Apr 13, 2024  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Applied Arts and Sciences, B.A.

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Minimum number of credits required to graduate:  124

Minimum Cumulative GPA required to graduate:  2.0

Minimum number of credits to complete the major:  124


The Pathway Bachelor Degree Completion (BDC) program offers a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Arts and Sciences (BA in APAS). The BDC program offers a flexible, manageable, and academically meaningful way for students to complete their bachelor’s degree at Merrimack College. Tailored to returning students and adult learners, the BDC program offers a clear, well-defined, and achievable path to degree completion, with a career-focused and academically rigorous curriculum. This program prepares students for success in today’s diverse and dynamic workplace.

Distinct from the traditional full-time onground program, the BDC program features 8-week courses taught online. It also provides one-on-one academic advising, as well as professional and career development coaching. The BA in APAS requires the completion of 124 credits, including a minimum of:

  1. 12-credits in the Professional Core

  2. 40-credits in the Arts and Sciences Core

  3. 68-credits in Open Electives

  4. 4-Credits in the Capstone Experience.

Students may transfer a maximum of up to 90-credits for previous college coursework, prior learning, and/or professional equivalencies.

Students must choose a specialization in one of the available subject areas, or an approved self-designed specialization. Each specialization requires the completion of 20 credits (five courses) within the 40-credit Arts and Sciences Core. Specializations include: Business Studies, Child & Family Studies, Communication Studies, Health and Wellness Studies, Leadership Studies, and Psychology Studies. See “The Arts and Sciences Core” below for details.

The Professional Core (12 credits)

Comprising three courses (12 credits), the Professional Core is required of all students in the BDC program. The three Professional Core courses form the foundation of a general education requirement unique to this program, by including one course in the Humanities, one in the Social Sciences, and one in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). 

Humanities Course

HUM 1100: Life, Work and Meaning

Social Science Course

PSY 2600: Psychology of Happiness

STEM Course

HSC 2200: Fundamentals of Health and Wellness 

All three courses emphasize strengthening the transferable skills employers desire: effective communication (oral and written), critical thinking, ethical judgment and decision making, effective teamwork, the ability to work independently, initiative, proactive planning, and real-world applications.

To create a homogeneous and uniquely Merrimack experience, all students in the BDC program will take these courses at Merrimack College. Students who have earned an Associates Degree are required to to take only 2 Professional Core courses. Previous Merrimack College students who return to the college and have successfully completed the Philosophy and Religious and Theological Studies requirements in the Liberal Studies Core curriculum used in the day-school program do not have to complete HUM1100.

The Arts and Sciences Core (40 credits)

The BDC program allows students to complete their degree by choosing courses based on their interests and goals. All students will complete 40-credits in Applied Arts and Sciences, including 20-credits in a specialization, and 20-credits in Arts and Sciences Electives. Students may choose to complete two specializations. A minimum of 32 of the credits in the Arts and Sciences Core must be at the 2000-level or higher.


Specializations allow students to focus their studies in particular areas, either by choosing from those offered by the college or by creating a self-designed specialization. Self-designed specializations must be approved by the program director. Specializations must include at least 16-credits at the 2000 level or higher. For students choosing more than one specialization, no more than two (2) courses can be double-counted towards two different specializations.

All students earning the BA in APAS must complete at least 3 courses within their specialization with Merrimack College courses. If a student has more than 2 courses that count towards that specialization from a prior institution, those courses can be recorded as either Arts & Sciences courses (i.e. part of the 40 credits needed in Applied Arts and Sciences) or as open electives.

Business Studies

Students who pursue a specialization in Business Studies will learn the various, technical, organizational, and operational aspects of business. They will develop an understanding of business as an integrated entity and establish professional skills in both written and oral communication, teamwork, and leadership. 

Courses include:

Business Studies

(20 credits/5 courses)

MGT 1100: Introduction to Business (required)

ACC 2203: Accounting for Business

MKT 2205: Principles of Marketing

MGT 2210: Management Information Systems

MGT 3120: Organizational Behavior

MGT 3430: Ethics and Social Responsibility

MGT 3130: Legal Environment of Business

MGT 3410: Human Resource Management

MKT 3400: Social Media Marketing

FIN 3310: Personal Financial Planning

COM 3621: Conflict Management

WGS 2310: Gender and Diversity in Leadership


Child & Family Studies 

Students who pursue a specialization in Child and Family studies will learn how to bridge research and theory to inform best practices. Specifically, they will develop an understanding of the bi-directional relationship between families and communities, how children develop in the context of communities and how these factors influence curricular, policy and practice decisions. 

Courses include:


Child & Family Studies 

(20 credits/5 courses)


EDU 2210: Child Growth & Development (0-8) (required)

CFC 2120: Family and Community Engagement

EDU 3050: Early Childhood Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

HDE 3050: Development of Emotional Competence and Social Maturity in Youth

EDU 3300: Administration of Early Childhood Programs

CFC3510: Social Issues and Policies

CFC4520: Leadership and Human Resource Development in Early Childhood Programs

MGT 1100: Introduction to Business

ACC 2203: Accounting for Business


Communication Studies

Students in this specialization will learn the skills necessary to produce appropriate messages, both oral and written, for a variety of contexts including mediated environments and in-person situations, public and private settings, and for audiences that range from small and homogeneous to large and diverse. They will study the art of persuasion and be able to communicate strategically in professional contexts.

Courses include:


Communication Studies

(20 credits/5 courses)

COM 1020: Public Communication (required)

COM 2801: Introduction to Communication

COM 3401: Principles of Public Relations

COM 3621: Conflict Management

COM 4510: Persuasion and Social Influence

COM 4520: Gender and Communication

COM 4531: Intercultural Communication

COM4500: Communication & Advocacy

COM 3742: Communication & Non-Profit Organizing

MKT 3400: Social Media Marketing

WGS 3420: Gender, Race, and the Media


Health and Wellness Studies

Students in this specialization will master the foundational concepts and principles of health and wellness; develop an understanding of the importance of life-long learning and professional development in the field; and develop critical thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills necessary in the field of health and wellness.

Courses include:


Health and Wellness  Studies

(20 credits/5 courses)

HSC 1100: Applied Anatomy and Physiology

HSC 1500: Introduction to Public Health

HSC 2104: Wellness & Physical Activity

HSC 2500: Health Behavior & Promotion

HSC 3200: Cultural Competence in Healthcare Administration

HSC 3332: Foundation of Health Policy


Leadership Studies

Students in this specialization will explore theories of leadership; leadership styles; the making of a good leader; obstacles to leadership as well as the role of diversity (race, gender, ethnicity, ability) in leadership locally and globally; and the cultural and cross-cultural dimensions of leaders and leadership. This specialization provides an opportunity for those seeking to advance their careers into positions of leadership by providing the framework for studying what it means to be a leader and develop their own leadership styles.

Courses include:


Leadership Studies

(20 credits/5 courses)

LDR 1010: Foundations in Leadership (required)

LDR 2010: Leaders as Change Agents

LDR 2440: Leading Teams

WGS 2310: Gender and Diversity in Leadership

MGT 3120: Organizational Behavior

MGT3430: Ethics and Social Responsibility 

COM 4531: Intercultural Communication


Psychology Studies

Students in this specialization will learn to evaluate human behavior from a psychological perspective, using multiple theoretical frameworks. They will also use evidence to describe and evaluate the complexity and diversity of human behavior in multiple contexts and interpret and apply psychological research to real-world contexts.

Courses include:


Psychology Studies

(20 credits/5 courses)

PSY 1000: Introduction to Psychology (required)

PSY 2100: Applied Psychological Research Methods  (required)

PSY 2200: Social Psychology

PSY 2300: Developmental Psychology

PSY 2400: Personality

PSY 2270: Group Dynamics

PSY 3100: Cognition

PSY 3250: Cultural Psychology

PSY 3410: Abnormal Psychology

MGT 3120: Organizational Behavior


Open Electives (68 credits):

Open electives allow students to explore areas in the curriculum that interests them. Students can study further in their specialization, pursue allied areas of study, or explore entirely new fields. Some open elective credits may be transfer credits or credit for prior learning (see below).

The Capstone Experience (4 credits)

The capstone experience may be taken once a student has achieved senior status (93 completed credits). This culminating experience provides a unique opportunity for students to bridge the skills they acquired during their post-secondary career with their future goals/aspirations. The capstone will be designed by the student in consultation with the faculty teaching AAS4000.  A capstone proposal must be submitted and approved by a member of the faculty. Students are encouraged to start thinking about their capstone as soon as they enroll in the program.

Transfer Credits and Credit for Prior Learning

For students in the BDC program, college credits earned at other institutions may be accepted at Merrimack College The course credit acceptance procedures allow for most courses (few exceptions) taken at any time, regardless of date (e.g., no expiration) and at any accredited post-secondary institution to be applied toward the BA in APAS. Please see “Optional Academic Programs and Activities” in the College Catalog which addresses policies for transfer credit, off-campus studies, accelerated academic progress  including exams (e.g. AP, IB, CLEP); military, government, and corporate training; and departmental exams. A maximum of 16 credits may be earned for life and work experience.


Students may also petition for credit for prior learning by submitting a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Portfolio. Students may submit a portfolio that details college level learning that took place outside of a college or university. This portfolio will be reviewed and college credits may be awarded. Students should first meet with their Education Specialist or Academic Advisor to discuss the process for submitting a portfolio.

  1. The portfolio must include:

    1. PLA Portfolio Application.

    2. An autobiographical account that describes in detail the student’s training, work, and life experiences; this must include what the student has learned from these experiences using college-level terminology.

    3.  A statement of how the prior learning relates to the specific course for which the student is requesting credit.

    4. Evidence of understanding of the subject for which the student is requesting credit.

    5. The student should demonstrate an appropriate balance between theory and application.

    6. Any examples of relevant direct verification of learning (e.g., licenses, certificates, authored reports).

    7. An in-depth description of how the student has applied, or plans to apply, the knowledge and skills acquired in other settings.

  2. All portfolio material will be submitted electronically.

  3. Review Process:

    1. Portfolios will first  be reviewed by an Education Specialist to ensure portfolios are complete.

    2. They will then be sent to the chair of the Academic Learning Council who will assign the portfolio to an appropriate member of the BDC Learning Council who will review it and get the input of the chair of the department from which credit is being sought. 

    3. BDC Learning Council members must be trained in Portfolio PLA before they may review a portfolio. The Office of Graduate and Professional Studies will develop a portfolio PLA training process. In reviewing a portfolio, the learning being evaluated must:

      1. Be measurable.

      2. Be at a level of achievement defined by the faculty as college-equivalent or consistent with the learning of other students engaged in college studies.

      3. Be applicable outside the specific job or context in which it was learned.

      4. Demonstrate a knowledge base.

      5. Be reasonably current.

      6. Imply a conceptual or theoretical as well as a practical understanding.

      7. Not repeat learning for which credit has already been awarded.

  4. The learning must be related to a specific Merrimack College course.

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