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Undergraduate Special Academic Opportunities

Accelerated Programs

Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree Program

Students entering Hood College as first-year students may be able to complete bachelor’s degree requirements in three years by carefully planning and adhering to an intensified program of study. These students must declare a major in the first year and, if possible, supplement class credit with credits earned through the College Entrance Examination Board College-Level Examinations Program, Hood Start, departmental challenge tests and summer and January term classes. Most students will need to enroll for course loads exceeding the usual 15-credit limit.

Earn Credits Toward a Graduate Degree

Hood designates some of its graduate courses as appropriate for qualified undergraduates by giving such courses a double number.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Five Years

Students in Hood’s social work program may be admitted to Master’s in Social Work programs with advanced standing, enabling them to complete graduate degree requirements at a more rapid pace.

Hood Start

The Hood Start program allows exceptional high school juniors and seniors to get a head start on the college academic experience, earning college credits while in high school. The program is designed to help students become familiar with academic work at the college level and to interact with college faculty. Depending on their high school schedule, Hood Start students typically take 1-3 classes per semester. A maximum of 18 credits may be earned through the Hood Start program. Hood Start students may not exceed 11 credits in any given semester. Enrollment is on a space available basis.

Hood Start students are guaranteed admission into Hood College upon successful completion of Hood Start classes and high school degree requirements. Students interested in the Hood Start program must apply through the Admission Office; for information contact (301) 696-3400, or

Coastal Studies Semester

The Hood Coastal Studies Semester is a travel-based, experiential learning program that provides a solid academic framework for the study of environmental science. It encompasses the technological, scientific, historical and cultural aspects of issues currently challenging our wise use of coastal resources. The program provides both on-campus and off-campus experiences for students from Hood as well as those from other institutions. The Coastal Studies Semester is open to students of at least sophomore status (regardless of major) who have completed a freshman writing class and at least one laboratory science course. Throughout the fall semester, participants will live, work and study at marine field stations and environmental centers. Participants will earn 14 to 16 semester hours of academic credit by taking a block of courses specifically designed for them. For Hood College students, the courses taken during the semester will satisfy several college-wide requirements, including the Scientific Thought and the Society, Science and Technology courses of the core curriculum. Additionally, students can obtain a minor in Coastal Studies by successfully completing the fall semester and participating in one of the Coastal Studies Field Experiences that are offered during January and summer semesters. See Majors and Programs of Study for more information on the Coastal Studies Semester.

Departmental Honors Paper

The Departmental Honors Paper is a senior-year program designed for students who wish to pursue intensive research or special projects in close coordination with faculty advisers. The course number 499 designates this type of study. Students writing Departmental Honors Papers are designated Christine P. Tischer Scholars.

Departments identify potential Christine P. Tischer Scholars from junior majors with a 3.0 overall grade point average and a 3.5 in the major, and invite students from that list to participate in Departmental Honors. Students who accept then choose topics in consultation with a departmental honors adviser. Students, in consultation with their advisers, select an advisory committee of two additional faculty members—one of whom must be outside the student’s major department—who will advise the student as needed and serve as readers. During the senior year, The Christine P. Tischer Scholars are expected to work closely with their departmental honors advisers and, where needed, their other readers. They are also required to maintain a B average in the major and present a completed paper or project by the date set by the Honors Committee in order to qualify for departmental honors at Commencement. The Christine P. Tischer Scholars receive 6 credits, which may be applied to the major or considered as electives. A grade of B- or below for the departmental honors project results in conversion of the project to 6 credits of independent study. Withdrawal from the Departmental Honors Program requires the permission of the department chair, the departmental honors advisers and the honors director.

All Departmental Honors Papers are included in the permanent collections of the Beneficial-Hodson Library.

Military Science/ROTC

Hood College offers the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Program (ROTC) in association with the Military Science Department of McDaniel College. Students completing the four-year program will upon graduation receive commissions as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army, and will then serve on active duty or in the Army Reserve or National Guard. The ROTC program offers students two, three and four year full-tuition scholarships, and qualified cadets may receive monthly stipends and allocations for the purchase of books.

First-Year Living-Learning Communities

The First-Year Living-Learning Communities are designed to provide first-year students with a common living and learning experience within their fields of interest. Students in the program will be housed together by community in the residence halls and will be required to attend monthly activities and events related to the themes, to participate in student-created programs and service projects, and to write papers reflecting on their learning experiences. In addition, students will be required to enroll in at least one of the designated courses within their communities each semester.

Study Abroad Programs

Hood students may study abroad in approved programs in virtually every part of the world. The College requires language majors to study abroad unless they reside for two years in one of the language houses.

Language students ordinarily enroll in programs abroad that offer instruction in the local language. Hood has formal associations with several established overseas programs, including those offered by The American University in Cairo (Egypt), Sweet Briar College (Paris), Dickinson College (Toulouse), University of Seville, University of Alicante, Seoul Women’s University, Sookmyung Women’s University and the Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra (Santiago, Dominican Republic), among others.

Students may also study abroad in short-term summer programs: Social Work Field Experience in Ireland (co-sponsored by Hood College and Frostburg State University) and the Bahrom International Program in Seoul, Korea.

Language students planning to study abroad should consult with the faculty of the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department; other students should consult with the Hood College Study Abroad Coordinator. All students intending overseas study should make application at least one semester in advance of the proposed study.

The College encourages students to study abroad during the junior year. Some sophomores study abroad because of compelling program or personal reasons, and in rare instances the College permits seniors to study abroad in the fall semester.

The Hood College Honors Program

A limited number of academically exceptional students are accepted into the Hood College Honors Program. Combining classroom instruction and co-curricular activities, the Honors Program offers a challenging academic experience and encourages both independent and collaborative learning. The program requirements are discussed in Majors and Courses of Study.

Independent Study and X-Credit

Independent study includes directed readings; conferences with a supervising instructor; and papers, reports and/or exams. Two kinds of independent study are available at Hood: regular (designated by the course number 375) and X-credit.

Regular independent study consists of a project designed by a student and approved by a faculty adviser with whom the student will work closely during the semester. The number of credits may vary from 1 to 3 according to departmental policies and the design of the independent study. The subject chosen may not duplicate any course offered during the period of the student’s enrollment at Hood. Registration procedures and deadlines for regular independent study are the same as for all departmental courses.

X-credit independent study also is designed by the student and approved by a faculty adviser. However, the subject matter must be related to a class in which the student is enrolled. X-credit independent study is, therefore, added to the student’s schedule after the beginning of the semester (but no later than the sixth week) and is limited to one credit. The grade for the X-credit is independent of the grade for the course to which it is related.

Before registering for regular or X-credit independent study, students should refer to the statement on credit limits for self-directed study in Undergraduate Academic Policies

Internship Program

Hood encourages qualified students (mainly juniors and seniors) in every academic discipline to take an internship, earning academic credits by working in their field, under the supervision of a professional. Internships of 3, 6, 9, 12 or 15 credits are available (depending on the discipline). The number of credit hours allowed for a summer internship is limited to 12 and is limited to 3 credits in January term. Students are encouraged to visit the Catherine Filene Shouse Career Center to explore internship opportunities. See Undergraduate Academic Policies, Alternate Forms of Enrollment for more information on internships.

Off-Campus Programs and Courses

Engineering: Dual Degree Program

Hood College and The George Washington University jointly offer a five-year program through which students earn a bachelor of arts degree with a major in mathematics from Hood and a bachelor of science in engineering degree from The George Washington University. For additional information, contact Hood’s Department of Mathematics.


Hood College is an associate member of The Public Leadership Education Network. PLEN offers exciting programs that allow Hood students to gain firsthand experience shaping public policy in communities, the nation and the world. Students who enroll in PLEN’s Women and Public Policy Internship Program learn about policy, research or social advocacy by working alongside women leaders in the Congress, courts, executive agencies and nongovernmental advocacy groups. Students may earn from 3 to 15 Hood College credits for participation in PLEN’s internship programs. Those who wish to complete a PLEN internship must also meet Hood’s requirements for internship eligibility. PLEN also offers three-day to three-week seminars on topics such as Women and Congress; Women in Science and Technology; Women and International Policy; and Women, Law and Public Policy.

For more information about any of PLEN’s programs, contact the Career Center.

Washington Semester Program

Hood College cooperates with American University’s Washington Semester Program, an arrangement that provides priority access to Hood students who join 300 to 400 other students from across the country. Students may enroll in any of the units of the program: American National Politics Semester, Foreign Policy Semester, Justice Semester, Public Law Semester, Economic Policy Semester, Peace and Conflict Resolution Semester, Journalism Semester, Museum Studies and the Arts Semester, International Business and Trade Semester and International Environment and Development Semester. The director and academic advisers of each unit help students plan their programs, including a seminar, an independent research project and either an internship or a course at American University. Entrance requirements include a Grade Point Average of 2.5, second-semester sophomore status, a recommendation from the Hood faculty adviser to the program and selection by the director at American University. Credits (but not quality points) are transferable to Hood. Because financial arrangements for room, board and tuition differ from those at Hood, students are urged to consult with the Hood financial aid officer well in advance. Hood students need not file a petition with the Committee on Academic Standards and Policies to participate in the Washington Semester.

Community College Exchange

Full-time Hood students may take one course each semester at Carroll Community College (CCC) or Hagerstown Community College (HCC) without charge, provided that the course chosen is not offered at Hood during the academic year. See Academic Policies for more information on this program.