Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

About The Basics

How many courses do I take during a semester?

You will enroll in four courses. Under F&M's course credit system, thirty-two (32) course credits are required for graduation. Most courses at F&M are assigned one (1) course credit.


What is a first-year seminar?

The First-Year Seminar is designed to provide students with an experience that effectively integrates academic and residential life.  Students in First-Year Seminars live together in one of the College Houses and residents have the opportunity to share an important first semester academic experience.  The program promotes an integration of the residence hall and the classroom that enhances both the academic success and personal growth of the students.

The First-Year Seminar can be a special educational experience for its participants.  Each class is limited to 16 students.  The courses allow students to explore in depth a major theme or concept.  The seminars are writing-intensive courses that emphasize the development of critical thinking, reading, and analysis.  Additional support and guidance is provided by a Preceptor, an upperclass student who assists the seminar professor.   


What courses should I take during my first semester?
  1. Most students complete the First-Year Writing Requirement during the first semester.  Most do so through their residential First-Year Seminar.
  2. You may take a foreign language course. (Based upon information that you provide, we will determine if you need to take a language course in the Fall.)
  3. You may take a Foundations course.  Two Foundations courses are required during your first two years.
  4. You may take a course related to a major field of interest.
  5. You may choose an Liberal Arts elective course that interests you.

To view lists of Foundations courses and Liberal Arts electives, click here.


What elective courses are available to me my first semester?

You will notice that not all courses in the F&M Catalog appear on the list of Liberal Arts elective courses available to first year students. This is because certain upper-level courses are not open to first year students, may not be offered every semester, and/or have specific prerequisites that must be satisfied.  Click here for a list of elective courses available to you.


What if I received or hope to receive Advanced Placement Credit?

F&M participates in the Advanced Placement Program of the College Entrance Examination Board. A student who scores a 4 or higher on an AP examination receives college credit if the subject matter of the AP course has been deemed comparable to that covered in an introductory course offered by an F&M department. If you are concerned about how your AP credit may affect your Fall Semester course selections, you should discuss this matter during your academic advising session at Beginnings or during a phone advising session. You may also write an email to the Office of the Dean of the College at .

Students interested in health professions should know that acceptance of AP credit varies greatly from one health professions school to another. Medical schools strongly recommend that applicants with AP credit for a required course take another course at the same or higher level of difficulty. You should discuss your options with the appropriate department chairperson or Dr. Glenn Cummings, Director of Health Professions Advising, before deciding whether to bypass an introductory level course in math or a science area.

Again, if you are not able to get an answer during Beginnings or via phone or email during the summer, you may write an email to the Office of the Dean of the College at .


What do I need to know about F&M's graduation requirements?

The academic requirements for graduation can be summarized as follows:

Earn 32 course credits with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0.

Meet all General Education Requirements by

  • Passing two Foundations courses
  • Completing the Distribution Requirement
    • By passing at least one course in the humanities, the arts, and the social sciences
    • By passing two courses in the natural sciences, at least one with a lab.  One may be without a lab if designated as NSP (Natural Science in Perspective).
    • By satisfying the Language Studies requirement
    • By satisfying the Non-Western Cultures requirement
    • By completing the First Year Writing Requirement
  • Passing an approved major field of study with grade point average of 2.00
  • Earning at least 16 course credits on the Franklin & Marshall campus