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 week 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 deadline to add courses. 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 for an internship during the summer or academic year. An Internship-for-Credit (“IFC”) has two primary components, both of which are expected to take place over the same time period. The first component 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 is encompassed in an Educational Plan developed by the student in conjunction with his/her/their F&M faculty sponsor, and includes a bibliography of related readings, a schedule of agreed-upon consultations between the student and F&M faculty sponsor, and a description of the final graded work product (i.e. project, paper, or performance) the student will complete for the F&M faculty sponsor.  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. To apply for an IFC, students must:
    1. Have sophomore, junior, or senior status;
    2. Have a cumulative grade point average (“GPA”) of at least a 2.0.  Students whose GPA is less than 2.0 may petition the Committee on Academic Status for an exemption;

    3. Have secured an internship with an off-campus organization for which they are seeking credit.  

    4. Have identified and secured the agreement of an F&M faculty member to serve as the faculty sponsor and adviser for the IFC experience.

  2. All IFCs are graded on a Pass/No Pass basis.  Credit earned for passing an IFC will, accordingly, not count toward a student’s major or minor.

  3. Once the student has completed the IFC, 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 the IFC.

  4. The cost of a summer IFC is not covered by regular tuition and must be handled directly with the Business Office.

  5. Students may receive one-half, one, or two course credits for an IFC, depending upon the time commitment per week or the length of the project. Two-course-credit IFCs occur over two consecutive semesters, or an entire summer and an adjoining semester with the summer counting as one semester. A one-course-credit IFC must involve a minimum of 96 hours for the semester.  Almost all summer IFCs are half-time or full-time over 10-12 weeks.

  6. Students who enroll for a two-semester IFC may not elect the "no grade/double grade" option.

  7. Only two course credits from Internships may count toward the completion of graduation requirements.

  8. Students may simultaneously receive compensation and credit for an internship.

The Office of Student & Post-Graduate Development (OSPGD) facilitates the IFC program.  IFC application materials along with detailed instructions, guidelines and Educational Plan samples may be found online at OSPGD’s IFC website.  Students must complete all aspects of the IFC application, including the Educational Plan and Internship Description, and secure the signatures of his/her/their Internship Supervisor, Academic Advisor, F&M Faculty Sponsor, and Faculty Sponsor’s Department Chair before submitting the IFC application packet to OSPGD.

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.