Academic Programs and Policies

Undergraduate curriculum at Hardin-Simmons University incorporates four elements designed to equip conscientious students to experience life to the fullest as educated adults:

  • The Foundational Curriculum (See below; minimum of 46 credits);
  • The Major: focused, in-depth study in one area chosen by the student (Consult academic area of catalog for specific course requirements; minimum 30 credits);
  • The Minor: further concentrated study but in the student’s secondary choice of specialized study (Consult academic area of catalog for specific course requirements; minimum 18 credits);
  • Electives: opportunities to delve into areas outside the major and minor. (Vary according to degree. NOTE: Education Certification hours usually replace elective choices in the degrees of those students accepted into HSU’s teacher preparation program).

A fifth component, The Capstone Experience is a part of most majors at HSU and offers an overview of the knowledge expected of graduating students in a particular major as well as discussion of employment and graduate school opportunities. (Usually one course, 1 - 3 credits.)

The Foundational Curriculum

HSU’s Educational Mission:

“An Education Enlightened by Faith…”

HSU’s Foundational Curriculum seeks to integrate the premise of a liberal arts education and the promise of the Christian life by:

  • Introducing students to disciplines of intrinsic worth that improve the mind and heart, providing not only understanding but the ability to live a humane life, and…
  • Offering opportunities to understand Christ’s promise of liberation and transformation of the mind and way of life.

The curricular exploration of God’s creation--its history and order, its tragedy and wonder--challenges professors and students alike:

  • To expand the boundaries of their faith;
  • To grow in knowledge and ability;
  • To confront the deep richness of human experience;
  • To engage in the creative tension of life lived in an uncertain world.

At HSU, our curriculum prepares students to lead, redeem, and serve in large ways and small the world in which they live. The spirit which integrates faith and learning serves as the foundation of our campus community and gives shape to our curricular goals:

  • Develop Critical Thinking
  • Develop Effective Expression
  • Discover Self
  • Experience Community

As a result of HSU’s faculty-developed and faculty-approved Foundational Curriculum, graduates are responsible for and are expected to achieve the following levels of aptitude:


Graduates are expected to write at a C+ level or higher.


Graduates should have basic analytical and quantitative skills necessary for handling information in mathematical form.


Graduates should be able to think critically and approach religious, philosophical, and aesthetic issues analytically.


Graduates should be acquainted with ideas, information, and modes of inquiry to draw upon in multiple areas of their lives.


Graduates should be able to demonstrate recognition of relationships by applying knowledge, skills, or abilities learned in one discipline to another.


Graduates should demonstrate appropriate psychomotor skills and apply wellness principles through participation in fitness, recreation, or sports activities.


Graduates should be able to demonstrate effective oral communication strategies for a variety of audience needs.

The Foundational Curriculum Courses

Requirements of the Foundational Curriculum

First Year Seminar

    FYSM 1300 First-Year Seminar*

*FYSM not for transfer students. First-time freshmen only.

Biblical/Christian Studies

Six credit hours (2 courses) from:

    BIBL 1301 Old Testament Survey

    BIBL 1302 New Testament Survey

    RELI 2345 The Religious & Philosophical Life


Six credit hours (2 courses) from:

    ENGL 1301 Freshman Writing I

    ENGL 1302 Freshman Writing II

    ENGL 3300 Writing as Discovery: Adv. Writing


Three credit hours (1 course)

  COMM 1301 Speech Communication


Three credit hours (1 course) in U.S. History, HIST 1300 Making History: The Human Experience in America recommended


Three credit hours (1 course) from:

    ENGL 2301 World Literature

    ENGL 2302 English Literature

    ENGL 2303 American Literature

Fine Arts

Three credit hours in Art, Theatre, or Music


    KINE 1170 Wellness for Life

Two single-credit hour KINE activity courses


Three credit hours (1 course) as required by major

Natural Science

Three credit hours (1 course) in Biology or Environmental Science

Physical Science

Three credit hours (1 course) in Chemistry, Geology, Physical Science, or Physics

Science Lab

One credit hour lab for either science course

Social Sciences

Six credit hours (2 courses) from Economics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology; for BA & BBS must be from outside the major & minor; if degree calls for more than six credit hours, History may be used after the first 2 courses.

Technological Competency

Three credit hours (1 course). In order for a student at HSU to be considered technologically competent, he or she must have familiarity with the basic terms, tools, and concepts of information technology and operating systems and have ability to use applications software such as internet browsers, word processing software, presentation software, spreadsheets, and other applications appropriate to the student’s field of study. In many degrees, successfully completing CSCI 1303 Introduction to Computer Applications will fulfill this requirement. Alternatively, students may use the departmental technological proficiency exam, offered by the Kelley College of Business and Professional Studies, to show proficiency in this competency, although no course credit will awarded, and students still must complete a minimum of 120 hours.

Exceptions include teacher certification programs, which require EDUC 1306; the Department of Art, which requires ART 2321 for Graphic Arts majors; Biology, which may use BIOL 4314 (only to be taken after the Genetics course is complete); Strategic Communication, which may use COMM 1310; Criminal Justice, which may substitute CSCI 1306; Computer Science non-business degrees, which require CSCI 1320; the Psychology major which requires PSYC 4335; Music degrees, which require MUTC 2338; and Kinesiology, Health and Recreation majors, which requires KINE 1301. Other exceptions may exist; consult specific program areas to determine the appropriate course in each major for meeting this competency.


International Studies Program

Recognizing the educational value of exposure to and learning in different cultures, HSU offers a variety of academic opportunities to enhance students’ educational experience through study and travel in selected foreign countries. Financial aid is available. University credit may be earned in the following:

  1. The London Semester Program provides an exciting opportunity for students to live and study in the heart of London, England. The program is operated in partnership with University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Howard Payne University with all schools sending students and faculty for a semester long intensive study experience. Local British faculties and American professors give students the benefit of native knowledge, and the experience of life and culture in England. Students and faculty live in university housing in central London. A coach trip to northern England, Scotland, Wales, and the Lake District along with weekend side trips to locations, such as Canterbury, Bath, Dover, and Stratford-Upon-Avon, are all part of the London Semester.
  2. The Salzburg College Program allows students to study in Salzburg, Austria, under the instruction of European professors. While all instruction is in English, students must take a German-language course as part of their normal course load. This program especially appeals to business, social science, fine arts, and German language students although almost all majors can find suitable courses for their degree plans. Students may choose to live with Austrian families during their stay and have a two-week spring break to conduct personal travel.
  3. The Hong Kong Program allows students to study for a semester at Hong Kong Baptist University. A full range of courses is offered in English that will accommodate most majors. Students live in an International Student House on campus and participate fully in the life of the campus. Hong Kong is centrally located in the Southeast Asian region that affords easy travel to central China, Thailand, Singapore and Japan.
  4. Spanish Study at the University of Salamanca offers students the opportunity to study Spanish conversation and culture at the oldest university in Spain. Excursions are made to Madrid, Toledo, Segovia, and Sevilla.
  5. Australia: Macquarie University and Australian Catholic University. These Australian programs offer students a study abroad opportunity that is exciting and unique. Students may attend Macquarie or ACU either for the fall term, which begins in late February or the spring term, which begins in late July. Students may receive up to 12 credits toward their HSU degree from a wide variety of study fields. While attending ACU or Macquarie, students live in apartments near or on campus and have ample time for travel that may include not only the continent of Australia but the countries of New Zealand and Indonesia as well. Credit is by pass/fail only.
  6. Additional travel courses are frequently conducted to other countries including Israel, Greece, Indonesia, Lithuania, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. These courses are conducted by faculty members and change from year to year. Interested students should contact the International Studies Office early in the year to determine what courses are offered for any given year.

Special International Studies Scholarships are available for international studies upon receipt of an application for a program. Students may also choose to study in programs affiliated with the CCCU and CGE.

Credit By Examination

Hardin-Simmons University recognizes that many students may have attained college-level competencies in specific areas through advanced high school courses or work-related experiences prior to entering college. Students are therefore encouraged to consult the following information to determine whether they may be granted college credit based on their previous educational experiences.

General Regulations

There are five general regulations for earning credit by examination at Hardin-Simmons:

  1.  A student may earn a maximum of 42 semester credits through credit by examination with a maximum of 14 credits in any one major.
  2. No grade will be awarded for credit earned by examination, and those credits will not be counted in computing a student’s grade point average.
  3. Credit earned by examination will be awarded and entered on the student’s transcript only after the student is officially enrolled as a Hardin-Simmons University student.
  4. Credit by examination may not be earned for (a) any college level course in which the student is currently, or ever has been enrolled, whether for credit, non-credit, or audit, (b) any subject area in which the student has already earned credit for a more advanced course, or any course for which the student does not meet the prerequisites by the time of submission of scores. In cases of doubt as to eligibility for credit by exam, the head of the department involved and the dean of the appropriate college or school will make the final decision; (c) credit by exam may not be taken after the last date to register for a course during a students last semester before graduation.
  5. It is the student’s responsibility to have official test scores sent to the University Registrar to be considered for credit by examination. Transfer students wishing credit for examinations taken prior to admission at Hardin-Simmons University must also have official test scores sent to the University Registrar.

Departmental Examinations

Some departments whose courses are not adequately covered by either the Advanced Placement or College Level Examination Programs may participate in the program of credit by examination. Students may have the opportunity, to earn credit by departmental examination as well as through satisfactory scores on AP and CLEP examinations.

A student seeking credit by departmental examination should make written application through his/her advisor to the department involved at least one month before the examination. After consideration, the department will notify the student’s advisor of the acceptance or rejection of the application. Within ten days of administration of the examination the department will certify to the Registrar either “credit” or “no credit.”

The fee for a departmental examination for credit is indicated under Special Examination Fees.. This fee is to be paid or charged to the student’s account after the application has been approved and before the administration of the examination. The fee is not refundable.

Each participating department is free to determine the type of examination to be administered, whether standardized or prepared by the members of the department.

Academic areas participating in this program are biology, chemistry, computer science, finance, foreign languages, geology, mathematics, physics, and the various departments of the School of Music and of the Logsdon School of Theology.

Occasionally a student may wish to begin work in a particular area with courses above the introductory level without receiving credit for the lower-level courses. A student seeking exemption from introductory-level courses should apply in writing to the department concerned prior to the registration period. The department will indicate the level at which the student will begin course work as determined by his/her previous experience and/or examination. Notice shall be given to the student’s advisor and the Office of the Registrar for the courses waived in this manner. NO CREDIT is given for such exemption.



Classification of students is based upon progress toward meeting degree requirements as follows:

 Credits Earned   Classification
0-29 Freshman
30-59 Sophomore
60-89 Junior
90 or above Senior

Explanation of Course Numbers

The course level or class is indicated by the first digit in the course number: 0-non-degree credit; 1-freshman; 2-sophomore; 3-junior; 4-senior; 5 or 6-postgraduate or graduate; 7 or 8 doctorial. The second digit indicates the semester hour value of the course (except music, nursing, and special topics courses). The third and fourth digits indicate the departmental sequencing of the course and make it a unique number within the department or subject area.

Example: ENGL 1301

ENGL Departmental abbreviation

1 Course level

3 Semester Credits

01 Departmental Sequence

Freshmen are not allowed to enroll in upper-division courses except under special circumstances.

The semester hour is the unit of course credit at HSU. Ordinarily, a semester hour credit is based upon one 50-minute class period or two or more hours in the laboratory/studio per week throughout a semester. Accordingly, a course carrying a credit value of three semester hours would ordinarily meet for three 50-minute periods each week or in two sessions of one and one-quarter hours each. The number of semester, class, and laboratory/studio hours is indicated by the numbers in parentheses following the title of each course. The first number indicates semester hours, the second class hours, and the third lab/studio hours. For example, a 4-semester hour course involving three hours of lecture, plus two hours of lab per week will show that information as (4-3-2). An X (4-3-X) in the lab space indicates a variable, optional, or field activity noted in the course description.

Academic Services


All degree requirements must be complete or in progress in the semester of graduation