Curricular Innovations

A wide variety of cultural perspectives and academic disciplines is one hallmark of the Bates education.

Majors include far-reaching departmental programs, including Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. Interdisciplinary academic programs include African American Studies, American Cultural Studies, East Asian Studies, and Women and Gender Studies.

The senior thesis, uncommon in an undergraduate setting, is an opportunity for extended, closely-guided research and writing, performance, or studio work.


Revised general education curriculum

With widespread participation and energetic leadership, the Bates faculty in 2006 completed the first comprehensive revision of Bates’ general education curriculum in over two decades.

Now, in Bates innovative new curriculum for general education, faculty come together for cross-disciplinary concentrations that integrate diverse ideas, people, and events.

The General Education Concentration (GEC) consists of four courses chosen from a set that is structured by faculty on the basis of a clearly articulated organizing principle.

Developing General Education Concentrations around issues of diversity is making it possible for every student to take a concentration that equips him or her with knowledge about discrimination and how different cultures think about race, gender, and difference.


Integrative learning

“In reconsidering the curricular structure of a Bates education outside the major, the model moves away from traditional distribution requirements toward a three-part, goal-oriented approach.

“The first two goals intend to draw fresh attention to writing correctly and persuasively and to understanding something about scientific methods and quantitative analysis. The third, more innovative, goal seeks to offer all undergraduates a comparative appreciation of how different disciplines function, as well as some understanding of how we solve problems by looking at them from more than one disciplinary perspective. …

“The dialogue itself has allowed us to do what we want all our students to do: to talk patiently across different ways of seeing and knowing in order to reach a deeper understanding of how we join together to teach and learn.” More…

—President Elaine Tuttle Hansen


General Education Concentrations on diverse perspectives

  • Asian Narrative Traditions
  • Class, Inequity, Poverty, and Justice
  • Considering Africa
  • Culture and Meaning
  • Diasporas
  • Identity, Race, and Ethnicity
  • Queer Studies
  • Racisms
  • Women and Gender in Asia