Winthrop University: Cultural Events - Requirement

Cultural Events


The academic programs at Winthrop University are designed to help students develop as educated persons. As a degree requirement, all undergraduate students will need to attend a certain number of Cultural Events before they are able to graduate. In order to be awarded their degrees and therefore eligible to participate in the Commencement ceremony, students must complete the Cultural Events requirement.

First-time freshmen, including those who earned transfer credit in high school, are required to attend 18 Cultural Events.

Transfer students are required to attend 3 Cultural Events for each additional 20 credit hours that they need to reach the minimum number of credit hours required for their degree (120). For example, a student who brings in 30 hours of accepted transfer credits is only required to attend 13 Cultural Events. Since undergraudate students must earn at least 31 credit hours from Winthrop University in order to be awarded their degrees, 4 Cultural Events is the lowest possible requirement.

In addition to attending Cultural Events, students can complete this requirement by submitting a petition to receive Cultural Event credit for past experiences that are considered to be culturally significant. These include:

  • On-Campus Events
  • Off-Campus Events
  • Travel Experiences
  • Military Experiences (student veterans)
  • Portfolio of Experiences (post-traditional students)

If you have any questions or concerns about this requirement or the Cultural Events petition process, please contact the Cultural Events Coordinator in the Office of Records & Registration.
Please note:

  • Students are encouraged to earn some cultural Event Credit through events in which they are not participating.
  • Students may not earn more than one half of the total required cultural event credit through a single event (e.g., trip abroad, conference, etc.).
  • Students are solely responsible for completing their Cultural Events requirements. 
  • If a student does not complete all of their required Cultural Events by graduation, they will not receive their degree nor be able to participate in the commencement ceremony.

Background and History

The cultural events requirement was adopted as an academic requirement by the Winthrop Faculty Conference in 1984 at the suggestion of the President at that time, Phil Lader. The proposal was adopted because the president and the faculty felt that exposure to culture was an important part of a well-educated and well-rounded individual and that, in general, Winthrop students did not enter the University with such exposure in their past. The faculty conference hoped that by instituting this requirement they would change the students' perceptions of culture, open them up to new experiences, and provide a pattern for future involvement in such activities. The original requirement adopted called for a maximum of 24 events over the course of a student's undergraduate career at Winthrop. The Cultural Events Committee was established at the same to time oversee the selection of approved events. All events selected were arts related and were on-campus events. The number of approved events each semester was very small, around 25. The logistics of keeping track of attendance for each event was the responsibility of the student development office.

Around 1989, the definition of a Cultural Event was expanded to allow for the inclusion of lectures, particularly when such lectures involved a respected and renowned speaker. The petition process was instituted in 1991 to allow students to gain credit for events off-campus. During this time period, the number of approved cultural events each semester rose to around 45. In the fall of 1992, a new, part-time position was created, the Coordinator for Cultural Events, and a Cultural Events Office was established. The Coordinator and the office took over the responsibility for dealing with the logistics of the cultural events requirement, monitoring attendance, making the calendar of events available, coordinating changes, etc. The Cultural Events Office was initially part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts but was later shifted to the Office of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs & Provost, and then University College. It is now part of the Office of Records and Registration, under the Division of Academic Affairs. This office now serves as the primary contact for everyone concerning the cultural events requirement. Students with questions or concerns about their attendance records, the calendar, or the requirement in general; sponsors of events; those submitting petitions and portfolios; and many other Cultural Events related items may contact the Cultural Events Coordinator in the Office of Records and Registration at 803/323-4849.

The portfolio petition process, for the post-traditional student, was officially put in place in 1998. At the same time, after two years of consideration, the faculty conference reaffirmed their support for the cultural events requirement but reduced the maximum number of events required to 18 (from 24).

Beginning in fall 2011, Winthrop University implemented Global Learning Cultural Events. Winthrop University defines "global" as "local, regional, national and/or international experiences that may differ from one's own culture." A Global Learning Cultural Event is "one in which the event's primary or secondary focus meets the global definition." All Global Learning Cultural Events are clearly designated on the Cultural Events Calendar and the University Events Calendar.

Last Updated: 7/8/19