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.

Registration Overview & Academic Advising


First Year Courses to Take if Interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics – Click Here + More Information Below



We encourage first year students interested in Africana to take the introductory course: INDS 100.  Students may also choose from a variety of entry-level courses open to first year students.  These include but are not limited to: FYS 468 – Beyond Nelson Mandela (Otim), FYS 496 – Racial Formation in Biomedical Science (Harr), BIO 128 – Out of the Sea (Hill), AARH 162 – White Redemption (Nero), AAAN 207 – Race, Racism, and Redress (Lyon), EDSO 242 – Race, Cultural Pluralism & Equality (Tieken), AAMU 249 – African American Popular Music (Chapman), AVAC 288 – Visualizing Race (Rand). Besides taking Africana 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 Africana 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 AA/AC 119: Cultural Politics and AMST 200 Introduction to American Studies is offered in winter term 2020. Both courses are required for the major. Other courses offered in the Fall 2019 that contribute to the major are AMAN 125 Critical Perspectives on Sports and Society; and AMHI 299  What Supremacy: An American History.  What does it mean to be “an American?” How does our understanding of American culture, and our relation to it, differ depending upon historical context, social position, and the interpretive and ideological perspectives we bring to bear upon it?  American Studies pursues these questions using a variety of interdisciplinary approaches, using texts, performance, and material culture as points of departure for our wide-ranging exploration of American culture. While it focuses on the United States, American Studies situates the U.S. in a wider transnational context.A complete list of courses is provided in the catalog under the major.


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 course. 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). Please note that Chinese 101 and Japanese 101 are offered only in the Fall semester.

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), AV/AS 243 (Buddhist Visual Worlds), Art and Visual Culture/Asian Studies 245 (Architectural Monuments of Southeast Asia), AVAS 236 Japanese Art and Culture; AV/AS 247 The Art of Zen Buddhism, AV/AS 246 Visual Narratives: Storytelling in East Asia, Asian Studies/History 171 (China and its Culture), Asian Studies/Japanese 125  (Japanese Literature and Society), AS/JA 130 (Japanese Film), Asian Studies/Religion 155 (Introduction to Asian Religions), REL 110 (Death and the Afterlife), AS/RE 208 (Religions in China),  AS/RE 209 (Religions in Japan), AS/RE 251 (Religions of Tibet) , and ASRE 250 (Buddhist Traditions)  Asian Studies/Chinese 207 (Traditional Chinese Literature in Translation), AS/CI 223 (Communism, Capitalism, and Cannibalism), AS/CI 312 (Kung Fu Cinemas) AS/HI 274 (China in Revolution), First Year Seminar 501 (Japan on Screen: Reading Prominent Japanese Films), English 121G (Asian American Women Writers), INDS 266 (Environmental History of China)  and INDS 255 (Modern Japanese Women Writers and Film Makers), AS/MU 252. Musics of Asia and the Pacific  (Fall) 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 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, Matt Cote ( with any questions.


Students considering a major in Biology should complete Biology 195 Lab-based Biological Inquiry during either the fall or winter of their first year.  Several sections of this course are offered each semester (e.g., BIO 195A, BIO 195B, etc.). All sections are organized around a course-based research experience and share similar learning objectives, but the specific area of biology explored in this course varies among sections.  In Fall 2019, Biology 195 sections will focus on marine biology or host-parasite evolution. In Winter 2020, Biology 195 sections will focus on the future of microalgae, microbial activity, or animal locomotion.

Students considering a major in Biology should also take Chemistry 107 in the fall of the first year, and Chemistry 108 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).

In addition to taking the required Biology 195 in the first year, first year students 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 for the major), but it can count as an elective course toward the major requirements. 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.  Please contact the Department Chair, Matt Cote ( with any questions. 


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 with a strong background in dance.

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 270A Studio: Modern I

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: AAEN 114 – Introduction to African American Literature I: 1600-1910; CMEN 104 – Introduction to Medieval English Literature; ENG 118 – The Aesthetics of Seeing: Poetry as Witness; ENG 142 – Early 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 English major.

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 Europe) 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.  Finally, students looking for an entry into the major could take EUS 261.  Slavic Europe.

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, Kirk Read regarding appropriate placement ( Students who plan to study in a French-speaking country in their third year are strongly 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 in France, Morocco, Senegal to name a few.

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 “Contemporary France,” 208 “Intro to the Francophone World,” or more advanced intermediate courses such as French 235 “Advanced French Language and Intro to Film Analysis” or 250 “Power and Resistance Through Writing.” (Note that 208 is 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 encouraged 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 program chair Melinda Plastas ( 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:

Did you know that a significant percentage of German majors and minors and Russian minors begin their study of these languages at Bates? If you are new to either language, you should enroll in GER 101 or RUS 101 in the fall. (Please note that GER 101 and RUS 101 are only offered during the fall semester. It is not possible to start these languages during the winter semester.)

If you have studied German and Russian in secondary school, you may apply to enter GER 201 or 233 or RUS 201 in the fall. If you have previous knowledge of German and would like to know which course is right for you, you should complete the “German Language Placement” form, available on the department website under the tab “German.” Once you have done so, a member of the German faculty will follow up with you 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 2023 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.

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 the Ancient Greece and Rome, the Roman Republic, Europe since 1789, the United States since 1900, and Latin America since 1500.

You might also begin with a more specialized 200-level course. Topics covered in courses offered this fall examine the global Spanish empire, China’s revolutionary twentieth century, and East African history, among many others.

Finally, you might consider two First-Year Seminars taught by history faculty: FYS 419 Tobacco in History and Culture and FYS 468 Beyond Nelson Mandela: Themes and Personalities in South African History.


See under Asian Studies

Latin American Studies:

Several courses provide an introduction to 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 following courses dedicated to the study of Latin America are open to first-year students, and they count for the Latin American Studies major:

ANLS 238: Culture, Conflict, and Change in Latin America

FYS 443: Heroes or Villains? Columbus and Fidel (Castro)

HIST 181: Latin American History: From the Conquest to the Present

HILS 270: The Spanish Empire: From Madrid to Manila

INDS 177: Caribbean Popular Cultural Insurgency

PLTC 219: Social Movements in Latin America

PLTC 249: Politics of Latin America

Students interested in a Latin American Studies major should also build a solid basis in the Spanish language. 

For upper-level courses in Latin American literature please consult the Spanish department’s schedule of courses


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 first or second year at Bates; there is a section of this course offered each semester, and there are no prerequisites for this class. Simply come as you are! We wish to alert students who have an interest in the Neuroscience major, however, NOT to register for 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.

For coursework that is recommended during the first year specifically, we advise students to take CHEM 107 in the fall semester and then CHEM 108 in the winter semester of the first year. CHEM 107 and 108 are ultimately required for the major. It is also recommended that students take BIO 195: Lab-based Biological Inquiry during either the fall or winter of the first year. There are several sections of this course offered in each semester (e.g., BIO 195A, BIO 195B, etc.); all sections are organized around a course-based research experience and share similar learning objectives, but the specific area of biology explored in the course varies among sections. BIO 195 is also ultimately required for the Neuroscience major, and students may take any section of BIO 195 that is of topical interest to them.


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 Philosophy, or PHIL 272, Philosophy in the Modern Era (1600-1800). 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 2019:

PHIL 233 Source of Moral Cognition

PHIL 255 Human Nature, Morality, Politics

PHIL 257 Moral Luck and Social Identity

GSPL 262 Feminist Philosophy

CMPL 271 Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 272 Philosophy in the Modern Era (1600-1800)

PHIL 325c Moral Realism and Irrealism

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:

Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies majors/minors are required to take 2 of the 3 listed below, (however, we suggest students take all three). These courses are also suitable for those who want to learn more about Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies.

RFSS100: What is Rhetoric? offered in both the fall and the winter.

RFSS120: Introduction to Screen Studies, offered in the winter.

And RFSS162: White Redemption, offered in the winter.

Additionally, the following RFSS courses are open to first year students and being offered in the fall:

RFSS260: Lesbian and Gay Images in Film

RFSS202: Coming of Age While Black

RFSS265: The Rhetoric of Women’s Rights

Students wishing more information about these courses, or about the department can access our departmental webpage HERE. Descriptions of the major and minor are HERE. Course descriptions are HERE. And a tentative list of future course offerings (for planning) is HERE.


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 2019, we are offering two sections of Soc. 101 – Principles of Sociology. There also may be a few spots available for incoming first-year students, with instructor permission, in Soc. 236 – Urban Sociology or Soc. 260 — Economic Sociology. In Winter 2020, we will offer Soc. 101 again, plus Soc. 103 — Introduction to Macrosociology, as well as various 200-level electives that will be open to first-year students: Soc. 206 — Thinking Sociologically with Numbers; Soc. 217 — Correcting and Controlling Behavior; Soc. 236 — Urban Sociology; and Soc. 270 — Sociology of Gender.

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 must take the department online placement exam prior to registration in order to determine their entry level course and receive necessary override. Upon completion of the exam, the override will be entered automatically on the student’s record and they should be able to register. They may contact the instructor of the course or the department chair, David George (, with questions.

Students with AP do not need to take the place exam: those with a score of 4 should be eligible to register for SPAN 201, and 5, SPAN 202 without an override if the scores have been sent to Bates. Please contact the register and/or the chair of Spanish with any questions.

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 2020.


For the Fall semester of 2019, 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.