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.
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.