Academic Curriculum

The college curriculum, leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science, is organized into three parts: the core curriculum, the major, and elective courses.

Core Curriculum

The Core Curriculum consists of a set of required courses distributed across a number of disciplines. Advanced Placement credit and college courses taken elsewhere may be considered for core credit. The core is designed to open up new intellectual vistas; enhance understanding of ways of knowing within the disciplines and of connections among the disciplines; develop writing, research, and quantitative skills in order to prepare students for upper-level study; and situate students intellectually so they are prepared to make the right choice among major fields of study. Students are expected to complete most of the core by the end of sophomore year, with the exception of the advanced disciplinary and interdisciplinary, global studies, pluralism, and values requirements.

The Major

The major, or field of concentration, is designed to give the student mastery of a single field and to introduce that student to a field of possible professional involvement. A student will normally select a major by February of their sophomore year. If, at the time of preregistration for the fourth year, the student qualifies for a second major, he or she may request acceptance by that department. If the department finds that the student can complete its requirements satisfactorily in addition to the requirements for the original major, he or she may register for a double major with the final approval of the class dean. If successfully completed, the two majors will be entered on the student’s official record. It is the major that determines the type of degree that is awarded. The college reserves the right to limit the number of students in a particular major.

A student who has a particular interest best pursued by means of an interdisciplinary program of courses not covered by one of the college’s established programs may petition to follow an individualized major. Students interested in an individualized major, open only to candidates for the B.A. degree, should discuss their plans with the class dean; final approval will be determined by a committee of faculty.

Incoming first-year students wishing to major in biological sciences, chemistry, computer and information sciences, mathematics, physics, or psychology will be advised to register for the courses specified by these departments.

Students interested in premedical or pre-health professions, architecture, the 3-2 cooperative engineering program, or the five-year teacher-education track should indicate this program interest when applying. Changes may be made during the summer prior to beginning of classes. Incoming first-year students will be guided through course selection and registration over the summer by a dedicated adviser. Changes subsequent to the start of classes may be made in consultation with the student’s class dean.

The Minor

A minor is offered in many departments and in certain interdisciplinary programs. Interested students should consult the listings of the respective departments and programs. Students may register for a minor in their first semester of junior year, using the appropriate forms available in the offices of the class deans.


The curriculum is rounded out by elective courses chosen by the student in consultation with his or her adviser. To ensure the breadth of learning that electives are intended to promote, at least half of a student’s electives should be in disciplines other than his or her major.