The Academic Program

The college's commitment to the liberal arts is grounded in sound educational principles and the test of long experience. The broad knowledge gained through a liberal arts education gives students a realistic understanding of the world and prepares them for meaningful lives and effective citizenship. The world they will inherit is immensely complex and problems seldom are bounded by a single field of study. The liberal arts call for students to consider a full range of perspectives and methods of analysis, often discovering solutions at the interstices of the disciplines. At the core of the liberal arts lies the relationship between student and teacher. The members of the Bates faculty are accomplished scholars and artists whose first priority is educating undergraduates.

The Liberal Arts Tradition

The liberal arts are concerned with the intellectual and ethical dimensions of personal growth. The college seeks students who will fully engage in this enterprise: excited by ideas, artistic expression, and challenging conversations, and eager to undertake the hard work that is the price of discovery. Each student must cultivate their own effective habits of mind; the college develops, encourages, and directs that process.

A Bates liberal arts education aspires to be truly transformational. Students are challenged to think judiciously and argue honestly, engage with ideas and individuals respectfully, develop the confidence to change their mind: to grow. They should demonstrate moral awareness, developing a sense of personal integrity and civic responsibility.

The Bates liberal arts tradition is expansive, prizing a wide range of voices and seeking new perspectives on both longstanding and emerging questions. The college embraces new knowledge and analytical approaches through a dynamic curriculum. New fields of scholarship are introduced by the faculty, and the most recent advances in technology and pedagogy are incorporated into each field of study. Bates promotes the development of critical thinking and writing skills throughout the curriculum, from the first-year seminar program to rigorous senior capstone work. The college encourages students to pursue their own original research as an extension of their course work and offers opportunities to do so. Recognizing the essential role the liberal arts play in the development of social responsibility and good citizenship, the college encourages students to study abroad and to integrate community-engaged learning and research into their academic work.  

The Academic Calendar

The academic calendar consists of two semesters and a Short Term. The first semester ends in mid-December and the second ends in April. A four-week Short Term usually concludes at the end of May. First-year and all other new students must participate in new-student orientation at the end of August. Although new students register for courses prior to their arrival, they may adjust their registrations during the orientation period. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors register during designated periods in each prior semester.

Short Term. The Short Term provides an unusual opportunity for a variety of educational programs, including those off campus, which cannot be offered in the regular semesters. These include such courses as marine biology fieldwork on the coast of Maine and immigration studies on the U.S.-Mexico border. The Short Term allows time for archaeological investigations; field projects for students in anthropology, environmental studies, and sociology; social-service internships associated with academic departments and programs; and immersion in studio art practice, dance, theater, and laboratory science. Short Term offers an opportunity for pedagogical innovation, including practioner-led courses taught by experts in a variety of fields and curricular redesign courses, in which students help faculty reimagine their course offerings. The term also enables faculty to teach courses in other countries. Recent off-campus Short Term courses have focused on ecology in the Galápagos Islands, literature and culture in China, sustainable urbanism in Germany, and Shakespeare in London, and theater and film in Hungary.

Students may register for only one course per Short Term, and must be enrolled at Bates in either the preceding fall or winter semester in order to enroll in a Short Term course in that academic year. Students must successfully complete two Short Term courses in order to fulfill the degree requirements. A third Short Term course is optional. Each Short Term course carries 0.5 credits, which is applied to the 32 credits required to graduate.

Students wishing to register for a third Short Term course receive a lower registration priority than students registering for their first or second course. Short Term grades are calculated in the cumulative GPA. Students on disciplinary probation may not participate in Short Term courses with time off-campus.

Student Enrollment

All students at Bates are full-time students and, in order to make standard progress toward the degree, are expected to register for courses that earn no fewer than 4 credits each semester. Students may not take a combination of courses that, when combined, earn fewer than 3 credits per semester unless there are extenuating circumstances and the student secures approval from the Committee on Academic Standing. Students on a leave of absence are not considered "enrolled" during the period of the leave.

No extra tuition charge is levied upon students who register for more than 4 credits. Similarly, no reduction in tuition is granted to students who choose to register for fewer than 4 credits during any of their semesters at Bates.

Academic Advising

Each Bates student has one or more academic advisors who provide advice in planning a curriculum to meet the student's particular needs. New students are assigned academic advisors from among members of the faculty, usually the student's first-year seminar instructor. The advisor holds individual conferences with a student during the student's first week on campus and continues to counsel the student until a major is declared. The major department or program assumes the advising responsibility once a student has declared a major — no later than 1 March of the fourth semester . The student and the advisor meet during registration periods and on an informal basis whenever the student seeks advice about the curriculum, course selection, General Education, the major program, the thesis or senior project, progress toward the degree, graduate school, or other academic concerns. Though faculty members provide academic advice, final responsibility for course selection and the completion of degree requirements rests with the student. The Office of the Registrar provides students and advisors an online audit on the Garnet Gateway to evaluate student progress toward the degree; this audit is available for General Education and degree requirement advising. Student support advisors provide personal support and supplemental academic advising. Prior to matriculation, each student is assigned a student support advisor who remains in that role throughout the student's enrollment at the college.

In addition to the academic advisor, faculty committees and the Bates Center for Purposeful Work provide guidance on graduate and professional schools. The Committee on Graduate Fellowships provides general information and supervises the selection process for national and international graduate fellowships and grants. Students planning professional careers in health fields are aided by the Committee on Medical Studies. Students interested in graduate or professional schools are encouraged to contact these committees and the Center for Purposeful Work's counseling staff early in their college career so that a curriculum and a series of related internships and work experiences can be planned to meet their professional goals.

The First-Year Seminar Program

Each first-year student takes a first-year seminar, a limited-enrollment course specifically designed for first-year students. Topics vary from year to year, but seminars represent a broad range of interdisciplinary issues and questions addressed within the tradition of the liberal arts. First-year seminars enable entering students to work with faculty and other students in a small class; they provide closely supervised training in techniques of reasoning, writing, and research; and they foster an attitude of active participation in the educational process. First-year seminars carry course credit toward the baccalaureate degree and are offered only in the fall semester. All first-year seminars fulfill the first-level writing requirement [W1], and may fulfill other General Education, major, or minor requirements. Usually a student's first-year seminar instructor is also their academic advisor. Descriptions of first-year seminars are found in the Courses of Instruction section of this catalog; the first-year seminars offered in a particular semester may be found in the online Schedule of Courses.

General Education

Throughout the college's history, the 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 human culture. General Education also encourages respect for the integrity of thought, judgment, creativity, and tradition beyond contemporary America. In addition, the faculty encourages each student to pursue some study in a language other than English.

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.

The faculty revised the General Education requirements effective with the Class of 2023 and beyond. Students in the Class of 2022 should follow the General Education requirements in the 2018-2019 catalog.

General Education Requirements for the Class of 2023 and beyond:
1. One Concentration.
In addition to the major, students successfully complete course work in a second area of study, whether a General Education Concentration (GEC), a minor, or a second major. A concentration consists of 4 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 applied 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 discipline.

Regardless of how a student satisfies the requirement for a second area of study, whether by completing a GEC, minor, or a second major, the name of the second area of study appears on the student's transcript and is a permanent part of the student's academic record.

Requirements in both the major and the second area of study may be simultaneously satisfied by individual courses without restriction. However, some GECs, minors, and second majors are unavailable to students pursuing certain majors if the course work is deemed too closely related to ensure breadth. Any such exclusions are detailed in the descriptions of majors, minors, and GECs in the college catalog.

2. Three Writing-Attentive Courses. Students successfully complete 3 writing-attentive courses, one in their first year at the first level [W1], a second [W2] in the sophomore year or later and before the W3, and a third course [W3] during the senior year. 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. All three writing-attentive courses must be taken at Bates.

3. Modes of Inquiry. To acknowledge the importance of the entire scope of the liberal arts and to ensure additional breadth of education beyond the major and the second area of study, students successfully complete 5 courses with distinct approaches to scholarly inquiry.

Courses that satisfy these requirements, which are labeled as such in the college catalog, significantly engage students with the particular mode of inquiry. In addition to providing opportunities for students to develop facility with the mode of inquiry, instructors may encourage students to critically evaluate the values, strengths, and limits of mode-specific methodology. Students can then reflect on the epistemological differences between varied approaches to constructing knowledge.

  1. Analysis and Critique [AC]
    This mode examines cultural products and processes to consider how and why meaning is created and contested, arguments are constructed, art is produced, and values are established. Courses with this designation help students understand how forms of representation create and communicate meaning as they explore the workings of language, rhetoric, informal reasoning, and systems of belief. Students analyze, for example, aesthetic patterns, artistic traditions, philosophical argumentation, and rhetorical strategies to acquire the critical skills to identify and investigate the complex dynamics, norms, beliefs, and agencies at play within cultural products and processes.
  2. Creative Process and Production [CP]
    This mode provides the skills requisite for the creation and production processes and experiments with ways to express, test, and/or give form to ideas. Whether making art, composing music, writing creatively, producing film, envisioning the world in a new language, or performing in various ways, students in courses with this designation engage with and develop their ideas and imagination. Students enter into a dialogue with past and current practices, reexamining them and gaining an understanding of the fields from a maker's, experimenter's, or performer's point of view.
  3. Historical and Social Inquiry [HS]
    This mode of inquiry explores the history and complexity of the individual, human societies, and social interaction, from the intimate to the global, across time and space. Courses with this designation pay attention to the diverse tools scholars use to examine systematically the way in which humans experience, construct, and behave within the social worlds they inhabit, around the world and across the millennia. They often consider how social structures define and distribute wealth, power, and status among different human populations. As students investigate the bidirectional relationships between individuals and groups, groups and societies, and societies and nations, they note how contextual variables at each level of analysis influence how people understand themselves and others and foster an empathetic understanding of the human condition.
  4. Scientific Reasoning [SR]
    Scientific reasoning is an iterative process that uses empirical observations to develop and test theories about the natural world. Courses with this designation teach students the utility of scientific reasoning when developing explanatory models that unify a broad range of systematic observations. Students explore the process of testing hypotheses and theories by comparing predictions to observations. Through activities that may include gathering, analyzing, and interpreting empirical measurements, students learn the value of reliable data for drawing scientific conclusions.
  5. Quantitative and Formal Reasoning [QF]
    Quantitative reasoning is the application of basic mathematics and statistics to interpret data, draw conclusions, and solve real-world problems. Formal reasoning involves developing, understanding, and manipulating symbols based on an explicit set of rules. Courses with this designation sharpen students' facility with numerical, logic, and other symbolic systems. By applying basic mathematics and analysis tools (e.g., graphing, simple statistics), students learn to extract meaning from real-world data. Experience with formal systems such as logic, computer programming, and mathematical proofs hones students' ability to make valid deductions in abstract contexts and sound judgments in everyday life. Learning how and when to engage explicit rules for decision making enables students to formulate and assess quantitative arguments and logical constructions.

No double-dipping is allowed among [AC], [CP], [HS], [SR], and [QF] courses; these requirements must be met by five distinct courses. If an individual course is designated by two different modes of inquiry, the student may elect one mode or the other, but not both simultaneously. However, students may apply a total of up to two courses from the combined major and the second area of study toward fulfilling the mode of inquiry requirements. Consequently, students must fulfill at least three modes of inquiry from courses outside the major and the second area of study. Non-Bates courses can be applied to the Modes of Inquiry requirements if they are determined to be equivalent to a Bates course that is tagged with mode designations.

4. Pass/Fail and General Education. Courses taken pass/fail do not count toward General Education requirements.

Major Fields of Study

While the faculty believes that each student should be essentially familiar with many fields of liberal learning, it also believes that a student must choose a field of special concentration — a major — to gain the advantages that come from studying one academic subject more extensively. This major field occupies a significant percentage of the student's college work and may be related to an intended career following graduation.

Students may declare 1 or 2 majors. Completion of more than 1 major requires fulfillment of all major requirements, including the thesis, senior project, and/or the comprehensive examination, in each academic department or program. Students who seek to declare 3 majors must obtain permission of the chair of each of the departments or programs in which they plan to major as well as permission of the Committee on Academic Standing prior to declaration of the third major.

Departmental Majors. The following majors are offered by academic departments: anthropology; art and visual culture; biochemistry; biology; chemistry; dance; earth and climate sciences; economics; English; French and Francophone studies; German; Hispanic studies; history; mathematics; music; philosophy; physics; politics; psychology; religious studies; rhetoric, film, and screen studies; sociology; and theater. The specific requirements for each major are explained in the introduction to the department's courses of instruction in the catalog.

Interdisciplinary Program Majors. The faculty has established interdisciplinary programs in which students may major: Africana; American studies; Asian studies, which offers majors in East Asian studies, Chinese, and Japanese; classical and medieval studies; environmental studies; European studies; gender and sexuality studies; Latin American and Latinx studies; and neuroscience. The curriculum of the recently established interdisciplinary program in digital and computational studies is under development. The programs are administered by committees of faculty members from the programs and from different departments. Major requirements for these programs are explained in the introduction to each program's courses of instruction in the catalog.

Individual Interdisciplinary Majors. In addition to established departmental and program majors, a student may propose an individual interdisciplinary major, should that student discover a well-defined intellectual interest that crosses one or more boundaries of the established fields of concentration. An interdisciplinary major involves a detailed program of study with courses drawn from at least two departments or programs but only one senior thesis and/or comprehensive examination.

Guidelines and an application for the individual interdisciplinary major are available from the registrar's office. Proposals for interdisciplinary majors must be submitted to the registrar for approval by the Committee on Curriculum Review by 1 March in the sophomore year. Proposals must include a faculty advisory board of at least three faculty members who have agreed collectively to act as major advisor. One of these faculty members also serves as thesis advisor unless the student's program includes a senior seminar instead of a thesis. The student provides a list of appropriate courses to be included in the major. The student with an individual interdisciplinary major graduates with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.

Engineering Major. Students interested in aerospace, biomedical, chemical, civil, electrical, environmental, mechanical, mineral, or nuclear engineering may participate in the college's Liberal Arts-Engineering Dual Degree Program, in which three or four years at Bates are typically followed by two years at an affiliated engineering school. Recommended course sequences vary according to each student's particular engineering interests; curricular guidelines are available from the Dual Degree Program faculty advisor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dual Degree Program majors complete all General Education requirements except the third-level writing requirement [W3].

Upon completion of the five-year Dual Degree Program, students receive an undergraduate degree from Bates in engineering and a bachelor of science degree in engineering from the engineering-school affiliate.

The Senior Thesis

A distinctive feature of the Bates curriculum is the senior thesis, which is offered by all departments and programs that offer a major, and required for most majors. The faculty believes that a Bates student is well prepared to undertake a significant research, performance, or studio project in the final year of study in the major. The traditional senior thesis involves one or two semesters of original research and writing, culminating in a substantial paper on a research topic of the student's design. Such an effort requires that the student possess a deep understanding of the subject area, its theoretical underpinnings, and its research methodology. The student must also be able to think critically and comprehensively about the topic, and must be able to advance a well-formulated argument. Conducting a senior thesis draws on a student's past academic experience and requires considerable independent thinking and creativity, self-discipline, and effective time management.

The student is guided in this process by the thesis advisor. Many departments and programs bring thesis students together in seminar courses or colloquia in which they meet regularly to discuss current literature, research methodologies, and their own progress. Many departments and programs require students to deliver formal presentations of their thesis work.

Some departments and programs offer or require thesis work that includes theatrical or musical performance, film and video production, curriculum development, community-based research, or studio art work and exhibition. Rarely, qualified students undertake a joint thesis in which two students collaborate on one project.

Several departments and programs offer alternatives to the thesis through which a senior may culminate a career at Bates, including portfolios, comprehensive examinations, or capstone research seminars. Specific information on the work required of seniors in the major fields is detailed in the introductions to the courses of instruction for each department and program in the catalog.

The Honors Program

The college's Honors Program promotes, develops, and recognizes work of higher quality than ordinarily required for the baccalaureate degree. The program encourages students to achieve mastery of a specific topic within the context of a major through extensive independent study and research. Honors study proceeds throughout fall and winter semesters of the senior year under the guidance of a faculty advisor; some students begin honors research in the summer preceding the senior year.

The Honors Program consists of a substantial written thesis and an oral examination on the thesis. In an alternative offered by some departments, eligible students elect a program consisting of a performance or a project in the creative arts, a written statement based on the project, and an oral examination on the project. Examination committees include the thesis advisor, members of the major department or program, at least one faculty member from a different department or program, and an examiner from another institution who specializes in the field of study.

Honors theses become a part of the archives of the college, held on SCARAB, Bates' online repository for publications. More information on the Honors Program is available on the program's website (


In addition to completing a major, a student may elect to complete a minor in a number of disciplines. Minor requirements vary and are detailed in the introductions to the courses of instruction of the relevant departments or programs in this catalog. Minors are offered in Africana; anthropology; Asian studies; chemistry; Chinese; dance; earth and climate sciences; educational studies; French and Francophone studies; gender and sexuality studies; German; Greek; Hispanic studies; history; Japanese; Latin; mathematics; music; philosophy; physics; religious studies; rhetoric, film, and screen studies; Russian; teacher education; and theater.

Independent Study

Independent study courses allow students to pursue individually a course of study or research not offered in the Bates curriculum during the semester (courses designated 360) or the Short Term (s50). The student designs and plans the independent study in consultation with a faculty member. The work must be approved by a Bates department or program, supervised by a Bates faculty member who is responsible for evaluation of the work and submission of a grade, and completed during the semester or Short Term for which the student has registered for the course. Faculty members advise independent studies voluntarily and may decline to advise an independent study course.

Independent study course work is undertaken during the academic year, and it may reflect upon summer activities. Credit, however, is awarded for work done during the academic year and the student must register for a fall independent study during the spring before the activity takes place when a summer learning experience is a substantial component of the independent study. The student must be in residence and may not complete an independent study away from campus. Students may not receive credit for employment unless there is a clearly defined academic component to the work. Academic credit is not granted for work completed under Bates summer research grant programs. Students may register for no more than one independent study course during any given semester. A student may complete a total of only one Short Term independent study course during their Bates career. For more information, students may consult the Independent Study Registration Form, available from the registrar.

Requirements for the Baccalaureate Degree

The Course Credit System. A student's progress toward the baccalaureate degree is measured by course credits. Courses offered in the fall and winter semesters carry 1 course credit, with the exception of studio dance, music ensembles, theater production, applied music, and Bates Stem Scholars courses, which carry 0.5 credit. Short Term courses carry 0.5 Short Term credit.

Candidates for the baccalaureate degree must earn

32 credits, including credits earned in 2 Short Term courses

Grades. The faculty of the college assesses student academic performance by assigning the following grades: A, B, C, D, and plus and minus for each; and F. Quality-point equivalents for these grades are described below. A temporary grade of DEF indicates that a student has secured, through a faculty member and the Office Student Support and Community Standards, a formal deferral for incomplete course work. Incomplete work for which deferred grades are given must be completed in a specific period of time as determined on the deferral form. The deferred grade becomes an administrative F (F#) grade if the work is not completed on time or when a faculty member does not submit a grade. The F# grade is computed in the GPA as zero quality points. The final grade, if previously deferred, includes an asterisk (*) when posted on the transcript. In cases in which the due date for course work is extended beyond the end of the semester as part of a pre-approved accommodation for a documented disability or learning difference, the final grade is not differentiated on the transcript from the grades for courses completed in the normal time frame. A grade of W indicates that a student was granted permission to withdraw from the course after the official drop date. The Committee on Academic Standing may grant such withdrawals. Faculty members may choose to use Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) grades to assess the work of all of their students in any given Short Term course.

Repeating Courses. Students may repeat a course only if they have received a grade of F for the course or have withdrawn and received a grade of W, with the exception of certain courses which may be taken more than once for credit, as determined by the Committee on Curriculum Review. Course descriptions note if a course may be repeated for credit. An F grade remains in the student's grade point average, however, even if the course is repeated.

Pass/Fail Option. Over the course of their Bates career, students may elect to take a total of 2 Bates courses in the fall or winter semester on a pass/fail basis, with a maximum of 1 course per semester. Students may not elect to take a Short Term course pass/fail. The following conditions apply:

1. Students may declare or change a pass/fail option until the final day to add a course. Students may change from a pass/fail option to a letter grade option until the final day to drop a course.

2. Students taking a course pass/fail are not identified as such on class rosters. Faculty members submit a regular letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) to the registrar, who converts the letter grade to a pass or a fail. A grade of D-minus or above is considered a passing grade. Unless the student chooses to inform the instructor, only the student, the student's advisor, and the registrar know the grading mode for the course.

3. Departments and programs decide whether a course taken pass/fail can be used to satisfy major and minor requirements. This information appears in the paragraphs introducing the courses of instruction for each department and program in this catalog.

4. Courses taken pass/fail are not computed in the student's grade point average, and do not count toward General Education requirements. A pass is equivalent to two quality points.

Grade Reports. At the end of each semester and Short Term, grade reports are available for viewing on the Bates Garnet Gateway, the secure online records system ( The faculty has developed policies governing academic standing.

Course Evaluations. At the end of each semester and Short Term students are required to complete an evaluation of each course taken. Students have a limited amount of time in which to complete a web-based course evaluation, available on the Garnet Gateway. Students' grade reports are not immediately released if this requirement has not been fulfilled.

Dean's List. Based on semester grade point averages, at the conclusion of each fall and winter semester approximately the top 25 percent of students are named to the Dean's List. To be eligible, students must have completed all course work by the end of the semester and received letter grades in at least 3 Bates courses. In 2021–2022 a student must earn a GPA of 3.92 or higher to be named to the Dean's List.

Degree Requirements for the Class of 2025 and beyond

Note: Students in the Class of 2022 should consult the 2018-2019 catalog for degree requirements, except for information on academic honors, below.

Students may pursue courses leading to the degree of either bachelor of arts or bachelor of science. Upon matriculation, all students are initially assigned to the bachelor of arts program and must declare the bachelor of science degree program with the registrar's office if pursuing that degree.

When determining graduation eligibility, students are held to the curriculum and degree requirements listed in the catalog for the year in which they matriculated at Bates. If officially withdrawn and readmitted, students are held to the curriculum and degree requirements listed in the catalog in the year in which they are readmitted, or as determined by the Committee on Academic Standing upon readmission. Each student is solely responsible for completing all of these requirements.

Each candidate for graduation must complete the following requirements:


1. 32 course credits, including 1 Short Term credit (each Short Term course contributes 0.5 to the 32 Bates credit total) and 68 quality points.

The following values are used to compute quality points:

GPA Table
A+ = 4.0 B+ = 3.3 C+ = 2.3 D+ = 1.3 F = 0 ON = 0
A = 4.0 B = 3.0 C = 2.0 D = 1.0 F# = 0 W = 0
A- = 3.7 B- = 2.7 C- = 1.7 D- = 0.7 DEF = 0 P = 2

2. A major field of study. Students successfully complete all prescribed work in a major, including a senior thesis or senior project, as determined by the major department or program. Students may complete a maximum of 2 majors. Students who wish to pursue 3 majors must petition the Committee on Academic Standing for permission to do so. This petition must include justification for the exception to the rule not allowing more than 2 majors and written support from the chairs of each of the 3 departments or programs in which the student intends to major.

3. Registration in each regular semester for courses that earn no fewer than 3 or no greater than 5.5 academic credits.

4. Enrollment in courses at Bates for the final semester of the senior year. Senior work in the major field must be completed in residence.

5. General Education requirements. A full description of General Education requirements for the Class of 2023 and beyond can be found above. Education requirements for the Class of 2022 can be found in the 2018-2019 catalog.

6. Bachelor of science requirements. Candidates for the bachelor of science degree must complete CHEM 107A; CHEM 108A; MATH 106 or 206; or PHYS 108 or s31. Students with Advanced Placement credit, International Baccalaureate credit, A-Level credit, or approved transfer credit may fulfill the requirement for one or more of these courses. Students must declare their intention to earn the B.S. degree no later than the end of the first semester of their senior year. Pass/fail may not apply to courses for the B.S. requirements.

7. Liberal Arts-Engineering Dual Degree Plan. After three or four years (depending on the engineering program) of full-time study at Bates, qualified students may enroll in a two-year engineering program at Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Case Western Reserve University, or Washington University in St. Louis. Dual Degree Program majors complete all General Education requirements except the third-level writing requirement [W3]. Upon completion of this five- or six-year program, students receive both an undergraduate degree from Bates College and a bachelor of science from the engineering school affiliate. Students who wish to pursue this line of study should consult with the faculty advisor for the Dual Degree Plan within the first two weeks of their undergraduate career.

8. Academic honors. The College recognizes academic achievement though three kinds of honors: general honors, major-field honors, and Dean's List.

General honors are calculated as follows: By the start of each academic year, the registrar computes the minimum cumulative grade point average necessary to rank students in the top 2 percent, 8 percent, and 15 percent of the combined last three graduating classes. In 2021–2022, students with GPAs of 3.98 or higher earn the distinction of summa cum laude; GPAs of 3.90 to 3.97, magna cum laude; and GPAs of 3.83 to 3.89, cum laude.

A student must successfully fulfill all requirements for the baccalaureate degree in order to participate in the Commencement ceremony and receive a diploma.


Thesis Out of Residence. Students who did not graduate and who are no longer enrolled at Bates but wish to satisfy an outstanding thesis requirement in order to satisfy their graduation requirements may petition the Academic Standing Committee for permission to conduct thesis out of residence. They must first secure approval of the appropriate department or program chair and have an instructor from the department or program willing to advise the thesis. If approved by the Academic Standing Committee, the student is registered for thesis in the semester in which it is being written. For 2021-2022, the Thesis Out of Residence course fee is $1,950, which is payable at the time of registration.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal law requires the college to establish standards of satisfactory progress toward the degree and to monitor each recipient of federal aid to insure that the student is making satisfactory progress according to those standards. The concept of satisfactory progress mandates the monitoring of both grade point average (GPA) — qualitative progress — and the number of credits completed — quantitative progress. The academic standing of students is reviewed twice a year: following the fall semester and following Short Term, when both the winter semester and Short Term are considered. Short Term is considered part of the student's cumulative GPA and is included when calculating good standing or probation. The Short Term GPA, considered in itself, does not result in dismissal as outlined in the qualitative standards below. The Committee on Academic Standing is responsible for evaluation of the student's progress, reviews the student's academic standing, and evaluates petitions for exceptions to these standards. In addition, the Office of Student Support and Community Standards may authorize exceptions for serious illnesses or personal emergencies. The college has established these standards:

Qualitative Standards. All Bates course grades are included in a student's GPA. Student academic standing is determined as follows:

For students in good academic standing:

  • If the semester GPA is below 1.0: dismissal
  • If the semester GPA is above 1.0 but the cumulative GPA is less than 2.0: probation
  • If the semester GPA is above 1.0 and the cumulative GPA is equal to or greater than 2.0: good academic standing

For students on academic probation:

  • If the semester and cumulative GPA are below 2.0: dismissal
  • If the semester GPA is equal to or greater than 2.0 but the cumulative GPA is less than 2.0: probation
  • If the cumulative GPA is greater than or equal to 2.0: good academic standing

Final semester seniors:

  • Students graduate if the normal degree requirements, including courses, Short Term courses, and total grade point averages, are met. This applies to students on academic probation from the prior semester, even if they do not fulfill the normal probationary requirements for good academic standing in the second senior semester.

Dismissal. Students who are dismissed as a result of failing to meet the qualitative standards outlined above are ineligible to return to Bates until they reestablish their eligibility after academic dismissal.

The Office of Student Support and Community Standards staff inform students and their advisors about changes in academic standing. Parents are informed when students are placed on probation or are dismissed. Students may petition the Committee on Academic Standing to have the standard of academic dismissal waived after consulting with their student support advisor.

Reestablishing Eligibility after Academic Dismissal. In order to reenroll, dismissed students must submit a petition to the Committee on Academic Standing. Dismissed students are required to spend at least one semester away from Bates and readmission is not automatic. The evidence required by the committee that the student is ready to reenroll varies, but typically includes at least 2 courses taken at an accredited four-year college or university with grades of "B" or better in all courses taken, discussion in the petition of the circumstances that led to the dismissal, experiences undertaken while away, and reasons why the poor academic performance is unlikely to be repeated.

Students who are dismissed from the college a second time must typically spend at least one year away from Bates before petitioning to reenroll. All other standards described above apply. Readmission is not automatic.

Students who are dismissed from the college a third time are dismissed with finality and are not eligible to reenroll at Bates. In extraordinary circumstances, a student dismissed with finality may petition the Committee on Academic Standing to request that the dismissal with finality be waived.

Quantitative Standards. A student's progress toward the baccalaureate degree is measured by course credits.

Normally, students successfully earn 8 credits by the end of their first year, 16 credits by the end of their second year, 24.5 credits, including 1 Short Term credit by the end of their third year, and 32 credits, including 2 Short Term courses by the end of their fourth year.

To comply with the satisfactory-progress policy, each student must successfully earn the following minimum numbers of semester course and Short Term course credits: no fewer than 6 credits earned from Bates courses by the end of the first year; no fewer than 14 credits by the end of the second year; no fewer than 22.5 credits, including 1 Short Term credit (0.5 credit) by the end of the third year; and 32 credits, including 1 Short Term credit (2 Short Term courses, each earning 0.5 credit) by the end of the fourth year.

Maximum Time Frame. All students, with the exception of transfer students, are expected to complete the degree in 8 semesters; students are eligible to continue enrollment and receive financial aid for 8 full-time semesters. Any student not meeting the standards of satisfactory progress is ineligible to return to Bates or receive federal student aid.

Reestablishing Eligibility after Quantitative Suspension. The Office of Student Support and Community Standards staff notifies students if they have not met the quantitative standards. Students are considered withdrawn until satisfactory progress is reestablished. If denied aid or permission to return because of failure to meet the quantitative satisfactory-progress policy standards, students may reestablish eligibility for federal aid by subsequently meeting the standards through transfer credit or the posting of other non-Bates credit. The Committee on Academic Standing may also readmit students who petition the committee for readmission when there are exceptional or extenuating circumstances. A student who has reestablished eligibility may be considered for aid for upcoming periods but not for periods during which standards were not met. The student support advisor, the academic advisor, and the registrar can consult with students seeking to rectify deficiencies in grades or earned credits.

Appeals for Financial Aid. A student who is ineligible for financial aid due to lack of satisfactory progress or exceeding the 8-semester time limit, and who believes that exceptional or extenuating circumstances caused this ineligibility, may request a review by the director of student financial services and the dean of admission and financial aid.

Additional Information. Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress do not receive the following types of financial aid: federal Pell Grant; federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant; Federal College Work-Study; federal Perkins Loan; federal Stafford Loan; federal PLUS Loan; or Bates College scholarships, grants, loans, or employment. Students on probationary status are still eligible to receive financial aid; students dismissed are ineligible. Students who receive approval from the Committee on Academic Standing to reduce their course load below 3 credits are required to repay the appropriate financial assistance. Students participating in the Federal College Work-Study Program are subject to termination of employment. The grades of F and DEF are not considered as successful completion of a course. A student who is suspended for unsatisfactory scholarship, or for disciplinary or financial reasons, is denied permission to continue to attend classes, to enroll in subsequent terms, to reside in college housing, to receive Bates-funded financial aid, and to participate in Bates-sponsored extracurricular activities or use facilities in ways that are not also open to the general public.

Reinstatement after Withdrawal or Dismissal

A student in good academic standing who withdraws from the college may be reinstated at the discretion of the senior associate dean of students or a designee, if the reinstatement is within 2 years of the withdrawal and there are no outstanding financial obligations to the college. In no cases are students readmitted when they have outstanding financial obligations to the college or are past due in federal student loan repayments. A student in good standing who has withdrawn for more than 2 years, a student not in good standing, or a student who has been dismissed from the college must apply for readmission to the Committee on Academic Standing through the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Students not in good standing or dismissed must be separated from the college for at least 1 full semester, and must provide evidence of serious purpose and of academic or professional involvement. Candidates for readmission for the fall semester must submit their credentials by 1 May. Those seeking readmission for the winter semester must submit their credentials by 15 November. Students who are approved to be readmitted by the Academic Standing Committee will return with the status of Academic Probation for their first semester back at Bates. Academic Standing will be reevaluated at the end of the first semester after readmission.

Global Education Programs

The college provides extensive semester and yearlong off-campus study opportunities through which approximately 60 percent of juniors study each year. These programs can greatly enrich student academic and personal development by providing engagement with different cultural and educational settings, opportunities for field research and, in many cases, immersive language study. Opportunities include the Bates Fall Semester Abroad (FSA) programs led by Bates faculty; semester and yearlong study programs at universities across the globe; and exchange programs at Spelman and Morehouse colleges. In addition, students in all classes may participate in Bates faculty-led off-campus Short Term courses. These opportunities are overseen by the Center for Global Education according to policies set by the faculty and the Committee on Off-Campus Study. Students earn Bates credit for courses taught or overseen by Bates faculty and approved program credit for study on other programs. Students may earn a maximum of 4 approved-program credits per semester and may apply a maximum of 8 approved-program credits toward their Bates degree. Further information on global education opportunities and policies is available on the Center for Global Education’s website (

Off-Campus Study Considerations for 2021-2022. The Center for Global Education works with students who plan to study off campus in fall 2021 and winter 2022. Partner institutions offer the best guidance on the feasibility of welcoming students for a given semester. Some Bates international partners have suspended programs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. When possible, students may elect another program to which they have applied and been accepted; otherwise students withdraw from the off-campus study semester and enroll in Bates courses.

Students enrolled in off-campus study programs for 2021-2022 should contact institutions and programs to discuss their health and safety management as it relates to the current pandemic. If an off-campus program has been moved to remote-only, with no possibility of travel, the college recommends withdrawing from the off-campus program and enrolling in Bates courses.

Students interested in studying off campus for an academic year or a semester should consult with their faculty advisor, the chair of their major department or program, and advisors in the Center for Global Education. Students must register by the first Friday of February in the academic year before the off-campus study experience. The college requires a balanced number of prospective off-campus students between the fall and winter semesters at the February registration deadline. If too many students apply to study off campus in a given semester, students are selected according to criteria established by the Committee on Off-Campus Study (

With the exception of summer courses, matriculated students who wish to receive credit for a semester or a year of study outside the United States or for affiliated domestic programs in the United States must have the preapproval of the Committee on Off-Campus Study and their major department or program. Students must study with an approved program and complete their studies in accordance with the committee's guidelines. The faculty has established additional guidelines, below, to encourage participation that is most supportive of students' overall academic experiences at Bates. A student may petition the Committee on Off-Campus Study for an exception to these requirements.

Students must have a 2.5 cumulative GPA at the time of application. A student may become ineligible if the GPA drops below 2.5 during the application process or after admission. Registration as a four-year student, including residence at Bates during the sophomore year, is required. Language skills greatly contribute to the academic and social experience in non-English-speaking settings. Therefore, students are required to have completed the equivalent of at least 2 years of college-level language study prior to study abroad in French-, German-, or Spanish-language settings. In Chinese-, Japanese-, and Russian-language settings, the equivalent of at least 1 year of college-level study is required. Prior language study is not required elsewhere, but students must include language study, ancient or modern, as part of their course work. Students on disciplinary probation or suspension may not participate in the college's global education programs. This includes programs and courses led by Bates faculty and programs sponsored by academic institutions and study-abroad program providers for which approved program credit is awarded by Bates.

Bates Fall Semester Abroad (FSA) and Associated Kyoto Program (AKP) participants pay the full Bates single fee. All other students pay their respective program costs directly, plus an off-campus study fee to Bates, which is 7 percent of the single fee for each semester of study. Costs are calculated by the program and are the responsibility of the individual student. However, federal, state, and Bates financial aid is available, subject to the student's financial need and based on the program expenses. Bates students may enhance their experience by applying for grants provided by the Barlow Endowment for Study Abroad. This endowment provides grants for enrichment activities during the study abroad semester and awards for thesis research in the individual's study abroad country. In addition, students may apply for funding from the Stark Endowment for Summer Language Study to continue their foreign language study during the summer following the semester or academic year abroad.

Academic Leave and Non-Bates Credit for Matriculated Students

Some students expand their Bates experience by attending other U.S. institutions, from which they may receive transfer credit according to college policy. Students who take 3 or more courses elsewhere in the United States during a semester are considered to be taking an academic leave. These students usually take courses at other universities and colleges, but courses from more specialized programs also may be transferred with prior approval. Students who wish to take an academic leavemust gain approval in early February of the year preceding the leave. The approval process includes the registrar, the student's academic advisor, and department or program approvals for each course to be transferred back to Bates. Once an academic leave is approved, a leave of absence form must be completed electronically by the student. Following their original graduation year, the college is not able to guarantee students consecutive semesters of enrollment. Students approved to return for an additional semester or semesters are notified by 1 July during the summer following their original graduation year which semester or semesters they may enroll to complete their degree requirements. Students are given an opportunity to provide their preferences, but the college makes final decisions based on the following factors: balancing student enrollment through the fall and winter semesters, course availability, class and classroom capacity, and housing capacity. Students are not guaranteed housing beyond their original graduation year. Students enrolling beyond their original graduation year are not eligible to register for courses until their enrollment plans are confirmed by the college by 1 July following their original graduation year.

After two semesters, students are officially withdrawn unless they have confirmed their plan to return or have been granted a leave extension by the senior associate dean of students for student support and community standards.

Types of Credit. Three types of credit can be applied toward a Bates degree: a) Bates credit, earned from courses taught and/or evaluated and graded by Bates faculty; b) approved program credit, earned from courses taken while participating in a Bates-approved program administered by the Committee on Off-Campus Study; and c) non-Bates credit, earned at an institution of higher education other than Bates that meets the established standards for transfer to Bates or credit awarded from the following standardized tests: Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or A-Level examination. Only grades awarded by Bates faculty are computed in the student's grade point average.

Degree candidates matriculating as first-year students, either in the fall or winter semester, must earn at least 28 Bates course credits or approved program credits. Therefore, a maximum of 4 non-Bates credits, including transfer credit and Advanced Placement credit, may be applied to the graduation requirement of 32 earned credits. Transfer students must earn a minimum of 16 Bates course credits. They may transfer a maximum of 2 non-Bates course credits earned after matriculating at Bates. A transfer student is defined as any student who has previously matriculated as a degree candidate at another institution.

The registrar and the department or program chair are responsible for the evaluation of non-Bates credit, subject to established guidelines. The Committee on Academic Standing may grant exceptions to the established guidelines. All non-Bates course credits awarded are equivalent to either 1 or 0.5 Bates course credit, based on their equivalent Bates course, and 2 quality points toward the graduation requirements.

Non-Bates credit is evaluated based on specific requirements:

  • Credit must be awarded from an official college or university transcript; from an official Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or A-Level test score report; or from an official document considered equivalent to a transcript by the registrar.
  • Courses must be appropriate to a liberal arts and sciences college, comparable in quality to those offered at Bates, and students must earn a grade of C or better.
  • Courses taken in a college's or university's continuing-education or extension program must be applicable toward the bachelor of arts or the bachelor of science degree being pursued by full-time undergraduate students at that institution.
  • College courses taken prior to secondary school graduation must have been taught on a college or university campus have been graded in competition with college students, and not count toward the high school degree.
  • Credit must be earned at a regionally accredited non-profit institution.
  • Courses taught online may transfer, as long as they are pre-approved by the respective department or program and meet all other transfer credit standards.
  • Courses must be worth at least 3 semester hours or 5 quarter-hours or meet a minimum of 45 class meeting hours to be eligible for transfer. When appropriate, quarter-hours may be added together and multiplied by two-thirds to determine the equivalent total number of semester hours to be used toward unspecified transfer credits.
  • Students may receive credit for a maximum of 2 courses taken during summer sessions.
  • All credits must be transferred by the beginning of the final semester of the senior year.
  • Credit for Short Term courses may not be transferred from another institution.
  • Students may not transfer credit into Bates that are the result of simultaneous enrollment (i.e., enrolled at Bates during a semester while also enrolled in a course at another institution). However, students who have a compelling reason to do so may request permission in advance by petitioning the Committee on Academic Standing. In order for such credit to transfer into Bates, approval must be given by the Committee on Academic Standing in advance of enrolling in the course.
  • Students must be enrolled at Bates for the final semester of their senior year.

A student who fails to graduate by the anticipated degree date may transfer credits necessary to graduate for up to two years afterwards. After two years, the student is withdrawn automatically from the college, but may petition the Committee on Academic Standing for readmission and permission to complete the degree.

With the exception of summer courses, matriculated students who wish to receive credit for study outside the United States must have the preapproval of the Committee on Off-Campus Study. They must study on a program approved by the Center for Global Education, and complete their studies in accordance with the Committee's guidelines. The Committee on Off-Campus Study is responsible for the award of approved program credit.

Approved Program Credit, Non-Bates Credit, and General Education. When credit is awarded as equivalent to a specific Bates course it may be used to fulfill the same Mode of Inquiry requirement—[AC], [CP], [HS], [SR], [QF]—or General Education concentration requirement that the equivalent Bates course fulfills. To be applied toward a concentration, the course must be judged by the concentration's coordinator to be comparable to a Bates course in the concentration. The writing-attentive courses ([W1], [W2], and [W3]) must be taken at Bates. Note: Students in the Class of 2022 should consult the 2018-2019 catalog for information on transfer and General Education credits.

Personal Leave. In unusual circumstances, students may need to interrupt their study at the college for personal reasons. In addition, students may take a personal leave of absence to pursue an internship or other nonacademic experience. Accordingly, the college permits students in good standing to request a personal leave of absence for 1 or 2 semesters through the assistant dean of students, Case Management and Support Services, or their designee. A leave-of-absence form must be completed by the student. Students are encouraged to meet with a representative from the Office of the Registrar and Academic Systems. Students on a personal leave may take up to two courses elsewhere in the United States for Bates credit, subject to the transfer policies (see Academic Leave and Non-Bates Credit for Matriculated Students, above). The college guarantees reinstatement to students after the first or second semester of leave. After 2 semesters, students are officially withdrawn unless they have confirmed their plan to return or have been granted a leave extension by the senior associate dean of students or a designee.

Medical Leaves of Absence. A student may consider or be encouraged to take a voluntary medical leave in the event that physical and/or mental health concerns are significantly interfering with their ability to succeed at Bates and/or the demands of college life are interfering with the student’s recovery or safety.

If a student determines that a leave would be beneficial, the student should contact the assistant dean of students, Case Management and Support Services, to complete a leave of absence form. Voluntary medical leaves are based on the recommendation of the health services' manager of outreach and support services or the director of counseling and psychological services and are approved by the assistant dean of students. The length of a leave is determined in conjunction with the manager of outreach and support services or the director of counseling and psychological services, the assistant dean of students, and the student. Students may apply for a leave for one or two semesters. After 2 semesters, students are officially withdrawn unless they have been granted a leave extension by the assistant dean of students or their designee. Students are informed of the steps that must be taken in order to re-enroll. Indefinite leaves are not permitted.

Involuntary medical leaves are utilized only under extraordinary circumstances, when a student is unable or unwilling to request a voluntary medical leave. Such a leave may be necessary when a student's behavior is disruptive to the college's learning environment; the student's health concerns have compromised the student's health, safety, or academic success; or the behavior poses a direct threat to the safety of one or more members of the college community. Before an involuntary leave is considered, efforts are made to encourage the student to take a voluntary leave. Procedures for considering an involuntary medical leave are available on the Office of Student Affairs website.

Any student taking a medical or personal leave are advised to meet with representatives from the Office of the Registrar and Academic Systems and Student Financial Services. Some educational loan repayments may begin if a student takes a leave. Students who wish to take courses elsewhere during their leave should consult the transfer credit policies ( Students may contact the registrar with any questions related to the transfer of course credit.

The Bates Learning Associates Program

Central to a Bates education are the intense and deep relationships formed between faculty and students, and the quality of learning that results from sustained contact between teacher and learner. To complement the focus and depth of intellectual exploration among students and faculty, the college has established the Bates Learning Associates Program, which brings to campus experts in many fields who hail from Maine and around the world. Learning associates help students and faculty by offering new meanings and perspectives to a subject. Learning associates may be on campus for a day, a week, several weeks, or may have a "virtual residence," working with students electronically, critiquing research methodology or results, or reading emerging senior theses. These experts expand the knowledge available to students and faculty, challenge the neatness of discipline-based academic thinking, and provide rich contexts for translating ideas into action in the real world. Each year a variety of learning associates work with students in a range of disciplines within the humanities and social sciences. Recent contributors have included the only transsexual woman on active duty in the Brazilian Navy; a distinguished theater company specializing in combining puppets with music, actors, and visual imagery; a sculptor and educator; and a renowned scholar of African American and twentieth-century American literature and the Harlem Renaissance.

Student Research

The Bates faculty is dedicated to helping students develop as scholars; therefore, significant emphasis is placed through the curriculum on individual research, including artistic production. In their first year, students participate in a first-year seminar, a small class in which the development of critical thinking, concise writing, and other research skills is emphasized. Methodology courses and advanced seminars offer further research training in a specific discipline. Many students undertake independent study courses in order to explore in depth a subject of particular interest. Each summer, many students undertake research independently or in collaboration with a Bates faculty member. Together research and writing experiences prepare students for the senior thesis, required in most departments and programs, for the Honors Program, for graduate study, and for careers.

Support for Research during the Academic Year and the Summer. The college encourages students to pursue research associated with courses, independent studies, and the senior thesis or senior project. Funds are available through competitive grant programs that provide financial assistance for student research. Bates faculty members are active in scholarly research and often offer qualified students the opportunity to work with them as research assistants during the summer. These opportunities offer wages rather than academic credit and are available directly from faculty researchers funded through faculty grants. The Office of the Dean of the Faculty also manages a number of student summer research fellowship programs which support off-campus fieldwork, artistic work, or research at Bates or another institution. Information on summer research opportunities is available on the student research website (

Presenting Research and the Mount David Summit. Bates students should be able to effectively communicate their scholarship and defend the results of their research. Students are encouraged to present their research at regional, national, and international meetings. They also have many opportunities to present their academic work on campus at events throughout the year. The largest on-campus research forum is the Mount David Summit. Each year near the end of the winter semester, the college community gathers for this campus-wide event honoring academic and artistic achievement. In concurrent sessions students present research posters; short talks on research or community engagement; and artistic work, including poetry and fiction writing, film, theater, performance art, music, and the visual arts. Students from all class levels and all disciplines are encouraged to take part; the audience includes students, faculty, staff, parents, prospective students, alumni, donors, and the general public. More information on the summit is at the website (

Community-Engaged Learning

Community-engaged learning is a signature component of a Bates education, providing opportunities for students to deepen their knowledge of course content and the wider world while collaborating with off-campus partners to address community-identified needs. In community-engaged learning courses and research, students develop self-awareness and a range of skills and capacities, including communication, collaborative problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding. More than fifty Bates courses each year include some form of mutually beneficial collaboration among students, faculty, and community partners.

The mission of the Harward Center for Community Partnerships is to advance the college's commitment to cultivating informed civic action through reciprocal and sustained partnerships that connect the college and the community. Established in 2002, the Harward Center builds on a legacy of innovative, rigorous community-engaged learning at Bates. It serves as a clearinghouse for faculty, staff, and students interested in community-engaged learning or research projects, and for community organizations, schools, and government agencies that seek to engage the college. It sponsors community projects in areas as diverse as basic social services; education; literacy programs; municipal government; environmental education and advocacy; health and mental health services; public art, music, dance, and other cultural projects; and legal advocacy. The center also coordinates Bates' volunteer opportunities in the Lewiston-Auburn community.

Specific student programs of the Harward Center include the Community Outreach Fellows Program, the Bonner Leader Program, the Bates Civic Action Team, the Short Term Action/Research Team, and the Community-Engaged Research Fellows Program. The center also oversees a number of grant programs for students, faculty, staff, and community partners, during both the academic year and the summer. More information about those opportunities can be found at

The Bates Center for Purposeful Work

Preparing students for lives of meaningful work lies at the heart of the liberal arts mission. The Bates Center for Purposeful Work helps students discover the joy and power that arise from aligning who they are with what they do, by helping students identify and cultivate their interests and strengths and providing opportunities for them to acquire the knowledge, experiences, and relationships necessary to pursue their aspirations with imagination and integrity. Purposeful Work has curricular and co-curricular aspects and takes a four-year, developmental approach to working with students. Informed by this philosophy, students emerge from Bates equipped to make intentional decisions about their work, selves, and how the two relate.

The staff of the Center for Purposeful Work provide a wealth of resources including individualized and group career counseling and workshops, job shadows, internships, career-interested assessments, employment listings, access to alumni career advisors, graduate and professional school advising, and links to job and career information through the Bates Center for Purposeful Work website Students are encouraged to use the Bates Center for Purposeful Work beginning in their first year at Bates in order to integrate their academic, career, and personal goals into rewarding and purposeful careers.

Through Purposeful Work Infusion courses, many faculty infuse their teaching with exercises that expose students to diverse types of work, questions of identity and purpose, and consideration of the meaning of work. These exercises help students see the connection between academic fields and possible career paths. Practitioner-Taught courses offer opportunities for students to explore more practical and applied areas of study than are available within the core liberal arts curriculum. Practioners, often Bates alumni, teach applied knowledge and skills in their field of expertise. Students explore worlds of work, enhance their practical skills, and expand their professional network, contributing to their career exploration and preparation for future work. More information can be found on the Purposeful Work website

Academic Resource Commons

The Academic Resource Commons (ARC), the college's learning center, empowers every Bates student to succeed and excel in their studies through tutoring, drop-in labs, workshops, course-attached tutoring, and other learning support programs. ARC services are provided by peer tutors who have been referred by faculty and who have received intensive training on peer-led learning. ARC's location in Ladd Library also provides a place for students to study, do homework, and review course materials in a supported environment. The ultimate goal for every ARC session is for students to develop the skills and learning strategies needed for success both in their time at Bates, and beyond. More information on ARC programming (including hours of operation) is available at

Writing Support. Part of the Academic Resource Commons, the Writing Center provides support for students to develop as college writers, language learners, speakers and scholars in their fields of study. In the Writing Center, students generate ideas, discuss prompts, create drafts, write, revise, edit, and/or discuss their writing and public speaking, in collaboration with fellow students. Student writing tutors provide constructive feedback to their peers at various stages of writing. No appointments are necessary. Technical writing assistants (TWAs) also work in the Writing Center. TWAs assist students who are honing their science writing skills, convene writing conferences with biology and geology students preparing lab reports, and may also serve as laboratory teaching assistants. More information on the Writing Center can be found on the Academic Resource Commons website at

Peer writing and speaking assistants (PWSAs) are assigned to first-year seminars and other writing-attentive courses. They provide writing support to students in a specific course with conferencing, in-class workshops, and draft review sessions. The assistant directors of Writing at Bates, with offices in Coram Library, work with students on their writing. Writing at Bates staff meet one-on-one with students by appointment, focusing on any stage of the writing process, from initial brainstorming to final revisions. They also work with senior thesis writers. Information on current workshops, hours of operation, and scheduling appointments is available on the writing program website (

The Mathematics and Statistics Workshop

The Mathematics and Statistics Workshop offers a variety of services for students seeking assistance with courses involving mathematics, statistics, and quantitative reasoning.The Workshop also supports programming in digital and computational studies. Throughout the fall and winter semesters, students may visit the Workshop, without an appointment, during drop-in hours on Sundays through Fridays. In addition, selected introductory-level mathematics, statistics, and digital and computational studies courses have a tutor assigned to work specifically with the class. These attached tutors work in the drop-in center, are available for private appointments with students, attend class once per week, and hold weekly help sessions. One-on-one tutoring is available for students in any course requiring a command of mathematical, statistical, quantitative reasoning, or digital and computational skills, as well as typesetting mathematical documents using LaTeX. During Short Term, services are available by appointment. Information on the Math Workshop can be found on the website (

Information and Library Services

Information and Library Services (ILS) supports the mission of the college with reliable and responsive information and technology resources, services, and programs to meet the evolving needs of the college community. ILS helps students, faculty, and staff embrace the continuous change that prevails in technology use, information access, and communications media. Library services are provided in the George and Helen Ladd Library, which address the general curricular and research needs of the college; and in the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, which houses the archives, manuscripts, rare books, and other special collections of the college. In addition to a robust technology infrastructure for all manner of academic and administrative work, there are three specialized computer labs: the Visualization Studio in Coram Library which specializes in GIS, 3-D printing, and the visual representation of data; the Digital Media Studios in Pettigrew Hall, supporting multimedia and video production; and the Language Resource Center in Roger Williams Hall, which supports language and other humanities programs. More information on ILS services and staff is available on the website (

The Library. The George and Helen Ladd Library provides books, periodicals, sound and video recordings and other library materials in print and electronic formats, as well as access to online databases and other resources essential for student and faculty research. The library offers a physical learning environment conducive to individual and group study and research, and provides easy access to information in a variety of formats. The Library includes nearly 950 study spaces, all with wireless network access. More than 600 seats have electric power for charging portable devices. A fully equipped instruction room and staffed reference area are located on the main floor. Group study is encouraged on the two lower floors, in the first floor Academic Resource Commons, and in the third floor Salter Room, which is equipped with a screen-sharing system. Otherwise, the upper two floors are reserved for quiet study.

The Library's website ( provides access to the Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin (CBB) combined library catalog and all electronic resources licensed by Bates. Ladd Library functions as the primary point of service, with access, research, and technology services centrally located. In addition to individual consultation, research librarians provide instruction for classes and other groups of students on research skills and library and other information resources.

In all, the library contains some 600,000 cataloged volumes in print and more than 38,000 audio and video recordings. It provides access to thousands of sources of information online, including more than 70,000 periodicals and 700,000 electronic books, sound and video resources. CBB libraries together constitute a combined collection of more than two million volumes. The three college libraries collaborate closely to plan and build these collections, providing faculty, students, and staff the systems to use CBB resources before searching elsewhere. The Bates identification card allows Bates students, faculty, and staff to borrow materials from the Bowdoin and Colby libraries. Through the MaineCat statewide catalog and interlibrary loan, Bates users may initiate loan requests for materials at other academic and public libraries nationwide.

Archives and Special Collections. The Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library ( fosters research and scholarship by encouraging access to Bates College records and other historical materials by students and faculty, as well as scholars from the community at large. These collections enable students from Bates and elsewhere to perform historical research using primary documentary material. The collections have three major divisions:

The Bates College Archives serves as the official repository of records, publications, photographs, honors theses, oral histories, and other materials of permanent administrative, legal, fiscal, and historical value. It documents the history of the college from its founding in 1855 to the present.

The Manuscript Collections contain materials related to the history of Bates College, including papers of faculty members, alumni, and student work. Because of its roots as a Freewill Baptist institution, the library collects materials related to Freewill Baptist organizations and individuals. The Edmund S. Muskie Papers include almost all the extant records documenting the life and work of Edmund S. Muskie (1914–1996), a 1936 Bates graduate who dominated Maine politics from the mid-1950s to 1981. Serving as governor, senator, and Secretary of State, Muskie became a national leader for environmental protection, government reform, and fiscal responsibility.

The Rare Book Collection includes publications created by and pertaining to the Freewill Baptists in Maine and New England; nineteenth-century French history and literature; fine-press books published in Maine; Judaica;  nineteenth-century books on natural history, particularly ornithology, and publications by Bates faculty and alumni.

Technology Services. Information and Library Services (ILS) provides a technology-rich environment in support of the mission of the college, which includes hardware, software, consultation, instruction, and information resources to faculty, students, and staff.  ILS also provides many employment opportunities for students in which they can develop or enhance technology, communications and other work skills.  

All faculty, students, and staff are assigned credentials that allow secure access to Bates computers and network services, including wireless and wired ports, on-line services, mail, calendar, printing, network storage, software, videoconferencing and proxy service for access to on-campus services and numerous library research databases from anywhere in the world. All members of the college community must comply with the Bates College Computer Use Policy (

The Garnet Gateway. Bates offers faculty, students, and staff transactional services through a secure online site, the Garnet Gateway. Students use the Garnet Gateway to view their schedule, grades, and transcript; register for courses; view their progress toward completing their degree requirements; view their financial aid award; complete course evaluations; declare their major(s), minor(s) and General Education concentration(s); elect student officers; evaluate study-abroad programs; nominate faculty for teaching awards; obtain enrollment verifications; and request official transcripts.

Faculty members use the Garnet Gateway to view course rosters, report student grades, propose new courses, schedule courses, manage their advising responsibilities, receive student course evaluations, and express preferences for classroom location and equipment. Faculty and staff members, as well as student employees, use the Garnet Gateway to access payroll, tax, and other employee information. The Garnet Gateway is accessed through the Bates website (

Academic Technology. Bates students and faculty members use technology extensively in their learning, research, and teaching ( This is made possible by a wide range of services and facilities. There are more than 175 workstations clustered at Carnegie Science Hall, the Coram Visualization Studio, Dana Chemistry Hall, Hedge Hall, Ladd Library, Pettengill Hall, Pettigrew Hall, and Roger Williams Hall. All classrooms and the majority of event and meeting spaces have high-speed network connections, computers, and digital projection. Special facilities include interactive classrooms with large video screens for group instruction and videoconferencing, screen-sharing, classroom and presentation capture systems, plotters, 3-D printers, scanners, and digital editing machines for producing broadcast-quality video and audio. Academic technology staff consult closely with faculty and students on designing, building, and supporting a variety of projects for teaching, learning, and scholarship.

Digital Media Studios

The Digital Media Studios, located in the ground floor of Pettigrew Hall, comprise a suite of specialized studio and lab spaces with an expert staff to help students and faculty explore creative uses and production of traditional and emerging digital media. The studios include three private video editing suites, a radio interview studio, a flexible studio space, and an instructional lab. Additional resources allow for live broadcasts and remote recordings. The tools and facilities within the Digital Media Studios are used across academic disciplines, and are designed to encourage, emphasize, and explore the collaborative connections among teaching, learning, storytelling, the arts, and interpersonal communication in a modern digital world.


Laboratories and studios for student and faculty use are located throughout the campus. Chemistry and biochemistry laboratories and instruments are situated in Dana Chemistry Hall. Biology, chemistry and biochemistry, earth and climate sciences, environmental studies, neuroscience, and physics laboratories are housed in the Bonney Science Center and Carnegie Science Hall. Astronomy students and faculty use the Stephens Observatory with its 0.32-meter reflecting telescope and the Spitz A-3 planetarium projector, also located in Carnegie. Archaeology and psychology laboratories are housed in Pettengill Hall.

The departments of French and Francophone Studies, German and Russian Studies, Spanish, and the Program in Asian Studies use the Language Resource Center in Roger Williams Hall. The center is equipped with computers, a document camera, and multi-region players with video projection for classroom instruction. The lab is also outfitted with cameras and video recording equipment for capturing activities in the context of courses.

Resources for the Arts

Schaeffer Theatre, a 300-seat proscenium-style space, is the mainstage venue for the Department of Theater and Dance, and the summer home of the Bates Dance Festival. The Department of Theater and Dance also presents student work and offers studio courses in the more intimate facilities of the Gannett Theater and the Martin Andrucki Black Box Theater. The Marcy Plavin Dance Studios are located in Merrill Gymnasium.

The Olin Arts Center provides the Department of Music with music studios and rehearsal rooms for individuals and groups, laboratories for computer-based composition, and classrooms for lecture courses. The acoustically exceptional 300-seat concert hall is the site of performances,  ranging from student thesis recitals and concerts by Bates musicians to special appearances by internationally known performers. The Olin Arts Center houses studios and classrooms for painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, and ceramics, as well as art history classrooms. The building also houses the Bates College Museum of Art, which presents exhibitions and programs and holds a permanent collection of more than 7,000 objects. 

The Bates College Museum of Art

The Bates College Museum of Art is an integral part of the intellectual and cultural life of the college and the region. The Museum of Art brings art and ideas to Bates, Lewiston-Auburn, and Maine through exhibitions ranging from work by artists of national and international prominence to the annual Senior Thesis Exhibition. Through the permanent collection, educational programming, scholarly publications, and internships, the Museum of Art serves as a laboratory for deep exploration, intellectual study, and creative discovery.

The Museum's temporary exhibitions, permanent collection, and extensive programming are aligned with and integrated into academic disciplines across the curriculum. Recent interdisciplinary exhibitions have explored the art of the Anthropocene, the multimedia art of Vanessa German, shaman art of Vietnam, and astrophotography. Co-curricular programming infuses art into the cultural and social life of the college and region. The permanent collection provides students and visiting scholars opportunities for longer term study and close examination of works of art and material culture. Programming includes tours, lectures, gallery talks, and workshops by visiting artists and scholars. Internships in many areas of museum work are available for students each year. Education and outreach programs connect exhibitions and collections to area K-12 students and their families, and support curricula focusing on art, writing, and visual literacy.

Exhibition and public programs are free and open to the public. More information can be found on the museum website: (

The Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area and the Shortridge Coastal Center

Bates manages 574 acres of undeveloped Maine coastline for conservation, education and research purposes. Lying between two tidal rivers near the end of the Phippsburg peninsula, the Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area (BMMCA) includes salt marshes, barrier dunes, mature spruce-fir forest, and rare pitch pine forest. Granite ledge outcrops offer panoramic views of the Gulf of Maine and a narrow road offers walk-in access to the largest undeveloped barrier beach in the state.

The college conducts educational programs, scientific research, and literary study consistent with conserving the ecological and aesthetic values of the property. Current and ongoing research led by Bates faculty is focused on salt marsh responses to sea level rise, carbon cycling and methane in marsh systems, sediment dynamics in coastal systems, and forest ecology. Visiting scientists study salt marsh nesting birds in the context of sea level rise and changing migration patterns of shore birds. Public visitation is also permitted, with over 20,000 visitors annually.

The Shortridge Coastal Center is located within two miles of the BMMCA. It provides housing for coastal researchers, students, and artists during the summer months and a setting for course work and student and staff retreats during the academic year. The center sits on nearly seventy-acres of granite outcrops and forested wetlands, including a large freshwater pond. The property is part of a large block of adjacent undeveloped and conserved lands owned by the Town of Phippsburg and the Phippsburg Land Trust. In collaboration with this land trust, the college helps maintain several miles of trails that connect approximately 300 acres of protected land.

Both the Shortridge Coastal Center and BMMCA provide a base of operations for faculty-student research projects and other partnership activities between the college and state agencies, environmental groups, and the Phippsburg community. Recent partnerships with Phippsburg include educational programs with the Phippsburg Elementary School, collaborative work on climate adaptation with town officials, and a grant program, financed by the summer residents of Small Point, to support ongoing geology research by Bates faculty and students. Requests by faculty and student groups to reserve the use of Shortridge may be made via

Confidentiality of Education Records

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. These rights include the following:

1. FERPA affords the right to inspect and review the student's education records within forty-five days of the day the college receives a request for access. A form to request access to records is available from the Office of the Registrar and Academic Systems. The registrar makes arrangements for access and notifies the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

2. FERPA affords the right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student's privacy rights under FERPA. A student may ask the college to amend a record that is believed to be inaccurate or misleading. The student should write the request to the registrar, clearly identify the part of the record the student wants changed, and specify why it should be changed. The registrar consults with the appropriate college official, and if the college decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the college notifies the student of the decision and advises the student of the student's right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures is provided when the student is notified of the right of hearing.

3. FERPA affords the right to provide written consent before the college discloses personally identifiable information (PII) contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to college officials, or officials of institutions with which the college has consortial agreements, with legitimate educational interests. A college official is a person employed by Bates in an administrative, supervisory, academic, or support-staff position (including Security and Health Services staff); a volunteer, company, or contractor outside of the college who performs an institutional service or function for which the college would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the college with respect to the use and maintenance of personally identifiable information from education records (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as the Committee on Student Conduct, or assisting another college official in performing administrative tasks. A college official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill the official's professional responsibility.

4. FERPA affords the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the college to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20202-5901.

Bates reserves the right to refuse to permit a student to inspect those records excluded from the FERPA definition of education records and to deny transcripts or copies of records not required to be made available by FERPA if the student has an unpaid financial obligation to the college or if there is an unresolved disciplinary action against the student. Fees are not assessed for search and retrieval of the records, but there may be a charge for copying and postage.

FERPA Annual Notice to Reflect Possible Federal and State Data Collection and Use. As of 3 January 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records including Social Security number, grades, or other private information may be accessed without student consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities may allow access to records and PII without student consent to any third party designated by a federal or state authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, federal and state authorities may allow access to education records and PII without student consent to researchers performing certain types of studies. Federal and state authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive PII, but the authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, state authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without student consent PII from education records, and they may track student participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information that they obtain from other federal or state data sources, including workforce development and migrant student record systems.

The Office of the Registrar and Academic Systems makes available copies of the federal regulations and the institutional policy on educational records as well as additional information about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974.

Directory Information. At its discretion, Bates may provide "directory information" in accordance with the provisions of FERPA. Directory information is defined as that information which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Bates identifies the following as directory information: name; Bates identification (ID) number; class; address (campus, home, and e-mail); username; telephone listings; major and minor fields of study; participation in officially recognized sports, extracurricular activities, and global education programs; dates of attendance; degrees, honors, and awards received from the college; and individually identifiable photographs and electronic images of the student solicited or maintained directly by Bates as part of the educational record.

Students wishing to block the disclosure of directory information should contact the Office of the Registrar and Academic Systems for additional information.