Academic Core

Core Academic Programs

Bethany offers a unique and rigorous and yet contemporary approach to the classical liberal arts education. The Bethany Plan offers our students both breadth and depth of study in a wide range of fields, opportunities for international travel, and exposure to a variety of divergent perspectives.  You will be challenged to develop a range of skills – writing, quantitative skills, and oral communications.  You will be connected to a peerless network of Bethany alumni and will benefit from internship opportunities that fit seamlessly into your program of study and provide you with real-world experience and invaluable connections.

We combine the Bethany Plan with majors in both professional and general fields to prepare students to live lives of purpose, consequence, and leadership. Our small classes (average class size of 8) will give you unparalleled access to your professors and advisors, and the opportunity to follow your intellectual interests in the classroom.

All seniors at Bethany are required to pass written and oral comprehensive exams that demonstrate that as Bethanians, they are ready to rise to the challenges of our interconnected and rapidly changing world. Bethany will demand your very best work of you and prepare you to do even greater things in the future.

Requirements for a Bethany Degree

Bethany College confers a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree to a student who has satisfactorily completed the following requirements:

  • 128 credits with a minimum grade-point average of 2.00, including completion of the following:
    • The First-Year Experience
      • First-Year Orientation (BFYE 100)
      • First-Year Seminar (BFYE 101)
      • First-Year Professional Learning Community (BFYE 102)
    • The Bethany Writing Requirement
    • The Bethany Fitness/Physical Activity Requirement
    • The Global Awareness Core
    • Liberal Arts Core
    • a Major Field of Study
    • a Senior Project in the major field
  • the Senior Comprehensive Examination in the major field of study
  • the Residence Requirement

Bachelor of Arts degrees are awarded in Accounting, Communications and Media Arts, Computer Science, Cybersecurity – Information Assurance, Economics, Education, English, Finance, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, International Business, Management, Marketing, Music, Physical Education and Sports Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Social Work, Spanish, Theatre, and Visual Art.

Bachelor of Science degrees are awarded in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Interdisciplinary Studies, Mathematics, Physical Science, and Psychology.

The First Year Experience is designed to meet the following goals:

  • Provide a small seminar of students with a faculty mentor/advisor who will help them to improve writing and thinking skills and familiarize them with the academic life of the College, while they study a specialized subject area
  • Provide a bridge between the high school experience and the Bethany experience designed to enable students to engage actively and successfully as they grow and learn inside the classroom and out
  • Provide students with an intense, single-class, topic driven learning experience designed to enhance college level reading, writing and research skills

Students will:

  • employ and enhance college-level academic skills through a topic-driven learning experience
  • explore identity development, including personal and professional identification
  • increase awareness and knowledge of available Bethany resources, including the institution resources, culture, and community
  • embrace and understand the responsibilities of a professional learning community.
  • demonstrate and maintain personal health and wellness
  • demonstrate understanding of the power of a liberal arts education

All students who meet one of the following conditions are required to complete successfully the First-Year Experience, including a one credit summer orientation experience and either BFYE 101-102 or HSEM 111-112.

  • The student has graduated from high school but never attended college, even if she or he has completed college credits while in high school.
  • The student has enrolled in another college and is transferring fewer than 13 credits to Bethany.

Note on Completions: Students who do not successfully complete their first year seminar in the fall term will be required to make up this course during the spring term of their first year. Students who do not successfully complete BFYE 102 will be required to register for, and successfully complete, the course in the May term of their first year, at additional expense. If these courses are not successfully completed, students will not be eligible for graduation.

Writing is integral to the liberal arts curriculum at Bethany College. Therefore, the Bethany Writing Requirement is a multiple- activity program spread across the student’s entire college career. To fulfill the requirement, students must complete a minimum of four courses designated as writing intensive (WI), including English 111 or the sequence HSEM 111-112. At least two of the four courses must be at the 300- or 400-level. WI courses are proposed by faculty and approved by the Director of the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Program. A list of courses so designated may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar or the Director of WAC.

Each student is required to complete successfully a two-part fitness and physical activity requirement. The Fitness Component of the requirement is met by successful completion PHED 102 Introduction to Lifelong and Sports Fitness. The Activity Component may be met by registration for and successful completion of one course selected from among the Varsity Sport Sequence (PHED 150-164), the Performance Activity courses (110, 120-123, 132, 134), the Intense Conditioning Sequence (PHED 137, 138, Yoga (PHED 140), or the Equestrian Performance Courses (EQUI 103, 203-204, 303, 306, 403), or Dance (FINA 133-138). Students with documented disabilities are offered accommodations and modifications on a case by case basis in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Building on Alexander Campbell’s belief that religious literacy and instruction in the modern languages were important parts of a liberal education that helped students become responsible, useful members of society, Bethany College is committed to providing an education that also prepares students to be citizens of the world and to participate in an increasingly globalized community. As such each student must complete the Global Awareness Core. The Global Awareness Core is comprised of the following components:

Religious Studies Requirement

Religious literacy is essential to the liberally-educated citizen of the world . Bethany students are required to complete successfully RELS 100 (Introduction to Religion: Texts, Contexts, Practices). The course is offered by faculty members of the Department of Humanities and is preferably taken during the first year. RELS 100 takes an academic approach to the study of religion. Students are introduced to critical methods and definitions in religious studies and then proceed to apply one or more of those methods to a comparative study of three different world religions. The lens through which the religions are compared varies with the interest and expertise of the professor teaching the course. Students might consider, for example, religious definitions of the human condition in relation to philosophical, political, or moral definitions; the meaning and function of religious rituals; or the way religions develop, reinforce, or challenge gender roles in society.

World Languages and Cultures Requirement

All students must demonstrate world languages and cultures proficiency at the elementary level. Students may demonstrate proficiency in any one of the following ways:

  • completing successfully at Bethany the first two courses of a basic language sequence (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish)
  • performing at an acceptable level on a Bethany College written placement test in one of the above languages
  • attaining the “Novice High” level of the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview
  • earning a 3, 4 or 5 score on the College Entrance Examination Board Advanced Placement Test in the language
  • completing successfully at a high school or college the first two courses in a language other than Arabic,Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish
  • placing, as the result of one of the tests listed above, in the second course of one of the basic language sequences at Bethany and enrolling in and successfully completing that course
  • showing evidence of being a native speaker of a language other than English

Students with documented disabilities are offered accommodations and modifications on a case by case basis in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 .

Cultural Awareness Requirement (GAC)

To become aware of the nature and significance of one existing culture, ethnic subculture, or cluster of ethnic subcultures differing from that of mainstream United States.

Each student is required to complete successfully a three or four credit course from the list below. The list of courses approved for satisfying the requirement in each area changes every year.

Business 200 Digital Media and Digital Culture, 345 Intercultural Communication; Communications 345 Intercultural Communication; English 267 Masterpieces of World Literature, 383 African American Novel; Fine Arts 104 Out of the Blues and Into Rock; French 130 French III, 220 Conversation and Composition: France, 321 Contemporary France; German 130 German III, 220 Conversation and Composition: Germany, 320 Civilization of Germany; History 326 Latin America, 329 Islamic Civilization, 330 Modern China, 331 Modern Japan; Japanese 130 Japanese III, 222 Japanese Culture, 321 Modern Japan; Music 104 Out of the Blues and Into Rock; Psychology 250 Multi Cultural Psychology; Religious Studies 220 Introduction to World Religions, 228 Buddhism, 352 Islamic Civilization; Social Work 210 Human Diversity; Sociology 210 Human Diversity; Spanish 130 Spanish III, 220 Conversation and Composition: Spain, 320 Civilization of Spain; Theatre 270 Women Playwrights.

International Understanding (GAI)

To become familiar with the contemporary world by exploring the interrelationships of several countries or by comparing two or more countries outside of the United States.

Each student is required to complete successfully a three or four credit course from the list below. The list of courses approved for satisfying the requirement in each area changes every year.

Business 308 International Business, 371 International Finance; Communications 403 Global and International Communication; English 268 Modern World Literature; Economics 113 Comparative Economic Systems; French221 Conversation and Composition: Francophone World; General Science 202 Physical and Cultural Geography;German 221 Conversation and Composition: The German-Speaking World, 321 Civilization of the German-Speaking World; Interdisciplinary Studies 202 World Energy Resources, 203 International Terrorism; Political Science 243 International Politics, 253 Nature and International Society, 351 Comparative Politics: Western, 352 Comparative Politics: Non-Western; Religious Studies 239 Hinduism; Spanish 221 Conversation and Composition: Latin America, 321 Civilization of Latin America.

The Liberal Arts Core is designed to ensure that all Bethany students are acquainted at the college level with areas of knowledge and methods of thinking traditionally associated with a liberal arts education. Each student is required to complete successfully a three or four credit course in each of the areas listed below, with no more than two courses from the administrative department of the student’s major. The list of courses approved for satisfying the requirement in each area changes every year.

1. Contemporary Society and Institutions: To explore the nature and functioning of formal and/or informal institutions in contemporary society.

Business 203 Principles of Advertising and Public Relations; Communications 101 Introduction to Communications, 104 Visual Communications, 203 Principles of Advertising and Public Relations; Economics 162 Principles of Macroeconomics, 163 Principles of Microeconomics; English 212 Writing for College and Community; Political Science 225 American Politics; Psychology 241 Religious and Psychological Lenses on Social Justice; Religious Studies 224 Religion and Culture, 241 Religious and Psychological Lenses on Social Justice; Social Work 150 Social Problems; Sociology 150 Social Problems.

2. Aesthetic Awareness and Creativity: To develop an understanding of the principles which influence the creative process in human endeavor, focusing on application and creation.

Communications 110 Digital Audio Production for Music, 160 Introduction to Film, 205 Principles of Graphic Design, 210 Editing, Mixing, and Master Digital Audio for Music, 218 Digital Production for Performance, 221 Acting for the Camera, 409 Publication Photography; English 160 Introduction to Film, 230 Writing from Nature, 240 Creative Writing; Physical Education 124 Dance for Fitness; Visual and Performing Arts, all courses offered by the department with the exception of MUSI 171, 172, 271, 272, and those MUSI, THEA, and VISA courses listed in the Cultural Awareness requirement and the Liberal Arts Core, The Western Tradition . (NOTE: Students may elect to complete three one-credit courses in this area rather than one three-credit course to fulfill this category.)

3. Human Behavior: To explore human development and behavior.

Business 287 Organization and Human Behavior, 311 Principles of Management, 482 Business Ethics; Communications 206 Public Speaking and Announcing, 303 Organizational Communication, 346 Gender Communication; Economics 287 Organizations and Human Behavior; Education 203 Human Development; Interdisciplinary Studies 204 Human Sexuality, 210 The Art and Science of Peace; Philosophy 100 Introduction to Philosophy, 124 Introduction to Ethics, 252 Philosophy of Mysticism, 254 Contemporary Ethical Issues, 355 Philosophy of Religion; Psychology 188 Psychology of Death and Dying, 210 Psychology of Women, 230 Developmental Psychology, 287 Organizations and Human Behavior, 324 Personality Psychology, 325 Abnormal Psychology, 326 Social Psychology, 328 Interpersonal Aspects of Psychotherapy and Counseling, 329 Theories of Psychotherapy and Counseling; Religious Studies 235 Sex, The Body, and Religion, 251 Death and the Afterlife, 321 Myth, Symbol, and Ritual; Social Work 145 Women’s Issues Across the Lifespan; Sociology 145 Women’s Issues Across the Lifespan.

4. Life Science: To systematically examine the nature of living things.

Biology 100 Modern Concepts in Life Science, 102 Horticultural Science, 107 Human Biology, 110 Plants, People, and Environment, 115 Biology of Women, 326 Ecology; Health 201 Introduction to Health; Physical Education 327 Physiology of Muscular Activity; Psychology 100 General Psychology.

5. Literature: To explore the human dimensions of literature by reading and interpreting major literary works.

English 150 Honors Freshman English, 156 Introduction to Literary Studies, 200 Literature and Literary Diversity, 245 British Literature I, 246 British Literature II, 250 American Literature, 264 Masterpieces of Drama, 266 Masterpieces of European Literature, 270 Shakespeare, 275 American Short Stories, 280 Short American Novels, 366 Regional American Literature, 385 Women & Literature: The American Experience; French 420 Survey of French Literature I, 421 Survey of French Literature II; German 420 Survey of German Literature I, 421 Survey of German Literature II; Spanish 420 Survey of Peninsular Spanish Literature I, 421 Survey of Latin American Literature I, 422 Survey of Peninsular Spanish Literature II, 423 Survey of Latin American Literature II.

6. Mathematical Understanding: To apply quantitative reasoning in solving problems.

Computer Science 107 Introduction to Computing, 151 Computer Science I, 210 Discrete Mathematics; Mathematics 103 College Algebra, 105 Precalculus, 120 Foundations of College Mathematics, 170 Connections in Mathematical Understanding, 201 Calculus I, 202 Calculus II, 210 Discrete Mathematics, 281 Statistical Methods I; Philosophy 123 Introduction to Logic; Psychology 205 Statistics in Psychology I.

7. Physical Science: To examine the nature of the physical world.

Chemistry 100 Consumer Chemistry, 101 General Chemistry I, 108 Introduction to Forensic Science; General Science 100 Consumer Chemistry, 103 Everyday Physics, 151 Astronomy, 220 Geology; Physics 100 Physics of Sports, 103 Everyday Physics, 151 Astronomy, 201 General Physics I, 202 General Physics II.

8. The Western Tradition: To become familiar with historical and cultural developments which have contributed to the formation of the western world.

French 320 French Civilization; History 101 World Civilization I, 102 World Civilization II, 201 U.S. History I, 202 U.S. History II, 309 The World of Late Antiquity; Interdisciplinary Studies 251 Origins of Western Thought I: The Ancient World, 252 Origins of Western Thought II: The Middle Ages and Renaissance, 253 Origins of Western Thought III: The Modern Age; Music 103 Introduction to Music, 250 Music History: Medieval-Classical, 251 Music History: 18th-20th Centuries; Philosophy 333 History of Philosophy: Ancient through Modern, 334 Existential Philosophy, 336 Twentieth Century Philosophy, 353 History and Philosophy of Science, 358 Aesthetics, the Arts, and Philosophy, 361 Ancient and Medieval Thought, 362 Modern Political Thought; Physical Education 244 Philosophical-Historical Perspective of Physical Activities; Political Science 361 Ancient and Medieval Thought, 362 Modern Political Thought, 363 American Political Thought; Religious Studies 231 Judaism, 301 Poetry, Prophecy, and (Poly) Theism: A Critical Analysis of the Hebrew Bible, 311 Studies in the Gospels, 326 The World of Late Antiquity, 417 A History of Biblical Interpretation; Theatre 335 American Theatre, 374 Theatre History I, 375 Theatre History II; Visual Art 100 Art History: Ancient through Medieval, 101 Art History: Renaissance through Post-Modern.

Each student must successfully complete a project consistent with the guidelines and requirements of the department of the student’s major. Guidelines are available from the chair of each department. A student may propose a capstone project earning two, three, or four credits as determined through consultation with the faculty of the major department. Projects are proposed, scheduled, and evaluated in accordance with guidelines established by each major department. The project is supervised and evaluated by the student’s capstone project advisor and by at least one additional faculty member. The project grade is submitted by the department chair. The completed project is filed in the library archives.

Culminating the Bethany education is the Senior Comprehensive Examination. Comprehensive examinations assure the College of qualitative accomplishment and lead the student to a sense of self-confidence and achievement.

A student who has attained senior standing, has completed all the requirements for a major, and has a grade-point average of at least 2.0 in the major is eligible to take the Senior Comprehensive Examination. To take the Examination, the student must register for the appropriate zero credit 495 placeholder course. Alternatively, the student may apply in the Office of the Registrar at least two months prior to the first day of the written section of the Examination. The application form can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar or online and requires the signature of the department chair, and a copy of the student’s most recent Degree Audit must be attached. The Examination, which is offered in January and in May, includes both written and oral sections. In some majors, portions of external examinations may be part of or prerequisite to the Senior Comprehensive Examination. A full description of the policy governing the administration of the Senior Comprehensive Examination may be found in Bethany College Policy Manual, Vol. VI, Academic Policies.

Students who wish to take the Comprehensive Examination must resolve their financial obligations to the institution at least one week prior to the first day of the written section of the examination. Examination dates are listed in the College calendar which appears on Page 2 of this Catalogue.

Students who have completed all requirements in their majors except the senior project may take the examination in January with the consent of their advisors. Students who do not pass the examination in January may take it again at the end of the Spring semester or at any time that it is regularly given within the following twelve months. If the student fails a second time, the student may petition the faculty for a re-examination during the following year. No student may take the examination more than three times.

Students who do unusually well in the Senior Comprehensive Examination earn a pass with distinction.

To be eligible for a degree a student must have completed 48 credits in courses at Bethany and/or as part of an approved off campus Bethany program. With pre-approval of the major department and the Provost, students may take up to, but no more than, six of the last thirty-four credits as transfer credits.* The pre-approval process ensures that the transfer credits will be acceptable substitutions for Bethany College classes.

*Transcripts showing final grades for all transfer credits must be received by the Registrar by the final grade due dates in the Bethany College Calendar.