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College of Arts and Sciences


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 majors, to rediscover a forgotten interest, or to explore a new field. Individual majors are available to students who develop interests not encompassed by a single department.

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.

General Education

Intellectual depth and breadth characterize liberal education. Depth is realized through intensive training in a major. Breadth results from the assimilation of the content, approach, and insights of several different disciplines. Oberlin's general education requirements encourage students to seek breadth in their education, while the major requirements help them to achieve depth.

The liberal arts curriculum is divided into three broad divisions: humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Although new fields have emerged and the boundaries between disciplines are becoming less distinct as knowledge expands, the traditional divisions retain sufficient coherence to provide the basis for Oberlin's general education requirements. The descriptions of departments and programs that follow allow students and faculty advisors to make informed judgments about majors and individual courses.

To meet Oberlin's general education requirements students are required to complete at least nine credit hours of college-level work in each division. Students also must take courses in at least two departments or programs within each division. Beyond this minimal expectation Oberlin College encourages students to explore other fields of study by taking courses outside areas of primary interest.

The undergraduate course of study should include non-Western, minority, and women's studies as well as European and American studies. It should provide experience in the creative and performing arts and familiarity with humanistic and historical inquiry. And it should provide an appreciation of the tools of investigation and analysis as applied in the natural sciences and technology as well as in the social and behavioral sciences. The faculty also encourages students to achieve proficiency in a foreign language at the second-year college level.

Though not part of the three divisions, 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.