Response to ‘Transferring to Hamline’

Letter to the Editor

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We are writing to clarify some of the statements made about the Hamline curriculum in the article “Transferring to Hamline – myth vs. reality” that appeared in the April 25 edition of the Oracle.

The Hamline Plan is an integrated set of requirements, including the courses designated by letters (similar to what many liberal arts colleges title their “general education” requirements) and other requirements needed to complete a Hamline degree. The Hamline curriculum is designed to equip students to be excellent communicators, to think critically about the world in which they live, and to become informed and engaged citizens. The curriculum also attempts to align with the expectations and types of skills employers are seeking from college graduates. The Hamline Plan is not merely a set of letters that students must check off in order to complete a Hamline degree.

So, let’s take a look at the part of the Hamline Plan associated with the letters mentioned by the author. The number, were we to look at the requirements individually, would be 23, per the author’s method of counting, not 24.  If students were in need of taking one unique course to fulfill each requirement—which, by the way, is not how the curriculum is designed—the total drops to roughly 22, because the “E” covers the writing-intensive course for first-year students.  Additionally, because most transfer students complete their degree at Hamline within 1.5-3 years, transfer students will not typically complete 4 writing-intensive courses (students must take one “W” for each full year at Hamline). First-year students bringing in Post-Secondary Options (PSEO) credits are often in the same situation. Also, transfer students – the audience to whom the article seemed to be directed – are not required to take a First-Year Seminar.

The statement that transfer students “…would still have to take at least six semesters’ worth of classes in order to fulfill all of the Hamline Plan Requirements” simply is not true. The Hamline curriculum is not designed for students to complete one unique course for each Hamline Plan letter. Many students – both transfer and PSEO – do transfer in multiple courses that fulfill Hamline Plan letters. Additionally, there are a multitude of courses that fulfill more than one Hamline Plan requirement. If one were to look at the Class Listing on the Hamline website ( and sort by Hamline Plan, one could quickly scroll through to see the number of courses that fulfill two or more Hamline Plan requirements. Furthermore, many major courses do fulfill Hamline Plan letters (e.g., several majors have a senior-level course that can fulfill any combination of Q, O or W). The Hamline Plan curriculum is designed to provide an integrated education, rather than being a static set of requirements.

The transfer of credits from one institution to another can vary greatly, depending on the institution’s curriculum and philosophy on transferability of credits. The author’s statement that “…none of the ‘Special Topics’ classes transfer to any other schools,” needs clarification. The credits may likely transfer; whether the courses fulfill major, general education requirements, or simply credit requirements is to be determined by the receiving institution. This is inherently part of the challenge when students transfer and/or change their major, especially multiple times. The author’s assumption that not very many credits will transfer into Hamline and fulfill Hamline Plan requirements is also to be determined, depending on the courses the student has completed.

There are a variety of offices, staff members and resources that support students with the onboarding experience and transferability of credits, not only at Hamline, but across colleges and universities. Some of the offices and resources at Hamline include: Undergraduate Admission, Registration and Records’ Transfer Articulation Coordinator, Academic Advising, TES, and Transferology, just to name a few. We encourage students to utilize these resources so they can be most appropriately informed and strategic when it comes to degree planning and completion.

There are additional issues to address, but we will leave that to other readers.

Respectfully submitted,

Katie Adams, Director, Academic Advising

Lynn Iverson-Eyestone, Assistant Director, Academic Advising

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