Feb 22, 2024  
Course Catalog 2020-2021 
Course Catalog 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Courses Appropriate for New Students

This list contains courses that are open and appropriate for the fall semester registration that takes place for incoming first-year students over the summer.

arrow Email the Academic Advising Center if you have advising questions about these courses.

Courses in the College of Arts and Sciences academic departments are offered as “full” or “half” academic courses.  A full academic course is four credits; a half academic course is two credits. PLEASE NOTE: In the listing below, you may see the word “full;” this means that it is a full academic course equivalent to four credits.

Omitted from this list are many courses with pre-requisites and courses that require consultation with a member of the faculty before registration. You will be able to register for these courses during the on-campus registration period in August.

For complete descriptions of these courses, click on either link for the courses below.

arrow View detailed schedule information about fall courses.

arrow Access a quick guide to all fall courses.

Language Courses: If you have no prior experience in a certain language, you should take the 100-level course in that language. If you have prior study or exposure to the language, you must take a placement test before registering. The placement test will guide us in placing you in the correct course in our curriculum; once you know the results of the placement exam, you will be able to register for the appropriate class after you arrive on campus.

arrow Find more information about placement tests.

Please see the StudiOC Section for courses within a learning community. You may request to be registered for a learning community but you must register for all of the courses within that community.


Studio art courses (ARTS courses numbered less than 100) are enrolled by consent only during the add drop period (September 4-13). To be considered for consent please email the faculty member teaching your desired class and provide your name, T-number, anticipated major, and other pertinent information. You must show up for the first day of class to be considered for enrollment. Please send images and/or a link to artwork if available, studio art professors are excited about seeing the work of incoming students.


Chinese 201 will be available once students arrive on campus and complete an interview; the placement test for Chinese is online and can be completed over the summer. Please see: https://languages.oberlin.edu/language-placement-tests/

First-Year Seminar Program


New students will have an opportunity to register for upper level German courses after arriving on campus and taking placement exams.


First year students with prior preparation in Greek may enroll in 200 or 300 level courses during registration in August. The Classics department does not give or require a placement exam in Greek; however, during orientation Classics faculty are happy to consult with students about which level of the language would be appropriate for them.

Hispanic Studies

Except for 101, all Hispanic Studies courses require appropriate AP or SAT II scores or a placement exam. See www.oberlin.edu/arts-and-sciences/departments/hispanic-studies/language-placement.

Once you take the exam, you will be notified of your placement within a couple of days. Spaces in upper level courses will be available during registration in August.


First year students with prior preparation in Latin may enroll in 200  or 300 level courses during registration in September. The Classics department does not give or require a placement exam in Greek but during orientation Classics faculty are happy to consult with students about which level of the language would be appropriate for them.


You will have the opportunity, during the first days of orientation, to meet with a faculty member in the Mathematics Department to figure out which math course is best for you. There are spaces reserved for new students in 100-200 level courses and you will be able to register for those courses during registration later in August. More details about choosing the right math course is available here under Mathematics/Statistics. If you are considering taking either MATH 131 or MATH 133 (neither of which require Calculus background), please take the MATH 131/133 Readiness Test BEFORE speaking to a faculty member. This test covers precalculus topics. To take this test, log into blackboard.oberlin.edu, click the “Courses” tab at the top, look for the “Placement Tests” box, and follow the links. (The test is available at any time that is convenient for you over the summer.) Following are typical courses for first years; after taking the math readiness course, the Math Department will place you in the appropriate course.


First year students with an Biology AP score of 5 or an IB score of 6 may be able to register for open seats in NSCI 201 after they arrive on campus. Students with this preparation should speak to the course instructor during orientation for permission to add the course.

Physics and Astronomy

Students interested in taking physics should consult with a physics faculty member for appropriate placement into either PHYS 103, PHYS 110, or PHYS 212, based on past experience. PHYS 110 is the typical entry course for prospective physics and 3-2 engineering majors; MATH 133 is a prerequisite, with students usually taking concurrently MATH 134.  


Students with a 4 or a 5 on the APA or a 6 or 7 on the IB exam will be able to register in 200-level Psychology courses during registration in August. 

Students may also want to register for COGS 101, Introduction to Cognitive Science. This course counts as an introductory course for the Psych major and a pre-requisite for all our 200 level courses. 

Russian and East European Studies


STAT 113 and 114 assume no prior knowledge of statistics and cover the same material, though STAT 114 emphasizes biological examples. For more detail about choosing the right course, see information under Mathematics/Statistics found here.


Oberlin Center for Convergence (StudiOC) intentionally brings together the college and conservatory to meet the challenges of our unscripted world. StudiOC theme-based learning communities are multidisciplinary, which allows students to make connections across disciplines and develop rich interactions with their peers and with faculty.

Oberlin Center for Convergence (StudiOC) is both a modern and flexible educational space and a new method for faculty to pursue multidisciplinary collaboration. StudiOC is designed to refine the art of creative and integrative multidisciplinary inquiry in students as a means for them to interpret and address social, cultural, artistic, political, and scientific questions.

Learning communities provide two or three courses from different academic departments. Faculty and students within a learning community work together at key points throughout the semester for multidisciplinary discussion, shared assignments, and programming.

StudiOC learning communities are available to all students. 

arrow View the StudiOC website for up-to-date information and offerings.