College of Arts and Sciences

Dean - Enrico Pontelli

Interim Associate Dean (Research) - James Murphy

Associate Dean (Academics) - Beth Pollack

Associate Director, Research Center - Olga Ostos

Undergraduate programs offered in the College of Arts and Sciences prepare students for a variety of career opportunities and for graduate study. The broad curriculum offered provides both the motivation and the tools for lifelong learning experiences.

While the ultimate responsibility for planning an academic program in compliance with university, college and departmental requirements rests with the student, the college recognizes the importance of helping students work out appropriate academic programs.

Students should consult the "Academic Regulations" section of the catalog regarding general limitations for total credit hours, independent study and registration under S/U option. Students in the College of Arts and Sciences on Academic Probation 1 are limited to 13 credit hours, and students on Probation 2 are limited to 7 credit hours. The Regulations section of the catalog discusses registration, drop/add and withdrawal deadlines. Students may not do additional course work or repeat course exercises after the semester has ended in order to raise a grade in any course. Exceptions will be made for students completing an official Incomplete grade.

College Undergraduate Degree Requirements

  1. In accordance with NMSU policy, students in all majors in the College of Arts and Sciences must meet the Basic Academic Skills requirements in English and Mathematics. See "Basic Academic Skills" in the General Information, Regulations section.
    Basic Academic Skills rules:
    1. Students must complete, with a C- grade or better, in MATH 111 Fundamentals of Elementary Mathematics I and MATH 112G Fundamentals of Elementary Math II, or any mathematics course numbered 120 or above which includes A ST 251G Statistics for Business and the Behavioral Sciences, STAT 251G Statistics for Business and the Behavioral Sciences and STAT 271G Statistics for Psychological Sciences. Please see department requirements for each major for specific mathematics requirements.
    2. Students must complete, with a C - grade or better, ENGL 111G Rhetoric and Composition, ENGL 111GH Rhetoric and Composition Honors, or ENGL 111 M Rhetoric and Composition for International and Multilingual Students prior to enrolling in upper division courses numbered 300 or higher.
      NOTE: Transfer students must complete an English course listed above and begin their Math sequence no later than their second semester at NMSU in order to continue enrolling in upper division courses numbered 300 level or higher.
    3. Students whose ACT or other test scores require them to take developmental Mathematics or English courses must complete those courses prior to enrolling in the English and Mathematics basic skills courses listed above.
  2. University graduation requirements. See “Graduation Requirements” in the “General Information” section in this catalog. In order to graduate, students must have met all degree requirements for their major, earned a minimum of 120 university level credits, or more if required for the degree, of which at least 48 must be upper division and must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 in all courses taken at NMSU. Each student must complete at least 30 of the necessary credits for their Bachelor Degree at NMSU. A minimum of "C-" in all courses counting toward the major, supplemental major and minor is required of all students.
  3. Some departments in the college require a second language and some do not. For those students whose major requires a second language, the following parameters apply unless otherwise specified in their departmental requirements. A student must meet one of the following requirements.
  • If two years are required for the major, students need to complete the  second language course sequence: 111, 112, 211 and 212 in French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese or Chinese. If one year is required then students should complete the first year of language study or equivalent, for example PORT 213 and 214. Students should enter the sequence at their proficiency level. Heritage speakers of Spanish should complete the Spanish 113-213-214 sequence. Students who successfully complete either SPAN 113 Spanish for Heritage Learners I or SPAN 213 Spanish for Heritage Learners II or SPAN 214 Spanish for Heritage Learners III (or all) may not take SPAN 111 Elementary Spanish I, SPAN 112 Elementary Spanish II, SPAN 211 Intermediate Spanish I or SPAN 212 Intermediate Spanish II for credit.
  • Challenge the 212 level of Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, or Spanish, or the 214 level of Spanish for Heritage Learners of Spanish, or Portuguese.
  • Obtain college certification of completion of a second language at the high school level by fulfilling one of the following:

Option A: For those departments requiring one year of a second language a student must pass two years of a high school language with a C- or better in the last year level.

Option B: For those departments requiring two years of a second language a student must pass three years of a high school language with a C- or better in the last year level.

  • Obtain, from the head of the Department of Languages and Linguistics, certification of a working knowledge of a second language if such language is not taught at New Mexico State University.
  • Obtain certification of a working knowledge of a Native American language from the American Indian program director, or as attested by a Native American Elder.
  • Successfully complete a regular university course taught in a language other than English. A student can receive credit only once for the same course taught in two languages.
  • Pass a three-credit upper-division course (numbered 300 or above) taught in a second language by the Department of Languages and Linguistics.
  • Pass C D 476 American Sign Language III, with a grade of C- or better.
  • In the case of an international student who is required to take the TOEFL exam for admission to NMSU, the dean will automatically waive the second language requirement.

Students should satisfy the second language requirement as soon as possible and take the necessary courses in consecutive semesters.

Please note: SPCD or English language may not be used to fulfill the second language requirements.

S/U Grading Option for Undergraduate Students

Instructors may establish individual standards for an S grade, but the minimum standard for an S grade in the College of Arts and Sciences courses is a C-.

Developmental and Applied Credit Limitations for Undergraduate Students

The College of Arts and Sciences will accept all applied coursework, which include Occupational Education courses, BOT, CMT, UNIV (not including UNIV 150 The Freshman Year Experience and UNIV 350 Peer Education), ART (applied), DANC (applied), MUS (applied and participation), THTR (applied), NURS, A EN, AXED, AG E, AGHE, COLL, CCDL, CCDS, all lower-division RDG. These courses count towards overall credit hours to bring the students total to the minimum credit hours required. Students must still complete all university requirements: GEN ED; VWW; a minimum of 48 upper division credits as well as all requirements for their declared major degree.

Credits earned in developmental courses (N suffix) are not counted toward any arts and sciences degree. Students should contact the Student Records Center regarding the acceptability of specific courses.

Independent Study/Directed Reading Courses for Undergraduate Students

Students are limited to six credits in any independent study course. Independent study courses include directed reading and special topic courses, which do not carry a subtitle.

Distance Education Courses

The College of Arts and Sciences offers a variety of distance education/online courses each semester. Specific courses can be found under departmental course listings online. Students who successfully complete NMSU distance education courses receive the same credit as students who take an equivalent course on the Las Cruces campus. Distance education courses appear on a student’s transcript in the same way a course taken on the Las Cruces campus does. Students will be charged a Course Delivery Fee for taking online courses.

Majors, Minors and Supplementary Majors for Undergraduate Students

Students who wish to obtain a bachelor’s degree must select a major field or fields. For a listing of majors, the student should refer to the list of majors in this catalog. Course requirements for majors are listed under individual departments. Students should consult the department for current admissions requirements. Until a major is selected, the student is designated as undeclared.

Each major consists of not less than 20 credits of upper-division courses (300 and above) in a specific field. Students must earn a grade of C- or better for all course requirements indicated for each major, minor, or supplementary major, including any courses required from outside the department. Students may not count an S grade towards completion of any major, minor or supplementary major requirement unless a course is automatically S/U for all enrolled students. A student may not earn a minor that bears the same name as a bachelor’s degree that the student is earning. (For example, a student earning a B.S. in Biology cannot also earn a minor in Biology.) Some departments also require specific courses outside the major field. Please refer to the departmental section of the catalog for specific nondepartmental requirements. These nondepartmental requirements must be passed with a grade of C- or better. It is imperative that students consult the departmental sections of this catalog and the department(s) for advice in planning to fulfill requirements for their declared majors.

The requirements for academic minors in the College of Arts and Sciences are found under each offering department or program section of this catalog. Requirements for supplementary majors are found as follows:

Most students have considerable latitude in choosing elective courses. These are the courses beyond university and major requirements that a student must take to bring her or his total credits to the  minimum overall credits required for the degree 120 or 128. This latitude provides students with opportunities to major in more than one field, to take a minor or to devise interdisciplinary programs tailored to individual interests or future career needs.

Regardless of the option elected, students should consult regularly with an advisor and track their progress towards  degree completion and graduation using the online degree audit system STAR (Student Academic Requirements), at:

Supplementary Majors

Preprofessional Studies

  • In the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is accredited by the American Chemical Society.
  • The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science is accredited by ABET.
  • Music curricula in the Department of Music are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.
  • The Master of Public Administration program in the Department of Government is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.