Sep 28, 2020  
Course Catalog 2020-2021 
    
Course Catalog 2020-2021

What’s New


Items approved for the 2020-2021 academic year are listed below.

Note: Curricular items approved after March 31, 2020 will be published in the 2021-2022 Oberlin College Online Catalog.

Last Updated: September 18, 2020

Grading Policy for Academic Year 2020-2021


College of Arts and Sciences Grading Policy for Academic Year 2020-2021


  • The Spring 2020 Pass/No Entry [P/NE] grading option (replacing P/NP) will remain in place for Academic Year 2020-2021. To receive a Pass, grades must be a C- or above, and may count towards an academic major. No Entry grades will not show on official transcripts, but will remain on unofficial transcripts for purposes of advising. 
  • Letter Grades will remain the default grading system, unless the course was pre- authorized as P/NE. 
  • All regular courses will include the P/NE option. 
  • Students may elect P/NE up to the last day of reading period. Academic advisor signatures will be required, as has been our standard practice. (Last Spring students had 5 days after receiving final grades to decide if they wanted to switch to P/NE; academic advisor signatures were not required).
  • We will revert to our standard Emergency or Educational incompletes protocol and will no longer offer “COVID Incompletes” unless another major public health disruption occurs.

Conservatory Grading Protocols for Academic Year 2020-21


  • Letter grades remain the default grading system.
  • The Spring 2020 Pass/No Entry [P/NE] grading option (replacing P/NP) will remain in place for Academic Year 2020-2021. P/NE will only be available for Conservatory courses currently available as P/NP. For P, grades must be a C- or above. NE grades will not show on official transcripts but will be visible on unofficial transcripts for purposes of advising.
  • Students may elect P/NE up to the last day of reading period. Academic advisor signatures will be required, as has been our standard practice. (Last Spring students had five days after receiving final grades to decide if they wanted to switch to P/NE; academic advisor signatures were not required.)
  • For the 2020-21 academic year only, limitations on selecting P/NE will remain lifted for MUTH I-IV, Aural Skills I-IV, and MHST 101. The P/NE option will not be automatically selected, so students who choose to be graded P/NE for these classes must select it by submitting the P/NE form.
  • Departmental classes within a major that are listed by name on the major grid will retain the grading option required for students in that major.
  • Principal Private Study (PVST), Faculty-taught secondary lessons (PVST) and ensembles (APST) will continue to be letter-graded.
  • In any class that is required by name for a major, a NE grade will be considered a failing grade for the purposes of Conservatory Academic Standing. (This includes classes such as MUTH I-IV as well as those within the major department.)
  • We will revert to our standard Emergency Incompletes and no longer offer “COVID Incompletes.”
  • Non-course requirements for the semester must be completed by the normal departmental deadlines.

Three-Semester Schedule for the 2020-21 Academic Year


Oberlin is shifting to a temporary, three-semester schedule for the 2020-21 academic year.

This change in the academic calendar is designed to allow us to reduce the number of students in residence at any one time and therefore “de-densify” the campus. This change provides an important layer in our public health strategy, allowing for social distancing not only in the classroom but also in residence halls, dining facilities, in our library, and in common areas. All students will receive single bedrooms in the residence halls.

Students will attend two of the three terms, in order to complete their 2020-21 academic year. 

arrow View more information about the three-semester model.

“Mode of Instruction” Course Designations


College of Arts and Sciences Courses


The four options for mode of instruction are: remote, in-person, hybrid, and remote-accessible. These designations will help students in their course selection and schedule planning.

  • Remote courses will be held entirely over Zoom. Faculty may want to consider having occasional opportunities to meet “in person” in an appropriately socially-distanced way.
  • In-person courses should typically meet in-person for a minimum of 2/3 of the class sessions.
  • Hybrid courses should typically meet in-person for at least 1/3 of the class sessions. Given the need to maintain social distancing protocols in classrooms, for larger courses (20+ students) in-person meetings might require staggering attendance between different cohorts of students within the course. The cohorts would rotate between attending in-person sessions and participating in those sessions via Zoom.
  • Remote-accessible courses are otherwise in-person or hybrid courses designed so that some students can participate fully through Zoom.  Remote-accessible courses may include a blend of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. Students studying on campus may also participate in their in-person or hybrid courses remotely.

Conservatory of Music Courses


Conservatory courses are, by default, defined as “hybrid” in nature. Due to the many differences in lessons, ensembles, academic classes, and other credit-bearing activities, it is important to maintain a high degree of flexibility and hybridity. In all cases where conditions allow, there will a mix of in-person and remote experiences. The exact percentage of each will vary and may change during the semester. In most cases, academic classes such as those in music theory and music history will take place primarily online. Details will be articulated on syllabi and students are encouraged to be in contact with faculty for specific questions.

Policy Changes


Conservatory Students: Minors and Integrative Concentrations


Degree students in the Conservatory are eligible for a minor area of study or integrative concentration in the Conservatory and/or the College of Arts and Sciences. A student admitted to a minor or integrative concentration program will follow the catalog requirements that are in place at the time of entry to the minor. The specific requirements for each minor and integrative concentration are described in the relevant sections of the catalog.

New Course Type


  • Art History (ARTS courses numbered greater than 100 are now ARTH courses)