Bates students tend to be up for just about anything. It’s a good thing we have about three dozen majors and two dozen minors to choose from. Some are liberal-arts classics (history, mathematics, philosophy). Some are STEM-focused (neuroscience, engineering, biochemistry). Many draw from more than one discipline (American studies, environmental studies, biochemistry, gender & sexuality studies).

Some won’t exist until you invent them.

Majors and Minors

M = major
m = minor

Africana (M, m)
American cultural studies (M)
Anthropology (M, m)
Art & visual culture (M)
Asian studies (m)
Biochemistry (M)
Biology (M)
Chemistry (M, m)
Chinese (M, m)
Classical & medieval studies (M)
Dance (M, m)
Digital & computational studies (m)
Earth & climate sciences (M, m)
East Asian studies (M)
Economics (M)

Educational studies (m)
English (M)
Environmental studies (M)
European studies (M)
French & francophone studies (M, m)
Gender & sexuality studies (M, m)
German (M, m)
Greek (m)
Hispanic studies (M, m)
History (M, m)
Interdisciplinary studies (M)
Japanese (M, m)
Latin (m)

Latin American studies (M)
Mathematics (M, m)
Music (M, m)
Neuroscience (M)
Philosophy (M, m)
Physical education
Physics (M, m)
Politics (M)
Psychology (M)
Religious studies (M, m)
Rhetoric, film,
& screen studies (M, m)
Russian (m)
Sociology (M)
Teacher education (m)
Theater (M, m)

*Engineering students participate in the 3-2 Dual Degree program, completing three years at Bates and two years at one of our partner institutions, including Case Western University, Columbia University, Dartmouth University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, or Washington University in St. Louis.

4-4-1: A Bates take on the school year

Our academic calendar features a 4-4-1 schedule: two traditional semesters and one Short Term — four weeks in the spring where you get to focus on one thing.

General Education Concentrations (GECs)

Often described as “interdisciplinary mini minors,” general education concentrations consist of four courses chosen from a faculty-designed menu that is structured on the basis of a clearly articulated organizing principle. Some concentrations may include relevant co-curricular experiences such as significant community service, orchestra, chorus, theatrical productions, or volunteer work.

Concentrations may focus on a particular issue or topic or area of inquiry identified by several professors working across different disciplines; examples include “Environment, Place, and History” and “Public Health.” Concentrations may also be formed within a single department or program; examples of these include “Chinese Language” and “Philosophy.”

Student Support

Two fundamental elements for lifelong learning are strong writing and clear thinking. At Bates, you’ll develop both from the start. Our First-Year Seminar (FYS) is a small class focused on developing your writing and critical thinking skills. 

Your FYS professor will serve as your initial academic advisor. Once you declare your major — which isn’t required until March of your sophomore year! — a professor in that major will serve as your advisor for the remainder of your time at Bates. 

For all things non-academic, Bates students also have a Student Support Advisor. 

Just a few of the hallmarks of a Bates liberal arts and sciences education:

We know you have something to say after 16 years of school. Senior Thesis is your opportunity to end your undergraduate experience on an intellectual high note.

Senior Thesis


With Bates guidance, you can trust that your off-campus study experience will be an expansion of your studies and research, not a reprieve.

Learn More

Off-campus Study

Courses that draw connections between what you’re learning in class with your future of meaningful work: it just makes sense.

Delve into Purposeful Work

Purposeful Work

Why wait? If you’re interested in a topic, we’re interested in helping you conduct high level research. Create your own study, or support the work of one of our innovative professors.

Student Research


Dynamic. Provocative. Life-changing.
The arts provide some of our most rewarding terrains for imagination, experimentation, and intelligence.

Explore the Arts at Bates


Through the Harward Center for Community Partnerships, students, faculty, and staff engage with our community in meaningful and transformative ways.

Community Engagement