2024-2025 Catalog

Graduation Requirements

To be considered a candidate for graduation, a student must have been admitted to a degree or certificate program at BCC. Students must complete at least one quarter (25 percent) of their program’s graduation credit requirements by enrollment in regularly scheduled classes at BCC. Hence, a student may not meet more than one half of the program’s graduation requirements by transfer, examination, prior learning experience or a combination thereof.

  • To be awarded an associate degree, students must earn an overall minimum cumulative average of 2.000, and a minimum cumulative average of 2.000 in all courses in the area of specialization.
  • To be awarded a certificate, students must earn an overall minimum cumulative average of 2.000, and a minimum cumulative average of 2.000 in the certificate program requirements. 
  • Students must indicate their intention to graduate or complete a certificate by filing a Graduation Application Form in the Registrar’s Office (F-111) by the appropriate deadline.

Specific degree and certificate program requirements are listed for each program in the Programs of Study section. Any substitutions must be approved by the program advisor and, in the case of general education requirements, the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The appropriate waiver/substitution form must be filed with the Registrar’s Office.

Also, in addition to their program and general education requirements, degree- seeking students must complete:

Graduation Dates

BCC recognizes three graduation dates: at the end of the summer session, the end of the fall semester and Commencement at the end of the spring semester. Diplomas will be distributed to students at this time. Transcripts of students who complete degree requirements will show the appropriate graduation date. While degrees will be conferred and certificates awarded as of the indicated graduation dates, only one annual Commencement is held, and the official program for that occasion contains the names of all who have completed their degrees and certificates since the last Commencement. BCC graduates are expected to attend Commencement exercises in the spring.

Graduation Honors

A number of academic distinctions are made known at the graduation ceremony. These include the introduction of a Valedictorian and the recognition of students graduating from a degree program with Honors (3.250 to 3.749 cumulative grade point average) and High Honors (3.750 to 4.000 cumulative grade point average).

General Education Requirements

BCC has adopted a core curriculum intended to:

  • Provide students with a strong base of knowledge from a broad spectrum of disciplines reflecting human kind’s past in language, art, science, mathematics, history and the social sciences;
  • Provide students with basic skills for current and future college-level work, the dynamics of a changing job market, and the demands of a knowledge-based society; and
  • Expose students to the values that sustain and nurture productive, purposeful and healthy lives.

Core Competency Requirements

Core Competencies are a required, noncredit, general education component of each degree program. Students complete assignments that are certified by faculty as demonstrating core competencies that faculty have identified as central to learning. Students will be completing assignments in general education, elective courses, and courses in all programs of study that will give them practice with these competencies in the context of different subjects.

The student’s instructor will identify the competencies that can best be demonstrated by the work the student will do in the course. In addition, the student may wish to talk to the instructor about the possibility of fulfilling a different competency in an assignment. All items must be graded C or better.

The instructor will notify the Registrar’s Office of his/her acceptance of a student’s work as demonstrating a competency. This office will keep track of the competencies completed as part of the student’s academic record.

No sample of work submitted for a competency may be used to satisfy more than one competency, and no more than two competencies can be satisfied through work in one course. Competency requirements must be met and certified during the semester the student is enrolled in the course. Some courses have embedded core competencies. In these courses the opportunity to demonstrate a particular competency is built in to the curriculum. A student completing the course with a grade of C or better is certified as having demonstrated the competency. The course description section of the catalog identifies courses that have embedded core competencies. Students not needing an embedded competency may inquire of the instructor whether a different competency could be achieved in the course.

Core competencies have become a graduation requirement for A.A. and A.S. students beginning with the 2004 catalog year. Students who have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited higher education institution, who have completed 15 or more degree credits prior to 2004 or who have transferred in 15 or more credits are exempt from the requirement.

Certificate and non-degree students are not required to complete the core competency requirement. They are, however, encouraged to do so since they may later wish to apply their coursework toward a degree.

Students required to complete the core competencies for graduation may, in extraordinary circumstances, request a substitution or waiver for part of the requirement. Such requests should be addressed to the program advisor for Liberal Arts, who will make recommendations to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Students should contact their academic advisor if they have questions concerning the core competency requirement.

Learning to use competencies across the curriculum will help students:

  1. Apply similar skills and abilities to learn different course contents; and

  2. Integrate their education rather than thinking of it as a collection of separate, unrelated courses. To satisfy this requirement, a student must demonstrate competency in the following areas:

MassTransfer Requirements

Students planning to transfer to one of the state-supported universities or colleges in Massachusetts are eligible for MassTransfer. See MassTransfer for more information.

MassTransfer provides community college graduates who complete designated associate degrees with the benefits of the full transfer and applicability of credit, guaranteed admission (2.500 GPA or higher) and a tuition discount (3.000 GPA or higher).

MassTransfer also provides students in the Massachusetts public higher education system the intermediate goal of completing a portable Gen Ed Foundation which will satisfy the general education/distribution/core requirements across institutions.

Listed on this page are all of the courses that meet MassTransfer requirements. In addition, there is a listing of courses that meet BCC’s Literature requirement (see below).

Please refer to the explanation of course codes in the table before reading the course descriptions.

Forum Requirement

FORUM is a noncredit requirement of all degree programs. Students must complete four FORUMS in order to graduate.

BCC FORUMS are designed to meet these objectives:

  • To promote lifelong curiosity and interest in a broad range of ideas and subjects;
  • To provide a public debate and exchange platform;
  • To encourage live interaction and engagement; and
  • To strengthen college outreach and community involvement.

To qualify as a FORUM, the activity must be a live event that supports the FORUM objectives, publicly announced and accessible, and officially designated and approved by the FORUM coordinator/committee; or a live event or activity that supports the FORUM objectives and is identified and supervised by faculty.

A series of scheduled FORUMS will take place on campus each semester. Other live events or activities may qualify if they are faculty sponsored and approved by the FORUM coordinator.

Students should consult FORUM links on the BCC website for more information and for each semester’s schedule. Students can monitor their progress in completing the requirement by checking their degree audit in WebAdvisor or by contacting the Registrar’s Office at 413-236-2136.

Students should begin meeting the requirement during their first semester in a degree program. Certificate students do not have to meet FORUM requirements but are strongly urged to do so if they plan on entering a degree program in the future.

Students enrolling at BCC with a bachelor’s degree are exempt from FORUM as are any students who began their studies at BCC prior to September 1, 1978. No other exemptions are granted.

Health/Fitness Requirement

BCC’s Health/Fitness requirement promotes lifelong optimum health by providing students with the education and skills for maintaining physical fitness. Students may meet this requirement through one of the following options:

  • Two credits of college Health/Fitness courses* taken at BCC or transferred in from another college; or
  • Not more than 15 hours at a non-BCC facility that tracks and supervises activities, plus 1 credit college Health/ Fitness class* or 15 hours with a personal trainer, intramural league or a supervised activity in the Paterson Fitness Center or 30 hours of a BCC supervised activity; or
  • Participation in the armed forces or civil service.

* BCC courses that meet the Health/Fitness requirement are designated “HF” in the course descriptions beginning and in the consolidated General Education Requirements list.