Gen. Ed. FAQs

How can I find out about all of the Bates degree requirements?

The requirements for a Bates degree—including course credits and quality points required to graduate, physical education requirements, residency on campus, B.A. and B.S. requirements, and others—are described fully in the Bates College Catalog (

How can I find out which courses fulfill General Education requirements?

Each course and Short Term unit has a description in the Bates College Catalog. If a course or unit fulfills one or more W, S, L, or Q requirements, these letter codes appear at the end of the course description in brackets. The General Education concentration descriptions link in the online catalog to the course lists that can be used to fulfill each concentration.

How can I find out about General Education concentrations?

The concentrations are described briefly at the beginning of the course section of the Bates College Catalog. Each description links to its full description in the online catalog, including requirements, course lists, and co-curricular options.

How do General Education requirements relate to my major?

The major offers depth of study; the General Education requirements offer breadth, and provide the opportunity to study outside the major. Some courses you take for the major may also fulfill General Education requirements.

Can one course fulfill multiple requirements?

Satisfying two requirements with one course—known at Bates as “double-dipping”—is permitted, with some restrictions:

Students may use only one course or unit to fulfill both a General Education concentration and a major requirement. Only one of the eight courses they choose to complete their two concentrations may also be counted toward the major.

Alternatively, students may use only one course, unit, or approved co-curricular experience between their two concentrations. The two concentrations together must have a minimum of seven distinct courses or co-curricular experiences.

When appropriate, courses taken to fulfill a concentration may also fulfill another General Education requirement (writing, scientific reasoning, laboratory experience, quantitative literacy).

When do I have to declare a major and my two concentrations?

All students must declare their major and concentrations by March 1 of their sophomore year. Minors and second majors (each of which may count as a concentration) are also declared by March 1 of the sophomore year.

Who can help me sort this out?

Your first-year advisor can help you begin to chart your course toward a major declaration and fulfilling your General Education requirements. You must fulfill your W1 requirements in your first year; any first-year seminar will fulfill this requirement. You should start thinking about your other requirements in your first year as well; the key is to think ahead and plan your academic program.