General Education Requirements
Throughout the College’s history, its faculty has expected all students to pursue certain common patterns of study in the liberal arts as well as complete a major, a concentrated focus of study. The faculty believes that there are areas of knowledge and understanding, modes of appreciation, and kinds of skills that are of general and lasting significance to the life of the mind.
General Education provides a critical perspective on the ideas, values, expressions, and experiences that constitute our culture. General Education also encourages respect for the integrity of thought, judgment, creativity, and tradition beyond the culture of contemporary America. In addition, the faculty encourages each student to pursue some study in a foreign language.
The General Education requirements honor the tradition of breadth and depth of intellectual experience while placing emphasis on cross-disciplinary collaboration and exploration. The requirements are an integral and focal component of a Bates education, which also features study in a major and optional minor, and a senior thesis or other capstone experience.
General Education Requirements:
1. Two Concentrations. In addition to their major, students successfully complete two General Education concentrations, declared at the same time as the major. A concentration consists of four courses chosen from a faculty-designed menu that is structured around a clearly articulated organizing principle. Some concentrations also include relevant co-curricular experiences such as significant community service, musical ensembles, summer research, or volunteer work that may be used in lieu of a course toward fulfillment of the concentration. Most co-curricular experiences, though counting toward a concentration, may not be counted toward the total credits needed for graduation. Some concentrations allow the use of one or two non-Bates courses if they are preapproved by the concentration coordinator as comparable to the Bates courses in the concentration.
Concentrations are of two basic types: 1) concentrations focusing on a particular issue or topic or area of inquiry identified by self-constituted groups of faculty in different disciplines; 2) concentrations within a single department, program, or major. Students may only “double-dip” — satisfy two requirements with one course or co-curricular experience — once between their two concentrations (i.e., only one course, or co-curricular experience may count toward both concentrations). Alternatively, students may only double-dip once between their concentrations and their major (i.e., only one of the eight courses, or co-curricular experiences they choose to fulfill their two concentrations may also be counted toward their major). The two concentrations together must thus have a minimum of seven distinct courses or co-curricular experiences. When appropriate, concentration courses (but not co-curricular experiences) may be counted toward any other degree requirements (writing, scientific reasoning, laboratory experience, or quantitative literacy).
The concentration requirement may also be fulfilled by completing a second major or a minor. Students’ concentrations appear on their transcripts and are a permanent part of their academic records.
2. Three Writing-Attentive Courses. Students successfully complete three writing-attentive courses, one in their first-year [W1], one taken in the sophomore or junior year at the second level [W2], and one in their senior year at the third level [W3]. First-level courses [W1] are typically first-year seminars. The third-level writing-attentive requirement [W3] is usually fulfilled by completing a senior thesis. When appropriate, writing-attentive courses may also be used to fulfill any other degree requirements at Bates (major, minor, concentrations, scientific reasoning, laboratory experience, or quantitative literacy). All three writing-attentive courses must be taken at Bates.
3. Scientific Reasoning, Laboratory Experience, and Quantitative Literacy. Students successfully complete three distinct courses: 1) one course that requires scientific reasoning [S], which may or may not have a laboratory component; 2) one course that includes a regularly scheduled laboratory component in the laboratory or in the field [L]; 3) one course in quantitative literacy [Q].
No double-dipping is allowed among S, L, and Q courses; these requirements must be met by three distinct courses. However, when appropriate, S, L, and Q courses may be used to fulfill other degree requirements (major, minor, concentrations, and writing). A non-Bates course may be applied toward these requirements if directly equivalent to a Bates course that satisfies the requirement or with prior approval of the appropriate department/program chair and the chair of the committee that oversees these requirements.
4. Pass/Fail and General Education. Courses taken pass/fail do not count toward General Education requirements.