Common Advising Questions

Admission to the advanced BSW curriculum requires completion of the Cluster Minor plus SW 100 and SW 230 with a GPA of 2.5 or above. Use the handy tool below to track your program progress, to determine your admission eligibility, and to check your program GPA for graduation

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Here is a listing of common advising questions related to the BSW major. Click on the question to see the answer.

1. How many credits and courses do I need in the liberal studies?
2. Social work requires courses like: SO 101, SO 382, EC 101, BI 104, PY 100, as well as SO 208/PY 305/MA 171. Can I use these in the liberal studies?
3. Do I need to take an additional 300 level liberal studies course and a world culture class too?
4. Do I need a minor with the social work major?
5. When can I apply for admission to the advanced curriculum?
6. Can I take 300 and 400 level courses without being admitted to the advanced curriculum?
7. I transferred from a community college where I took a macro-economics course that transferred into NMU as EC 202. I was told that I can't count it toward liberal studies, but a friend of mine from the same school was told he could use it. What's going on?


1. How many credits and courses do I need in the liberal studies?

See liberal studies requirements in the University Bulletin. Generally, a student must have at least the following:

Baccalaureate degree-seeking students meet the liberal studies requirements by completing selected courses in each of the divisions listed below.
Division I: Foundations of Communication
6-8 credits required
Division II: Foundations of Humanities
6-8 credits required
Division III: Foundations of Natural Sciences/Mathematics
6-8 credits required
Division IV: Foundations of Social Sciences
6-8 credits required
Division V: Formal Communication Studies
3-4 credits required
Division VI: Foundations of Visual and Performing Arts
3-4 credits required

The majority of liberal studies courses at Northern Michigan University are four credit courses, so normally students meet divisional requirements by taking either eight or four credits of appropriate courses for a total of 40 credits. However, a minimum of six semester credits (two courses) is required for each of Divisions I, II, III and IV. A minimum of three semester credits (one course) is required for each of Divisions V and VI.
Students who complete liberal studies requirements with less than 40 credit hours must complete their liberal studies divisions with the minimum number of credit hours stated above.


The difference between the minimum credit hours required and 40 credit hours are added to general electives. Most NMU liberal studies courses are 4 credit hours. Transfer students may bring in courses worth 3 credits, 2 credits or even fractions (e.g. 2.7) in the case of schools on the quarter system. Hence, NMU students would have 8 credit hours in a division that requires two courses, but a transfer student taking 3 credit courses would only have 6 credits for that division.

2. Social work requires courses like: SO 101, SO 372, EC 101, BI 104, PY 100, as well as SO 208/PY 305/MA 171. May I use these in the liberal studies?

Yes you may. The Bulletin states:

Using One Course to Meet More Than One
Requirement (Double Counting)
Between Major and Minor Requirements
Students cannot use the same course to fulfill a requirement in more than one major, or a major and a minor, or in more than one minor.
1. If a course is required for both a major and a minor, the major requirement will take precedence over the minor and an appropriate substitution must be made in the minor with the written approval of the minor department.
2. If a course is required in two majors or two minors, the first designated major or minor will take precedence over any subsequent major or minor and appropriate substitutions must be made with the written approval of the head of the second major or minor department.
NOTE: ALL SUCH SUBSTITUTIONS MUST BE FILED WITH THE
REGISTRAR’S OFFICE.

 Between liberal studies and Majors, Minors and Courses
Designated Other Required

Students may use a course from their major, minor or courses designated as other required to meet liberal studies requirements. The minimum number of credits required for the degree remains as listed even if a student double counts a course.

These courses are required in the human behavior cluster of the BSW program. Students may double count courses between the liberal studies Program and a major or a minor. So, a student may combinations such as the following: social sciences liberal studies: 8 credits from SO 101, SO 372, and EC 101. Natural sciences liberal studies: 8 credits from PY 100L or PY 100S and BI 104. Formal studies liberal studies: 4 credits from MA 171 or SO 208 or PY 305.

Doing the Math: Although you can use the same course to fill both liberal studies and cluster minor requirements, the credit hours can only be counted once toward the graduation minimum of 124 credit hours. So, if a student plans carefully and uses all the double counts possible in meeting liberal studies and human behavior cluster, that student would only have a total of 100 unduplicated credit hours after completing all the specified requirements for the BSW. The student would have 40 credits that meet the liberal studies requirement, 28 that meet the human behavior cluster requirement, but 20 of these credit hours would be used both in liberal studies and in the cluster. However, the BSW requires a minimum of 124 credit hours, so that student would need to complete 24 credit hours of general electives in addition to the 100 unduplicated requirements in order to attain the necessary 124 credits. Conversely, a student who didn't use any cluster minor courses to fulfill liberal studies requirements would have only 4 credits of general electives. We expect that most students will have the opportunity to complete several electives. Talk with your adviser about course selection or about completing a social work services minor.

3. Do I need to take an additional 300 level liberal studies course and a world culture class?

No. One liberal studies course, somewhere in your program must be at the 300 level (or transfer into NMU at the 300 level). It could be in any of the divisions, but students have the most choices in the humanities or visual and performing arts areas. EN 371 American Literature meets the humanities requirement and is at the 300 level. At Bay de Noc, it's a 200 level course, but it transfers here as a 300 level. Similarly, one of your liberal studies courses must meet the world culture requirement. For example, EN 311Z is both a 300 level humanities and a world culture course.

4. Do I need a minor with the social work major?

No. There is no minor in the BSW curriculum because we require a Cluster Minor. The human behavior cluster is your "first minor." You may choose to have an additional minor, especially if you plan well and can double count courses between liberal studies and the human behavior cluster. Your adviser can help you select a minor that supports your career plans. Psychology, sociology, gerontology, Spanish and research analyst are some options to consider.

5. When can I apply for admission to the advanced curriculum?

Normally, a student applies for admission during the semester in which the last pre-admission required courses are being completed. (See the curriculum planner guide or bulletin for a complete list). Students with a high GPA may be admitted on a provisional basis, allowing them to complete one or two pre-admission courses while enrolled in SW 370 or SW 372. If provisionally admitted, the student must complete the pre-admission courses within one semester.

6. Can I take 300 and 400 level courses without being admitted to the advanced curriculum?

You must be admitted in order to enroll in SW 370 Practice Methods I and SW 372 Practice Methods II and all 400 level practice or field courses. Exceptions may be granted by the BSW program director. Generally, such exceptions are only made when the student is in good academic standing and graduation would be significantly delayed. See your social work adviser in order to request an exception. In such cases, a student must complete remaining pre-admission requirements within one semester. Students must still meet the prerequisite requirements for individual courses.  You may enroll in other SW courses at the 300 level before admission, but you must have the prerequisites.  These courses include: SW 308 Research Methods II, SW 331 Human Behavior and Social Environment II, and SW 341 Social Welfare Policy.

 

7. I transferred from a community college where I took a macro-economics course that transferred into NMU as EC 202. I was told that I can't count it toward liberal studies, but a friend of mine from the same school was told he could use it. What's going on?

Some students transfer from Michigan community colleges after completing their general education requirements at the community college. They receive a "MACRAO" stamp (Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers). EC 202 is not part of the NMU liberal studies Social Science requirements, but if the course was taken as part of the MACRAO package, NMU applies it to the Social Sciences. If the student doesn't have the MACRAO stamp, we will still approve it for the human behavior cluster but it can't be applied to liberal studies. If this applies to you, have your adviser complete a course substitution form for the economics course.

MACRAO Transfer Agreement
Transfer students who complete their general education requirements in Michigan community colleges under the  MACRAO (Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers) Transfer Agreement usually will have met the liberal studies requirements in foundations of communication and three other divisions. Transfer students under the MACRAO Transfer Agreement ordinarily must complete two additional liberal studies courses, including at least three credit hours at the 300 level or above. Northern Michigan University applies courses transferred under MACRAO Transfer Agreement in accordance with guidelines established by NMU faculty.