Dec 10, 2019  
Course Catalog 2005-2006 
    
Course Catalog 2005-2006 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The College of Arts and Sciences


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Students in the College of Arts and Sciences, working closely with faculty advisors and following the general guidelines below, design an educational program appropriate to their particular interests, needs, and long-term goals. Taking responsibility for their education in this way, students derive the most benefit from Oberlin’s many resources.

Students decide upon a major by the end of the second year of study. This allows time in the first two years to attend a variety of classes, to discuss areas of interest with faculty members and other students, to rediscover a forgotten interest, or to explore a new field. The Individual Major Program is available to students who develop interests not encompassed by a single major in a department or program.

In order to earn an Arts and Sciences degree, major, minor, or concentration, a student must be enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences.

 


 

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General Education

  

The curriculum of Oberlin College provides many opportunities for students to pursue fields of interest in ways reflecting the characteristics of breadth and depth typical of a liberal education. By selecting a major, students engage in the study of a particular discipline, or field, in depth. Breadth in an Oberlin education comes from the opportunity to explore a number of different fields of inquiry. In order to assist in achieving breadth, Oberlin has general requirements that emphasize study in each of the three broad divisions of the College (arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and natural sciences and mathematics), while also insuring that a student has studied cultures different from his or her own and become familiar with a range of scholarly approaches in subjects studied. Students are also encouraged to achieve proficiency in a foreign language.

The general requirements for the College of Arts and Sciences are described under the catalog section “Requirements for Graduation.” They include the General Distribution Requirement (also known as the 9-9-9 Requirement), Cultural Diversity Credits, Quantitative Proficiency and Writing Proficiency.

Though not listed as part of the three divisions of the College, courses in the Athletics and Physical Education Department allow participation in physical activities and the study of physical education. Students are encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities.

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Degree Programs

Bachelor of Arts (BA) Students in the College of Arts and Sciences pursue a program of study leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree. The Arts and Sciences curriculum is comprised of three divisions:

Arts and Humanities Division: Art, Cinema Studies, Classics, Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, East Asian Studies, English, French and Italian, German, Hispanic Studies, Jewish Studies, Music, Philosophy, Religion, Russian, and Theater and Dance. (All courses designated HU.)

Social and Behavioral Sciences Division: African American Studies, Anthropology, Comparative American Studies, Economics, History, Politics, Psychology, Sociology, and Gender and Women’s Studies. (All courses designated SS.)

Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division: Biology, Biochemistry, Biopsychology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics, Neuroscience, and Physics and Astronomy. (All courses designated NS.)

Most of these programs offer majors leading to the BA degree; many also offer minors. Interdisciplinary majors are offered in Archeological Studies, Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies, Law and Society, Russian and East European Studies, and Third World Studies. Concentrations are offered in International Studies and Cognitive Sciences.

Double-Degree Program. Students may participate in the Double-Degree Program, in which they choose a major leading to a BA degree in the College of Arts and Sciences, and a BMus degree in the Conservatory of Music. Prospective double-degree students apply for admission to each division separately. Students already enrolled in one division may apply for admission to the other division at the appropriate Admissions Office. Admissions requirements and standards are the same as those for single-degree students. The Academic Standing committees of both the College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory of Music review the records of double-degree students at the end of each semester.

Normally it will take five years to complete requirements for two degrees, and normally both degrees are awarded at the end of the fifth year of study. If a double-degree student elects to graduate from each division in separate semesters, the full requirements for the first degree as a single degree must be met. Requirements, regulations and procedures relating to academic standing, advising, major study, etc., for both divisions will apply.

To earn two degrees under this program a student must complete the requirements for one or more majors leading to the BA degree and the requirements for one or more majors leading to the BMus degree, as well as a minimum of 152 semester hours of course credits.

For further information please consult the following sections of this catalog: “Requirements for Graduation” in the College of Arts and Sciences, “Double-Degree,” and “Requirements for Graduation” in the Conservatory of Music.

Combined Liberal Arts and Engineering Program. Oberlin College has cooperative arrangements with several engineering schools whereby qualified students may obtain both the Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin and the Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree from the engineering school. In this program, students spend three years at Oberlin and then two years at the engineering school. For further details please see “Engineering” in the course listings.

Pre-Business. Many Oberlin graduates pursue business or graduate programs in business. The better graduate schools of business welcome Oberlin applicants as students with a solid liberal arts background. An undergraduate degree in business is neither required nor, in many cases, desired for acceptance into these schools. Students considering graduate work in business may major in virtually any area of the liberal arts. They are advised to take introductory courses in economics, mathematics and computer science—areas often required for admission to, and recommended as preparation for, the better graduate programs. Please see the Office of Career Services for further advice.

Pre-Law. Many Oberlin students enter law school after graduation. Information on general requirements for law admissions can be found in the Office of Career Services or by asking faculty designated as pre-law advisors. A list of these advisors is available in the Office of Career Services and the Office of the Dean of Studies. Normally, a student is expected to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) in either the second semester of the junior year or in the first semester of the senior year.

No one major, including the Law and Society Major, should be considered as key for preparing for the study of law. However, students interested in law school may wish to look over the core courses, core research seminars, and related courses listed under “Law and Society.” These courses contain subject matter relevant to the law, and are helpful in developing analytic skills essential to the study of law.

Pre-Medical. Students planning to apply to medical school may major in any subject provided they also complete pre-medical requirements. Early in their academic careers at Oberlin they should discuss their plans with one of the Health Careers advisors. For a list of advisors and other information, please see www.oberlin.edu/hcf.

Most medical schools require one year of biology with laboratory, one year of physics with laboratory, and chemistry with laboratory through organic chemistry. Students intending to take this work at Oberlin should note:

  1. Chemistry 101, 102, 205, and 254 normally are chosen to complete the chemistry requirement. An alternative to Chemistry 254 is Chemistry 325, 326.
  2. Biology 118/119 and 213/214 will meet minimum biology requirements. Premedical students often elect additional biology courses, especially Biology 120 and 312.
  3. The Physics 103, 104 sequence is the most common means of satisfying the physics requirement. An alternative sequence is Physics 110, 111.

Students should consult the appropriate departmental listings for descriptions of these offerings and their prerequisites. Most medical schools also require a year of English and some require one or two semesters of mathematics. A year of calculus or a semester each of calculus and statistics usually satisfies the mathematics requirement. A few schools specify or recommend one or more courses not mentioned above. To determine requirements of specific medical schools students should consult the most recent edition of the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) published by the Association of American Medical Colleges. This publication is available in Kettering Science Library and the Office of Career Services.

The required Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is administered at Oberlin and elsewhere in April and August. Information about the test, including deadlines for filing applications and application forms, is available from the Office of Career Services. Students intending to enroll in medical school immediately after graduation must complete the minimum science requirements listed above by the end of their junior year and take the MCAT in April (preferably), or in August (if more time is required for review). Others defer the MCAT and applications to medical schools until the senior year or later in order to complete premedical requirements and explore other interests. In any case, it is not necessary or advisable to take more than two mathematics or science courses in either semester of the first year.

Pre-Education. Although there is no department of education at Oberlin, students are offered a number of opportunities to pursue an interest in teaching and other careers in education. The Curricular Committee on Education has identified courses at Oberlin that are related to the study of education. Students are encouraged to consider these courses, along with a wide variety of other liberal arts and sciences courses, to prepare for teaching in independent or public elementary and secondary schools, and to help assess their interest in pursuing professional programs at the graduate level.

For courses related to the role of education in society, the role of education as a profession, and educational pedagogy, please see the section of the course listings entitled “Education.” Supervised experience in tutoring and classroom teaching is also possible. The Education Committee maintains a list of faculty members who are prepared to offer private readings in education, sponsor Winter Term projects, or advise students on graduate education programs and employment opportunities. The student organization Obies for Education, the Center for Service and Learning, and the Office of Career Services may also be consulted. (See “Center for Service and Learning” and “Office of Career Services” elsewhere in this catalog.)

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Requirements for Graduation

Institutional Requirements

Students are responsible for compliance with the institutional graduation requirements stated in the Oberlin College Course Catalog in effect when they first matriculate at Oberlin, unless action by an appropriate faculty body specifically directs otherwise.

The Bachelor of Arts degree is conferred upon students who have successfully completed the following:

  1. A major.
  2. Three Winter Term credits.
  3. At least 112 credit hours, subject to the following distribution rules:
    1. Maximum hours in one department or program. No more than 56 hours applied toward graduation may be earned in a single department or program. Therefore, at least 56 hours must be earned outside any single department or program. For purposes of this requirement only, course work in two different languages in the same department or program will be counted as though in two different departments or programs in the Humanities.
    2. Maximum hours in a single division. No more than 84 hours within a single division (i.e., Arts and Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Natural Sciences and Mathematics) may be applied toward graduation. Therefore at least 28 hours must be taken outside the division with the highest number of credits.
      1. Liberal Arts and Engineering Program. Students in the Combined Liberal Arts and Engineering Program may apply no more than 63 hours in a single division towards graduation. (Students in this program have different graduation requirements; these are described in the “Engineering” section of this catalog.)
      2. Maximum hours in Experimental College (ExCo) courses. No more than five hours in Experimental College (ExCo) courses may be counted toward graduation.
    3. Liberal arts credits for double-degree students. Double-degree candidates must complete a minimum of 62 hours of non-music liberal arts credit in addition to the music credits required for the Bachelor of Music degree. For more details, see the section on the Double-Degree Program.
    4. Distribution requirements. At least nine credit hours are required in each of the three divisions of the College of Arts and Sciences, taken from at least two departments or programs within each of these divisions. For the purposes of this requirement, course work in two different languages in the same department or program will be counted as though in two different departments or programs in the Humanities.
      1. Divisional credit for Conservatory courses. For students in the College of Arts and Sciences who are not in the Double-Degree Program, courses in the Conservatory will be counted toward the Humanities (HU) distribution requirement.
    5. Cultural Diversity requirement. At least nine credit hours in courses dealing with cultural diversity, including foreign languages, are required. These must be taken in at least two departments or programs and may also count toward the nine hours required in each division.
  4. Writing Proficiency. This requirement applies to all students in the College of Arts and Sciences, including transfer and double-degree students. Students changing divisions from Conservatory of Music to the College of Arts and Sciences or to the double-degree program are also subject to this requirement. Proficiency may be demonstrated in either of the following ways:
    1. by a score of 710 or better on the SAT II: Writing Test, or by a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement Examination in English Language/Composition or Literature/Composition;
    2. by certification of writing proficiency by two Oberlin College instructors who have taught the student in courses designated for writing proficiency (WR or WRi) in two different departments or programs.
    For further details, please see “Rhetoric and Composition Program.”
  5. Quantitative Proficiency. This may be demonstrated in any of the following ways:
    1. by earning credit in one of the courses designated “Quantitative Proficiency Certification-Full”;
    2. by certification of quantitative proficiency by the instructors of any two courses designated “Quantitative Proficiency Certification-Half”;
    3. by the following scores on Advanced Placement Examinations:
      4 or 5 on the AB or BC exam in Calculus or 4 or 5 on the AB subscore of the BC exam in Calculus;
      4 or 5 on the Chemistry exam;
      4 or 5 on the Physics B or C exam;
      3, 4, or 5 on the Computer Science AB exam or 3 or higher on the Computer Science A exam;
      4 or 5 on the Statistics exam.
    For further details please see the “Quantitative Proficiency” section of the course listings.

Residence Requirement. Students must complete at least 56 hours of Oberlin College work. Students must also spend at least four semesters in residence at Oberlin or enrolled in Oberlin programs. Ordinarily the last semester must be spent in residence at Oberlin.

Marching at Graduation. Students must be registered for work sufficient to complete, by the end of the last semester in residence, all requirements for the degree(s) sought, in order to be eligible to participate in the annual Commencement exercises. Students who have permission to finish their work away from Oberlin may participate in Commencement exercises only after all requirements have been completed and the degree awarded.

Finish Away. A student who lacks at the end of the spring semester a maximum of eight credit hours or at the end of the fall semester a maximum of four credit hours required for graduation may apply in the Office of the Registrar for permission to complete these hours away from Oberlin. The work may be done at another institution or through Oberlin courses on an Enrolled- Not-in-Residence registration. Permission to complete more than four hours at the end of the fall semester or more than eight hours at the end of the spring semester away from Oberlin will be granted only after careful consideration of educational or personal reasons by the Office of the Dean of Studies.

In rare cases, a student who has spent at least six semesters in residence or on Oberlin programs and has completed a major, may request a waiver of the last semester-in-residence requirement with a program of up to 15 hours of off-campus study (either Enrolled-Not-In- Residence or study at another institution). Such a request must be justified by a clear educational rationale.

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Major and Minor Study

Major Study

To provide depth in their education, students must, before completion of 56 semester hours, elect a department or program in which to do major study. Those who have not declared a major after 56 hours will be allowed to enroll only with the permission of the Dean of Studies. A student may subsequently elect a different major and drop the previously declared major with the consent of the heads of the departments or programs involved. Students may elect to do major work in more than one department.

Each department or program determines the detailed requirements for completion of the major or majors in that department or program. The requirements that apply to a student are those published in the most recent edition of this Catalog at the time a student completes the second semester of his or her sophomore year. These requirements may be altered as necessary in individual cases by the departments or programs. All majors consist of no fewer than 24 hours.

Individual Major Program. Students wishing to pursue an Individual Major design their own program of study focusing on a particular topic of interest which cannot be studied through a single department. Such proposals are normally submitted at the end of the sophomore year, together with the approval of two or more advisors, each from a different department. The program must consist of at least 30 hours with no more than 12 hours at the introductory level, must include courses from more than one department, and usually must not have more than twothirds of the total hours in any one department. Furthermore, the proposal must include at least 12 hours of work not yet begun at the time of the submission of the proposal; and if there is an off-campus component to the major, including courses taken while “Enrolled-Not-in-Residence,” the number of hours involved in this component shall not exceed one-third of the total hours of the major. If a student has a second major in addition to the Individual Major, no more than 15 hours may be double-counted between the two majors. The student is advised to keep in mind the general education guidelines and Oberlin College’s institutional requirements when designing an Individual Major. Each proposal is evaluated and either approved or disapproved by a joint faculty-student committee established for that purpose. Requirements and guidelines are in the Individual Major Handbook available in the Office of the Dean of Studies.

Honors Program. Through the Honors Program, students of proven ability and independence may extend their competence in their major field of study or in related fields. Honors projects are designed with the student by departments, by programs with majors, or (for students having individual majors) by the Individual Major Committee. Departments and programs may, if they desire, open their Honors Programs to students other than their own majors. An Honors candidate whose project demonstrates the requisite degree of excellence is awarded the Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors.

Honors projects vary but always involve independent work. This may be done in seminars or private readings, in research, in the preparation of a thesis, exhibition, or performance, always under the supervision of appropriate faculty advisors. Students in the program are eligible for certain academic privileges such as release from tests and examinations and access to special library and laboratory facilities. At the end of the senior year, Honors candidates may be excused from final examinations in the department in which they are doing honors work and, at the discretion of the instructor, in courses in closely related subjects. Every candidate for Honors must pass a special examination at the end of the senior year (written or oral or both). Outside examiners may be invited to conduct the final examination of candidates.

Recommendations for the award of honors are made to the Committee on Honors at Graduation by departments, by programs with majors, or by the Individual Major Committee. A department or program may recommend any student for Honors if that department’s criteria are met, regardless of the student’s specific major. The Individual Major Committee may make such recommendations only for students whose Honors work is in the field of their individual majors. The Committee on Honors at Graduation makes the final decisions on all recommendations for Honors, maintaining reasonably uniform standards for the award of Honors at graduation. Students wishing to enter the Honors Program should consult the chairperson of their major department by the beginning of the second semester of the junior year or earlier.

Senior Scholars. Exceptional students who wish to pursue independent study and research during their senior year may apply to the Committee on Honors at Graduation for Senior Scholar status. Successful candidates must have an outstanding record during their first three years and an unusual capacity for independent work, including a 3.5 minimum GPA, and a strong endorsement from at least one faculty member familiar with their work. Senior Scholars must have completed all requirements for a major unless waived by the relevant department or program or by the Individual Major Committee. Senior Scholars are subject to the normal graduation requirements, and must have completed the following requirements prior to their senior year: 9-9-9 distribution, writing proficiency, quantitative proficiency, and cultural diversity. Candidates are selected in the spring of their junior year on the basis of applications submitted to the Committee.

The designation “Senior Scholar” on the diploma shall be granted by the Committee on Honors at Graduation when the quality of work merits graduation with distinction.

Students wishing to be considered for Senior Scholar status should consult with the chair of the Committee on Honors at Graduation by the beginning of the second semester of the junior year or earlier.

Minor Study

Many departments offer a minor that consists of at least four courses totaling at least 15 hours of work in that department, and including at least two components of work at the non-introductory level. Students pursuing minors declare the minor with the Office of the Registrar prior to graduation. The completion of a minor is noted on the transcript.

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Concentrations

Students may choose to pursue a concentration in addition to a major. A concentration is an integrated, interdisciplinary program of study. Fields which suit the concentration model do not have a single methodological or content base in a traditional discipline; thus they are not housed in existing departments or programs as are majors and minors. There are concentrations in Cognitive Sciences and International Studies.

A concentration may complement or strengthen a traditional major by extending some of its content or methodology across other disciplines. Students may, on the other hand, choose a concentration unrelated to their major. Students graduating from Oberlin must fulfill the requirements of a major; if they choose, they may also complete a concentration, but it does not substitute for a major. The completion of a concentration is noted on the transcript.

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Advising

Each Oberlin student has an academic advisor for help in planning an educational program consonant with the student’s interests and goals. The advisor can offer guidance in evaluating academic strengths and weaknesses and provide information on Oberlin’s curriculum and regulations. Entering students are assigned faculty advisors, usually in areas of stated interest. A student may change advisors at any time by asking another faculty member to serve and by notifying the Office of the Dean of Studies. Students who have declared a major are advised by a member of the department in which they are majoring.

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Academic Standing

Guidelines. Students are expected to progress toward graduation at a more or less constant rate. Given the graduation requirement of 112 hours, students with no advanced placement or transfer credit should average 14 hours per semester over eight semesters.

There is a minimum level of acceptable accomplishment each semester. Students who enter Oberlin with fewer than 14 hours of transfer credit and are in their first semester of enrollment must earn 10 hours of credit. After the first semester, students must earn 12 hours every semester. Students who at the beginning of a semester need fewer than 12 hours to graduate are required to complete only the hours necessary for graduation. Students transferring to Oberlin with at least 14 hours of transfer credit will be required to complete 12 hours each semester. Students who wish to register in any semester for fewer than 12 or more than 16 semester hours must obtain permission in advance from the Dean of Studies.

The Academic Standing Committee reviews the records of students whose achievement in a given semester falls below the appropriate established minimum. (The records of students who withdraw after the end of the ninth week of classes are subject to review by the Committee.) The decision of the Academic Standing Committee regarding a student’s academic standing is final.

The academic standing of Double-Degree students is determined jointly by the College of Arts and Sciences and Conservatory of Music Academic Standing Committees.

Probation. Students who do not achieve the required minimum number of hours in a given semester will usually be placed on academic probation (see below under “Suspension”). Such students will be removed from probation upon meeting the required minimum during the next semester; otherwise, they may be suspended.

Suspension. A student who does not achieve the minimum required hours in any semester and who has previously been on probation may be suspended for one or two semesters. For relatively small deficiencies, the student may be continued on probation. Students passing fewer than half the minimum required hours may be suspended for one or two semesters, regardless of whether they have previously been on probation. A suspended student must apply for reinstatement through the Office of the Registrar. The student must also write to the Dean of Studies explaining what he or she has done during the absence and how the student is now better prepared to succeed academically. Letters supporting the request to return are required from the student’s academic advisor and someone the student has worked with during the suspension.

Dismissal. If a student has been sent a letter of suspension by the Academic Standing Committee, and if thereafter the student does not achieve the required minimum in any semester, the Academic Standing Committee may dismiss the student from Oberlin College.

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Grading

PLEASE NOTE: Students matriculating at Oberlin College in fall 2004 will enter under a new grading system. For specific information regarding deadlines for course and grade options, please see the calendar on the back cover of the catalog.

For students matriculating fall 2004 and later, the following grading policies will be in effect:

Two grading options are offered: letter grades or Pass/No Pass (P/NP). Each semester undergraduate students may choose to have some or all of their courses evaluated P/NP. To exercise this option, students must file a form, signed by the advisor, in the Office of the Registrar by the last day of the eighth week of classes or the last day of the fourth week of classes for a module course. Once the deadline has passed, no change in the grading option may be made. This means that students must elect the P/NP grading option by the deadline. Similarly, P/NP grading will not be reversed to letter grading after the deadline. If no option card is submitted, letter grades will be recorded. In addition to a student opting to take a course P/NP, an instructor may declare an entire course graded on the P/NP basis. In this case, the course will be listed as such in the catalog and the student has no option as to which grade option will be used.

Letter Grades. The grades recorded and their equivalents in quality points (used in computing grade-point averages) are as follows:

 A+      A     A-     B+      B     B-     C+      C     C-     D     F     W 

4.33   4.00   3.67   3.33   3.00   2.67   2.33   2.00   1.67   1.0   0.0   0.0

To obtain the quality points earned in a course, the numerical equivalent of the grade is multiplied by the number of hours for which the course was taken. The grade-point average is computed by dividing the total quality points by the total number of hours for which letter grades are recorded.

Pass/No Pass. All passing work (A+ to C-) is given the uniform grade of Pass (P). Work below C- is considered not passing, and is given a grade of No Pass (NP). Departments will have the option of deciding how to handle P/NP grades with respect to credit in the major. Please consult the major requirements in this catalog for specific information regarding P/NP grades.

Repeating Courses with a D or F grade. A student may repeat once a course for which a grade of D or F is received. Both grades and both courses count in calculation of the GPA. Only one of the courses counts as credit toward graduation.

Withdrawal Grades. A student may withdraw from a class between the end of the Add/Drop period and the last day of the eighth week of classes (last day of the fourth week of classes for modules). If a student withdraws from a class, the notation W (Withdrawn; no indication of passing or failing) will be entered on the student’s transcript. After the end of the eighth week of classes (fourth week for a module course), a letter grade or P/NP will be awarded.

Minimum GPA Required for Graduation. In order to graduate a student must have a GPA of at least 1.67. P and NP grades do not enter into the GPA calculation.

Written Evaluation. Upon request, a student may receive a written evaluation of his or her work taken under the P/NP option. Students desiring such an evaluation should obtain the necessary forms from the Office of the Registrar and give them to the course instructor at the end of the semester or course. At the student’s request, such written evaluations may be sent, along with transcripts, to a graduate or professional school and/or a prospective employer.

Following are the grading policies in effect for students who have matriculated prior to fall 2004:

Two grading options are offered: letter grades or Credit/No Entry (CR/NE). Each semester undergraduate students may choose to have some or all of their courses evaluated Credit/No Entry. To exercise this option, students must file a card, signed by the advisor, in the Office of the Registrar by the end of the eighth week of semester classes or the end of the fourth week of module classes. (NOTE: this deadline is later than in previous years; it is now coordinated with the deadline for P/NP in the new grading system. See the back cover of the catalog for the entire academic calendar.) Once the deadline has passed, no change in the grading option may be made. This means that students must elect the CR/NE grading option by the deadline. Similarly, CR/NE grading will not be reversed to letter grading after the deadline. If no option card is submitted, letter grades will be recorded. In courses in which the instructor declares credit/no entry grading, the student has no option.

Letter Grades. The grades recorded and their equivalents in quality points (used in computing grade-point averages) are as follows:

 A+      A     A-     B+     B     B-     C+     C      C-     W   NE (No Entry)

4.33   4.00   3.67   3.33   3.0   2.67   2.33   2.00   1.67   0.0   0.0

To obtain the quality points earned in a course, the numerical equivalent of the grade is multiplied by the number of hours for which the course was taken. The grade-point average is computed by dividing the total quality points by the total number of hours for which letter grades are recorded.

Credit/No Entry (CR/NE). All passing work (A+ to C-) is given the uniform grade of CR (Credit). Work below C- is considered not passing, and is given a grade of NE (No Entry).

No Entry. Whether a course is taken for letter grades or Credit/No Entry, work below the Clevel is considered not passing and No Entry is made on the student’s permanent record. Thus, if a student does not pass a course, there is no indication on the official transcript that the course was attempted.

The following policies apply to all Oberlin College students in the College of Arts and Sciences:

Incomplete Grades. An incomplete grade is a temporary grade, assigned at the end of a semester, to permit students additional time to complete work in a course. There are two kinds of incompletes:

  1. While at Oberlin a student is allowed up to two incompletes authorized by course instructors for educational reasons, such as a desire by the student to spend additional time on a particular course. A request for such an educational incomplete must be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Studies in advance of the scheduled final exam in that course. Course work must be finished by the end of the first week of Winter Term for first semester incompletes, and by three weeks after the end of the semester for second semester incompletes. Additional educational incompletes beyond the first two may be authorized by the Dean of Studies, but only in very exceptional circumstances.
  2. Emergency incompletes may be authorized by the Dean of Studies due to circumstances beyond the student’s control. Normally such incompletes are for medical or life crisis reasons. The due date for course work will depend on how much time was lost due to the emergency, up to a maximum of three weeks.

The due date for either an educational or emergency incomplete may be extended only for emergency reasons. If work is not completed within the specified time, a grade will be recorded based on the extent to which the course requirements have been met. All requests for incompletes must be made through the Office of the Dean of Studies for courses offered in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Asterisk Grade. An asterisk grade is used at the end of the first semester to indicate that the work of a course covers two semesters and that no grade can be recorded yet. When the final grade is given at the end of the second semester the asterisk is removed and the grade earned is recorded for both semesters.

Grade Reports. Semester grade reports are available to students via the online student record system. Federal law prohibits student grade reports from being sent to parents unless the student signs a form releasing this information. If a student opts to release grades to his or her parents, either the student or the parents must request a copy of the grades each semester from the Office of the Registrar.

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Transfer of Credit

I. Transfer of Credit Policy and Regulations

  • General Policy

    Within the limits stated below, Oberlin College permits credit earned at other fully accredited colleges and universities to be applied to the requirements for the Oberlin degree provided that the following two criteria are satisfied:

    1. The student has done C-level work or better.
    2. The course work falls within the scope of a liberal arts curriculum.

    Special regulations apply to work done in music, in foreign countries or at non-degreegranting institutions. Please see below for details.

     

  • Transfer of Credit Regulations

    Quarter: Work from a college or university where instruction is on a quarter or trimester system will transfer as follows: one quarter hour equals 2/3 of a semester hour as transferred credit. For example, three hours of credit from a quarter based system represents two semester hours when transferred.

    Student withdrawn from Oberlin: Oberlin College will not accept credits earned at other institutions by students while they are withdrawn from Oberlin.

    Duplicate Courses: Transfer of credit is not granted for courses that duplicate course work taken at Oberlin.

    Education Courses: Credit for education courses taken at other institutions may be transferred only after approval by an appropriate department chairperson or the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences if there is no appropriate department. A student requesting a transfer of such credit must supply documentation demonstrating that the course had substantial liberal arts content.

    Music Credit: Please see section V.

    Work Applied toward a major: coursework transferred to Oberlin does not automatically apply toward the major. See Major Credit Limits section, below, for more information.

  • Transfer of Credit Limitations

    Oberlin College does not grant credit for:

    • correspondence courses;
    • courses taken at other institutions while the student is currently enrolled at Oberlin;
    • courses taken at the National Outdoor Leadership School;
    • courses taken concurrently with, or in place of, an Oberlin Winter Term;
    • mathematics courses below the calculus level (Pre-calculus courses were discontinued at Oberlin in 1999);
    • one-half Quantitative Proficiency (transfer of credit for one or several courses equivalent to Oberlin courses designated “Quantitative Proficiency Certification- Half” will not satisfy all or part of the Oberlin Quantitative Proficiency requirement under any circumstances);
    • courses taken in secondary schools, in the case of students who have been admitted to Oberlin prior to fall 1993, even if taught by college or university professors or for college courses which also satisfy secondary school graduation requirements;
    • course work that is at a lower level than a course already taken at Oberlin (e.g., precalculus after passing Calculus I at Oberlin);
    • courses that also satisfy graduate school graduation requirements;
    • normally, the college does not grant credit for extension courses and continuing education courses. Only extension courses or continuing education courses that are (1) on standard liberal arts subjects and (2) accepted for credit by the sponsoring institution for its own standard bachelor’s degree may be granted credit, subject to all other transfer of credit regulations. The following limitations apply to online courses:
    • Oberlin College will accept credits transferred from accredited institutions only; an online course proposed for transfer must be on a standard liberal arts subject, must be accepted for credit by the sponsoring institution for its own standard bachelor’s degree, and must be recorded on the sponsoring institution’s official transcript.
    • The maximum number of credits from online courses that can be transferred during a student’s college career, including credits earned before matriculation, is seven. All other existing rules governing transfer of credit shall apply to online courses, including disallowing concurrent enrollment at other institutions.

  • Numerical Limits

    Total limit: A student may apply no more than a total of 56 semester hours of transfer work toward an Oberlin degree.

    After matriculation limit: No more than 36 semester hours of transfer credit for work done after a student has matriculated at Oberlin may be applied toward an Oberlin College degree.

    Semester limit: A student may transfer no more than 16 semester hours credit for each semester (10 semester hours for each quarter or trimester), 32 semester hours for each academic year.

    Summer school limit: no more than 16 hours for a semester session or 10 hours for a quarter session per summer.

    Personal Leave limits: A student on a personal leave of absence from Oberlin may transfer no more than 6 credit hours for a semester session or 4 hours for a quarter session.

  • Time Limits

    Students have one calendar year from the completion of coursework or a qualifying event (e.g., receipt of scores from an Advanced Placement exam or an International Baccalaureate) in which to request the credits be transferred. Graduating students must file a completed request for transfer of credit by the end of the add/drop period in the fall if graduating in May and by the end of the add/drop period in the spring if graduating in December. Allowances will be made for students on leave in the event that the deadline occurs during a leave.

  • Academic Program Limits

    Consult the appropriate section of the Oberlin College Course Catalog for individual degree programs (Arts and Sciences, Conservatory, Double Degree) to see specific information about limitations within each program.

  • Major Credit Limits

    Credit accepted for transfer to Oberlin does not automatically apply toward the major. Application of credits earned elsewhere toward the completion of major requirements at Oberlin is granted only with departmental, program, or Individual Major Committee approval. Students who wish to apply a substantial amount of credit earned elsewhere toward their major should consult with the appropriate department or program. Students may obtain forms from the Office of the Registrar to gather department chair signatures for work to be applied toward major requirements.

II. Work Done in Foreign Countries

Transfer of credit for work done in foreign countries either on programs sponsored by accredited American colleges and universities or at foreign degree-granting colleges and universities is subject to the following regulations:

  1. A currently enrolled student is required to obtain approval in advance for the program of study from the Office of the Dean of Studies. The approval procedure will require the student to obtain preliminary departmental approval of individual courses and the amount of credit to be transferred. Final approval signatures must be obtained at course completion.
  2. Following an academic leave, the student is required to fill out a program evaluation form before credit is transferred. The form will be reviewed by the Office of the Dean of Studies to assess the quality of the program. The Dean’s Office or academic departments may intervene at any time to question the suitability of a particular program. This evaluation of the program will be used by departments and the Dean’s Office in making decisions about the approval of the proposed transfer credit.
  3. In the case of summer courses taken at a foreign institution, approval is required from an appropriate departmental chairperson.
  4. A new or transfer student must obtain departmental approval for credit taken at a foreign institution to be transferred on a course-by-course basis.
  5. Normally, full credit will be transferred if the work satisfies criteria 1 and 2 under A. General Policy, above.

III. Work at Non-Degree-Granting Foreign and Domestic Institutes

Transfer of credit for work done at foreign and domestic institutes (non-degree-granting institutions) is subject to criteria in Section II, A – E, in addition to the following additional regulations:

  1. The Office of the Dean of Studies keeps a current list of approved institutes. Credit for work done at approved institutes may be transferred if it satisfies criteria one and two under General Policy above, and if written documentation (e.g., a transcript, a certificate, or a letter) from an on-site representative of the institute certifying participation in class work is provided by the student. This written documentation may be supplemented by, but not replaced by, a transcript from a college or university which acts as an agent for the institute.
  2. Academic departments will determine the amount of credit to be awarded on a case-by-case basis. Departments may administer examinations to determine the appropriate amount of credit to be awarded. Credit is not granted, however, on the basis of an examination alone, that is, in lieu of formal course work.
  3. Departments may limit the amount of transfer credit which may be applied toward the major as well as the total number of hours which may be transferred in that area of study.

IV. Application of Transfer of Credit Regulations and Student Status

  1. For New Students Entering Oberlin College
    1. Oberlin will grant no more than 30 semester hours of credit work (including Advanced Placement credit and credit for work done in the “thirteenth-year” programs such as the International Baccalaureate and French Baccalaureate programs) done before a student has matriculated in a college program.
    2. Students who choose to defer matriculation at Oberlin for one or two semesters may earn no more than six semester hours of credit per semester of deferral. The six semester hours of credit allowed for deferred semesters will be counted as part of the 30-hour limit.
    3. Oberlin does not grant credit for courses taken in secondary schools, in the case of students who have been admitted to Oberlin prior to fall 1993, even if taught by college or university professors or for college courses which also satisfy secondary school graduation requirements.
    4. Students who matriculate at Oberlin with more than 30 semester hours of prior credit will be considered to be transfer students.
    5. Please see sections II. and III. for more details on transferring credits from foreign institutions and institutes.
  2. For Transfer Students Entering Oberlin College
    1. College of Arts and Sciences students may transfer a total of 56 semester hours of credit. All of these hours may have been taken prior to matriculation.
    2. Double-Degree Students: Because of the requirements of two degree programs, double degree students should consult with their respective advisors regarding how transfer work will be applied to the Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts degrees.
    3. Please see sections II. and III. for more details on transferring credits from foreign institutions and institutes.
  3. Continuing Oberlin Students
    1. Currently enrolled students who wish to do academic work away from Oberlin during the academic year must successfully apply for an academic leave of absence and must have completed at least two semesters in residence at Oberlin. Students must obtain approval in advance for the program of study from the Office of the Dean of Studies. See the Off Campus Study information in this catalog under “Academic Life.”
    2. The approval procedure will require the student to obtain departmental approval of individual courses and the amount of credit to be transferred.
    3. In the case of summer courses taken at foreign institutions or domestic or foreign institutes, approval is required from an appropriate departmental chairperson. Please see sections II. and III. for more details on transferring credits from foreign institutions and institutes

V. Music Credit

Elective music credit is approved by the Office of the Registrar. Course work toward fulfilling major requirements is approved by the appropriate Conservatory division director and the Assistant or Associate Conservatory Dean. For further information, please see “Transfer of Credit” in the Conservatory section of this catalog.

VI. Procedures

The transfer of credit process is administered by the Office of the Registrar. Questions regarding the transfer of credit policy, regulations, and procedures should be directed to the Office of the Registrar.

  1. In the case of questions regarding policy or regulations, the final decision will be made after consultation with the appropriate dean’s office.
  2. If the eligibility of a particular course is unclear, the final decision to transfer is made by the chairperson of the appropriate department, program, or curricular committee.
  3. Forms to initiate the transfer of credit process and to apply for credit to be applied toward a major are available in the Office of the Registrar. (See www.oberlin.edu/regist for more information.)

VII. Transfer of Credit Fee

For details, please see the “Expenses” section of this catalog.

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Miscellaneous Information

Class Equivalency. A student’s class is determined by the number of credit hours earned toward graduation. For an Arts and Sciences student it is as follows:

Class     Credit Hours

Freshman   0–23.99
Sophomore   24–52.99
Junior   53–81.99
Senior   82–112

Music Courses. Students in the College of Arts and Sciences may receive credit for work taken in the Conservatory of Music, although opportunities to enroll in certain courses, including Applied Study, are limited. For more information please see “Music Program” under Courses of Instruction, below, and the Conservatory of Music section of this catalog. Prospective College of Arts and Sciences Music Majors should consult with the chairperson of the College Music Committee.

Auditing Courses.With the consent of the course instructor, students are permitted to audit courses in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students are permitted to have two audits per semester recorded on their transcript. (Please see “Auditing Fee.”)

Private Reading. Students who wish to pursue a topic not covered in the regular curriculum may register for a private reading. This one-to-one tutorial is normally at the advanced level in a specific field and is arranged with a member of the faculty who has agreed to supervise the student. Approval for a private reading course depends upon the following conditions:

  1. The student should have completed the basic courses offered by the department in which the work is to be done.
  2. The substance of the private reading course may not duplicate the work of a regular course unless the student is unable to enroll in a course he or she needs to meet the requirements of a major or course sequence.
  3. The student is limited to one private reading course per semester for no more than three hours of credit; exceptions must be approved by the Office of the Dean of Studies.
  4. Applied music lessons may not count as private reading courses.

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Distribution Requirements

At least nine credit hours in each of the three divisions of the college taken from at least two departments or program within each of these divisions: Arts and Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; and Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

For explanation of requirements and abbreviations, click here.

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