For Students Matriculating Prior to Fall 2015
(for students matriculating Fall 2015-Spring 2016, click here)
The general degree requirements introduce students to the special nature of inquiry in each of the four fundamental branches of the academic curriculum (the arts, the humanities, the social sciences, and the laboratory sciences), to a variety of cultural and intellectual perspectives, and to the place of physical activity in their lives. The requirement for a major concentration of study in one area ensures that each student engages in complex levels of intellectual examination and inquiry.
It is the responsibility of the student to choose and satisfactorily complete courses that fulfill the requirements for graduation. Only those students who have completed all requirements for the degree are eligible to participate in the Commencement ceremony each May. The general course requirements are described below. The specific requirements for each major are listed in the sections describing the courses of study. A single course may be used to fulfill multiple general degree requirements, distribution requirements, cross cultural requirements and major requirements, except as restricted below. Degree requirements may not be fulfilled by combinations of half-courses; only full courses fulfill distribution and graduation requirements.
All students must pass 32 courses with a cumulative average of 2.00. A student must complete a minimum of 16 courses on campus; twelve courses must be completed on campus after the student has matriculated and has declared a major. The final four courses or six of the last eight courses immediately preceding graduation must be completed on campus. To be considered "on campus" a student must be registered for a numbered course at Dickinson and must be physically on the Dickinson campus for this course work.
NOTE: These requirements are in effect as of May 5, 2015.
1. General requirements for the degree:
First-year seminar: The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: 1) Critically analyze information and ideas; 2) Examine issues from multiple perspectives; 3) Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason; 4) Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and 5) Create clear academic writing.
The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and between students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.
Writing in the Discipline (WID/WR) (one course): Preferably completed in the major or other related field, this course offers students direct instruction and practice in writing beyond the First-Year Seminar. Students will learn to 1) identify and demonstrate discipline-specific writing conventions and 2) understand that writing is recursive and develop an effective writing process. WID courses are offered across the curriculum. A single course that fulfills this and other requirements may be used to fulfill each requirement, but counts as only one of the 32 required for graduation.
Quantitative Reasoning Course (QR): A Quantitative Reasoning Course is a regular academic course designed to provide a solid foundation for the interpretation and critical understanding of the world through numbers, logic, or deductive and analytical reasoning. Both words are carefully chosen: "quantitative" suggests having to do with numbers and relations and logic, while "reasoning" refers to the creation and interpretation of arguments. Courses that focus on the analysis of and drawing of inductive inferences from quantitative data as well as courses that concentrate on the formulation of deductive and analytical arguments can satisfy this requirement. "QR" courses can be offered from any department at the college. A single course that fulfills this requirement and other requirements may be used for each requirement (unless the other requirement is Division III, Laboratory Science), but counts as only one of the 32 required for graduation.
Each semester courses meeting the Writing in the Discipline (WID) and Quantitative Reasoning (QR) requirements are noted with an attribute when viewing the course offerings in Banner.
2. Distribution Courses: Distribution requirements engage students in the full breadth of liberal learning as represented by four fundamental branches of the academic curriculum: the Humanities, the Arts, Social Sciences, and Laboratory Science.The Humanities explore and interpret human experiences and perceptions of the world primarily through textual and conceptual analysis of works of literature, religion, and philosophy.The Arts explore and interpret the human experience through creation, performance, and/or analysis of human artistic expression in the areas of dance, film, music, theatre, visual art, and creative writing. Social Sciences seek to explore and interpret social components of the human experience through observation and analysis of structures, institutions, and individuals. Laboratory Science seeks to understand the natural processes that govern Earth and its inhabitants, as well as the universe, through systematic observations and experimentation, formation and verification of theories, and computational methods in a laboratory setting.
A single course may be used to fulfill a distribution requirement in only one of the four areas. A single course that fulfills a distribution requirement and another requirement may be used to fulfill each requirement, but counts as only one of the 32 required for graduation. The following exception applies: A course that fulfills both the laboratory science (Division III) and quantitative reasoning (QR) may fulfill only one or the other.
Humanities/Arts (Division I): Students must select two courses from two of the following three areas:
Division 1.a. (Humanities): Classical Studies 200 (depending upon topic), East Asian Studies 205, Environmental Studies 111, Environmental Studies 215, German 211, Humanities 120, Humanities 220, Judaic Studies, philosophy, religion, Women's and Gender Studies 101 (depending upon topic), Women’s and Gender Studies 201.
Division 1.b. (Humanities): Literature in Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish; Africana Studies 304, Classical Studies 110, Classical Studies 200 (depending upon topic), East Asian Studies 201, East Asian Studies 202, East Asian Studies 203, Film Studies 290, Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies 290, Portuguese 290, Women's and Gender Studies 101 (depending upon topic).
Division 1.c. (Arts): Art & art history, classical archaeology, Classical Studies 100, Classical Studies 140, creative writing, dance, East Asian Studies 204, East Asian Studies 205 (depending upon topic), Film Studies 101, Film Studies 102, another film studies course (exclusive of history or media and depending upon topic), music, Russian 243, Spanish 373, theatre. NOTE: Two-half credits of performance studies or dance in the same instrument/genre OR four semesters of the same music ensemble.
Social Sciences (Division II): Students must select one course from the following: Africana Studies 100, Africana Studies 200, Africana Studies 235, Africana Studies 310, American studies, anthropology, Classical Studies 200 (depending upon topic), Classical Studies 253, East Asian Studies 206, East Asian Studies 208, East Asian Studies 310, economics, educational studies, Environmental Studies 151, Environmental Studies 206, German 340, history, international studies, Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies 121, Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies 122, Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies 202, Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies 203, Middle East Studies 233, political science, psychology, sociology, Spanish 252, Women's and Gender Studies 102, Women's and Gender Studies 200, Women's and Gender Studies 202, Women's and Gender Studies 217, Women's and Gender Studies 218.
Laboratory Science (Division III): Students must select one laboratory course from the following: Anthropology 100, biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, earth sciences, physics, Psychology 125, Science 101, Science 102.
3. Cross-cultural studies: The college requires three different types of course work to familiarize students with the ways in which the diversity of human cultures has shaped our world. These courses seek to prepare students to be effective citizens in an interdependent world and to be aware of the breadth of voices, perspectives, experiences, values, and cultures that constitute the rich tapestry of U.S. life and history.
Languages: All students must complete the equivalent of intermediate level coursework in a language that is not their native tongue. This includes languages not currently taught at Dickinson College, including American Sign Language. Fulfillment of this requirement may take the form of college-level courses for which credit is earned at Dickinson (or transferred from another institution) or through certification based on approved testing without the posting of college credit. Intermediate language courses for which credit is posted do not fulfill any other general or distribution requirements at the college. Students for whom English is not their native language, may be able to use English to fulfill this requirement. No exemptions of the language requirement will be provided.
U.S. Diversity:The United States has always been and remains a place of diversity, contest and inequality. The U.S. diversity course explores the ways in which diversity has enriched and complicated our lives. The course examines the intersections of two or more of the following categories of identity in the United States: race, ethnicity, gender, class, religion, sexual orientation, and/or disability. By considering people’s lived experiences as members of dominant and subordinated groups, this course equips students to engage a complex, diverse United States.
Comparative Civilizations: To deepen students' understanding of the diversity in cultures by introducing them to traditions other than those that have shaped the modern West, the college requires one course with a focus on the comparative study of civilizations. A single course which is designated as fulfilling this and other requirements may be used to fulfill each requirement, but counts as only one of the 32 required for graduation.
Each semester courses meeting the U.S. Diversity and Comparative Civilizations requirements are noted with an attribute when viewing the course offerings in Banner.
4. Physical education activities: Satisfactory completion of four blocks of physical education is required: four fitness activity blocks or three fitness activity blocks and one cognitive physical education block. (Full block physical education courses fulfill only one block of credit.) Participants in intercollegiate sports will receive credit for one block of physical education for each season they play a varsity sport; ROTC students will receive credit for one block of physical education for each year they remain in the program. Selected sports club activities may also receive a maximum of two fitness blocks. Transfer students with junior standing with no physical education course work need to take only two blocks of physical education. Persons who enter Dickinson after at least two years of active military service will be awarded two fitness blocks toward the requirement. Physical education blocks carry no academic credit. Most meet for half-semester; all courses, even those meeting for the entire semester, count as one block.
Every student must complete the physical education requirement unless excused in writing by the Chairperson of the Physical Education Department. Students are expected to have completed the physical education requirement by the end of the first semester of their senior year.
5. Major: Students must complete all requirements for a major. Majors consist of 10 to 16 courses. See the "Courses of Study" section below for the list of majors available to students.
The major is normally selected during the spring of the student's sophomore year. The departments determine the student's acceptance as a major upon the basis of stated criteria. The department assigns the accepted student to an advisor, using the student's preference as one of the bases for assignment. A student must be accepted for a major field of concentration by the time he or she earns junior standing. A student who does not have a declaration of a major on file in the Registrar's Office by the end of the semester in which the sixteenth course (counting towards the degree) is completed may be required to withdraw from the college.
The student may also elect a minor field of study which usually consists of six courses of academic work specified by the department offering the minor. If a student completes a minor in one or more fields of concentration, this fact will be noted on the permanent record when the degree is posted.
If a student intends to major in more than one department, approval must be secured from each department. This student must develop a program in consultation with both departments, and therefore must be advised jointly by a member from each department and must secure approval of both advisors. The same course may be counted for more than one major except for courses under the self-developed major program. However, a student will receive only one degree.
Students who wish at any time to change a major must be accepted by the new department in accordance with normal procedures for declaring a major.
Latin Honors: A student in any field who attains an average of 3.90 - 4.00 in the total program at Dickinson College shall be awarded the degree summa cum laude. A student who attains an average of 3.70 - 3.89 in the total program at Dickinson College shall be awarded the degree magna cum laude. A student who attains an average of 3.50 - 3.69 in the total program at Dickinson College shall be awarded the degree cum laude.
Academic Honorary Societies: The Pennsylvania Alpha chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was established at Dickinson College on April 13, 1887. Election to membership is the highest academic honor available to a Dickinson student. To be considered, a student must first satisfy specific criteria (GPA, total number of courses, number of Dickinson graded courses) set for each of the two elections held annually. For each class, the number of students considered does not exceed 10 percent of the total number graduating in the class. Student members are elected primarily on the basis of academic achievement, broad cultural interests, and good character.
Alpha Lambda Delta, chartered at Dickinson in 1989, is a national academic honor society for students who have high academic achievement during their first year in college.
Additionally there are fifteen honor societies recognizing achievement in a specific field of study: Alpha Omicron Delta (Athletics), Alpha Psi Omega (Drama), Eta Sigma Phi (Classics), Omicron Delta Epsilon (Economics), Phi Alpha Theta (History), Pi Delta Phi (French), Pi Mu Epsilon (Mathematics), Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science), Psi Chi (Psychology), Sigma Beta Delta (International Honor Society in Business Management & Administration), Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish), Sigma Iota Rho (International Studies), Sigma Pi Sigma (Physics), Upsilon Pi Epsilon (Computer Science), Kappa Delta Pi (Education).
Courses of Study
Students may elect either of two broad approaches to the curriculum: the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science. General graduation requirements are the same in either case. Only those students with a major in one of the natural or mathematical sciences may choose the Bachelor of Science rather than Bachelor of Arts, but the requirements for the major are the same in either case. Regardless of the number or type of majors a student completes, each student earns only one degree. Students also study in some depth at least one disciplined approach to knowledge. Dickinson students, therefore, develop a concentration in a major. The arts and humanities provide 10 such concentrations; in the social sciences there are six concentrations; the natural and mathematical sciences provide six. These 22 disciplinary majors represent the basic academic disciplines that outline the liberal arts. They are complemented by 21 interdisciplinary majors and six interdisciplinary certification programs.
Major fields of concentration offered are (those that also offer a minor are indicated with an asterisk): Africana Studies*, American Studies*, Anthropology*, Archaeology*, Art & Art History*, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Biology*, Chemistry*, Classical Studies*, Computer Science*, Dance & Music, Earth Sciences*, East Asian Studies*, Economics*, Educational Studies*, English*, Environmental Science*, Environmental Studies*, French*, German*, History*, International Business & Management, International Studies, Italian Studies, Judaic Studies*, Latin American, Latino & Caribbean Studies*, Law and Policy, Mathematics*, Medieval & Early Modern Studies*, Middle East Studies, Music*, Neuroscience, Philosophy*, Physics*, Policy Management, Political Science*, Psychology*, Religion*, Russian*, Sociology*, Spanish*, Theatre Arts*, and Women's and Gender Studies*.
In addition, minors are offered in several areas for which we do not have a major. These are: Arabic, Astronomy, Chinese, Creative Writing, Film Studies, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese and Brazilian Studies.
Certificate programs can be completed in Food Studies, Health Studies, Security Studies, Army ROTC Global Preparedness, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, as well as the CPYB/Dickinson certificate program.