Bachelor of Arts degree requirements
At the beginning of your studies at Penn, you will be assigned an academic advisor to help you through the course selection and major selection process. Together, you will evaluate your personal and professional goals, in order to design your ideal map through the Bachelor of Arts program. Once you declare your BA major (see below) you will also be assigned a major advisor.
The Bachelor of Arts degree at the College of Liberal and Professional Studies requires 32 to 38.5 BA degree course units (c.u.)*, depending upon your choice of major.
You will complete:
- Major courses (12-18.5 c.u.)
- The General Requirement (10 courses from seven different sectors or areas)
- Two writing courses
- Demonstrated proficiency in a foreign language
- Four “free” electives, selected from the entire university curriculum
- The Quantitative Data Analysis Requirement (QDAR)
- The Cross-Cultural Analysis Requirement
- The Cultural Diversity in the US Requirement
Learn more about degree requirements for the Bachelor of Arts program in our Student Handbook (PDF).
Majors and minors
Your major serves to focus your studies within a particular department, and announce your expertise to future employers or educational institutions. In Penn’s Bachelor of Arts program at LPS, you have the opportunity to select from over 50 majors and minors offered in the School of Arts and Sciences.
All of our Bachelor of Arts students are welcome to enroll in daytime courses at Penn. Four of these majors—English, Environmental Studies, Humanities and Social Science—can be completed taking exclusively evening courses.
Declaring a major
When you arrive at LPS, you don’t have to declare a major right away. There is time to figure out which classes you’re gravitating toward. You must declare a major when you have eight courses remaining toward your degree, although it is recommended that you choose one before that time.
To declare a major, you first get the approval of the department offering the major. From there, each department has a different major declaration process, which your assigned LPS advisor will help you to navigate.
Once you declare your major, you will be assigned a major advisor who will work with you and your LPS advisor to help you meet the major requirements — a set of between 12 and 16 credit units — in order to complete your major on your road to graduation.
Minors and double majors
Choosing minors and second majors are both options for students in the Bachelor of Arts program. A minor is usually a set of six to eight courses, of which three credit units must be completed outside of the major. To complete a double major, you must complete minimum of 18 credit units in each of the two major programs. You can “double count” up to six credit units towards the requirements for both majors. Your LPS advisor is available to guide you through these policies and processes.
Submatriculation into a master’s degree
Submatriculation may be an option for students who have decided to pursue graduate studies, and would like to get a head start on a master’s degree. Submatriculation allows students to obtain both a baccalaureate degree and a master's degree simultaneously, thereby condensing the total number of years normally required to complete the undergraduate and graduate degrees combined. Be sure to consult with your LPS advisor and the intended graduate program’s chair or director early if you are interested in submatriculation.
Finally, it is highly recommended that you meet with a member of the Student Financial Services (SFS) team if you are considering submatriculation, due to the financial aid regulations that will be affected.
Admission into the submatriculation program is highly selective. First, you must apply to and be accepted into the graduate program of your choice, via the graduate school admissions process. It is also necessary for the students to maintain a superior grade point average overall and in the major.
*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). Generally, a 1 c.u. course at Penn is equivalent to a three or four semester hour course elsewhere. In general, the average course offered at Penn is listed as being worth 1 c.u.; courses that include a lecture and a lab are often worth 1.5 c.u.s.