Jun 22, 2024  
2013-14 Undergraduate Catalog 
2013-14 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Curriculum Overview

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Academic Writing Standards
Level I Requirements  (Reading, Basic College Mathematics, Computer Literacy)
Level II Requirements (English Composition, Public Speaking, HealthSMS Physical Education Activities, History, First Year Experience, Laboratory Science Sequence)
Level III Requirements (Distribution, Literature Sequence, Diversity, WritingQuantitative, Foreign Language)


General Information

There are many ways to satisfy educational and future professional needs through Salem’s undergraduate programs of study. The student should become familiar with the diversity and flexibility of the curriculum, plan all of the elements of his or her program as early and as thoroughly as possible, in consultation with the academic advisor, and keep in mind immediate needs and interests as well as long-range goals. The following should assist the student in understanding the options available and the ways in which those options can be used to create a unified program of study.


The following terms are used throughout the discussion of degree programs and requirements.

A MAJOR is the academic discipline in which a student works in depth as part of a particular approved degree program.

A CONCENTRATION is a particular block of courses or course pattern within a major, intended to provide an emphasis on a specific area within the major curriculum.

An OPTION is a specified group of related courses which may be available within a major. An option may be either (a) a subdivision of a concentration, or (b) a group of courses which is less extensive than a concentration or less tightly focused in a single area than a concentration. A list of available majors, concentrations and options appears in this section.

A MINOR is an academic discipline outside of the major, in which a student develops a subsidiary specialization. Within some academic minors there are various designated course patterns which may be used to fulfill the minor. These alternate ways of fulfilling the minor are called TRACKS.

A list of available minors appears in this section.

SUPPORT COURSES are courses outside the major discipline which are required as part of the major program.

CORE REQUIREMENTS are a group of courses in various fundamental areas of knowledge which are required of all students.


Degrees Offered

  1. Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). The Bachelor of Arts degree is commonly given in the area of the Humanities or, if the electives in the program are chosen from a broad variety of liberal arts disciplines, in the areas of the Social Sciences and Natural Sciences.
  2. Bachelor of Science (B.S.). The Bachelor of Science degree is commonly given to those students who take both a major and the majority of their electives in one of the two following areas: (1) Natural Sciences, (2) Social Sciences.
  3. Specialized Degrees. The following specialized degrees are offered at Salem State University: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Social Work, Bachelor of Liberal Studies, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Degree Requirements

Each student must complete an academic major and the Core Requirements described below. Depending on the degree program and major, a student may also be required to complete minor, support and/or free elective courses. In addition, students in some majors are required to complete a concentration as part of the major.

Note that students pursuing certain curricula such as Business Administration, Elementary Education and Social Work, for which standards are set by national accreditation agencies, may not have the range of choice available in other curricula.

Seniors must have completed all degree requirements in order to participate in commencement exercises.


General Degree Program Structure

  Credit Ranges
  B.A. B.S. Specialized
1. Major Program* 30-36 30-55 33-55
2. General Education Requirements      
  a. Composition, Public Speaking, Health, Phys. Ed. 13 13 13
  b. Distribution 33-35 33-35 33-35
  c. Foreign Language 12    
3. Minor (when applicable) 15-18 15-18 15-18
4. Support courses ………..Depends on the Major……….
5. Free electives ………..Depends on the Major……….
TOTAL DEGREE CREDITS 120 120-124 120-125

* Note: No more than 55 credits in a student’s major field may be counted toward graduation. Exceptions to the regulation may be made for certain programs, but not for individual students. 




Currently Available Academic Majors and Minors

For information on all currently available majors and minors, please visit the Programs of Study  section of the catalog.  

Philosophy of the Undergraduate Core Curriculum

The core curriculum imparts the skills needed to engage in advanced study in a chosen major, including competence in problem-solving, critical thinking, and abstract reasoning. The student will write and speak effectively and demonstrate  competence in reading, computation, and mathematical and scientific reasoning. The student will acquire the computer literacy skills needed to adapt to the changing and expanding information stream.

The core will expose the student to diverse conceptual frameworks and academic perspectives and illuminate how inquiry is conducted in the various disciplines. It will highlight interdisciplinary connections and give the student sufficient  aesthetic, cultural and cross-cultural experiences to promote a broadened sense of humanity in its historical, moral, social and technological development. The core will underscore the richness and diversity of individuals, groups, and cultures  around the globe and foster respect and responsibility for our planet and the quality of life upon it.

The core will encourage creativity and natural curiosity, equipping the student with the capacity for continual learning and the adaptive qualities essential for thriving in an ever-changing world.

General Education Core Requirements

The General Education Core Requirements consist of the following:


Competencies that must be completed within 30 credits of matriculation.

  1. Reading Comprehension
  2. Basic Mathematics
  3. Computer Literacy


Core requirements that must be completed within 53 credits of matriculation.

  1. English Composition I, II 6 credits
  2. Public Speaking 3 credits
  3. Health 3 credits
    (Not required of Nursing, Occupational Health Studies or B.S. Biology Majors)
  4. SMS Physical Education Activities 1 credit
  5. HST 101 , HST 102  6 credits
  6.   The First Year Experience 3 credits
    (Required of all undeclared freshmen. See Interdisciplinary Studies  Department.)
  7. Distribution Laboratory Science sequence 6-8 credits


Core requirements that must be completed by graduation.

  1. Distribution Requirements
    1. Distribution Literature sequence 6 credits
    2. Distribution Electives 15 credits
  2. Diversity Requirement 9 credits
  3. Writing Requirement (College-Level) 3 credits
  4. Quantitative Requirement (College-Level) 3 credits
  5. Foreign Language 0-12 credits
    (Required of all B.A. students, except for certain concentrations within the Art and History majors.)

The student may be exempted from any of the above course requirements by demonstrating proficiency on a departmentally prescribed examination. Credit is given for any course passed by such an examination.

Academic Writing Standards


The University policy on academic writing standards applies to all course work.

Expository writing assignments may receive a grade of “C” or higher only if the form and content are appropriate for the purpose of the assignment and for the intended audience. Characteristics of expository writing include the following:

  1. A clear thesis
  2. Adequate support for the thesis
  3. Clear and coherent overall structure
  4. Varied sentence structure and expression
  5. Standard usage, punctuation, and spelling
  6. Accurate documentation when necessary

These standards may be amended by the instructor to meet the specialized writing requirements of various disciplines.

Students in all disciplines are encouraged to visit the Writing Center (MH 223) which provides individualized assistance in writing.

Detailed General Education Core Requirements

The following paragraphs provide detailed descriptions of these General Education Core Requirements, including exemption procedures.  Students may demonstrate competency in these areas by the methods outlined below. The assessment criteria will be passing grades in required courses or passing grades on required examinations.

The Registrar’s Office will be responsible for certifying that a student has met all General Education Core requirements.


Competencies (to be completed within 30 credits of matriculation.)

1. Reading Comprehension
  1. By achieving a score of 410 or above on the SAT Verbal examination of the College Entrance Examination Board.
  2. By achieving a designated reading skills level on a standardized test of reading comprehension.
  3. By achieving a grade point average of 3.0 or better after 30 hours of completed course work at Salem State University.
  4. By satisfactorily completing a recommended reading skills improvement program through the Reading Laboratory.
2. Basic Math
  1. By achieving a score of 500 or above on the SAT Mathematics examination.
  2. By achieving a score of 72 on the Accuplacer College- Level Mathematics Test
  3. By achieving a score in the 50th percentile or above on the CLEP College Algebra-Trigonometry Exam.
  4. By successfully completing MAT 090  (NO DEGREE CREDIT) or any higher number mathematics course.
3. Computer Literacy

Computer Literacy is an understanding of software applications, computer hardware, and social and ethical issues influenced by computer technology. Vital to this literacy is the knowledge of the application of software that increases productivity and aids in decision making in any discipline.

Students may satisfy the Computer Literacy core requirement as follows:

  1. By taking and passing one of the specific Salem State Universitycourses approved as satisfying the Computer Literacy core requirement and identified as such in its Catalog course description. Currently approved Computer Literacy courses include: ART 303 , CSC 200A , EDU 407 , IDS 180  , IDS 181 /ITC 181 , ITC 100 , ITC 117 and  . A transferred course, which a student wishes to use to satisfy the Computer Literacy core requirement, must be reviewed and approved in writing by the chairperson of the computer science department.
    1. By achieving a passing score on the on the Accuplacer Computer Literacy test. The examination should be taken within 30 credits of matriculation. The computerized examination consists of assessing knowledge of computer concepts and software applications. Details are provided on the student testing website.
    2. Transfer students should complete the Exemption Examination within their first 30 credits at the University.


(Complete within 53 credits of matriculation )

A. English Composition I, II (6 credits)

The Composition requirement may be satisfied in any of the following ways:

  1. By both (1) having a strong high school record with an “A” average in English, and (2) achieving either an SAT Writing score of 600 or above or an SAT Essay sub-score of “10” or above, the student will be granted exemption from ENL 101 - Composition I . Exemption carries three credits.
  2. By achieving a score of “3” or better in the College Entrance Examination Board’s Advanced Placement Examination. The student will be granted an exemption from ENL 101 - Composition I . Exemption carries three credits.
  3. By exempting from   based on either (1) achieve a score of 50 or higher on the College Composition examination, or (2) achieve a score of 50 or higher on the College Composition Modular examination and also successfully complete a departmental assessment of either the writing samples administered with the modular examination or a writing sample administered by the English Department. Exemption carries three credits.   
  4. By successfully completing ENL 101  and ENL 102  (or ENL 103  in lieu of ENL 102 ).
  5. By successfully completing either ENL 102  or ENL 101  and having the other course waived through applicable English Department policy.
  6. By being admitted to the Honors Program and successfully completing ENL 106H .
B. Public Speaking (3 credits)

Courses satisfying this requirement must require a significant element of formal public speaking.

The Public Speaking requirement may be satisfied in either of the following ways:

  1. By successfully completing one of the SPC 101 courses or SPC 102H .
  2. By passing the Speech Exemption Examination. This exemption carries three credits. See the current Master Schedule of Courses for details of the exemption procedure.
C. Health (3 credits)

All curricula except Nursing, the B.S. Biology and B.S. Occupational Health Studies programs include a Health Requirement. This requirement may be satisfied in the following ways:   

  1. By successfully completing one of the following: SMS 194 - Health and Wellness SMS 195 - Health Seminar: Women in Today’s World , SMS 196 - Men’s Health Seminar , or . (3 credits).
  2. By achieving a score of 70% on the Health Exemption Examination.  Students may only take the exception examination once and students who have previously attempted one of the approved health courses are not eligible for the exemption examination.  This exemption carries 3 credits and students will receive a “P” on their transcripts.  For more information, visit www.salemstate.edu/students testing.
D. SMS Physical Education Activities (1 credit)

Every student enrolled at Salem State University must complete the one semester (1 credit) physical education activities requirement. Normally, these activities are taken in the Freshman year, but in any case the requirement must be  completed by the end of the Sophomore year. (See Course Sequence in this section regarding limitations on courses which can be taken by Juniors and Seniors). Exemptions are granted for any one of the following reasons:

  1. The filing, with the Registrar, of medical certification from the student’s physician to the effect that the student is not able to participate in physical activities.
  2. The fulfillment of the physical education requirement at another institution prior to transfer to Salem State University.
  3. The acceptance by Salem State Universityupon initial admission to the Universityof 30 or more semester hours of credit transferred from another institution.
  4. Salem State University Intercollegiate Varsity athletes will be waived from the one credit physical education activity requirement after completing one full year of athletic eligibility.
E. History Distribution Sequence (6 credits)

HST 101 World History I 
HST 102 World History II 

F. The First Year Experience (3 credits)

Required of all undeclared freshmen. See Interdisciplinary Studies  department listing for full description.

G. Full year Distribution sequence in Laboratory Science (6-8 credits)

(See Full List)



(Complete by graduation)

H. Distribution Requirements

It is expected that all graduates of Salem State will have deepened their understanding of the arts and sciences upon which human culture is based. To that end, 33 to 35 credit hours including the History Sequence and the full year sequence  in laboratory science required in Level II shall be completed in the following three divisions:

Division I Humanities (Art, Communications, English, Foreign Language Literatures, Interdisciplinary Studies, Music, Philosophy, Speech Communication, Sport and Movement Science, Theatre).

Division II Natural Sciences and Mathematics (Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geological Sciences, Interdisciplinary Studies, Mathematics, Physical Geography, Physical Science, Physics, Sport and Movement Science).

Division III Social Sciences (Communications, Economics, Geography, Interdisciplinary Studies, History, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Sport and Movement Science).

Many courses for Interdisciplinary minors such as African-American Studies, Marine Studies, Urban Studies and Women’s Studies may be used to fulfill distribution elective requirements. Credit should be counted in only one place.

The 33 to 35 credits should be distributed in the following manner: ^Top

Division I

Full year sequence in literature


Division I Electives Other Humanities courses


Division II

Full year sequence in laboratory science 6-8
Division II Electives Other Natural Sciences and Mathematics courses 3-9

Division III

Full year sequence in World History 6
Electives (Other Social Sciences Electives) 3-9


Total Distribution Electives



 Division I - Literature Sequences (Level III)





 Division II - Laboratory Science Sequences (Level II) 

  / *
  /  *
  / BIO 123 - Plants and People  *
  /   *
  /   *
  / CHE 123 - Chemistry of Art 
  /  *
* May be taken in either order.

 Division III - History Sequences (Level II) 


Distribution Electives

As well as completing the full year sequences in literature, laboratory science, and history, the student must complete 15 additional semester hours of Electives to satisfy the Distribution Requirements. Within each division the courses  (sequences and electives) must be drawn from at least two different disciplines.

Courses which satisfy Distribution Requirements are designated “D” in the departmental course descriptions (e.g. DI, DII, DIII).

The choice of additional courses is subject to the following limitations:

  1. The student must earn at least three, but not more than nine additional semester hours in each of the three divisions.
  2. Except for Distribution sequences shared between two departments, all courses used to satisfy Distribution requirements, both sequences and electives, must be in subject areas other than the student’s major.
  3. No more than two courses in a sequence may be used to satisfy the Distribution Requirements.
  4. No skill course (e.g., writing, studio art, etc.), nor any course designed specifically for professional development (e.g., public relations, research methods, etc.) within a subject area may be applied to the Distribution Requirements.
  5. No seminars, directed studies, internships, departmental honors courses, etc. may be counted toward the Distribution Requirements. All courses satisfying distribution requirements must be approved through university governance and may  include courses from any university department if appropriate.

The literature sequence of Division I shall be completed in courses offered by the English Department or the Foreign Languages Department.

Except for certain courses specified for Level I or II, the Distribution courses may be completed at any time during the student’s four years. It should be noted, however, that it is impossible for any student taking supervised student teaching  to complete a two-semester sequence in the senior year.

I. Diversity Requirement (“V”) (9 credits)

Students will take one diversity designated course in addition to 

  and HST 102 

Goals of the Diversity Requirement:

  1. To increase students’ familiarity with cultures other than the majority, white Western culture of the United States
  2. To increase students’ ability to live comfortably in the multicultural world
  3. To increase students’ ability to interact respectfully with members of different groups.
  4. To increase students’ awareness of how systematic, structural inequalities in society–such as privilege and power dynamics–result in minority group(s) experiencing prejudice, discrimination, and/or oppression. 

In this context, ‘minority’ does not necessarily signify a numerical minority. Rather, it signifies a group that, in relation to the dominant group(s) in a culture or society, has less power.

 For specific courses that meet this requirement, please click click here .

  J. Writing Requirement (Upper Level) (“W”) (3 credits)

The upper-level writing requirement is fulfilled by any course carrying a “W” designation, regardless of where the course is used on the flow sheet.  All “W” courses must be at the 300 level or higher.

Goals of the Writing Requirement:

  1. To expose students to discipline-specific writing.
  2. To teach students how to use writing as a tool for more successful thinking and learning.
  3. To expose students to a writing-intensive course.

For specific courses that meet this requirement, please click here .

K. Quantitative Requirement (College Level) (“Q”)* (3 credits)

Students, in addition to the laboratory science sequence, must complete at least one college level course emphasizing quantitative analysis. This can be taken either in the student’s major or as an elective.

For specific courses that meet this requirement, please click here .

* To be designated with a “V”, “W” or “Q”, a course must first have approval of the University Curriculum Committee.

L. Foreign Language Requirement (0-12 credits, depending on placement)

Who needs to satisfy the Foreign Language Requirement?

All students in Bachelor of Arts programs (except for B.A. Art Majors with concentrations in Art Education, Graphic Design, Interactive Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Printmaking or 3-D Studio and B.A. History Majors with a concentration  in Applied History).

What is the Foreign Language Requirement?

This requirement consists of demonstrating an advanced intermediate level proficiency or higher in a foreign language or American Sign Language.

How is the Foreign Language Requirement satisfied?

1. Satisfaction by college-level language courses

This required language proficiency is typically demonstrated by successfully completing the advanced intermediate level course (4th semester, 202 or equivalent). Thus, students take a maximum of four language courses (two elementary and two intermediate) in order to complete the requirement-but often take fewer if they have studied the language previously. The actual number of courses that needs to be taken depends on the level at which a student places (see the World Languages and Cultures  Department section in this catalog for information on language placement). Two or more years of high-school language courses, for example, may allow a student to place higher than 101 or 102 course in the sequence. The Department’s faculty can advise students on appropriate placement. There is a placement test for Spanish currently available. Students may also show the required proficiency by passing a 300 or 400 level language course conducted in  the target language. Students may also transfer these foreign language or American Sign Language courses from other accredited institutions of higher learning.

2. Satisfaction of the requirement by examination

The requirement may also be satisfied fully or partially by examination, according to the guidelines below. For information on taking these tests, inquire at the Foreign Languages Department (available at the department’s site: salemstate.edu/languages).

  1. By achieving a sufficiently high score on the College Board’s College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) Test for a foreign language (currently available for French, German and Spanish). These scores are recommended by the College Board collegeboard.com/clep and carry 6 credits (for 201 and 202).
    • French: 62
    • German: 63
    • Spanish: 66

A minimum score of 50 in either one of these languages exempts a student from the elementary level (101-102) and carries 3 college credits (for 102).

  1. By achieving a sufficiently high score on the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) Test for a foreign language (currently available for French, German and Spanish):
    • A score of 5 results in automatic satisfaction of the language requirement; and carries 9 credits (for 201, 202 and the Advanced Grammar course of the particular language)
    • A score of 4 results in automatic satisfaction of the language requirement; and carries 6 credits (for 201 and 202)
    • A score of 3 will exempt students from the 201 level and carries 3 credits (for 201). The student still needs to take the advanced intermediate course (202 or equivalent)
  2. By achieving a sufficiently high score on the College Board’s SAT subject test:
    • A score of 700 or above results in automatic satisfaction of the language requirement (it carries no credits)
    • Students with scores between 400 and 699 may skip the 101, 102 and 201 levels (no credits are awarded). See World Languages and Cultures  section of this catalog for details.
  3. By achieving a score of 12 on the NYU Foreign Language Test

  • A score of 12 on the NYU Foreign Language Test results in automatic satisfaction of the language requirement and carries 6 credits (for 201 and 202).

        e. In the case of American Sign Language, in order to satisfy the foreign language requirement students have to either:

  • Complete a four-semester college sequence in a certified ASL program
  • Pass the Intermediate level of a nationally recognized ASL proficiency test, such as the Sign Communication Proficiency Interview (SCPI). 

3. Exceptional satisfaction through foreign culture course substitution 

Students who have a language-based learning disorder or who can demonstrate a history of extreme difficulty in language learning may petition to take a two semester culture sequence taught in English (SPN 203-204), instead of completing the 201-202 language sequence, in order to fulfill their Foreign Language Requirement. 

Procedures for students registered with Disability Services: Students who have a language-based learning disorder and are registered with Disability Services at Salem State may request from Disability Services that the substitution be granted. Disability Services will determine if the student’s disability is language-based and inform the Registrar’s Office, the Chairperson of Foreign Languages and the student’s major Chairperson if the request is approved. 

Procedures for students NOT registered with Disability Services: Students who have demonstrated extreme difficulty learning a foreign language at the elementary (101-102) level, even if they do not have a documented language-based learning disability, may petition in writing to the Chairperson of the  Foreign Languages Department to satisfy the Foreign Language Requirement by successfully completing the foreign culture two course sequence (SPN 203-204), taught in English, instead of taking the 201-202 intermediate language sequence. The petition will be evaluated by a Review Committee consisting of the Chairperson of the Foreign Languages Department (or delegate), as a nonvoting member, three  faculty members appointed by the MSCA/MTA/NEA (Salem Chapter), and one representative from the Disability Services Office. The recommendations of this Review Committee will be forwarded to the Vice President, Academic Affairs, for final action.  

When to petition: Students who do not have a documented learning disability must attempt to complete the elementary language sequence (101-102) prior to petitioning for a foreign language requirement substitution. Students must also petition for the subsitition before the end of their junior year, as the substitution requires two semesters of coursework.This means beginning elementary language study no later than the beginning of their junior year of coursework, preferably earlier. 

What to submit: The student is responsible for submitting the following documents to the Chairperson of Foreign Languages: 

1. A personal statement explaining the student’s history of extreme difficulty with language learning (lack of time or money to complete the foreign language requirement are NOT acceptable reasons to apply for the petition). Include your student ID number, contact information, and permission for the review committee to view your transcript of coursework at SSU.

2. A letter of recommendation from the student’s elementary-level language instructor, attesting to the fact that the student attended class regularly, completed all assignments, sought extra help, and still could not succeed in the course.

3. A letter of recommendation from the student’s major advisor, supporting the petition and the reasons why he or she believes the student should be granted a substitution.

4. Any other documents the student feels will help to explain his or her difficulties with language courses (for example, high school transcripts, doctor’s evaluations, other letters of recommendation).

Students will be notified by the Chairperson of Foreign Languages if their petition has been approved or denied by the Review Committee by the end of the semester in which the complete petition was submitted. The Chairperson of Foreign Languages will also notify the Registrar’s Office and the student’s major Chairperson of the result. 

Foreign Language Requirement for International and Multilingual Students 

Any student who is proficient in a language other than English may satisfy the Bachelor of Arts Foreign Language Requirement by both: 

A. Demonstrating proficiency in English either through satisfactory performance on a proficiency examination administered by the English Department or by the completion of six semester hours in courses offered by the English Department, with grades of C or better, AND

B. One of the following three options:

1. Demonstrating proficiency in the native language either by graduation from a secondary school where instruction was commonly in the native language, OR

2. By the attainment of a score equivalent to advanced intermediate level (202) on the CLEP or NYU Foreign Language exam (see above)

Upon completion of (A) and (B) the student will be exempted from the Foreign Language requirement. Only the CLEP and NYU exams carry credit, exactly how much credit is specified above.

Free Electives

Free electives should be carefully selected to complement overall program goals. Please note that no more than 55 credits in a student’s major field may be counted toward graduation. Exceptions to this regulation may be made for certain  programs, but not for individual students.

Students may want to use free electives to broaden knowledge of subject areas that relate to their major programs, professional goals, or cultural interests. A student may want to consider using free electives to establish a second minor or,  together with other credits, to establish a second major.