2022-2023 Academic Catalog

Academic Information

The Academic Year

The academic year consists of 30 weeks of instructional time divided into two semesters. The first semester begins in late August and ends before the Christmas holidays; the second semester begins in January and ends in May. See the academic calendars provided in the front of this catalog.

There is a short Thanksgiving recess that begins at the end of classes on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and ends on the Monday immediately after Thanksgiving. There will be approximately three weeks between the end of the first semester and the beginning of the second semester. There is a spring vacation period of one week beginning on Monday of the week following mid-semester examinations. Classes resume the following Monday. Instruction is also suspended on legal holidays, i.e., Labor Day, Lee, Jackson, King Day and Independence Day.

The Summer Session

An optional summer session is offered and includes two mini terms; a six-week term and a four-week term. It offers significant opportunities for entering freshmen and other students who wish to accelerate their studies and satisfy degree requirements. Various short workshops and institutes on topics of current interest are part of the summer offerings. The summer session begins one week after the conclusion of the spring semester.

The Curriculum

The curriculum is the vehicle through which the University seeks to make its most significant impact upon the lives of students.  Developing, implementing, and updating curricula is the responsibility of the faculty and academic administrators. Curricular offerings are described in this catalog for each academic program.

Course Numbering

The three digit number will convey the course level and certain specific information as outlined:

Course Number Course Level
100-199 Freshman Level Courses
200-299 Sophomore Level Courses
300-399 Junior Level Courses
400-499 Senior Level Courses
500-599 First Year Graduate Courses
600-699 Graduate Courses

Seniors who meet the qualifications outlined in the Graduate Catalog may, with the approval of the graduate program director, enroll in 500 level courses.

Unit of Instruction

The semester credit hour is the unit of instruction used for computing the amount of work required for assigning credit. One semester hour is equivalent to one 50 - 70 minute period of instruction or lecture per week for 15 weeks. Two or three 50-minute periods of laboratory sessions are equal to one period of instruction or lecture.

Major Course of Study

Courses are organized around the major, the subject or area around which students center their studies according to talents, interests, and future plans. Usually, a student has confirmed a choice of a major by the end of the sophomore year, by which time he or she might have taken some beginning courses in the major field. The student will then take advanced courses in the major in the junior and senior years.

The major consists of a minimum of 27 semester hours in a subject or discipline. In addition to courses in the major, the student also gains general knowledge and determines interest in various fields of study in general education courses and electives.

Elective Courses

Courses not taken to fulfill general education or major requirements may be chosen as electives to complete the minimum of 120 semester hours required for graduation. In the choice of electives, students should be guided by their prospective work and interest.


Norfolk State University provides an opportunity for undergraduate, degree-seeking students to pursue studies in a minor. The minor may be chosen to complement the major, to provide recognition of study in a second academic area, to meet an area of interest by the student, or to increase job opportunities upon graduation. Completion of a minor is optional and is not required for degree completion. Minors are offered in Accounting, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, English, Fine Arts, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, Military Science, Mass Communications/Journalism, Music, Physics, Political Science, and Sociology.

Students who wish to pursue a minor must consult with the academic advisor at any time, but no later than the time to submit an application for graduation, and must declare a minor by completing a Change of Major/Minor Form. The minor will not appear on the diploma. All applicable University, school and departmental (major and minor) policies and procedures must be followed. Appropriate paperwork must be completed in a timely manner and must meet applicable deadlines.