General Education

FAQ – General Education

General Education Requirements for the Classes of 2011 and beyond

1. Two Concentrations

In addition to their major, students successfully complete two General Education concentrations, declared at the same time as the major. A concentration consists of four courses chosen from a faculty-designed menu that is structured on the basis of 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 used in lieu of courses to fulfill the concentrations. Co-curricular experiences, though counting toward a concentration, may not be counted toward the total credits needed for graduation.

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 department, program, or major. Students may only “double-dip”— satisfy two requirements with one course or co-curricular experience — once between their two concentrations (i.e., only one course or co-curricular experience may count toward both concentrations). Alternatively, students may only double-dip once between their concentrations and their majors (i.e., only one of the eight courses, units, or co-curricular experiences they choose to fulfill their two concentrations may also be counted toward their major). The two concentrations together must thus have a minimum of seven distinct courses or co-curricular experiences. When appropriate, concentration courses or units (but not co-curricular experiences) may be counted toward any other degree requirements (writing, scientific reasoning, laboratory experience, or quantitative literacy).

A second major and/or a minor may fulfill a concentration requirement. Students’ concentrations appear on their transcripts and are a permanent part of their academic records.

2. Three Writing-Attentive Courses

Students successfully complete three writing-attentive courses, one in their first-year [W1], one taken in the sophomore or junior year at the second level [W2], and one in their senior year at the third level [W3]. 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 (major, minor, concentrations, scientific reasoning, laboratory experience, or quantitative literacy).

3. Scientific Reasoning, Laboratory Experience, and Quantitative Literacy

Students successfully complete three distinct courses: 1) one course that requires scientific reasoning [S], which may or may not have a laboratory component; 2) one course that includes a regularly scheduled laboratory component in the laboratory or in the field [L]; 3) one course in quantitative literacy [Q].

No double-dipping is allowed among S, L, and Q courses; these requirements must be met by three distinct courses. However, when appropriate, S, L, and Q courses may be used to fulfill other degree requirements (major, minor, concentrations, and writing).