Earning Credits While Exploring

To graduate from Ship, all students need a minimum of 120 credits (some majors require more). You accumulate these credits by fulfilling requirements in three areas:

  1. General Education Courses (48 credits)
  2. Credits for Your Major (credits vary): Majors typically require at minimum 36 credits, but some may exceed 60.
  3. Free Electives (credits vary): Majors that require fewer credits have more room for free electives: basically, this means that you can choose courses in which you have an interest. In this case, we strongly recommend that you consider a minor or double major to strengthen your degree and provide you with more skills and options in the job market.

As an Exploratory student, you will fulfill the same initial academic requirements as a declared student currently in a major program. You will take General Education courses and AEES courses while you determine your major.

AEES 101: Introduction to Higher Education (3 credits)

Provides an extended orientation to the academic expectations and demands of Higher Education. Introduction to Higher Education lead a systematic exploration of values, beliefs, and skills that assist in the becoming successful in academic endeavors. Students examine the factors which impact their learning, select relevant methods for deepening their learning and thinking processes, and develop self-regulation strategies for maximizing the effectiveness of their efforts. Skill development in learning strategies, reading, writing, and critical thinking are stressed.

AEES 102: Leadership and Community (3 credits)

A systematic exploration of the values, beliefs, and skills that assist in becoming successful in the communities to which one belongs and to society in general. Topics include leadership theory, community identification, career development, and service learning. Self-assessment, diversity, and character development are addressed as subtopics.

AEES 103: Introduction to Exploratory Studies (2-3 credits)

This course engages you in transitioning to an appropriate major through active exploration of occupational and educational opportunities. By participating in experiential activities, you will practice critical thinking, improve your self-knowledge, and construct conceptual frameworks during the process of selecting a major. You will formally assess your personal characteristics, research possible major choices, and examine associated programs of study.

View details about the General Education program.

The standard credit load is 15 (five courses) per semester. At 15 credits per semester and 30 per year, you should accumulate 120 credits in four years, which will satisfy most graduation requirements at Shippensburg. However, some majors require more than 120 credits; consequently, it may take longer than four years to graduate with majors in these fields or it may require you to take an overload of credits in the spring or fall or to take courses in the summer.

Exploratory students can schedule as many as three 15-credit semesters of General Education courses, if necessary. By the time you begin scheduling classes (October-November of your sophomore year) for your fourth semester, you must have declared a major because you will have completed your General Education requirements and many of the upper level courses are closed except to students who have declared a major.

Students schedule their first semester based on General Education requirements and the students' academic major. Exploratory students take general education courses and those appropriate for their expressed area of interests. Changes can be made to the schedule through the dean's office. In November, after consulting with your academic advisor, you will submit your own schedule for the spring semester via the web.

There is no substitute for knowing the General Education program and what categories you need to fulfill. Although your advisor will help you, the ultimate responsibility for creating an appropriate schedule is yours.

  • Ask yourself, "Why am I scheduling this course?"
  • Does it fulfill a General Education requirement?
  • Is it required by my major?
  • Can it count as a free elective?
  • Does it help me investigate a major?
  • Does it fulfill a developmental requirement?
  • Does it interest me?
  • Do I need to retake the course because of a 'D' or 'F' grade? (Always consult your advisor before repeating a course.)

To view the courses you will take for specific majors, please see the undergraduate catalogue.