Course Catalog

The Educational Program

Simmons University offers both graduate and undergraduate programs. Please refer to the graduate catalogs and handbooks for information on the graduate programs. The following section describes Simmons’s undergraduate curriculum and its philosophy.

The Simmons Education in Context: The Essential Capabilities

Simmons prides itself on outstanding undergraduate programs taught by high-quality faculty. Our commitment to excellence in teaching, small class size, and innovative programs build on founder John Simmons’s original mission to offer an education that would enable women to earn an independent livelihood.

Based on national surveys of employers and graduate schools, the faculty determined a set of critical skills for undergraduate students to achieve upon completion of their Simmons University degree. The skills include: communications, critical thinking and creative problem solving, data analysis and interpretation, ethical leadership, integrative learning, and the navigation of cultural differences. Each required PLAN course develops one or more of these essential capabilities; they are critical to achieving successful employment and post-graduate education in any major or field of study.

Communication – Effective communication develops through iterative experiences across the curriculum. Students should be able to execute the most challenging communication tasks required by a major, manifesting the knowledge, skills, and attitudes characteristic of the chosen discipline. All communication consists of developing and expressing ideas, as well as understanding and applying meaning-making practices in cultural, historical, and institutional contexts. Written, visual, oral, and sonic forms of communication can be synthesized into an integrated work and accessed by reading, listening and viewing.

Critical Thinking and Creative Problem-Solving – Critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills help students succeed in their chosen fields and as citizens and community members. These intellectual abilities are developed through learning experiences in the classroom and laboratory and during internships and educational opportunities outside of the classroom. Creative problem-solving applies critical thinking to answer questions or achieve goals in innovative ways.

Data Analysis and Interpretation – Students apply data analysis and interpretation skills to locate and use quantitative and qualitative data both as citizens and in their major discipline. Data analysis encompasses distinct ways of thinking and quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and techniques, developed through experiences inside and outside the classroom.

Ethical Leadership – Leadership is situational, relational, and behavioral. Any individual, regardless of title or position, may choose to lead when moved by a sense of purpose to foster positive change. Success is largely dependent upon building relationships across diverse people, grounded in self-knowledge (values, ethics, social identity, and life experiences) and context. Leadership development entails identifying that sense of purpose and fostering collaborative relationships, building commitment to common goals, and cultivating people’s ability to contribute.

Integrative Learning – Students’ capacity for integrative learning is central to personal success, social responsibility, and civic engagement. Students face a rapidly changing and increasingly connected world where integrative learning has become a necessity. The ability to make connections across courses and disciplines, over time, between campus and community life, and among multiple perspectives enables students to apply their learning across academic, professional, personal, and social boundaries.

Navigation of Cultural Differences – Navigating cultural differences, both domestically and internationally, relies on understanding the implications of historical and contemporary power structures—social, economic, and political—on diversity, inclusion, and inequality. Students will develop the cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills that support appropriate and effective interaction in a variety of cultural contexts.

Academic Advising

Academic advising is based on the philosophy that advising enables students to build on their strengths, identify and improve on their weaknesses, and maximize their use of available resources.

First year students are assigned a “PLAN Advisor” prior to the beginning of the semester in which they enter. PLAN Advisors are either members of the faculty or experienced professional advisors. Incoming students will meet with their PLAN Advisor during orientation to plan their course of study. First-year students are required to meet with their PLAN Advisors each semester to change courses, discuss academic concerns, link their academic interests with their professional plans, and strategize for registration for the following semester.

After a student’s first year at Simmons, they will transition to a faculty advisor in their intended area of study and to continue their academic journey at Simmons with faculty in their major. If a student is still unsure of what they would like to major in, they can remain with their first-year advisor until they have decided upon major(s) and minor(s).

Professional and faculty advisors assist students in planning academic schedules and interpreting the goals and objectives of a Simmons education. Advisors guide students through departmental requirements while helping them to focus their studies. In addition to a student’s general academic program, advisors specialize in pre-law, pre-health, and serve as a liaison to faculty for student athletes. Advisors are knowledgeable about the requirements and are also prepared to discuss career and graduate school possibilities.

Program Planning

The Simmons approach to liberal education is flexible. Students develops a program suited to their individual interests and career plans. Some areas of study are sequential and are best elected early in a student’s program. Faculty and staff advisors assist students as they consider their options, set goals, and make academic and career plans. The fieldwork and internships offered by academic departments provide opportunities to test career areas and to consider the possibility of further professional study after graduation. Simmons has identified opportunities for study abroad and encourages participation in study abroad offerings.


Students may plan a program of academic and career preparation by electing a major in the humanities, the social sciences, the sciences, or one of the professional programs. Undergraduate majors include:

Africana Studies

Arts Administration








Computer Science

East Asian Studies


Economics and Mathematics


Environmental Science

Exercise Science


Financial Mathematics


Health Informatics


Information Technology

International Relations




Neuroscience and Behavior:

     Cognitive Track

     Neurobiology Track

Nutrition and Dietetics

Nutrition and Wellness



Political Science


Public Health

Retail Management


Social Work


Web Design and Development

Women’s and Gender Studies


Academic majors are also offered as minors. In addition, a number of specialized and interdisciplinary minors are available:


Cinema and Media Studies


Gender History

Health Care Management

Health Humanities

Law and Justice

Migration Studies

Performing Arts


Principled Leadership

Organizational Studies


Physics of Materials

Performing Arts

Public History

Public Policy Studies


Scientific Computation



Other Academic Programs

Honors Program

The Honors Program at Simmons University fosters a motivated group of students to explore the complexity of the world and their place in it. The goal of this four-year academic program is to encourage depth in a departmental discipline of choice, and to enhance this knowledge through interdisciplinary studies and global awareness.

The Honors Program provides an opportunity for students with distinguished high school academic records who are newly entering Simmons or who apply after their first year. The program includes Honors level courses in subsequent years, specially arranged co-curricular activities, and various 1-credit required courses to enhance their academic experience. Students are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.4 to remain in the program.


Unlike pre-medical programs, which are quite specific and virtually obligatory for medical school candidates, a pre-law “curriculum” is largely a myth. While no particular curriculum path is the ideal route to law school, Simmons’ strong academic programs, small classes, and extensive opportunities for student/professor interaction are an ideal preparation.

A student who is considering law school after graduation should make an appointment with the Pre Law Advisor to discuss specific interests and plans. Through the pre law program, the Pre Law Advisor helps to guide students with their applications to law school; supplies information to help with the application process and with taking the LSAT; and keeps in touch with pre law students through a weekly email blast and in-person meetings. Additionally, the Pre Law Advisor organizes extra-curricular activities of interest to prelaw students: lectures and brown bag lunch discussions, panels of Simmons alumnae who practice law, and internships related to law. For more information, please contact the Pre-Law Advisor, Kristina Pechulis at


Undergraduate preparation for medical, dental, optometric, or veterinary medicine school should include a strong foundation in the natural sciences and a background in the social sciences and humanities. Admission requirements for medical schools can be fulfilled within the context of almost any liberal arts or science major at Simmons.

First year students should meet with the pre-health Professional Advisor to discuss their interests and course of study. Our pre-health Student Academic Mentor coordinates activities and information sessions throughout the academic year and is always available to answer questions. The Faculty Pre-Health Advisor assists students with academic planning, extracurricular initiatives and the application process. Interested students may also join the Simmons Premedical Liaison and the Colleges of the Fenway Chapter of the American Medical Students Association (AMSA). Simmons is a member of Biological Honor Society (Beta Beta Beta).

3 + 1 Accelerated Master’s Degree Programs

Qualified students can earn both the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in four years. For more information on the programs listed below, please visit the page noted, the appropriate graduate catalog, or the Simmons Website for more information.

BS in Computer Science and MS in Library and Information Science

BA in Economics and MA in Public Policy

BA in Political Science and MA in Public Policy

BA in Sociology and MA in Public Policy

4 + 1 Accelerated Master’s Degree Programs

Undergraduates can obtain an accelerated degree in Children’s Literature, Education, English, Gender/Cultural Studies, History, Nutrition, Physical Therapy, and others. Undergraduate courses can be counted toward the Master’s degree—the number varies by program. A student applies for admission to the graduate program in her junior year. See the catalog page noted below, the appropriate graduate course catalog, or the Simmons web site for specific program requirements.


BA/MA in Children’s Literature and BA/ MFA in Writing for Children

BS/MS Biology/Nutrition

BS/MS Exercise Science/Nutrition

BS/MS Nutrition/Nutrition and Health Promotion

BS/MS Public Health/Nutrition

BSN-MSN Nursing

BS/DPT Physical Therapy

BA/MA in History

Study Abroad

Simmons students are encouraged to study abroad. Options include semester, full academic year, summer, and shorter-term travel courses led by Simmons faculty.

Semester, academic year, and summer study abroad is offered through partnerships with other universities and providers. Using partnerships, Simmons is able to identify high quality study abroad opportunities throughout the world for students in all majors.

Each year, Simmons offers travel courses to international (and sometimes domestic) destinations. Enrolled students participate in class sessions during the semester before departure. The travel component of two to four weeks takes place during semester breaks in January or early summer. Often travel courses are taught in English and have no prerequisites, and many fulfill a mode of inquiry requirement.

Students in good standing are eligible for study abroad. The Study Abroad office will help students identify the program that best matches their academic and career interests. Students interested in international study are urged to begin planning early in your academic career by visiting the study abroad website.

Credit for Prior Learning

The Credit for Prior Learning program offers Dix Scholars an opportunity to receive academic credit for knowledge gained through life experience. For more information, please contact the Writing Center.

Degree Requirements

The Bachelor of Arts degree is the baccalaureate degree conferred on students in all majors except those in the departments of biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, computer science, and nutrition, for which the Bachelor of Science is awarded, business and management for which the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration is awarded, nursing for which the Bachelor of Science in Nursing is awarded, and social work for which the Bachelor of Social Work is awarded.  In the instance where a student completes a major in both the sciences and in the arts, they may choose either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts degree. It is not possible to earn two baccalaureate degrees simultaneously.

A candidate for a degree is expected to satisfactorily complete the work of an approved program, including all required courses, within the traditional number of college years. When a student withdraws for a period that would extend the work of her program beyond a traditional length of time, the additional work required for satisfactory completion will be determined by the faculty. A student who temporarily withdraws must meet the degree requirements in effect at the date of their readmission to the University.

Students transferring into Simmons, as well as those working toward a second baccalaureate degree, must spend at least three semesters at Simmons and earn a minimum of 48 semester hours of credit while regularly enrolled in order to be eligible for the Simmons baccalaureate degree.

Current Simmons students who wish to enroll in summer courses at other institutions must first file a petition for transfer of credit in the Office of the Registrar. No more than 16 semester hours of summer school credit from other institutions may be credited toward the Simmons degree. For additional information, contact the Office of the Registrar.

Department or Program Recommendation

Students must be recommended for the degree by their department or program advisor. Students must complete one-third to one-half of the courses required for the major, including a substantial amount of advanced work, while regularly enrolled at Simmons, so that the department can adequately evaluate a student’s candidacy for degree recommendation.


Course Numbering
Simmons courses are designated by a department or program abbreviation and a course number. These numbers can be understood in the following way:
100 All undergraduate students. Some may require specific high school preparation. These courses generally have no prerequisites and are taught at the introductory level.
200 Sophomores and above and for first-year students under advisement or placement by the department. Such courses tend to be more focused than the introductory 100-level courses; prerequisites are at the discretion of the department. A prerequisite for a 200-level course is normally one course in the department (or a complementary department or program) at the 100 level. First-year students should be advised that these classes will likely include upper-class students and will therefore be more challenging than 100-level courses.
300 Juniors and seniors and are normally taken by students majoring or minoring in the field. Such courses are advanced in content and pace and represent a high level of study in the field. Courses at the 300 level generally have prerequisites, typically at least one 100- and one 200-level course.
400 Limited to graduate students in the program or those students approved to enroll by the director of the program offering the course. In general, undergraduates are not permitted to take 400-level courses.
500 Generally, dually listed with an undergraduate course at the 300 level. Graduate students sign up for the 500-level course, undergraduates for the 300-level.


Requirements for the award of the Simmons baccalaureate degree are listed below:

Completion of 128 Semester Hours with a Passing Evaluation

To obtain a broad education, as well as depth of specialization, students must successfully complete a minimum of 128 semester hours for graduation. Most courses in the undergraduate curriculum carry 4 credits. Though a full-time load is a minimum of 12 credits, students typically take four courses (16 credits) per semester. Students must have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.00, to be calculated from all courses taken at Simmons using the letter grade system in order to graduate. Each student’s program should be a carefully developed plan of study. This plan should include: 1) courses selected to fulfill the overall undergraduate requirements, 2) courses required of and elected by the student in her major, and 3) electives.

A traditional full-time student who takes greater than 18 credits will be charged for any credits over the 18 credit maximum.

Students who are formally admitted to an accelerated degree program (3+1, 3+3, 4+1) may take up to 22 credits under the flat tuition plan. A student formally admitted to an accelerated degree program who takes greater than 22 credits will be charged for any credits over the 22 credit maximum.

Any credit in excess of 22 credits must be approved by the Administrative Board.

Students must have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 to be calculated from all courses taken at Simmons using the letter grade system in order to graduate. Each student’s program should be a carefully developed plan of study. This plan should include: 1) courses selected to fulfill the all-College requirements, 2) courses required of and elected by students in their major, and 3) electives.

Marks and Evaluations

Every student must obtain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.00, to be calculated from all courses taken at Simmons using the letter grade system, to be eligible for the baccalaureate degree. The grading system is based upon the following categories:

A = 4.00

A- = 3.67

B+ = 3.33

B = 3.00

B- = 2.67

C+ = 2.33

C = 2.00

C- = 1.67

D+ = 1.33

D = 1.00

D- =.67

F (Fail) = 0 P (Pass)*

AU (formal audit)*

W (Approved Withdrawal)*

*not included in GPA

Grading Options

A student may select grading options by filling out a form in the Office of the Registrar. This may be done at any time from registration up to (but not after) the day designated as the final day to add a course in each semester. Any student who fails to do so will automatically receive letter grades.


A regularly enrolled Simmons student may take at most one for-credit course pass/ fail in any given semester. The following courses may not be taken pass/fail:

  • Modern Languages and Literatures: All language courses numbered 101, 102, and 201; Level I or Level II language courses taken at another institution by a student while she is enrolled at Simmons.
  • Mathematics: MATH 101.

If a student using the pass/fail option receives a P in a course, the student will receive credit for the course, but the P will not be averaged into her GPA. If the student receives an F in a pass/fail course, no credit for the course will be given, and the F will be averaged into the GPA as a zero. Departments may also have specific policies about pass/fail courses for their majors.

Formal Audit

A formal audit may be elected by any fulltime undergraduate student after the first semester, provided that the student has the instructor’s permission and agrees to abide by the instructor’s conditions for the audit. A student may formally audit no more than one course each semester. There is no charge to full-time undergraduate students for a formal audit. A formal audit will appear on the student transcript, but no credit is given. A formal audit may not be used to satisfy any of the undergraduate requirements. More information on the formal audit option is available through the Office of the Registrar.

Informal Audit

Any undergraduate student is permitted to informally audit a course with the permission of the instructor, who will determine with the student expectations for coursework. No record of the student’s work is kept, and the student is not permitted to take the final examination. No credit is granted for an informal audit, and the audit does not appear on her transcript. Informal audits do not go through the Office of the Registrar.

Incomplete Evaluations

Required coursework must ordinarily be completed by the last day of final examinations. In extenuating circumstances, undergraduate students may request an “incomplete” by filing a petition with the Administrative Board. The petition, signed by the student, her advisor, and the instructor, should outline a plan to complete the work. It is the student’s responsibility to monitor her progress and complete all work so that the instructor can submit a final grade by the date set by the Board. Failure to submit work by the approved incomplete extension date may result in a grade of F. Failure to formally petition for an incomplete will result in automatic assignment of an F grade.

Course Repeat Policy

The course repeat policy allows student to repeat up to two courses for credit on a limited basis in order to enhance their understanding of the subject or to improve their overall grade point average. The following principles apply to this policy.

  • A student may repeat at most two Simmons courses for credit.
  • If a course is repeated for credit, both versions of the course will appear on the student’s transcript and be included in the student’s grade point average.
  • A student who repeats one 4-credit course must complete 132 credits in order to still have 128 unique credits and meet that requirement for earning a degree.
  • A student who repeats two 4-credit courses must complete 136 credits to still have 128 unique credits and meet that requirement for earning a degree.

Academic Difficulty

The records of students who are experiencing academic difficulty are reviewed periodically by the Administrative Board, a faculty committee charged with monitoring Simmons’s academic standards.

This responsibility includes reviewing the records of any student who has two or more failures in a semester (including a retroactive withdrawal) any student whose semester or cumulative grade point average is below 2.0, any student who as a result of their achievement in Simmons Summer School has a summer or cumulative GPA of less than 2.00, any student who applies for a leave of absence or withdraws after the eighth week of the semester, or any student whose overall record is considered marginal.

The faculty has given the Administrative Board the authority to take whatever action is deemed appropriate to each individual’s situation. Such actions may include a letter of warning, probation, continued probation, removal from degree candidacy, or exclusion from Simmons. As a result of this review, special conditions may be imposed by the Administrative Board, in which case both the student and a parent or guardian (if the student is dependent) may be notified.

Warnings of academic difficulty are reported to academic advisors, and other student support specialists, by individual faculty members throughout the academic year, and assistance is made available.

See also the sections on Student Academic Progress in the Academic Policies portion of this Catalog.

The Simmons PLAN (Purpose Leadership ActioN)

While taking courses in the Simmons PLAN (Purpose Leadership ActioN), our core curriculum, students will substantively engage with the city of Boston, develop their own understanding of leadership, engage in integrative learning across academic disciplines, and design key components of their course of study. PLAN brings the Simmons’s principles and values into the present day. Students will complete the Simmons PLAN over the entire four years of their college experience.


The Simmons PLAN: Majors and Minors
Students may elect a major after completion of 32 semester hours. A major must be declared upon completion of five semesters (80 semester hours) of full-time study. Students take a minimum of 28 semester hours in a major field, as determined by each department. Please note that some majors require prerequisite courses. The programs also offer fieldwork or internships through which students may apply their knowledge and explore opportunities in a career field related to their area(s) of study. Students may elect a single department major or a combination of majors.
The curriculum offers the following options:
Single major A coherent sequence of courses administered by a single department.
Double major Student fulfills two complete majors.
Joint major A sequence of courses drawn from two departments and advised and administered with the cooperation of both.
Interdepartmental major An interdisciplinary program involving two or more departments or programs
Option for Personalized Education (OPEN) Offers an opportunity to design a major with the assistance of a faculty advisor. Enables a student to work out an individualized major in accordance with their own educational needs and goals. Contact the Office of the Undergraduate Dean for more information.
Minor An integrated group of courses designed to give a student significant exposure to a subject area other than his or her major. This is different than the 3D Cluster part of the Simmons PLAN. All minors are 20 credits (five courses). Not required for graduation, but can be elected by those students who wish to indicate an area of interest that complements and refines their major, suggests a distinct area of concentration, or expresses a particular passion or avocation.

The Simmons PLAN Requirements

Year One

The Boston Course

Fall Semester, 4 credits

In this writing-intensive first year seminar, students will engage with the City of Boston. Based on faculty passions and expertise, these courses run the gamut of disciplinary focus. They share a focus on the development of writing skills, information literacy, and critical analysis.

The Simmons Course: Explore

Fall Semester, 2 credits

This course supports Simmons students in their transition to college. The primary goals of the course are to introduce students: to Simmons, to navigating cultural differences, to self-management, and to what it means to engage with your community.

The Leadership Course

Spring Semester, 4 credits

This course challenges students to think about themselves as leaders from a leadership model based on engaging others in the quest for positive social outcomes. This course will include skill development in building relationships across differences; communicating a compelling narrative in writing and public speaking; ethical decision making; speaking up in the face of injustice; and creating team leadership and followership.

Year Two

The Learning Community

Fall or Spring Semester, 8 credits

The Learning Community will provide students with an opportunity to understand a topic from multiple disciplinary perspectives. This approach to integrative learning will allow students to grasp the habits of mind and intellectual methods of two disciplines (via two 3-credit courses) and how they may be brought to bear on a topic, issue, or problem (via a 2-credit integrative seminar jointly taught by the two course instructors).

The Simmons Course: Experience

Fall or Spring Semester, 1 credit

The second year Simmons Course focuses on academic and career planning, further development of self-management skills, and developing competencies in diversity, equity, and inclusion. The course also prepares students to design their 3D cluster, and to engage in directed course planning in order to fulfill this requirement.

Year Three

3D–Design Across Diverse Disciplines

Years 3 and 4, 12 credits

Before spring registration of their second year, students will design and propose a cluster of three courses that address a topic, problem, or issue from various disciplinary perspectives. Students will explain the rationale for their selection of these courses, focusing on the intellectual coherence of the courses they have chosen.

The Simmons Course: Excel

Fall or Spring Semester, 1 credit (online)

In the final segment of The Simmons Course, students finalize their 3D plans. The course also includes a focus on career and life planning, and students engage in a series of self-directed learning assignments designed to help them navigate their professional, financial, academic, and personal futures.

Year Four

The Capstone

Fall or Spring Semester

All students will take a Capstone experience in their major, which will be designed by individual departments. Regardless of discipline, Capstone experiences will address career and graduate school preparation. (One Capstone in a student’s major is required to fulfill PLAN requirements; students with multiple majors may be required to fulfill Capstones in each major, depending on major requirements.)

Graduation Requirements

Language Requirement

The language requirement applies to all students regardless of background. Learning another language develops cognitive skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and flexibility. Furthermore, as students become familiar with a particular language and its literature and culture, they develop knowledge of the intellectual and social history of the people who speak that language. Additionally, the knowledge and experience gained in the critical reading of foreign literature broadens students’ perspectives and provides a foundation for further study and travel. In so doing, they become aware of their own cultural assumptions and preconceptions. Finally, fluency in another language provides a significant advantage in the marketplace for students who want to advance in their careers.

Two semesters of coursework in the same foreign language taken sequentially is required of all students, regardless of incoming language proficiency. Students may pursue a previously studied language or start a new one.

Table 1: PLAN Requirements, Purpose, and Double Counting

Year 1 The Boston Course fall semester, 4 credits

The Simmons Course:
Explore fall semester, 2 credits

The Leadership Course spring semester, 4 credits
Engagement with Boston; communication essential capability
Engagement with Simmons Communities; academic skill-building

Leadership, teamwork
Year 2 Learning Community
• 2 courses, 3 credits each
• 1 integrated seminar, 2 credits

The Simmons Course: Experience
Fall or spring semester, 1 credit
Interdisciplinary and integrated learning

Academic skill-building; 3D planning
• Learning Community courses may count as a KCA
• One Learning Community course may count in major/minor. For students with multiple majors/minors, one LC course may count in each.
• One 3-credit course from the LC may be included in a student’s 3D cluster
Years 3 and 4 3D–Design Across Diverse Disciplines 3 courses that are topically connected; interdisciplinary and integrated learning • Each 3D course may count as a KCA
• One 3D course may count in each major/minor course of study
• 3D courses must be drawn from different disciplines
• One 3D course may have been taken during first or second year
Capstone Expertise in student’s field of study • The Capstone is in the major
The Simmons Course: Excel 1 credit
Fall or spring semester
Post-graduation support/ planning; careers, graduate school • The Simmons Course: Excel is in the major
Any year Key Content Areas (4 courses)
• Social/Historical
• Artistic, Literary Aesthetic
• Global/Cultural
• Scientific
Exposure to content across disciplines • Each KCA may be fulfilled through the Learning Community; 3D; in a major/ minor course of study (if applicable)
Quantitative Literacy (1 course) Critical thinking and problem solving; literacy in numeric systems • The QL requirement may be fulfilled through a course in student’s major/minor course of study (if applicable)
Language Requirement (2 courses in the same language) Linguistic and cultural skill development • Language courses may fulfill a KCA

Exemptions/Alternate Requirement

  • Dix Scholars are exempted from the language requirement.
  • Students with a documented learning disability, or other disability, affecting their ability to acquire a foreign language will fulfill the language requirement through the completion of two courses related to global perspectives and cross-cultural understanding. Such students should contact the Disabilities Services Office and consult their academic advisor for the list of approved courses.

Starting a New Language

  • Students who want to start a language which they have not previously studied can register for the 101 level in the following languages at Simmons: Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.
  • Typically, Arabic and American Sign Language are offered through the Colleges of the Fenway. Please visit the Registrar’s Office for details.


  • Students are strongly encouraged to finish the language requirement within their first two years of study.
Table 2a: Placement for Language Courses
For students who want to continue their studies of Chinese, French, Japanese, or Spanish, the following methods will be used for placement:
French AP, IB or SAT exam
or Online placement exam administered by the Office of Academic Advising
Spanish AP, IB or SAT exam
or Online placement exam administered by the Office of Academic Advising
Chinese Online placement exam administered by the Office of Academic Advising
Japanese Must consult with Professor Zhigang Liu, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Students register for the level indicated based on their test score. Students cannot register for a different level without approval from the Modern Languages and Literatures Department.

Students who have studied three or more years of the language will be automatically be placed into the 102 level, regardless of placement exam results.

American Sign Language may be taken to fulfill the Language Requirement.
  • Courses taken to fulfill the language requirement
    • may not be taken pass/fail;
    • may not be taken online;
    • may fulfill a Key Content Area requirement;
    • may be part of a student’s 3D cluster;
    • may count towards the major or minor in French or Spanish if they are at the 245 level or above; in order to count towards the major or minor, French 245 and Spanish 245 must be taken at Simmons.
  • Language courses taken abroad can be used to fulfill the language requirement. Pre-approval must be obtained from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Please contact the Chair of the Modern Languages and Literatures Department for approval.
  • Language courses transferred from other institutions may fulfill the language requirement pending pre-approval from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Please contact the Chair of the Modern Languages and Literatures Department for approval. This applies also to languages not offered at either Simmons or the Colleges of the Fenway consortium. In that instance, placement will be decided by the host institutions if needed.
Table 2b: Placement/Credit by Language Exam Score
Score of 3:
No credit; student is placed into 202
Score of 5:
No credit; student is placed into 202
Score of 560 or higher:
No credit; student is placed into 202
Score of 4 or 5:
4 general credits; student is placed into 245
Score of 6 or 7:
4 general credits; student is placed into 245
No credit or placement for the “ab initio” exam: students are required to take the placement exam
Score of 650 or higher:
No credit; student is placed into 245

Math Competency Requirement

Students will be required to demonstrate competency in mathematics in one of the following ways before they are able to take a Quantitative Literacy course:

  • Pass the mathematics competency exam administered by the Office of Undergraduate Advising numerous times during the year
  • Successfully complete MATH 101 or a higher level mathematics course at Simmons
  • Present evidence of satisfactory completion at another accredited college of a mathematics course at the level of MATH 101, or above, to the Registrar’s office
  • Students must satisfy the math competency requirement during their first year at Simmons. Students who do not pass the mathematics competency exam during orientation, or who do not meet the math competency requirement in one of the other ways described above, may choose to take MATH 101 in their first year or to retake the test in November. If they do not pass the November test, they will enroll in MATH 101 in the spring semester. Students who matriculate in January who do not pass the mathematics competency exam, or do not meet the requirements in one of the ways described above, may take MATH 101 during their first semester or retake the exam in March. If they fail the test in March, they will enroll in Math 101 in the following spring semester.

Quantitative Literacy Requirement (QL)

Quantitative Literacy (QL) is a “habit of mind,” competency, and comfort in working with numerical data. Courses in this area will develop a student’s ability to reason and solve quantitative problems from a wide array of authentic contexts and everyday life situations. QL courses will develop the skills necessary to understand and create sophisticated arguments supported by quantitative evidence, and to clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of formats (using words, tables, graphs, mathematical equations, etc.., as appropriate).

Key Content Area (KCA) Requirements

The key content areas pertain to phenomena as objects of study across the disciplines, rather than modes of inquiry defined by a particular discipline or set of disciplines.

Indeed, these categories describe areas of knowledge from multidisciplinary perspectives. The phenomena included under each of the four areas listed below thus admit of a wide variety of ways of knowing or disciplinary approaches. Students must complete one course from each of the following areas:

1] Scientific Inquiry (SCI)

Courses in this area focus on phenomena in the natural and physical world and on ways of knowing these phenomena, particularly through experimental approaches. This requirement is primarily met by courses in the sciences and psychology; the requirement may also be met by courses in other disciplines providing perspectives on scientific phenomena. All courses meeting this requirement include a “hands on” component providing students the opportunity to understand and appreciate the scientific method.

2] Global Cultural (GC)

The term “global cultural” is broadly construed; it includes all cultures, past and present, within and beyond the U. S., and in their multiple forms of manifestation. Courses in this area offer our students the opportunity to understand and learn to appreciate cultural differences as they have made themselves manifest in humankind. This requirement can be met by courses in any discipline—from the liberal arts, to the sciences, and the professions–that provide a multicultural perspective of the world. For example, courses that focus on cross-cultural practices, or on minority cultures in the U. S., or on non-European cultures, or that provide world surveys of cultures would all meet this requirement.

3] Social and Historical (SH)

Courses in this area focus on phenomena in society and history as well as ways of knowing these phenomena. This requirement can be met by courses in the social sciences, including economics, political science, sociology, social psychology, social work, and history. Courses in other disciplines that provide perspectives of social and historical phenomena as defined above also meet this requirement. For example, a course that focuses on the social applications of management principles would provide such perspectives.

4] Aesthetic, Literary, and Artistic (ALA)

Courses in this area focus on phenomena in art and literature as well as ways of knowing or creating original works or aesthetic approaches to these phenomena. This requirement can be met by courses in any of the creative and performing arts as well as in any courses in the study of literature, art, and music. Courses in other disciplines that provide perspectives of aesthetic, literary, and artistic phenomena as defined above also meet this requirement. For example, a course that studies the digital or computational aspects of artistic creation would meet this requirement.

Academic Honors and Recognition

Departmental Honors are offered by most departments to qualified students. Typically, the student must fulfill the following requirements in order to be granted departmental honors. The student:

  • must have a superior record in the major.
  • must complete a thesis or project that has been approved by the department or program and be supervised by at least one faculty member within the department and receive a grade of A or A- on that thesis or project.
  • must present their work to the department or program at a designated forum.
  • must not have been found guilty of violating the Honor Code of Responsibility.

In some cases, individual departments may have more specific guidelines for departmental honors. See the individual department listings for details.

The Dean’s List was established to recognize undergraduate students’ academic excellence. To be included on the dean’s list, compiled each semester, a student must have obtained a semester GPA of at least 3.50, have earned at least 12 credits using the letter grade system, and not have been found guilty of violating the Honor Code of Responsibility during that semester. For more information, contact the Dean of the Undergraduate Program.

Academy is Simmons’s honor society. Senior students who have demonstrated superior achievement according to the rules of the faculty and who have not been found guilty of violating the Honor Code of Responsibility may qualify for admission after completing at least 48 semester hours of Simmons credit using the letter grade system. Students are considered for academy at three points during their senior year. Usually, as a result of this process, the number of students admitted into academy equals about 10 percent of the senior class by the end of the academic year.

Latin Honors of summa cum laude (3.90- 4.00), magna cum laude (3.75-3.89), and cum laude (3.55-3.74) are granted to graduating seniors who achieve grade point averages at a distinguished level, have earned at least 48 semester hours of letter grades, and are not in violation of the Honor Code of Responsibility.