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Advising FAQ for Humanities and Social Sciences Students and Faculty

Prepared by Rosa Zagari-Marinzoli



Q. Do AP credits transfer?

A. It depends on the score. All AP scores of 5 normally transfer as credits and satisfy Liberal Learning requirements. An AP score of 4 in English or History satisfies Liberal Learning requirements but earns zero credits. For a complete list of courses and credits that transfer, go to the AP table:

Q. Is there a maximum number of AP credits that students can transfer?

A. No, there is no maximum. In fact, there are students that have sophomore status as entering freshmen because of the large number of earned AP credits.

Q. How do students know if their AP credits have been transferred? And what they count for?

A. Students should look at the first page of their unofficial transcript, on their PAWS Student Account. It will tell students whether they received zero or 1 course unit (4 credits) and the Liberal Learning requirement they fulfilled. For example: a 5 in English LIT AP would read: LL Literary and Performing Arts—1 course unit (4 credits). Students can also look at their Transfer Credit report, also in PAWS, under Academics.

Q. Can AP credits count for Liberal Learning and Major Core courses?

A. Most of the time AP credits count for Liberal Learning. Some AP may count for a 100 level foundation course in students’ majors: i.e., AP credit in Sociology counts for SOC 101, AP Psychology counts for PSY 101, AP American Government counts for POL 110. However, AP English will never count for LIT 201 and AP History will never count for one of the 3 History Foundation courses: HIS 210, HIS 220 or HIS 230.


Q. Do college credits earned in high school transfer?

A. Yes, they transfer in the same way as AP credits. The only difference is that most of the NJ Colleges linked to NJ high schools use a .75 course unit (3 credit) system. Therefore, courses will transfer as .75 course unit (3 credits) and not one course unit (4 credits). Exception: Science or math courses with a lab component will transfer as 1 course unit (4 credits).

Q. Can college credits earned in high school satisfy Liberal Learning and/or Major Core requirements?

A. The same rules apply to AP and College Earned Credits: They can satisfy Liberal Learning and some foundation courses in their major, mostly 100 or 101 level courses.


Q. Do transfer students have to take liberal learning courses?

A. Transfer transcripts are evaluated by Records and Registration to determine which Liberal Learning requirements have been satisfied. Students entering with fewer than 8 course units (32 credits) are considered freshmen and must also complete the FSP and civic responsibility learning component. Those with more than 8 course units (32+ earned credits) have FSP and the Civic Responsibility component of the freshman year waived.
AA or AS Degree: Students who come with an AA or AS degree have satisfied all Liberal Learning Requirements, including the Civic Responsibilities and Second Language requirements. However, these students must complete IDS 102/Information Literacy Proficiency. They need to complete only major core requirements and reach a total of 32 course units (128 credits). Faculty must determine if an associate’s degree was awarded, since completion of 16 course units (64 credits) does not guarantee this degree.

Transferring from a 2 year institution: Maximum number of credits that transfer from a 2 year institution: 16 course units (64 credits)

Transferring from a 4 year institution: Maximum number of credits that transfer from a 4 year institution: 20 course units (80 credits).


Q. Do courses taken over the summer transfer?

A. Yes, courses taken over the summer transfer as course units and they can satisfy Liberal Learning requirements. They can satisfy major core requirements, if pre-approved by department chair.

1. For Liberal Learning courses taken at a NJ Community College, students should go to If the courses are posted there, then they will transfer and they no longer need R&R to pre-approve them. (ONE EXCEPTION: FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSES. TCNJ Students cannot take foreign language classes at other colleges during the summer unless they are transfer students and they want to complete the foreign language requirement at the institution they transferred from.)

For Liberal Learning courses taken at NJ four-year institutions or at colleges outside NJ, students must have courses pre-approved by the transfer evaluators in R&R. Normally they are asked to submit a copy of the course description.

For courses in the major, especially 200 and 300 level courses, students should go to their department chairs for pre-approval and confirmation.

Important Reminder: If students take .75 course unit (3 credit) courses at their summer institution, they will not receive 1 course unit (4 credits) from TCNJ, even if those courses satisfy a TCNJ Liberal Learning or major core requirement.


Q. How do students fulfill Liberal Learning/General Education requirements at TCNJ?

A. Students can now choose from three different options. They are:

1. Option A, which consists of Approved Interdisciplinary Concentrations, or a second major; 2. Option B, which consists of a self designed interdisciplinary concentration or self designed major

3: Option C, Breadth Distribution.


Q. Where do students go to find information on the approved interdisciplinary concentrations?

A. For a list of the approved Interdisciplinary Concentrations and for general requirements go to:  IMPORTANT NOTEInterdisciplinary Concentrations fulfill only the Domains/Breadth Distribution of the Liberal Learning program. Students who declare Interdisciplinary Concentrations MUST meet civic responsibilities: Gender, Race and Global as well as WRI 101 and WRI 102, if not exempted, and foreign languages. Students can take free electives or use courses in a minor to count as free electives.

Q. How many classes can count simultaneously for a major and an Interdisciplinary concentration?

A: College policy allows TWO courses to double count in the major and the Interdisciplinary Concentration. However, only 1 course unit (4 credits) is awarded for each course.

Q. Why choose a double major?

A. Double majoring is a great option for students since they can gain depth in two fields. Details can be found at: (scroll down to Option A) or in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Q. How do students complete liberal learning when dual majoring?

A. This is a bit complicated as it depends on whether both majors are in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences or whether one is in Humanities and Social Sciences and the other is not. In general, students need to look at the Liberal Learning/breadth distribution requirements and make the following modifications: Students take 2 courses rather than 3 in the Broad Sectors of: 1. Arts and Humanities, 2. Social Science and History, and 3. Natural Science and Quantitative Reasoning). The two courses must have a different prefix. (For example, students who are majoring in Spanish and Sociology, can fulfill the requirements in the first broad sector, Arts and Humanities, by taking an English course with a LIT prefix, and an Art History course with an AAH prefix. They do not have to take a Religion or Philosophy course if they don’t want to.) However, students who select English as their first major, and Psychology as their second major, do not have to take any Liberal Learning courses in the first two broad sectors. They do have to take two courses in the third broad sector, one Quantitative Reasoning Course and one Natural Science with a Lab. Of course, students who are doing a double major in Psychology/ Biology, must take more than one Natural Science course; students who are doing a major in English and Business must take all the math courses that the Business major requires.

Q. When declaring a dual major, does it matter which major is declared first?

A. Yes, it does matter. The “first major,” will influence Liberal Learning Requirements as some majors require a foreign language and others do not. For example, a student who declares Finance as his first major, and Political Science as his second major, is not required to take the foreign language sequence.

Q. Can students double count courses if they are doing a double major?

A. A maximum of three full courses may be applied to both majors. Unless the capstone requirement carries the weight of two full courses and is approved by both major advisors, a capstone cannot apply to more than one major. A currently enrolled student who has completed the requirements for a double major will receive one degree, according to which major the student considers to be his or her first major. Double majors will be noted on transcript. See the Academic Rules and Procedures bulletin for more information.

Q. How many classes can count simultaneously for a major and minor?

A: College policy allows 1 course to double count in the major and the minor. Again, only 1 course unit (4 credits) is awarded for the course. Exception: International Studies majors can double count TWO courses between the major and a related minor.


Q. If students select Option B (Self Designed Concentration or Self Designed Major), where do they go to get information about proposals, contact info?

A. Students should go to Liberal Learning- Self Designed Major or view the Undergraduate Bulletin.  Proposals are sent to Dr. Richard Kamber,, who serves as the Self-Designed Programs’ coordinator.


Q. If students select Option C, Breadth Distribution, how do they find out the Liberal Learning requirements?
A. Students should follow the directions listed on the left and right hand columns of their Program Planners, if given one at Orientation. Or they should check their Academic Requirements Report on PAWS. For the list of Approved Liberal Learning courses, students should go to:

Q. Where do WRI 101 and WRI 102 fall within the Academic Requirements? Do they satisfy Liberal Learning/Writing Intensive requirements?

A. WRI 101 is a zero-credit course. WRI 102 is a 1 course unit course that can count as an elective. It CANNOT count as one of the three required writing intensive courses.


Q. How do students fulfill the Foreign Language Requirement? Do HSS majors have to take a foreign language? How many semesters? 

A. All HSS majors must demonstrate mastery of a foreign language at the 103 level for French, Italian, German, Spanish, at the 201 level for Greek, and Latin and at the 152 level for Intensive Language courses: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian.

  • Students continuing a language from high school must take the TCNJ placement exam to see what level they should start at.
  • Students beginning a new language will start at 101 for non-intensive languages or at 151 for intensive languages.
  • Sign language may be taken in fulfillment of the foreign language requirement.
  • Students starting as freshmen at TCNJ must complete all foreign language requirements here. Students transferring from another school CAN complete the foreign language at that school as long as they are NOT over the maximum for transferring in units (16 units/64 credits for a community college, 20 units/80 credits for a 4 year institution).
  • Students who have taken an AP exam, should NOT take the placement test until they know the score. If they score a 4 or a 5, that will exempt them from the language 103 level and will enable them to enroll in a 200-level course in that language.  If the placement test places them in, say Spanish 103, then they must take and complete Spanish 103 before they can enroll in a 200 level course.

Q. What are Intensive Language courses and how do they work?

A. ARA, CHI, JPN, and RUS 151 are offered in the fall. ARA, CHI, JPN, and RUS 152 are offered in the spring.  Each of these courses carries TWO (2) units of academic credit and they are Intensive. Second-year classes are offered for these languages as well: ARA, CHI, JPN and RUS 251 are offered in the Fall semesters, while ARA, CHI, JPN and RUS 252 are offered in the Spring semesters.  Note that beginning in Spring 2013, ARA, CHI, JPN and RUS 252 are offered in the standard one course unit format.

Q. How do Intensive Language courses affect overload request? 

A. Requests for overload for Intensive Language students who have a TCNJ GPA of 3.3 or above are automatically approved. Students may take 5 units if two of the five units are from a 151, 152, or 251.  (Students whose GPA is below 3.3 do not qualify for the automatic overload permission.) Incoming freshmen and transfer students will not have a TCNJ GPA; therefore, they are not allowed to take five units until they can establish their TCNJ GPA at the required 3.3 level or higher. 

Q. Are there online placement tests for intensive language classes?

A. Currently we do not offer online placement tests for Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian. Students who took these languages in high school or who have a home background in one of these languages, and want to continue their study at TCNJ should meet with the faculty member for that particular language. This info is posted on the World Languages & Cultures Website, under Faculty:

Q. If students are doing a double major, do they still have a Foreign Language requirement when one of the majors does not require a foreign language?

A. No, they don’t have to take a foreign language if it’s not required for the first major. For example, a student who declares Finance as his first major, and Political Science as his second major, is not required to take the foreign language sequence.

Q. If a student took two semesters of a language at another college, does the student have to take the placement test?

A. Yes. The student must register for a class at the level into which the student is placed, be it 101, 102 or 103. A student CANNOT register for a class at a higher or lower level.

Q. Can a student take a language class at TCNJ but finish the language requirement elsewhere?

A: No. If students start here, they finish here; however, if students started elsewhere and have NOT taken any language classes at TCNJ after transferring in, then they can finish the requirement where they started.

Q. How does the placement test work?

A. If students have never taken a language before, then they do not need to take the placement test. Students simply register for a 101 level language course and go through the sequence. If students had 4 or more years of a language in high school, they will not receive credit for a 101 course, even if they placed into 101. Information about the World Languages & Cultures placement tests, can be found on the TCNJ World Languages & Cultures Department placement tests link:

Q. Can a student take a foreign language course as Pass/Fail to satisfy the LL requirement?

A: Students cannot take a Foreign Language course as Pass/Fail if the course is needed to satisfy the Second Language Liberal Learning Requirement. A Pass/Fail can be taken only when the foreign language is to count for a free elective course.


Q. How do students complete the Community Engaged Learning requirement?

A. This requirement is now coded on a student’s transcript as IDS 103. This can be fulfilled through courses that have this component built in or by participating in specific service learning FSP seminar classes in the fall or in one of the many issue-based Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) Days (see calendar) that are scheduled throughout the year. On these days, students gather with others from their residential floor to learn and serve together—as well as to reflect on their experiences and find out how they can sustain their involvement. Go to the Center for Community Engaged Learning & Research for more details.

Q. What courses count for civic responsibilities?

A. Go to Liberal Learning- Civic Responsibilities for a list of civic responsibilities categories, and go here and here for lists of courses that satisfy those categories.

Q. Can students get waivers/course substitutions for Liberal Learning?

A. Waivers for liberal learning and course substitutions are reviewed and granted by the Liberal Learning Office.

Q. Can students get waivers/course substitutions for major core requirements or for minors?

A. Waivers or course substitutions for majors must be reviewed and granted by the department chair of their major deptartment. Waivers or course substitutions for minors must be reviewed and granted by the faculty coordinator for that particular minor and/or by the department chair where the minor is housed. In most cases, only the department chair can write the memo for R&R.


Q. How does a student declare a minor?
A. Students should complete a minor declaration form, which can be found on the R&R website or in the R&R office. As stated in the Undergraduate Bulletin, “to complete a minor, students must receive approval of the department offering the minor and then submit a Declaration of Minor Form to the Office of Records and Registration. Students should follow the course of study set out in the appropriate department section of the Undergraduate Bulletin for the year in which they declare that minor.

Q. When does a student declare a minor?
A. Students should declare a minor as soon as possible but no later than the semester prior to graduation. A minor cannot be completed after graduation.

Q. Can students count a course in their major and minor (double counting)?
A. College policy allows 1 course to double count in the major and the minor. Again, only 1 course unit (4 credits) is awarded for the course.  Exception: International Studies majors can double count TWO courses between the major and a related minor.


Q. What if a student needs to take 5 course units (20 credits)?

A. Humanities and Social Sciences majors — who have earned more than 7.75 units at the college and maintain a 3.3 cumulative GPA — may request an overload for more than 4.5 course units but no more than 5 course units. Students who are seeking an overload should first discuss this with their faculty advisor or department chair. The advisor and/or department chair should inquire as to why they are requesting the overload, review their academic record, and determine the likelihood of a successful semester with such an overload. If approved, students should complete the HSS Overload Application System and have the department chair sign the form. The Associate Dean will review it and sign the form and grant overload.


Q. How many times can a student repeat a course?

A. A student may repeat any course once. If a student desires to take a course more than twice, permission must be obtained from the chair of the department in which the student is majoring and the chair of the department offering the course. Students who fail to secure the proper permission will be dropped from the course by the Office of Records and Registration. When a course is repeated, only the highest grade is counted in the grade point average and toward meeting graduation requirements, although all grades earned will appear on the unofficial transcript. Grades are not automatically recalculated. Students must petition for grade recalculation in the Office of Records and Registration.


As stated in the Undergraduate Bulletin: “Pass/Fail will normally be made among a student’s free electives, but may include a challenging course within the major or minor, ONLY once the minimum graduation requirements for the major/minor are achieved. The Ungraded Option may NOT be used to meet Liberal Learning requirements.”

Grading System


Q. Is there a senior degree audit?

A. No. R&R does not conduct senior degree audits. However, academic evaluators review students programs during the spring semester of the student’s senior year. They send out a letter to those students that are missing credits or a particular course either in their major or in their Liberal Learning requirement. Students are encouraged to review their Academic Requirements Report regularly so that they can determine where they stand with course requirements.


Q. How many credits are needed to graduate?

A. In Humanities and Social Sciences, students need 32 course units or 128 credits.


Q. If students want to study abroad, where do they go?

A. Students should start by reviewing programs and policies posted on Experiential Learning- Study Abroad.  They should then meet with their advisor or department chair to review courses and options.

Q. How do courses taken abroad transfer?

A. Courses taken abroad can satisfy Liberal Learning or major requirements. However, all courses must be pre-approved. Liberal Learning courses need to be pre-approved by Associate Provost Kit Murphy.  Major core courses must be pre-approved by the department chair.

Q. How many courses can a student take when studying abroad?

A. Students can take a maximum of 4.5 (18 credits). Spanish majors can only take a maximum of 12 credits. If students take more than the maximum load, the additional credits will NOT transfer.

Q. Do study abroad courses count as TCNJ credits?

A. Study abroad credits do not count as TCNJ credits. They are handled just like transfer credits from another institution. In most cases one course equals .75 units instead of 1 unit. However, there are some exceptions.  Please seek advice from the Office of Global Engagement.


Q. How can you get in touch with a student’s EOF advisor?

A. The EOF office is located in Roscoe West Hall, Suites 121-131. The list of EOF staff and program specialists can be found on the EOF website.


Q. What special privileges do students registered with the office of Differing Abilities receive?

A. Students documented as having differing abilities are granted priority registration. This means that they can register the first day of registration regardless of the number of credits that they have. They can make an appointment with a representative of Records and Registration if they need assistance in the registration process. Requests for accommodations must be initiated through Disability Support Services.