Registrar before the application deadline. The application deadlines for each graduation date are as follows:  

  • December graduation: September 1
  • May graduation: October 1
  • August graduation: May 30

The University conducts one Commencement Ceremony each year in May. Students who have earned their degree the previous August or December are invited to participate in the May ceremony following their graduation.

Core Requirements (Basic and Divisional combined)

The core requirements are intended to introduce the student to various fields of knowledge and to lay the foundation for concentration in a major subject and related fields during the junior and senior years. For these reasons, as many of the requirements as feasible should be taken in the first two years.

Basic Requirements

All students must complete four requirements (unless exempted through procedures established by the departments concerned):

  • FYS 100 (first-year seminar) - to be taken during first year
  • 4 Writing credits to be fulfilled by either: WRI 109 (2 h) and WRI 110 (2 h), or WRI 111 (4 h). Should be taken during the first year
  • One 200-level foreign language course
  • HES 100 

Foreign Language Placements

All students new to Wake Forest who have studied a foreign language in high school must complete a foreign language placement test in the language(s) studied. Students will not receive credit for a class at a lower level than the level of their placement on the placement exam, unless they:

  1. register for the class in which they placed; 
  2. attend a few class meetings; 
  3. consult with their professor; and
  4. successfully appeal their placement to the language placement appeals officers of the department and be reassigned to a lower level course. 

Students may satisfy the requirement with a foreign language they have not previously studied, and may start at the beginning level (111 or 101, depending on the language) offered at Wake Forest. 

Students whose primary language (the language of instruction in the student’s prior schooling) is other than English are exempt from the basic requirement in foreign language.  Students must provide evidence that their language of high school instruction was entirely in the language for which exemption is sought.  For Mandarin, evidence that the language of middle school instruction was entirely in Mandarin satisfies the requirement.  English language schools or schools with mixed language instruction will not satisfy the requirement for exemption.  In the absence of sufficient evidence for exemption, students may take the foreign language placement examination.

Students whose schooling has been in English but who are fluent in a language not taught at Wake Forest must present the equivalent of a 200-level college course or proficiency in reading and writing in the second language to be exempt from the requirement. Such students should contact the Office of Academic Advising. The Associate Dean for Academic Advising will refer each case to a person qualified to make the appropriate determination, if possible. Not all languages will be supported by qualified examiners, and in that event, students will need to choose alternative language pathways.  If the second language is taught at Wake Forest, the relevant department decides whether the student may complete the requirement in that language or may be regarded as having fulfilled the requirement already. Elective courses in the language or literature of a student’s heritage or country of origin are at the discretion of the department offering the course.

Divisional Requirements

All students must complete courses in each of the five divisions of the undergraduate curriculum (unless exempted through procedures established by the departments concerned or by participation in the Open Curriculum). Together with the basic requirements these courses form the core of Wake Forest’s undergraduate liberal arts education.

Division Departments Number of Courses Required
I: Humanities History; Philosophy; Study of Religions; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 2
II: Literatures Literatures Written in English (English Department) In English Translation (Classical Languages, East Asian Languages and Cultures, French Studies, German and Russian, Spanish and Italian, and the Program in Humanities) 1
III: Fine Arts Art, Music, Theatre and Dance 1
IV. Social Sciences Anthropology, Communication, Economics, Education, Politics and International Affairs, Psychology, Sociology 2
V. Math and Natural Sciences Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Statistical Sciences 2

Students are not allowed to exempt divisional core requirements through the Advanced Placement Examination, the College Level Examination Program or the International Baccalaureate Program, although students who complete AP or IB courses and present qualifying exam scores earn credit towards the 120 hours needed for graduation. Departments choose which courses will satisfy divisional requirements. Courses satisfying a divisional requirement are designated (D) after their descriptions in this bulletin. Courses without the (D) designation do not satisfy a divisional requirement.

Special Restrictions

  • In divisions requiring more than one course, students may not choose two courses from within the same department. 
  • One course cannot satisfy the requirements of two divisions. A cross-listed course satisfies a requirement in one division only. 
  • Language courses at the 200-level do not fulfill the Division II literature requirement.

Additional Requirements

To prepare students for the demands of technology and globalization, Wake Forest guides undergraduate course selections with two further requirements:

Cultural Diversity Requirement. All students must complete at least one course that educates them regarding cultural diversity. This course may be taken at the basic, divisional, or major/minor level, or as an elective. Courses qualified to meet this requirement are designated (CD) after their descriptions in this bulletin.

Quantitative Reasoning Requirement. All students must complete at least one course that requires quantitative reasoning, either as a qualifying course in Division V, as an elective, or as a major or minor course requirement. All courses meeting the requirement are designated (QR) after their descriptions in this bulletin.

Requirement in Health and Exercise Science

Students must complete HES 100 before beginning additional health and exercise science elective courses, and in any case, before the end of the second year.