Graduation Requirements

Catalog of Entry

The Undergraduate Catalog in effect when a student first enrolls at the university or any one subsequent catalog will be the guide to graduation requirements, provided the student is in continuous attendance and does not change majors.

When a student changes majors, the guide to graduation requirements will be the catalog in effect at the time of change or any one subsequent catalog. Exceptions to this rule include the requirements for the minor and general education requirements. Unless the minor is specified by the new major, a student who has been in continuous enrollment and changes majors can fulfill the requirements for a minor by using the criteria in effect in either the catalog of entry or the catalog in effect at the time of the change in major. See the section on General Education Requirements for the relevant policy on general education.

Readmitted students will use the catalog in effect at their last readmission or any one subsequent catalog as the guide to graduation requirements. Any exceptions to requirements must be approved by the student's department chair and/or college dean. The university reserves the right to change course offerings, academic programs, and academic requirements.

Candidacy for a Degree

Youngstown State University confers degrees and certificates three (3) times a year:
May for Spring graduates
August for Summer graduates
December for Fall graduates
Please refer to the academic calendar for specific conferral dates.

To be eligible for candidacy for any degree, students must fulfill the following four requirements:


You must file a Request for a Senior Sheet (Graduation Evaluation) with the dean of your college after the completion of 40 semester hours for the associate and 100 semester hours for the baccalaureate degree.

An online Application for Graduation form must be filed by the deadline indicated in the University Academic Calendar. The application is available on the student's YSU Penguin Portal. If a student fails to carry out the proper application procedures by the published deadlines, the degree will not be granted. Instead, the student must complete a graduation application and have the degree conferred for the next term.

If the student does not graduate for the term which the original application has been filed, the student must reapply by the published deadlines. The student must fulfill the University-wide, college, degree, and departmental requirements as well as the minimum credit hours.


The last 20 semester hours leading to an associate degree and the last 30 semester hours leading to a baccalaureate degree must be completed at Youngstown State University. (In the pre-forestry, pre-law, and pre-medical curricula, however, which allow the student to earn final credit hours in absentia, the last 30 semester hours prior to the period of absence must be spent at Youngstown State University.) A minimum of 16 semester hours in the concentration area for the associate degree, and a minimum of 16 hours of credits in the major in the baccalaureate degree, must be earned in residence. A minimum of 21 semester hours of upper-division credit for the baccalaureate degree must be earned in residence. Exceptions must be approved by the Office of the Provost. Additional requirements may be specified by individual colleges.


No student may receive credit towards graduation for a course that is a prerequisite for a more advanced course which the student has already successfully completed, unless an exception to this policy is recommended by the appropriate chair and approved in writing by the student's academic college dean.


The cumulative point average must be at least 2.00 (see The Point Average and Scholastic Standing) at the time candidacy is approved and at the time the degree is granted.

Additional requirements for the baccalaureate and associate degree appear below.

Baccalaureate Degree

A minimum of 120 semester hours must be successfully completed to earn a bachelor's degree. In addition to requirements stated under Candidacy for a Degree, the following requirements must also be fulfilled for a baccalaureate degree:

Course Levels

At least 60 semester hours must be completed in courses numbered 2600 or higher; at least 39 of these 60 hours must be in courses numbered 3700 or higher. (Updated 12/5/2019)


Each student must complete a major. A department major consists of at least 30 semester hours of an approved set of courses. A combined major, in which courses are given by more than one department, consists of at least 42 semester hours. At least two disciplines must be represented in a combined major with the core discipline having the majority and at least 12 s.h. coming from outside of the core (these 12 s.h. may be spread over multiple disciplines, but at least 6 s.h. must be at the 3700-level or above). All grades in the major must be "C" or better.

Each department determines the course requirements for its own major or majors. Responsibility for certifying that a student has completed a major rests with the chairperson of the major department. The student may be required to do more than the minimum stated in the preceding paragraph.

As soon as a student has decided on a major, he or she should consult with the department chair of the major department. A major must be declared by the time a student has achieved junior standing. Early consultation with the department chair is strongly recommended, since in some departments the student must begin coursework related to the major during the freshman year or risk a delay in graduation. (Updated per 3/4/2020 Academic Senate resolution.)


A minor is an intellectual venture that broadens and deepens the student's intellectual growth. An intellectual framework and coherence are evident in the scope and sequence of the minor course of study. A minor is intended to contrast with or deepen the major or General Education and is to be taken in a discipline other than that of the major. In approved interdisciplinary minors, courses from the student's major discipline can be counted in the minor provided that the same courses are not counted toward the major. Each student must complete a minor, unless the student has a combined major or is enrolled in a professional or technical curriculum that does not require a delineated minor. Check with an academic advisor for specific information.

A minor consists of at least 12 hours (but not more than 19 hours) of an approved, published set of courses as listed in the Undergraduate Catalog. All grades in the minor must be "C" or better. Courses taken under the Credit/No Credit option may not be counted toward the minor. Upper-division courses must comprise at least 6 s.h. in the minor. Each department develops the specific pattern or sequence of courses for any minor(s) it offers. However, the department in which the student receives the major is responsible for certifying that a student has completed a minor. Certification will be guided by the description of minors published in the Undergraduate Catalog. Students should declare a minor prior to their junior year.

Courses which fulfill requirements of both a major and a minor may be counted toward the completion of both the major and the minor, up to but not to exceed one-third of the total course hours of the minor. Autonomy to approve courses rests solely within the department of the minor for each course that is to be considered for both the major and the minor. Formal approval will be conducted by chairpersons upon consultation with expert faculty within their department. (Updated 4/7/2021)

An individualized minor may be developed and approved through the Individualized Curriculum Process (ICP). Transfer students may also use the ICP process for approval of a minor course of study. An official minor is designated on the student's transcript at the time the degree is awarded. In instances when extenuating circumstances are present, students who have taken courses that meet the guidelines of a minor (a minimum of 12 s.h. in a discipline with at least 6 s.h. at 3700-level or above) but do not have the designated courses of the official minor may declare an unofficial minor to meet graduation requirements. Only courses that are part of the major curriculum (from the discipline being used for the unofficial minor) can count toward an unofficial minor. This minor must be agreed to by the chairperson of the major department. 

For a list of minors and their requirements see Minors List.

Associate Degree

A minimum of 60 semester hours must be successfully completed in order to earn an associate degree. Students in associate degree programs must take a minimum of six general education courses, including Writing I and Writing II, and four additional courses selected from at least three of the following areas: mathematics, speech, natural science, arts and humanities, social science, or social and personal awareness. No more than one course counted toward the requirement may be in mathematics. Students should check with their departments to see if certain general education courses are mandated by their program.


A certificate identifies a concentration of study in an academic area. There are a limited number of academic areas where certificates are available, and students should consult the program descriptions for this information. All grades for the certificate must be "C" or better.


Graduation ceremonies (commencement) occur twice a year. Fall commencement is held in December, and spring commencement is held in May. Students who graduate in summer are invited to participate in either spring or fall commencement activities.

Participation in the commencement ceremony does not indicate the completion of degree requirements. The transcript is the official academic record and will indicate any degrees that have been conferred.


Office:  Advisement Office (in which your major lies)
Location:  Academic College (in which your major lies)