Upon graduating this spring, Lauren Ashley Peet looked forward to receiving two diplomas – one for a degree in English, and the other for a degree in psychology.
When diplomas were mailed out, she only received one.
Peet called the Office of the Registrar to see why she didn’t receive another diploma.
“I was told that the first major I signed up for, English, was my ‘primary major’ and the second one I signed up for, psychology, was my ‘secondary major,’ but I only received one diploma because the two majors are somehow only one degree,” Peet said in an email.
Peet heard rumors that students with multiple majors only receive one diploma, but disregarded them when it wasn’t mentioned by any of her professors or adviser.
“I thought perhaps this issue had been resolved since the last graduating class,” she said. “Looking back, I doubt that my professors and adviser knew this was an issue.”
Registrar Freida Eggleton said that policy is changing this year.
According to Eggleton, the current policy says students who have more than one major will receive one degree, and the degree listed on a diploma is kept to what a student lists as their “primary major” on TopNet.
“As an example, a student has a double major in art and biology,” Eggleton said. “The student will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree because that is the degree associated with the major in art. If biology was their primary major, then they’d receive a Bachelor of Science degree.”
Effective fall 2013, the new policy, which Eggleton said came through the Academic Quality Committee, allows students to receive concurrent baccalaureate degrees. However, they have to earn 30 more credit hours, a new minimum of 150 hours instead of the old policy’s 120 hours. Those who meet the new qualifications will receive two diplomas, one for each degree.
As for recent graduates such as Peet, Eggleton said the new policy is not retroactive, and they won’t be receiving any other diplomas. For proof of second majors, Eggleton recommended filing for an official transcript, which she said is more viable than degrees to employers and graduate schools.
“Transcripts on formal university paper are more valuable to employers because of a growing number of fraudulent diplomas,” Eggelton said.
Peet said she is disappointed in the updated policy.
“I don’t feel this remedies the situation because previous graduates are still excluded and this policy still denies most multiple majors of the diplomas they have rightfully earned in the future,” she said.
The new policy is similar to policies in place at Eastern Kentucky University, the University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky and Northern Kentucky University, Eggleton said.
Becky Thieman, a senior from Louisville, also has a creative writing major and a psychology major. Thieman was prepared to fight for another diploma had the old policy been kept.
“It’s so much more than a piece of paper,” Thieman said. “When you do two majors, you’re never choosing less work… [a diploma] represents four years of hard work, late nights and intense studying, just like having one major.”
Upon hearing about the new policy, Thieman said she’s interested in seeing if the changes will allow her to end up with two diplomas, or if she’ll fall short.
“I hope I have 150 hours,” Thieman said. “Watch me end up with, like, 145.”