Students at Franklin & Marshall College may earn academic credit by completing a number of additional special educational opportunities including Tutorials, Directed Readings, Independent Studies and Internships-for-Credit. The smallest unit of credit offered at Franklin & Marshall is one half (0.50).


A Tutorial is a regular course (either one that is a permanent part of the curriculum or one taught as a “topics” course) taught on an individual basis. A student may register for a Tutorial with the consent of the instructor and the approval of the department chair. The student should complete an “Application for Tutorial” form available in the Registrar’s Office and on its website.

Directed Readings

A Directed Reading is an investigation of a topic through readings chosen by a student with the agreement of the instructor. Assignments normally include multiple short papers as opposed to a thesis. A student may register for a Directed Reading with the consent of the instructor and the approval of the department chairperson. The student should complete an “Application for Directed Reading” form available in the Registrar’s Office and on its website.

Independent Studies 

An Independent Study consists of an extensive research project completed under the supervision of a faculty member.

The following rules govern Independent Studies:

  1. An Independent Study must be approved by a faculty adviser and the department chairperson.
  2. An Independent Study must culminate in a thesis or performance.
  3. The student and the adviser for the Independent Study should agree in advance whether the project will extend over one or two semesters, for one-half, one or two course credits.
  4. The deadline to register for an Independent Study is the end of the first two weeks of the semester in which the Independent Study is undertaken.
  5. To register for an Independent Study, a student completes the “Application for Independent Study” form and returns it to the Registrar’s Office.
  6. If an Independent Study is to be considered for Departmental Honors, the additional guidelines described in the section on Departmental Honors should also be observed.

The regulations governing grading options for an Independent Study are as follows:

  1. If the student elects the standard letter grade option, the student registers under normal procedures and presents the required Independent Study application with the department or program chairperson’s approval. It should be noted that this is the only one of the grading options that is automatic. Each of the others requires additional input to the Registrar from the student, the department chairperson, or both.
  2. The student may elect the Pass/No Pass option in the first semester of a two-semester Independent Study. In this case, the student completes the Independent Study application and a Pass/No Pass form, including the signature of the chairperson, and files it with the Registrar before the add deadline. This procedure differs from the normal Pass/No Pass regulations in that the instructor (i.e., the Independent Study adviser) knows about the use of the option and reports the grade directly as Pass or No Pass.
  3. In some cases the department requires the Pass/No Pass option in the first semester of a two-semester Independent Study. In this instance, the chairperson notifies the Registrar in writing prior to the add deadline. This note must include the name of each student involved. The chairperson should also indicate this requirement on the approval form given to the student when the student requests permission for Independent Study.
  4. If the student elects the “no grade/double grade” option, then no grade and no course credit are awarded at the end of the first semester and two grades and two course credits are awarded at the end of the second semester. The use of this option must be approved by the chairperson of the department or program. This option must be indicated on the Independent Study application and cannot be selected after the two-week deadline. In other words, this option is viable only for an Independent Study originally designed to cover two semesters and for which it is not realistic to assign a grade halfway through the Independent Study.
  5. For Independent Studies under the “no grade/double grade” option, the deadline to withdraw without record is the “withdraw-without-record” deadline for regular courses during the first semester. A withdrawal beyond that date, but during the first semester, will result in a “W” (withdrawal with record) on the student’s transcript for only the first semester. Withdrawal (after the “withdraw-without-record” deadline) during the second semester will result in a “W” on the student’s transcript for both semesters.


Students may earn academic credit by completing an approved Internship-for-Credit with appropriate off-campus organizations. Internships-for-Credit broaden an educational experience by linking the theoretical and conceptual frameworks provided by the many academic disciplines offered at the College with the practical application of this knowledge.

Each Internship-for-Credit has two main components, both of which are expected to take place over the same time period. The first involves on-site duties and responsibilities—the structured practical experience articulated through a Job Description provided by the employer or sponsoring organization. The second component entails an Educational Plan that is developed in conjunction with the faculty sponsor. The Educational Plan includes a bibliography of related readings, a schedule of agreed-upon consultations between the student and faculty sponsor and a description of the proposed project, paper, or performance that the student will complete for the faculty sponsor. This project, paper, or performance will serve as the most important element of the grade received for the Internship. The faculty member will receive a brief appraisal of the student’s performance from the on-site supervisor.

The following regulations govern Internships-for-Credit:

  1. Students must have sophomore, junior, or senior status in order to register for an Internship-for-Credit.
  2. Only students with a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher are eligible to register for an Internship-for-Credit. It is the student’s responsibility to verify this eligibility prior to proposing an Internship-for-Credit experience. Students may petition the Committee on Academic Status for an exemption from this policy.
  3. Internships-for-Credit may occur during the academic year or during the summer. Summer Internships are approved only if they allow for regular consultation with a Franklin & Marshall faculty sponsor. Consultation may take place by e-mail or telephone where necessary. The cost of a summer Internship-for-Credit is not covered by regular tuition and must be handled directly with the Business Office.
  4. A student may receive one-half, one, or two course credits for an Internship-for-Credit, depending on the time commitment per week or the length of the project. Two-course-credit Internships occur over two consecutive semesters or an entire summer and an adjoining semester (the summer counts as one semester). A one-course-credit Internship must involve a minimum of 96 hours for the semester. Almost all summer Internships-for-Credit are half-time or full-time over 10 –12 weeks.
  5. Internships-for-Credit may extend over two semesters; a summer internship-for-credit counts as one semester.
  6. Only two course credits from Internships may count toward the completion of graduation requirements.
  7. A student may receive credit for Internships that are embedded in off-campus study programs that have already been approved by the College, such as study abroad programs or the Washington Semester program.
  8. A student may simultaneously receive compensation and credit for an internship.
  9. Once the student has completed the Internship-for-Credit, the faculty sponsor may receive a brief statement of appraisal of the student’s performance from the on-site Internship supervisor. However, the most important element in determining the grade will be those items specified on the Educational Plan for an Internship-for-Credit.

The regulations governing grading options for an Internship-for-Credit are as follows:

  1. All Internships-for-Credit are graded on a Pass/No Pass basis and, therefore, credit earned for passing an Internship will not count toward a student’s major or minor.
  2. Students who enroll for a two-semester Internship may not elect the “no grade/double grade” option.

The following regulations govern registration for an Internship-for-Credit:

  1. The Office of Student & Post-Graduate Development (OSPGD) administers the Internship-for-Credit program. All of the appropriate application materials, along with detailed student guidelines for participation, may be obtained online by visiting the “Students” section of the OSPGD website.
  2. Internships may be taken for credit only if a faculty member has agreed to act as an adviser for the Internship experience. Before speaking with the faculty member, a student should have received an offer for an Internship position from a field supervisor at an approved site. This stipulation means that a student chooses a position at a site that is part of a list of permanently approved sites, or gains approval of the site from OSPGD’s Director of Employer Partnerships.
  3. The department chairperson of the faculty sponsor’s department must approve the Application for Internship Study and the Educational Plan for an Internship-for-Credit.
  4. The student must submit an Application for Internship Study and an Educational Plan for an Internship-for-Credit to the Registrar’s Office after receiving approval of all application materials from OSPGD.
  5. Students undertaking an Internship-for-Credit over the summer are required to register and pay the appropriate tuition charge as published each spring.

Community-Based Learning Seminars

Community-Based Learning (CBL) seminars integrate experiential learning in the community with academic learning in the classroom. Coursework takes a critical perspective on the seminar’s topic and requires significant reflection on the experiential learning. The experiential learning component varies from course to course: instructors may cultivate internships for the students or design a series of community-based experiences.

The following regulations govern CBL seminars:

  1. The expectation for classroom time is 2 – 3 hours per week, and the expectation for experiential learning is 5 – 6 hours per week, for a total range of 7– 9 hours.
  2. CBL seminars are either designated a course in the curriculum (and carry a departmental/programmatic prefix with the additional notation of “CBL”) or be designated a CBL-IFC. Either way, the seminar requires the approval of the instructor’s department/program chair.
  3. The courses are offered at the 200-, 300-, or 400-level.
  4. There is no limit to the number of CBL seminars a student may take.

Exchange Opportunities 

The following policies govern course registration in the exchange programs at Millersville University, the Lancaster Theological Seminary and the Central Pennsylvania Consortium colleges of Gettysburg College and Dickinson College:

  1. Only courses that are not available at Franklin & Marshall College may be taken at another institution for credit.
  2. A student may register for one course per semester at Millersville University or the Lancaster Theological Seminary. A student may spend a semester or a year in residence at Gettysburg College or Dickinson College, in addition to the option of taking one course per semester while in residence at Franklin & Marshall.
  3. Permission forms must be obtained from the Registrar, and the course must be included on the student’s Franklin & Marshall schedule.
  4. This free exchange provision pertains only to regular semesters (Fall and Spring) and is open only to full-time, matriculated (degree candidate) students.
  5. Under the exchange procedure, three-credit-hour offerings are awarded a full course credit at Franklin & Marshall College. This provision applies to all courses at the exchange institutions, including those (e.g. summer courses) not covered by the exchange agreement.
  6. Such courses are noted on the student’s academic record with the assigned grades indicated and included in the student’s grade point average calculations. Exchange courses may be taken Pass/No Pass if appropriate. This provision applies to all courses at the exchange institutions, including those (e.g. summer courses) not covered by the exchange agreement.
  7. Enrollment in exchange programs may delay graduation clearance for second-semester seniors. Franklin & Marshall credit is given only upon receipt of an official transcript sent directly from the exchange institution to the Franklin & Marshall Registrar’s Office.
  8. If a course is repeated after having received an original grade of “D+,” “D,” “D-,” “F,” or “NP,” the repeat must take place at the same institution at which the course was originally taken. In particular, courses originally taken at Franklin & Marshall that are eligible to be repeated may not be repeated at an exchange institution.

Early Completion of the Degree

In some cases, students may be able to complete their degree requirements in fewer than eight semesters at Franklin & Marshall. Credits earned prior to matriculation through the Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or related systems, taking additional courses during summers, or taking course overloads during semesters may lead to early completion of the degree for some students.

Students contemplating the completion of their degree in fewer than eight semesters should discuss this matter with their academic adviser as early as possible. For students who pursue this possibility, special advising resources are available to assist the student in creating a plan that is feasible and educationally sound.