Recommended Entry Courses

Chairs of departments and programs provide the information below to help first-year students select appropriate entry-level courses. Some of you may be thinking about majoring in these subjects. Others may want to explore an area of interest or take a course that fulfills a General Education requirement. Whatever your direction, the Bates College faculty advises you to explore new areas. The faculty also recommends that each first-year student register for a First-Year Seminar.

*Courses included below reflect information for the 2018-19 academic year. Updates will be made for the 2019-20 academic year in the Spring of 2019*

Registration Overview & Academic Advising

Africana Studies:

We encourage first year students interested in African American Studies to take the introductory course, AAS 100.  Students may also choose from a variety of entry-level courses open to first year students.  These include: AA/AC 119 Cultural Politics, AA/DN Contemporary Issues in Dance AA/EN 115 A African American Literature II, AA/EN 265 The Writings of Toni Morrison,  AA/EN Narrating Slavery, AA/RH 162 White Redemption: Cinema and the Co-optation of African American History, AA/HI 243 African American History,  AA/MU 249 African American Popular Music.   Besides taking African American Studies courses as electives, note that it is possible to major or to do a minor in this field at Bates.

Students considering a major or secondary concentration in African American Studies may speak with the Program Chair, or other faculty associated with the Program to learn more about the major and to receive guidance on their course selections.

American Studies:

First-year students interested in exploring this major should take ACS 100: Introduction to American Cultural Studies, offered in winter term 2016 or ACS 220: Fieldwork in American Cultural Studies, also offered in winter term 2016. Both courses are required for the major. They might also consider courses on the American experience that introduce race, ethnicity and/or gender as categories of analysis. Among relevant courses are AAS 140: Introduction to African American Studies, AA/AC 119: Cultural Politics, AA/HI 243: African American History, and other courses in African American, Native American, Latin American, Asian American Studies and Latino/a Studies. A complete list of courses is provided in the catalog under the major. (Note: subject to change for 2017-18 academic year)


FYS 484: Disney Demystifed and FYS 484: Making Sense may serve as an entry into the anthropology major.  Those students considering a major in anthropology often begin with Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (AN 101).  Alternately, they may take Introduction to Archaeology (AN 103), or Introduction to Human Evolution (AN 104).  Many of our majors actually end up entering the field by way of our electives, such as 100-level or 200-level courses organized around geographical areas (e.g., Africa, The Caribbean or South Asia), or those focusing on certain themes (e.g., popular culture, gender, or religion).  Students are encouraged to speak with any member of the Anthropology Department about their particular interests.

Art and Visual Culture:

The major has two paths, one in studio and the other in the history and criticism of art and visual culture.  The following suggestions reflect courses that are available in the fall 2017. Majors in the studio art track usually begin with any 200 level courses. In studio art, students can begin with AVC 203A, 212A, 215A, 218A and 219. Students planning to major in studio who have been unable to secure a place in one of these courses should see the department chair immediately on arrival on campus to see whether the department might be able to waive the prerequisites for other studio courses for students with extensive studio backgrounds. Students planning a major in studio art can also begin taking the 200-level courses in the history and criticism track needed to fill the studio majors’ requirement for three courses in that area.

Majors in the history and criticism track usually begin with any 200-level course in the history and criticism of art and visual culture, for example, AVC 251 and AVAS 234. All of these courses are open to first-year students and are taken by a range of students, both majors and non-majors.  The department has one first-year seminar offered this fall, FYS 266, which can be counted towards the major.

Asian Studies:

We encourage students thinking about a major in East Asian Studies, Chinese, and Japanese, to begin language study as soon as possible (Chinese 101 or Japanese 101) and to enroll in Asian Studies/Japanese 261 (Cultural History of Japan) or Asian Studies/History 171 (China and Its Cultures).

Other portals to those interested in Asian Studies include a variety of culture, history and literature courses: Art and Visual Culture 234 (Chinese Visual Culture), Art and Visual Culture/Asian Studies 243 (Buddhist Visual Worlds), Art and Visual Culture/Asian Studies 245 (Architectural Monuments of Southeast Asia), Asian Studies/History 171 (China and its Culture), Asian Studies/Japanese 125  (Japanese Literature and Society), Asian Studies/Japanese 130 (Japanese Film), Asian Studies/Religion 155 (Introduction to Asian Religions), Asian Studies/Religion 208 (Religions in China),  Asian Studies/Religion 209 (Religions in Japan),  Asian Studies/Chinese 207 (Traditional Chinese Literature in Translation), Asian Studies/CI 223 (Communism, Capitalism, and Cannibalism), Asian Studies/CI 312 (Kung Fu Cinemas) Asian Studies/History 274 (China in Revolution), First Year Seminar 439 (Defining Difference: How China and the United States Think about Racial Diversity), English 121G (Asian American Women Writers), INDS 266 (Environmental History of China)  and INDS 255 (Modern Japanese Women Writers and Film Makers), and Music 290c (Gamelan Ensemble).


Biochemistry is a major track offered within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  Prospective Biochemistry Majors should take Chemistry 107A in the fall and both Chemistry 108A and Biology 190 in the winter semester of their first year.  It should be noted that Chemistry 107A is only offered in the fall semester.  It is not necessary to take a Biology class in the first semester.   Students should also take Math 105 and 106 during the first year (unless a student places out of Math 105 per the recommendation of the Math department).  Students with AP or IB credit  should check the policies of the appropriate department to determine course placement; Chemistry 217 is not open to first-year students.  Please contact the Department Chair T. Glen Lawson ( with any questions.  Please note that Prof. Lawson will be on sabbatical leave from August 1, through December 31, 2017.  During this period questions may be addressed to Prof. Koviach (


Students considering a major in Biology should take Chemistry 107 (A or B) in the fall of the first year, and Chemistry 108 (A or B) and Bio 190 in the winter of the first year. Completing these requirements during the first year is important for staying on track in the Biology major.  It allows students to complete the remainder of the Biology ‘core’ courses during the second year, makes it more feasible to spend a junior semester abroad, and allows greater flexibility in choosing courses in the advanced Biology curriculum. First year students planning to complete a B.S. degree may wish to consider the Calculus sequence sometime during the first year (unless the student places out of Math 105 per the recommendations of the Mathematics Department).

First year potential Biology majors normally begin the required Biology ‘core’ course with Biology 190 in the winter of the first year (regardless of AP Biology experience), then continue with Biology 242 (fall) and Biology 270 (winter) in the second year. Please note that Biology 190 is a prerequisite for many upper-level Biology courses, and is not offered in the fall semester. In addition to taking the required Biology 190 in the first year, the first year student may wish to take one additional 100-level Biology course during the first year. Such an additional 100-level Biology course is optional (not required), and may count toward the major requirement of 10 courses.  Because these 100-level topical courses allow students to explore Biology’s diverse curriculum, many seats in these courses are reserved for first year students. Take note and take advantage because this means that it can be difficult to enroll in these courses after the first year!


Chemistry is a major track offered within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  It is recommended that during their first year students considering a major in Chemistry take Chemistry 107A, Chemistry 108A, Math 105, and Math 106 (unless a student places out of Math 105 per the recommendation of the Math department).   It should be noted that Chemistry 107A is only offered in the fall semester.  We generally recommend that most students with AP or IB credit take Chemistry 107 and use their credit toward Chemistry 108. Those students with AP or IB credit who feel extremely prepared in chemistry may take Chemistry 215 instead of Chemistry 107 in the fall.  Chemistry 217 is not open to first year students.  Any questions, please email the Department Chair, T. Glen Lawson (  Please note that Prof. Lawson will be on sabbatical leave from August 1, through December 31, 2017.  During this period questions may be addressed to Prof. Koviach (


See under Asian Studies

Classical & Medieval Studies

Students interested in the classical and medieval worlds may choose from a variety of entry-level courses.  Open to first-years in the fall semester are Introduction to the Ancient World (CMHI 101), Introduction to Medieval English Literature (CMEN 104), Roman Civilization: The Empire (CMHI 109), Vikings (CMHI 209), Greek and Roman Myths (CMRE 218), Jews and Judaism in Antiquity (CMRE 238), and Islamic Civilization: Politics, History, Arts (CMRE 264).

We warmly invite all interested students to participate in our lively classes in beginning Greek and Latin (Greek 101, Latin 101).  Please note that while Latin 101 is taught in the fall semester, Greek 101 is offered in second semester rather than first semester and Greek 102 is offered in short term. Also open to first years are Introduction to Latin Prose and Prose for the Empire (Latin 201 and 301). Please email the faculty members teaching Latin in the fall, Laurie O’Higgins, Hamish Cameron and Harry Walker, to determine which class is right for you if you have taken Latin in high school.  Also open to first-year students is Classical Prose (Greek 201 and 301). Please email Lisa Maurizio to determine which level is right for you if you have had Greek.

Additionally we offer a First-Year Seminar, Classical Myths and Contemporary Art (FYS 345).


DANC 151. Intro to Dance Composition. This course explores the physical language of dance (which means organized or intentional movement, not necessarily particular steps). Students develop skills in inventing and structuring movement through improvisation and by creating solo and group studies. Reading, writing, and viewing assignments inform class discussions.  This is a Purposeful Work Infused Course. Enrollment limited to 15.

DANC 250. Early Modern Dance History. At the turn of the twentieth century, modern dance emerged as an exciting new art form. From Isadora Duncan to the collaborations of Cage and Cunningham, modern dance has been deeply rooted in innovative exploration and a convergence of diverse cultural expressions. This course focuses on the early dance pioneers, the ideas and conditions that informed their work, and their subsequent influences on the art world. Open to first-year students.

DANC 270. Studio Dance. This series of studio courses provides instruction in a variety of dance practices. Dance 270 may be repeated. One-half credit is earned for each course completed. Students register for Dance 270A, 270B, 270C, or 270D, or 270E; the appropriate sequential course number (271–278) is recorded on the student’s transcript. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 25.

Entry level studio courses are:

DANC 270B Studio: Ballet I

DANC 270E Studio: Jazz I

DANC 270J Studio: Hip Hop

DANC 270I Studio: Improvisation

DNTH 270W Studio: Pilates

More advanced studio courses also open to first years with permission of instructor are:

DANC 270D Studio: Repertory Styles

DANC 253 Repertory and Performance

DANC 270H Studio: Ballet II


Most students who intend to major in economics take Economics 101, Economics 103, and Mathematics 105 (Calculus) during the first year.  First-year students may also take Economic Statistics (Economics 250) when space is available. Economics 101 or 103 is a prerequisite for Economic Statistics. The ordering of these courses over the first and second semesters is not important—you may take Economics 103 before or after you take Economics 101. Details about majoring in economics are available on the Economics Department Web Site at


The Education Department has two minors available: Teacher Education which leads to teacher certification, and Educational Studies. First-year students are welcomed whether they are considering teaching someday or are interested in learning more about schooling from a variety of disciplinary and thematic perspectives.  Many first-year students elect Education 231, Perspectives on Education, which is offered in both fall and winter terms. Education courses include a field placement in a local school, organization or educational setting.  The department offers two First-Year Seminars entitled Exploring Education Through Narrative and Environmentalism, Social Justice, and Education, both of which give first-year students an opportunity to do fieldwork in the local community.  Students who are interested in learning more about the Education Department programs or eventually pursuing a minor in Education may read more about the department by picking up a brochure in the Education Lounge (316 Pettengill) or looking at the Education Department website.


Prospective majors are urged to take at least one course in English during their first year. One course at the 100 level is required for admission by majors and non-majors to many courses offered at the 200 level. For this fall, relevant courses in English would be: CMEN104 Introduction to Medieval English Literature;  ENG 105 9/11 in Literature and Film; AAEN 114 Introduction to African American Literature II: 1910-Present; ENG 118 The Aesthetics of Seeing: Poetry as Witness;  ENG 121L Modern Short Stories, ENG 129 Introduction to Early Modern English Literature; ENG 143 Nineteenth-Century American Literature; ENG 152 American Writers Since 1900. In accordance with College policy, the department grants one course-credit for Advanced Placement scores of four or five, but these credits do not count toward the eleven-course English major requirement.

Environmental Studies:

The environmental studies major requires a set of core courses and a focused interdisciplinary concentration.  Ideally, students take one or more of the core courses open to first-year students (ENVR 203, 204 and 205) in their first year.  ENVR 204, Environment and Society, and ENVR 205, Lives in Place, will be offered in the fall.  In the winter, ENVR 203, Scientific Approaches to Environmental Issues, ENVR 204, and ENVR  205 all will be offered.  In addition, students are advised to look at the range of requirements for the various concentrations and to take any that are of interest that are open to first-year students.  Students wishing to focus on environmental science through the Ecology and Earth Systems concentration should take additional introductory science courses in the first year since early completion of these courses increases the flexibility in course selection in future years.  More detailed information on the major is available on the program web page.

European Studies

We encourage students thinking about a major in European Studies to begin language study as soon as possible. French, German, Russian, and Spanish all offer introductory courses in the fall semester. Students with prior coursework in any of these languages should contact the respective departments to determine the appropriate level to continue study at Bates. We advise enrolling in EUS 101 (Introduction to European Studies) and HIST 104 (Europe, 1789 to the Present) in the first or second year, particularly for students planning to study abroad in their junior year. This year, the European Studies Program is also offering a first-year seminar: FYS 297. The Idea of Europe.

Other portals to the major in European Studies, which are being offered in the fall semester include a variety of culture, history or literature courses: EUHI 206. The Empire Strikes Back; EUS 240. Daily Life Under Hitler/Stalin; HIST 254. Revolutionary Europe and Its Legacies, 1789-1989; PLTC 222. International Political Economy; PLTC 260. Nationalism and Nation Building; and ENG 238. Jane Austen: Then and Now.

French and Francophone Studies

Students thinking of pursuing or starting the student of French language and Francophone cultures should consult the requirements in the College Catalog and contact the chair of the department, Alexandre Dauge-Roth regarding appropriate placement ( Students who plan to student in a French-speaking country in their third year are strong encouraged to begin or continue their study of French in the Fall of their first year. Beginners who start in the Fall of their first year can reach required proficiency to study abroad in French-speaking programs.

Most students with more than three years of French begin work immediately in intermediate language and culture courses, such as French 205: Oral French, 207 and 208: The Cultures of Contemporary France and the Francophone World), or more advanced intermediate courses such as French 235: Advanced French Language and Intro to Film Analysis or French 250: Introduction to French Literature. (Note that 208 and 250 are offered in the Winter Semester.)

Some students choose French 201 for a review of grammar before moving to higher level courses. Students considering a major or minor in French and Francophone Studies are encouraged to take a class in the Fall of their first year and to study abroad, whether on a department-sponsored Short Term unit or during a semester or year abroad on an approved program.

Students interested in French and Francophone Studies can take the on line self-placement at: and then contact the chair to identify the appropriate entry course within the FFS curriculum.

Please note that French 101-102 is reserved for true beginners in the language. Those with more than two years of secondary school study are not admitted at this level and are encouraged to enter at the 200 level.  Students may self-place in courses in French during the enrollment period for first-year students but are encourage to contact a faculty if they want additional advice.

Gender and Sexuality Studies

For students interested in learning more about gender and sexuality, we recommend, as one excellent point of entry, Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies, offered in the fall semester.  This course is designed to acquaint learners with issues, concepts, and methods that serve as a foundation for further study in the major as well as in other fields.

There are many other great points of entry for students interested in Gender and Sexuality Studies.  A number of 100-level and 200-level courses listed or cross-listed in the program are open to first-year students during both the fall and winter semesters, including Race, Ethnicity, and Feminist Thought and Queer Studies.  Please see the current Catalog and online course schedule for a list of courses that count toward the major and minor, and feel free to contact the interim program chair, Erica Rand (, with any further questions.


It is recommended that students considering a major or minor in geology or considering a General Education Concentration (GEC) involving geosciences courses take one or more introductory geology courses during the first year.  Introductory courses include: GEO103 Earth Surface Processes; GEO104 Plate Tectonics; GEO107 Katahdin to Acadia: Field Geology in Maine; GEO109 Global Change.  All GEO 100-level courses may be used to satisfy the S, Q, or L components of the general education requirements.  Courses cross-listed with other departments and open to first-year students include:GE /PH 111. Polar Environment, Climate, and Ecosystems.  and BI/GE Oceanography.  Students considering a major in geology are encouraged to take CHEM107 in the fall semester.

German and Russian Studies:

Students considering studying German or Russian at Bates should keep in mind that a significant percentage of our majors and minors begin their study of these languages here.  Students wishing to begin study of the German language should enroll in German 101 in the fall semester.  Students wishing to begin study of Russian should enroll in Russian 101 in the fall.  Please note that German 101 and Russian 101 are only offered during the fall semester.  It is not possible to start these languages during the winter semester.

Students who have studied German or Russian in secondary school may apply to enter German 201 or 233 or Russian 201 in the fall.  Students who arrive at Bates with previous knowledge of German should complete the “German Language Placement form,” available on the department website under the tab “German,” with as much detail as possible and are encouraged to consult with a member of the German faculty regarding appropriate placement.


“You can’t be civically informed, you can’t be politically empowered, you can’t have a sense of how to measure what’s good or bad, what’s progress in our society without a… sense of the past.” – Khalil Gibran Muhammad, 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Keynote Speaker

You and your fellow members of the class of 2022 arrive at Bates during a time of particularly intense change across the globe. Understanding these changes requires understanding who, what, and where we are now as well as the paths that brought us to this present. The past remains embedded in the present.

If you are curious about this past and its impact on the present and future, you might consider signing up for one of this fall semester’s History courses open to first year students. If you do, you’ll find yourself confronted with big questions, such as:

  • What does it mean to be an American and who gets to be an American? And why did debates over these questions during the nineteenth century lead to civil war and conflicts over reconstruction? (AC/HI 141 America in the Age of the Civil War)
  • It’s often said that China has 5000 years of unbroken history, but how did its civilizations change over that time and how did those changes affect the lives of individual Chinese? (AS/HI 171 China and Its Culture)

Students are advised to start with any one of the courses numbered in the 100’s, even if they have advanced placement credit. The 100-level courses offered this fall cover major themes in the history of China, Imperial Rome, Ancient Greece and Rome, and the U.S. during the era of the Civil War.

You might also begin with a more specialized 200-level course. Topics covered in courses offered this fall include: the European Holocaust, the history of U.S. capitalism, the history of East Africa, the Chinese Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, the black Atlantic of the Revolutionary era, World War II in Europe, and Vikings.

Finally, you might consider one of two First-Year Seminars taught by history faculty: FYS 468 Beyond Nelson Mandela: Themes and Personalities in South African History and FYS 490 Women’s Protest in America.


See under Asian Studies

Latin American Studies:

Students interested in a Latin American Studies major should begin by building a solid basis in the Spanish language. Those student who register for intermediate-level Spanish courses are in a good position to take courses with Latin American Studies content at the 100- and 200-level in History, Politics, Environmental Studies, Anthropology, and courses on Latin American culture and literature taught in English. This year, the program in Latin American Studies offers the following exciting courses that are open to first-year students:

ANLS 238: Culture, Conflict, and Change in Latin America
HIST 181: Latin American History: From the Conquest to the Present
INDS 177: Caribbean Popular Cultural Insurgency
PLTC 219: Social Movements in Latin America
PLTC 249: Politics of Latin America


Students Wishing to Satisfy the [Q] Requirement: There are [Q] courses in many departments and programs.  Garnet Gateway allows you to search for these: try the “Schedule of Courses” link from the login page. In both fall and winter semesters of 2017-2018, the mathematics department will offer MATH 110 (Great Ideas in Mathematics) as a non-calculus-track [Q] course.

Students Requiring Calculus and Beyond: The first math course a student takes depends on their background. In most cases, it will be MATH 105 (Calculus I), 106 (Calculus II), 205 (Linear Algebra), or 206 (Multivariable Calculus).  Here are some common situations:

1.)    If you have AP, IB, or A-level credit for just MATH 105 (Calculus I), sign up for MATH 106 (Calculus II).

2.)    If you also have AP, IB, or A-level credit for MATH 106 (Calculus I), sign up for MATH 205 (Linear Algebra) or MATH 206 (Multivariable Calculus).

3.)    Even if you do not have official credit, if you have a strong background in calculus, we urge you to sign up for the next level after what you have completed.  Successful completion of MATH 106 (Calculus II) fulfills any Bates requirements for MATH 105 (Calculus I).  Successful completion of MATH 206 fulfills any Bates requirements for both MATH 105 (Calculus I) and MATH 106 (Calculus II). This includes the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree.

4.)    Students with moderate or more calculus experience on their high school transcript are normally not permitted to enroll in Math 105. If such a student would like to take Physics 107 without concurrently or previously taking Math 106, Math 205, or Math 206, the student should email the Physics 107 instructor to request a prerequisite override.

In general, we encourage you to not repeat a course you have already taken and understood.  Some students find repeating a course boring and unmotivating.  Others have difficulty learning similar material from a different textbook.  Additionally, you must give up your AP/IB/A-level math credit before you can sign up for a course in which you have already earned credit.

Please take our non-binding, anonymous placement exam ( and read our Selecting Your First Math Course page to further assess which course best suits you. If you have further questions and would like to contact someone, please consult Mathematics Department Contacts.

Students Considering a Math Major: All math majors take MATH s21, a Short Term course affectionately known as “Math Camp,” which teaches how to think like a mathematician and is a prerequisite to some required higher level courses. It’s best to take this class at the end of your first year.


The Music Department offers two entry courses for the study of music theory: Music 231 in the fall for students who have some skill in reading musical notation and Music 101–also in the fall–for those who do not.

Students who are interested but not sure which course is right for them should go to the first class meeting of a Music 231 section in September and get advice and placement from the instructor. Those with substantial theory experience may be able to place out of Music 231 and start at a higher level, but most students benefit by starting the study of college-level music theory with that course. Students who think of majoring or minoring in music should begin the study of music theory as soon as possible.

Two music courses without pre-requisite are open to first-year students in the fall semester:

Introduction to Ethnomusicology (Music 212)

Music in Contemporary Popular Culture (Music 248).

There is also one First-Year Seminar in music this fall, Sound and Image (FYS 402).  In the winter semester, Music in World Cultures (Music 103)  and Music and Religion (Music 104) are also available without prerequisite. Students who want to study an instrument or voice for credit (Applied Music—Music 270) may do so by requesting permission of John Corrie.

Please see the Catalog for the special conditions that pertain to this course. Students who participate in faculty-directed musical ensembles may register for those ensembles as half-credit courses (Music 290). Permission of the director of the ensemble, usually given after an audition, is needed to register.

Four other courses are open to first-year students with the permission of the instructor or upon completing a pre-requisite:

Music Composition (Music 235) in the fall

Jazz Performance Workshop (Music 222)

Computers, Music, and the Arts (Music 237)

Classical Music in Western Culture (Music 210) in the winter.


Students interested in Neuroscience as a major may take Introduction to Neuroscience (NS/PY 160) in the fall or winter semester of their freshman or sophomore year; there is a section of the course offered each semester, and there are no prerequisites for this class. It is advised that students take CHEM 107 in their freshman fall semester. In the winter semester of the first year, it is recommended that students take BIO 190 and CHEM 108. This will enable students to take Organic Chemistry I (CHEM 217) and Cellular and Molecular Biology (BIO 242) in their sophomore year. We wish to alert students with an interest in the Neuroscience major NOT to take PSYC 215 (Medical Psychology), as NS/PY 160, which is a requirement for the Neuroscience major, is not open to students who have received credit for PSYC 215; they are mutually exclusive classes.


There are multiple entry-level courses that provide an introduction to Philosophy at Bates. Introduction to Logic, PHIL 195, and a wide variety of 200-level courses provide equally excellent introductions to the discipline. Although critical reading, thinking, and writing skills are developed in all philosophy classes, Introduction to Logic provides a more focused study of proper reasoning that is beneficial to majors and non-majors alike. Beginning students can also get an introduction to the historical development of the current philosophical context by taking CMPL 271/FYS463, Ancient Greek Philosophy, or PHIL 272, Philosophy from Descartes to Kant. The Philosophy department also uses most of its 200-level philosophy courses as entry-level courses. These 200-level courses below all provide accessible introductions to particular philosophical topics.

For first-year students this Fall Term 2018, we recommend: Introduction to Logic (PHIL 195), Philosophy from Descartes to Kant (PHIL 272), Biomedical Ethics (PHIL 213), Ethics and Environmental Issues (FYS 479 or ESPL 214), Philosophy of Mind (PHIL 235), and Moral Luck (PHIL 257).  For Winter Term 2019, we recommend: Ancient Greek Philosophy (CMPL 271), Philosophy of Science (PHIL 211), On Being Human (PHIL 233), Metaphysics (PHIL 245), Human Nature, Politics, and Morals (PHIL 255), and Philosophy and Feminism (PLWS 262).

Physics and Astronomy:

Students who anticipate majoring in physics or pursuing the Liberal Arts-Engineering Dual Degree Plan normally take Physics 107 (Classical Physics) and Physics 108 (Modern Physics) during the first year, beginning with Physics 107 in the fall semester. Prospective majors can also begin this sequence in the second year, with the caveat that it leaves little time to take many elective courses beyond the minimum major requirements. Note that Physics 107 requires a semester of calculus, Mathematics 105, as a pre- or co-requisite. Students with a strong high school background in physics and mathematics, especially those with AP credits, should consider enrolling in Physics 211 (Newtonian Mechanics) and are encouraged to discuss this option with the department Chair. Those considering the medical profession are advised not to skip Physics 107 and should speak with a member of the Medical Studies Committee.  Students entering in January with a strong background in physics may be able to register for Physics 108 and/or Physics 222 (Electricity and Magnetism) and should consult the department Chair.


First-year students with an interest in studying politics may begin with a 100-level course in the Fall or Winter semester. Students with a sufficient background in the study of politics, e.g. having taken an advanced placement course in government, may also consider taking a 200-level course during their first year.  The department strongly encourages incoming students to take a first-year seminar, and we also encourage our students to work toward mastery of a second language. Prospective Politics majors should keep in mind that the department requires students to take s49, Political Inquiry: Elements of Research Design, during Short Term of their sophomore year (this can be delayed to junior year in certain circumstances). In addition, all politics majors must concentrate in one of five possible foci within the major. A great many of our students study beyond Bates during junior year. If you plan to do so, please talk with the department chair and your major advisor by early in your sophomore year in order to map the progression of courses in the major. For more information about the major in politics at Bates, please see


Students should begin a psychology major with Principles of Psychology (Psychology 101), which is taught in both the fall and winter semesters. Prospective majors are advised to take a 200-level course the following semester. Prospective majors are also advised to take Statistics (Psychology 218) during their sophomore year. This is because it is a prerequisite for our methods courses (PSYC 261 or ED/PY 262), one of which must be taken before senior year. Students planning to go abroad during their junior year should consult with an advisor in the Psychology department as soon as possible. Students can earn credit for PSYC 101 by earning a 4 or 5 on an AP exam. Earning credit for PSYC 101 allows students to take courses for which PSYC 101 is a pre-requisite. In addition, credit for PSYC 101 reduces the number of required courses taken at Bates for the psychology major from eleven to ten.

Religious Studies:

Have you ever wondered about the meaning of life? Of death? Love? Compassion? Commitment? Welcome to Religious Studies.  The academic study of religion provides an opportunity to explore how different cultures – throughout history and in the present – grapple with these enduring questions and many others.  As first-year students with an interest in the study of Religion, you’ll find a number of courses being offered at the 100-level: FYS 152 – Religion and the Civil Rights Movement, REL 100 – Religion and Film, REL 112 – Introduction to Islam, AS/RE 155 – Introduction: Asian Religions, and a new course this year: Religion and Grief. You need not restrict your choices to courses at the 100-level. You are equally welcome to take any of our 200-level courses that have no prerequisites, such as CM/RE 238 – Jews and Judaism in Antiquity, CM/RE 264 – Islam in a Global Context, or AS/RE 249 – The Hindu Tradition. Any 100 or 200-level course can serve as an introduction to the field, and all RS courses count toward the fulfillment of one or more General Education Concentrations. We also cross-list with a greater number of departments and programs than any other department and so provide a great place to explore more than one field of study at a time. What are you waiting for?  Check out our website at:

Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies:

First year students interested in the study of Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies are encouraged to take:

Rhetoric 100: What is Rhetoric? offered in both the fall and the winter;

RHET120: Introduction to Screen Studies, offered in the winter;

And AA/RH 162: White Redemption, offered in the winter.

Students majoring/minoring in Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies are required to take at least two of these courses, and encouraged to take all three.

Additionally, in the Fall of 2018,  Rhetoric Professor Charles Nero will offer a FYS: Lorraine Hansberry and James Baldwin: Young, Gifted, Black, and Queer.


First-year students interested in pursuing sociology can begin their exploration of the discipline with any 100-level course and with most of our 200-level courses. The 100-level courses are all designed to introduce students to sociology, while the 200-level courses focus on more specific subfiends and topics. Any of our 100-level courses are an appropriate starting point, and no particular 100-level course is required for the major or as a pre-requisite to upper-level sociology courses.

In Fall 2018, we are offering Soc. 101 – Principles of Sociology, and Soc. 104 – Contemporary Social Problems: Sociological Perspectives. There also may be a few spots available for incoming first-year students, with instructor permission, in Soc. 211 — Crime, Justice and Society or Soc. 290 – Political Sociology. In Winter 2019, we will offer Soc. 101 again, plus Soc. 103 — Introduction to Macrosociology, as well as several 200-level electives that will be open to first-year students: Soc. 206 — Thinking Sociologically with Numbers; Soc. 230 — Sociology of Health and Illness; Soc. 231 — Sociology of Religion; and Soc. 250 — Privilege, Power and Inequality.

Additional information about the sociology department’s courses and major is available at and further questions can be address to the Department Chair, Professor Emily Kane (269 Pettengill Hall, email:


First-year students (as well as continuing students) wishing to study Spanish at Bates should take the department online placement exam prior to registration in order to determine their entry level course. Upon completion of the exam, students should contact the instructor of the course they wish to enter or the department chair, David George (, in order to request the necessary override.

For those considering a minor in Spanish, the entry level course is SPAN 201, (SPAN 103 Accelerated Elementary does not count towards the minor).

For prospective majors, the first required course is SPAN 205 Advanced Spanish. SPAN 103-202 do not count.

Span 103 will be offered in Winter 2019.


For the Fall semester of 2018, entering students should consider these courses:

THEA 101 An Introduction to Drama: Theater and Film. A survey of the nature and history of drama on stage and in motion pictures. Beginning with a discussion of action, plot, and character, the course moves on to consider the elements of theatrical performance—including acting, directing, and design—as well as important plays from the Greeks to the present. These may include works by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, Brecht, and Beckett. It then shifts focus to film, examining the elements of mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound, and concluding with a study of major films from the silent era to the twenty-first century. These may include works by Chaplin, Wells, Bergman, Hitchcock, Scorsese, and David Lynch. Normally offered every year.

THEA 130. Introduction to Design The creation of theater is a synthesis of text, performance, and visual imagery. This course explores how the visual aspect of theatrical design affects the way an audience perceives, feels, and responds to text and action. Students learn to use line, mass, color, and texture to communicate metaphoric and thematic ideas as they relate to the overall theatrical experience. They examine how forms of art, architecture, and music use these tools to influence and transform the audience, and build on this foundation to create a design vocabulary for theater. Students discuss how clothing, adornment, and body language influence the way individuals perceive others and present themselves. They learn the fundamentals of collaborative creation, and design scenery and costumes for a classic work of dramatic literature. Required of all majors. No previous art or theater training is required. Enrollment limited to 14. Normally offered every year.

THEA 132. Theater Technology. This course provides a look “behind the curtain” to reveal the secrets of theater magic. Students learn the geography of the stage, how scenery is built, how lighting works, what hardware is right for the job, and how to handle tools safely. Many of the skills learned in this class are basic ones and will be useful in everyday life. This is a hands-on course; all students participate in preparing theater department productions. Enrollment limited to 14. Normally offered every other year.

THEA 240 Playwriting. After reviewing the fundamentals of dramatic structure and characterization, students write one full-length or two one-act plays. Recommended background: two courses in theater or dramatic literature. Not open to students who have received credit for THEA s41. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 15. Staff.

THEA 261. Beginning Acting. This course introduces the student to the physiological processes involved in creative acting. The student learns the Stanislavski approach to the analysis of realistic and naturalistic drama. Exercises leading to relaxation, concentration, and imagination are included in an improvisational context. Studies in motivation, sense perception, and emotion-memory recall lead the student to beginning work on scene performance. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 16. Normally offered every semester.

THEA 263. Voice and Speech. Students examine the nature and working of the human voice. Students explore ways to develop the voice’s potential for expressive communication with exercises and the analysis of breathing, vocal relaxation, pitch, resonance, articulation, audibility, dialect, and text performance. Recommended background: one course in acting, performance, or public speaking. Open to first-year students. Enrollment limited to 20. Normally offered every year.