Graduation Requirements for the College of Arts and Sciences
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 requirements:
- Minimum course requirement. Students must successfully complete a minimum of 32 full courses or the equivalent, of which at least 30 must be full academic courses (two half academic courses will count as the equivalent of one full course). Up to 2 of the required 32 courses may be fulfilled by a combination of co-curricular credits. (Co-Curricular classes are listed here in the catalog.) This minimum course requirement is subject to the requirements and limits below.
- A major.
- Three Full Winter Term projects. See the Academic Policies section of the catalog.
- General course requirements. The following requirements, Curriculum Exploration, Writing, Quantitative and Formal Reasoning, and Cultural Diversity, must be satisfied with courses successfully completed at Oberlin College with exceptions for transfer students (students who matriculate at another institution and then transfer to Oberlin College) as noted below.
Individual courses may be counted simultaneously toward more than one General Course Requirement providing they carry the appropriate divisional attributes and/or designations.
a. Curriculum Exploration requirement. There are two parts to this requirement.
1) Students are required to complete two full academic courses or the equivalent in each of the three divisions of the college, Arts and Humanities, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences, with courses in two different departments or programs within each division, as determined by the course prefix. Courses in the Conservatory will count towards the Arts and Humanities division. One full academic course or the equivalent must be completed in each division by the end of four semesters. For double degree students, one full academic course or the equivalent must be completed in each division by the end of six semesters.
Transfer students may count towards this requirement up to one full academic course or the equivalent in each division, from the courses they transfer to Oberlin College. Transfer students must complete at least one full academic course or the equivalent in each division at Oberlin College. The courses (Oberlin and/or transferred from another institution) counted towards this requirement must be in two different departments or programs within each division, as determined by the course prefix.
2) Students are also required to complete two additional full academic courses or the equivalent outside their maximal division (the division in which the greatest number of courses is completed).
b. Writing requirement. Students are required to complete two Writing courses, either W-Intensive (W-Int) or W-Advanced (W-Adv), by the end of the second year of study if at all possible. A third writing course, W-Adv, is strongly recommended. Transfer students may petition to count one transferred course with a comparable focus on writing toward this requirement.
Courses carrying the W-Int designation involve explicit instruction in writing, are generally limited in size to allow such instruction, and require multiple writing assignments. These courses are designed to help students develop, compose, revise, organize and edit prose appropriate to the discipline or course. Courses carrying the W-Adv designation aim at helping students develop as writers within a discipline, employing the conventions and styles appropriate to that field and demonstrating the depth and engagement with disciplinary practices typical of knowledgeable practitioners. Students are encouraged to complete one course designated W-Adv in relation to their major field of study. In most cases, these courses will be upper-level or capstone courses geared toward a major, and some may be appropriate for majors in related fields.
c. Quantitative and Formal Reasoning (QFR) requirement. Students are required to complete two QFR courses, at least one of which must be completed by the end of the 4th semester (6th semester for Double Degree students). Transfer students may petition to count one transferred course with a comparable focus on quantitative and formal reasoning toward this requirement.
In QFR courses, students spend a substantial amount of course time developing the ability to use tools, algorithms, or strategies to solve problems, make decisions, or evaluate evidence. Examples include: organizing and graphing data, performing and interpreting statistical tests, designing experiments and observational studies, and developing formal models (logical, computational, mathematical, or statistical). QFR skills also include formally critiquing and testing models and arguments and understanding the type of evidence needed to adequately evaluate them.
d. Cultural Diversity requirement. Students must complete at least three full academic courses with the Cultural Diversity (CD) designation. The three courses must be earned in at least two different departments or programs, as indicated by the course prefix. Students who study away in a full-semester, credit-bearing international program will receive CD credit equal to one course. Students who study away in a full-semester, credit-bearing U.S. program that directly addresses diversity may petition the Diversity Studies Committee to receive CD credit equal to one course.
Courses carrying the CD designation must fall into at least one of the following categories:
courses whose primary focus of inquiry is on a disenfranchised group (or groups) in the United States
courses whose primary focus of inquiry concerns national and/or transnational cultures outside the United States
courses whose focus of inquiry includes substantial attention to methods of inquiry analyzing and interpreting cultural differences courses taught in a language other than English
- A minimum GPA of 1.67.
- Residence requirement. Students must spend at least six semesters in residence at Oberlin or enrolled in Oberlin programs. Work completed during an approved academic leave of absence counts towards the residency requirement. Ordinarily the last semester must be spent in residence at Oberlin.
 Some labs, mini courses and modules, and some private readings will be half courses.
 Co-curricular classes are classes such as ExCo, Athletics, Creativity & Leadership, and some others as appropriate.
 For the purposes of this requirement, London Program courses will be considered courses completed at Oberlin College, since they are taught by Oberlin College faculty.