Other Special Study Opportunities

Guilford offers numerous special study opportunities, including internships, independent study, senior thesis, special topic courses, the honors program, departmental honors work, off-campus seminars and coursework, and summer school.


Designated by the course numbers 290 and 390 in the curriculum and carrying 1 – 4 credits, internships provide students with part-time involvement in public and private agencies while they are enrolled at Guilford. Internships are open to students who have accumulated 24 or more credits and who have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.5. Applications are available in Guided Discovery. The development of a learning plan and approval by the student’s faculty advisor, faculty sponsor, site supervisor and internship coordinator are required. Summer internship credit is also available.

Regular contact with the faculty sponsor is expected throughout the duration of the internship. Deadlines for registering for an internship with the Registrar’s Office are posted in the academic calendar. Retroactive credit will not be awarded.

A student may apply a maximum of 12 credits obtained through internships to her/his degree requirements. Internships cannot, however, be used to satisfy general education requirements.

Independent Study

Academic departments offer independent study opportunities under the 260, 360 and 460 course numbers. The success of such independent work depends in large measure on the student’s initiative in shaping the terms of the investigation and her/his reliability in carrying out commitments.

A descriptive proposal of the project must be approved by the supervising instructor and the chairperson of the department. It is understood that the subject of the independent study must be supervised by someone in the department most relevant for that subject. The proposal must set forth the subject, scope, method and materials to be used during the project. It also must indicate the evaluation procedures agreed upon by the student and the supervisor. When the instructor and the chairperson have indicated their approval by signing the proposal, the student should take a copy of the proposal to the Registrar’s Office. The instructor agreeing to supervise an independent study is expected to be available for consultation while the project continues.

Students are not allowed to participate in an independent study the semester in which they are enrolled in Initiate. Further, no student may enroll for more than two independent studies or more than eight credits of such work in a single semester; also, independent studies cannot be used to satisfy general education requirements.

Independent studies normally carry 1-4 credits.

Because each credit corresponds to three hours of dedicated work per week, an associate academic dean must approve independent studies of 5 or more credits. To request such approval, students must first obtain the approval of the student’s academic advisor, instructor and department chairperson and then submit a written petition request that explains why such a large time commitment is appropriate for this work.

Senior Thesis

A written senior thesis (470 course number) may be undertaken as a separate project or as the culmination of a program of independent study. The academic department determines the format of the final work. The thesis should represent both independent research and thought. In most departments, the student submits a written thesis and defends the thesis in an oral presentation to a committee.

Special Topics Courses

Under the 150, 250, 350 and 450 designations, most academic departments offer upper-level courses exploring topics according to special interests and capabilities of groups of students and instructors. These courses may take an interdisciplinary approach and may be taught by faculty members from different departments working together as a team. Special topics courses are not scheduled on a regular basis, but as student interest warrants or as a department desires to make them available. Courses on the same topic normally are not offered more than twice.

Departmental Honors Work

Some academic departments offer an honors option (490 course number) consisting of extensive reading, independent study and perhaps a research paper or senior thesis. Detailed requirements are defined in each department’s course descriptions. Students successfully completing this course are awarded departmental honors at graduation. A minimum of 4 credits of 490 coursework is required for a student to receive departmental honors in a single department. Students may not receive departmental honors in more than one department without completing 4 credits of a 490 course separately in each of these departments. Any exception will need the approval of the provost.

Summer School

Guilford provides a summer program of one five-week day session and one 10-week evening session. Students may attend on either a full-time or part-time basis. Courses are also open to all visiting students and community residents during the summer. Students may take courses in the summer to accelerate completion of their degree program, to fulfill general education, major and minor requirements or to explore new areas of interest. Academically suspended students may elect to register for summer courses to improve their cumulative GPAs and to take additional credits. However, summer coursework does not impact a student’s academic status. 

The Early College at Guilford

Julie Winterich, Liaison for Early College at Guilford

The Early College at Guilford College is a collaborative venture of Guilford College and Guilford County Schools (GCS) for academically talented high school students (ninth through 12th graders). The Early College at Guilford is North Carolina’s first early college high school and is ranked among the nation’s best high schools in U.S. News and World Report. It is situated on the Guilford campus.

ECG students in ninth and 10th grades take honors or AP classes each semester on a block schedule. These students are taught by certified high school teachers and advised by a high school guidance counselor. Their classes are located in the ECG classroom buildings on the College campus. They have access to the College’s library, information technology and services, computer labs, Learning Commons and the cafeteria. By the end of 10th grade, students complete most requirements for high school graduation.

Junior and senior high school students are dually enrolled in Guilford and GCS. These students take a full-time college load and graduate at the end of their senior year with a high school diploma and two years of college course credits from Guilford. In grades 11 and 12, students are dispersed in courses across the campus, enrolling in a pattern of classes similar to Guilford’s first- and second-year students. These students are assigned to a Guilford faculty advisor and also work with a high school guidance counselor. Upon high school graduation, students may apply to Guilford or another college to complete their final college undergraduate degree.

Students accepted by Early College must have qualifications similar to those who are invited to participate in Guilford’s Honors Program. All applicants are required to complete an application for GCS that includes an essay, transcript and test information. Both Guilford and GCS are committed to attracting a diverse pool of applicants and to making Early College available to all qualified students.

Off-Campus Education

Washington, D.C., Semester

Any Guilford student with second-semester sophomore, junior or senior status and a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.75 (3.0 for some agencies) is eligible to spend a semester in Washington, D.C., at The Washington Center (www.twc.edu). The full-time internship and seminar provide 12 semester credits. Students may earn 4 additional credits by registering for a second course. Last-semester seniors must obtain special approval before applying.

The cost of a TWC semester is equal to full-time tuition for traditional-age students. Housing is optional and available through TWC. All financial aid normally awarded a student applies to the costs. Students are also encouraged to apply for any scholarships offered through TWC. Additional information is available through the Career Development Center and on The Washington Center’s website.

Off-Campus Seminars

Fall, spring and summer break programs are regularly planned under faculty leadership. For example: in New York City students may study art, drama and urban problems; in Washington, D.C., national government; on the coast and in the mountains of North Carolina, ecology and geology; and in the South, African American experience and culture. One credit is granted for each seminar. The College arranges for lodging, and a minimal charge to the student covers meals and travel.

Two off-campus geology seminars are offered. Natural Science Seminar travels to different locations. Seminar West, a three- to five-week field camp conducted jointly by the biology and geology departments, studies the geology and ecology of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Plateau and the East African Rift. Both of these geology seminars fulfill the natural science and mathematics requirement.

Consortium Arrangements

Degree-seeking Guilford students may supplement their course selections by cross-registering for courses at nearby colleges and universities under Greater Greensboro Consortium arrangements. Besides Guilford, the Greater Greensboro Consortium includes Bennett College, Elon University, Greensboro College, Guilford Technical Community College, High Point University, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Students enrolled at Guilford and with a minimum Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher may, with permission from the registrar and the appropriate department chair, take fall and spring semester courses for credit and without additional registration at any of seven other consortium institutions.

Cross-registration privileges assume that courses are of a general nature acceptable to Guilford College and are not offered at Guilford during the selected term. There are no additional charges beyond the payment of Guilford tuition unless the selected courses carry special fees.

As much as possible, consortium calendars are synchronized. However, because consortium academic calendars are not the same as Guilford’s, grades from consortium courses may arrive after graduation and thereby delay a student’s graduating and thus prevent him or her from participating in the graduation ceremony. Consortium schools are not required to give exams early to accommodate students. Students should check a consortium school’s academic calendar before registering for classes there.

Library resources are shared by consortia members, with many college libraries’ holdings available online through Guilford’s computers.

Students must be signed up for an equal or greater number of credits at Guilford before registering for consortium courses. Dual admission and dual enrollment outside of the cross-registration procedures are prohibited, and any changes to consortium registration must be done at Guilford and the consortium school. It is the right of each college or university to allow consortium students to take online courses.

Guilford students attending consortium schools are subject to the rules, regulations and deadlines of the consortium school. Consortium parking stickers are given by the home institution.

Study at Other Institutions

Guilford encourages our students to study for the summer, a semester or a year at other American or international universities only when such programs are consistent with the students’ educational goals and interests.

Students who want to register to complete courses at another institution must process an “Authorization for Study at Another Institution.”  This form approves coursework equivalency so that transfer credit applies to Guilford as agreed and also serves as a letter of good standing to the host institution. Students must secure the approval of their academic adviser as part of the authorization. Students not in good academic standing at Guilford College must also have their authorization reviewed by the student’s financial aid counselor so that students understand any possible implications for financial aid such a request may cause.

During fall or spring semesters, students planning to attend another institution as a visiting student must complete a leave of absence form through the Office of Academic and Student Affairs.

Only course credit, not grade points, can be transferred to Guilford from other institutions, and students must pass courses with grades of C- or better if the courses are to apply to the Guilford degree.