Jun 16, 2024  
Course Catalog 2023-2024 
    
Course Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements


arrow Learn more about the Bachelor of Arts degree in general.  

arrow View a one-page summary of the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.


Students are responsible for compliance with the institutional graduation requirements stated in the Oberlin College and Conservatory 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 successfully complete the requirements detailed below.

Please note that requirements and expectations may differ for double-degree students.

arrow See the Double Degree Program degree requirements.  

Detailed Degree Requirements


Minimum Course Requirement


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  • Students must successfully complete a minimum of 32 full courses or the equivalent, of which at least 30 must be academic full courses (two academic half courses  will count as the equivalent of one academic full course ).
  • Up to two of the required 32 courses may be fulfilled by a combination of co-curricular courses .
  • This minimum course requirement is subject to the requirements and limits below.

Major Study Requirement


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  • Students must, before completion of 16 full courses or the equivalent, elect a department or program in which to do major study.
  • Those who have not declared a major after completing 16 full courses or the equivalent will be allowed to enroll only with the permission of the Academic Advising Resource Center.
  • 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 pursue a major in more than one department or program.

Winter Term Requirement


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The purpose of this requirement is to provide students a semi-structured opportunity to pursue interests outside of regular course offerings through immersive learning experiences.

  • Winter Term takes place in January of each academic year. In certain extreme cases, permission may be granted for a student to complete a Winter Term project outside of the scheduled Winter Term. Such exceptions are granted by petition to the Registrar’s Office.
  • Winter Term projects can be completed on- or off-campus, independently or in groups, and carry either one half or one full Winter Term credit.

arrow See more about Winter Term.

General Course Requirements


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  • The following requirements must be satisfied with courses successfully completed at Oberlin College and Conservatory.
    • For the purposes of these requirements, London Program  and other academic courses taught by Oberlin faculty at an off-campus location will be considered courses completed at Oberlin.
    • Exceptions may be made for transfer students (students who matriculate at another institution and then transfer to Oberlin) as noted below.
  • Individual courses may be counted simultaneously toward more than one general course requirement providing they carry the appropriate attributes.
  • Courses that are considered individual or one-on-one arrangements, such as private readings, individual research, and honors courses, do not carry degree attributes (CD, QFR, WINT, WADV)

Curriculum Exploration Requirement


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Oberlin’s curriculum exploration requirement supports breadth by introducing students to a range of scholarly approaches in different subject areas within the three divisions of the College: the arts and humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and mathematics.

There are two parts to this requirement:

  • Students are required to complete two full academic courses or the equivalent in each of the three divisions of the College of Arts and Sciences–Arts and Humanities (ARHU), Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSMA), and Social Sciences (SSCI)–with courses in two different departments or programs within each division, as determined by the course prefix. Courses in the Conservatory of Music will count towards the arts and humanities division. One full academic course or the equivalent must be completed in each college division by the end of four semesters.

    Transfer students may count towards this requirement up to one full academic course or the equivalent in each college division, from the courses they transfer to Oberlin. Transfer students must complete at least one full academic course or the equivalent in each college division while at Oberlin. 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.

  • 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).

arrow See a list of courses with the ARHU attribute.  

arrow See a list of courses with the NSMA attribute.  

arrow See a list of courses with the SSCI attribute.  

Cultural Diversity Requirement


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The Committee on Diversity Studies administers this requirement.

This requirement encourages students to understand cultural diversity in complex ways and in multiple contexts by taking courses that attend to questions of difference, imbalances in political and social power, diversity in cultures and the interactions among and between cultures, and methodological approaches to the study of diversity. In awarding Cultural Diversity (CD) credit for international study away programs and some U.S. study away programs, this requirement recognizes that study away is a profound pedagogical encounter with diversity that complements the engagement of diversity in courses across the Oberlin curriculum.

  • The required three full courses with the CD attribute must be completed in at least two different departments or programs, as indicated by the course prefix. 
  • These courses must be completed at Oberlin College. 
    • 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 Committee on Diversity Studies to receive CD credit equal to one course. 

arrow See a list of courses with the CD attribute.  

Quantitative and Formal Reasoning Requirement


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The Committee on Quantitative and Formal Reasoning administers this requirement.

This requirement is designed to empower students to be able to use quantitative and formal reasoning in their academic and professional work, as well as in their personal lives. Courses carrying the Quantitative and Formal Reasoning (QFR) attribute aim to help students develop the ability to use tools, algorithms, or strategies to solve problems, make decisions, or evaluate evidence, and to equip students with the ability to formally evaluate models or sets of evidence. QFR courses emphasize developing and evaluating assumptions, organizing and structuring data, and conducting analyses to make sound judgments and conclusions. QFR courses often focus on quantitative data, but the hallmark of QFR is the application of formal logic and explicit rules for decision-making.

  • At least one of the required two QFR courses must be completed by the end of the fourth semester.
  • These courses must be completed at Oberlin College.
    • Courses completed during study away may not usually fulfill this requirement.
    • Transfer students may petition to count one transferred course with a comparable focus on quantitative and formal reasoning toward this requirement.

arrow See a list of courses with the QFR attribute.  

Writing Requirement


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The Committee on Writing administers this requirement.

The writing requirement is designed to help students enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences develop the ability to do the following:

  • communicate effectively in writing;
  • understand writing as a process;
  • engage in writing as a form of critical thinking;
  • demonstrate rhetorical flexibility by addressing various audiences and purposes in their writing; and
  • demonstrate awareness of the conventions and forms of writing in particular disciplines.

  • It is strongly recommended that both of the required Writing Intensive (WINT) / Writing Advanced (WADV) courses be completed by the end of the fourth semester of study.
  • A third course with the WADV attribute is highly advised.
  • These courses must be completed at Oberlin College.
    • Courses completed during study away may not usually fulfill this requirement.
    • Transfer students may petition to count one transferred course with a comparable focus on writing toward this requirement.

arrow See a list of courses with the WINT attribute.  

arrow See a list of courses with the WADV attribute.  

Minimum GPA Requirement


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Students must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.00.

Residence Requirement


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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 toward the residence requirement. Students are expected to spend the last semester in residence at Oberlin.