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The College Academic Program

All-College Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree (B.A.) at Colorado College

The following requirements apply to all students who entered in Fall 2012 or after. Students who matriculated prior to the fall of 2012 may choose to fulfill these requirements or the All-College requirements approved in the 2011–12 Catalog of Courses.

  1. Students must satisfactorily complete 32 units of academic credit.
  2. Students must satisfactorily complete a major course of study. No major may require more than 14 units in any one department and no more than 16 overall (including prerequisites). In departmentally based majors, the two units beyond the 14-unit limit can be courses outside the department or adjunct courses. There are more than 30 possible majors at Colorado College, including a major of the student’s own design, the liberal arts and sciences major. Students at Colorado College may complete a double major. The following rules must be observed:
    The two majors may be from traditional departmental majors or an interdisciplinary major and a departmental major as long as the latter is not a discipline making up part of the interdisciplinary major.
    • Both departments must approve the option.
    • In no case may more than three courses within the majors overlap.
    • The student must have an advisor in each major.
    • The student must complete all-college requirements.
    • The completed major(s) will be recorded on the student’s official transcript.
  3. Completion of the Critical Perspectives requirements: The West in Time (one two-block course, 2 units); Global Cultures (1 unit); Social Inequality (1 unit); Scientific Investigation of the Natural World (2 units, including at least one lab or field course); Quantitative Reasoning (1 unit). Courses may meet more than one designation (for example, a course may be designated both “West in Time” and “Global Cultures”) but students must choose one designation or the other, except in the case of “Quantitative Reasoning,” which may be fulfilled along with any of the other Critical Perspectives requirements. Courses of one half unit credit, and, independent study and reading courses do not count toward Critical Perspectives requirements.
    [1] Critical Perspectives: The West in Time asks students to position their knowledge of the broader world not just through multifaceted inquiry into “the here and now” but through critical inquiry across time as well. As an all-college requirement, The West in Time acknowledges the crucial importance of understanding the past as the context out of which contemporary modes of inquiry and contemporary fields of study have grown. The West in Time is a two-block, two-unit course in which students will explore compelling aspects of the Western experience over a significant period of time (antiquity to the modern period or the Middle Ages to the modern period). This Critical Perspectives requirement acknowledges the modern Western propensity to create cultural and historical narratives that assume development and progress over time. It also insists on the importance of understanding the contemporary Western ‘self’ in the context of previous iterations of the ‘self.’ Courses in this area of inquiry will accomplish some combination of the following:
      • Engage students in an exploration of the past through examination of ideas, events, cultural institutions, and practices;
      • Enable students to expand their understanding of narratives of the development of the Western tradition over time and provide them with the analytical tools to critique those narratives;
      • Engage students in critical analysis of the connections between the past and the present;
      • Encourage students to consider how our understanding of contemporary events is informed by our grasp of the historical past.
    Both the Global Cultures and Social Inequality Critical Perspectives requirements are designed to prepare students to think critically and creatively about the challenges of living in a rapidly changing society and globalized world.
    [2] Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures courses focus primarily on the study of non-Western societies, or some aspects of them, including by means of intensive study of a non-Western language.
    [3] Critical Perspectives: Social Inequality courses focus primarily on how inequality — with respect to nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, class, and/or sexuality — is produced, reproduced, experienced, and resisted. They analyze critically the social and cultural differences, traditions, and experiences of marginalized or subjugated populations in the United States or globally, investigating the social, political, economic, cultural, psychological, and/or historical processes that shape the emergence and status of such populations. In so doing, these courses may examine such matters as the nature of power and domination, political economy, social justice movements, identity formation, and/or cultural and artistic productions.
    [4] Critical Perspectives: Scientific Investigation of the Natural World enhances students’ understanding of the natural world and of the methods central to modern science. It gives students opportunities to explore the broader earth system and universe, a sphere of inquiry that includes but is not limited to humans. In a world influenced by science and technology, informed citizens need to be familiar with the distinctive ways of thinking characteristic of the sciences and need to cultivate skill in quantitative reasoning. This requirement complements The West in Time and the Global Cultures requirements by addressing a distinct approach to the understanding of the world that originated in the West but currently exercises global influence. These courses will meet the description of the preceding paragraph and will accomplish some combination of the following:
    • Explicitly address the nature of the scientific method;
    • Give students direct experience in the gathering and analysis of scientific data;
    • Emphasize the use of quantitative reasoning;
    • Introduce the foundations and principles of scientific knowledge;
    • Enhance scientific literacy.
    • At least one of the two units must involve significant laboratory or field experience.
    [5] Critical Perspectives: Quantitative Reasoning courses develop students’ ability to work with and interpret numerical data, to apply logical and symbolic analysis to a variety of problems, and/or to model phenomena with mathematical or logical reasoning.
  4. Two blocks (or equivalent) of college-level language.
    Colorado College believes that learning a language gives any student an important intellectual experience of cultural difference. A student may learn about other cultures in a variety of ways, but we believe interpreting and expressing individual experience and cultural values in another language is necessary for enhanced international and multicultural awareness. This requirement reflects the conviction that a liberal education is incomplete when it includes no language study. Learning a language other than one’s native tongue is not equivalent simply to acquiring a tool for practical use. It is a means to enter fully and directly into the vital perspectives and unique workings of another culture. In addition, language study helps students understand grammar, enhances vocabulary, and significantly supports general literacy.
    The language requirement, which may not be fulfilled with adjunct courses, may be fulfilled in two ways:
    • Two units in any of the languages offered at Colorado College, unless the student is approved by the office of accessibility resources for a course substitution based on evidence of a disability that significantly impacts the student’s ability to complete the foreign language requirement;
    • An acceptable language program at any accredited college or university, in any non-English language, equivalent to two units of language at Colorado College, if approved by the registrar’s office.
  5. FYE — A two-block course required of all first-year students addressing issues likely to stimulate debate and including critical reading, effective writing, and a research project.
  6. All students, beginning with the Fall 2010 entering class, will demonstrate writing proficiency in the form of a successfully evaluated first-year portfolio or subsequent coursework in classes emphasizing writing. (See the Writing Program section for more information.)
  7. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0.
  8. Courses taken at other institutions will be granted as much equivalent credit as deemed appropriate by the registrar’s office.
  9. All students must complete 32 units of credit to qualify for a Colorado College B.A. degree. Those students who have one unit or less to complete toward their 32 units (in both all-college and the major requirements) may be allowed to march in commencement ceremonies without receiving a diploma. There are no exceptions and no appeals to this policy. As described below, a specified number of the 32 units must be taken in residence, here at Colorado College, or through Colorado College programs and exchanges, including the ACM semester programs, detailed elsewhere in this catalog.
    The following rules apply to the academic residence requirement:
    • Students who enter Colorado College as first-semester, first-year students must complete 24 units at Colorado College or Colorado College programs and exchanges, including the ACM semester programs. Transfer students are required to complete a minimum of 16 units at Colorado College or Colorado College programs and exchanges, including the ACM semester programs.
    • All Colorado College students are required to complete their last eight units at Colorado College, except for students participating in Colorado College programs and exchanges, including the ACM semester programs. Students who have completed 16 units at Colorado College may petition to the Dean’s Advisory Committee to waive up to four units of the eight-unit rule.
    • Because different departments have their own residence requirements for their major, students should consult their major department before conducting any off-campus study in their major. These policies should not be confused with residential life policies regarding college housing.
  10. In extended-format courses, students may take no more than one extended-format course per semester (one-half unit) and one extended-format course spanning the year (one unit) unless the dean of the college grants permission for an overload.
  11. In each adjunct course, students may earn one-quarter unit toward their degree requirement for each semester of work. Students may take no more than three adjunct courses per semester, unless the registrar’s office grants permission for an overload. In no case may students count more than two total units of adjunct credit towards the general education degree requirements.

Requirements for the Master of Arts in Teaching Degree (MAT) at Colorado College

Colorado College offers two distinct MAT programs — one for college graduates who wish to become licensed to teach elementary school (K–6), K–12 art, music or world languages (French, German, Latin or Spanish) or at the secondary level (6-12) in English, mathematics, science and social studies and one for experienced teachers.

The MAT programs for prospective elementary, secondary school, or K–12 teachers are designed for liberal arts graduates who have taken few, if any, education courses. Each program is 14 months in length, consisting of two Summer Sessions and one intervening academic year. After successful completion of the program and receipt of a passing grade on the appropriate state license examination, students receive the MAT degree and are recommended to the state of Colorado for licensure.

The program for elementary school teachers is appropriate for all general teaching positions in elementary schools. The K–12 art, music and world languages programs are appropriate for teaching the respective content in elementary, middle/junior high, and senior high schools. The secondary school teaching program is appropriate for teaching English, mathematics, science or social studies in middle/junior high school and senior high school. Information about the program for prospective teachers is available through the education department website:

The Summer Session offers MAT programs for experienced teachers who do not require licensure. These programs are designed to offer degree candidates opportunities to expand their knowledge in a variety of fields, acquire knowledge they can apply to their profession, and examine new developments in the field of education.

Degree candidates are required to complete a minimum of eight Colorado College units (32 semester hours.) Teachers in the summer MAT program have two options to complete their final unit of credit: a master’s research paper that includes an oral defense of the research paper, or a directed readings paper and participation in a Capstone Seminar. The degree must be completed in no more than six summers. Up to four semester hours of graduate credit earned within the past seven years at other accredited colleges or universities may be applied toward the degree.

Most experienced teacher MAT candidates complete the majority of their requirements through the interdisciplinary institutes, colloquia, seminars, or unique one-block courses.

Information about these programs, special teacher tuition scholarships, and applications are available at the Summer Session office.

Academic Minors

A minor is a course sequence of at least 5 units within an area of study providing a degree of specialization within that area, a specialty within a discipline, or a specialty integrating several disciplines focusing on significant themes. The Colorado College curriculum features departmental (disciplinary) and thematic (interdisciplinary) minors that provide coherent plans of study. A minor at Colorado College is an optional program of study to matriculated baccalaureate students. The minors are designed to provide opportunities for in depth study outside of the major field of study.

Students may declare a minor up to, but no later than two blocks prior to graduation. However, students are strongly encouraged to declare a minor as early as possible. There are two restrictions on choosing a minor in relationship to majors: Students cannot choose a minor that makes up the same departmental name as their major. For example, history–political science majors may not choose a history minor. Also, a course may not be used to count for two minors.

The Summer Session

The Summer Session offers Colorado College students an opportunity to make progress toward their degrees, take courses not offered during the spring or fall, or engage in intercultural study programs offered only through the Summer Session. Courses are generally offered during three three-week and two day blocks (A, B, and C) during the summer, but some courses have special schedules. Most courses are also open to students in good standing at other undergraduate institutions, high school whose academic credentials indicate preparation for college-level work at Colorado College, or other qualified community members.

The Summer Session provides special support to those who are or want to become educators. In addition to offering graduate courses leading to a Master of Arts in Teaching, the Summer Session offers a tuition scholarship to teachers with a current contract.

A special tuition rate for the Summer Session makes summer study especially attractive. In addition, after one semester of study at Colorado College, each Colorado College student is provided a Wild Card that can be used once before graduation to cover the tuition for one block of regularly scheduled classes. Limited financial aid is available to Colorado College students who receive aid during spring or fall. Colorado College students may also apply for intercultural funds to offset some of the costs of programs with a significant intercultural component, including all international courses. See the current Summer Session web site for more details.

Students may work with a faculty member in a summer independent readings or research course. The instructor, the chair of the department, and the director of Summer Session must approve each independent study. This program permits students to enrich and, in some cases, accelerate their education. The tuition charge is the regular Summer Session rate, and the Wild Card may not be used for this program.

The First-Year Experience

The First-Year Experience provides an introduction to Colorado College and the liberal arts primarily by engaging first-year students in the scholarly study of a discipline or topic. FYE courses develop students’ research and writing skills and demand the mixture of rigorous analysis and creative expression appropriate to the discipline or topic being studied. The Program also works closely with relevant student support offices to help students succeed in their college studies and to aid in their transition to college life. FYE courses are offered in Blocks 1 and 2 for fall-start students and 5 and 6 for winter-start students.

First-Year Experience seminars consist of two-block or two linked one-block courses taught by one or more Colorado College faculty members in Blocks 1-2 or Blocks 5-6. FYE seminars include a substantial writing component and a research project. The seminar format and class size encourage active student involvement. FYE seminars also introduce students to the Colorado College library, the Colket Center for Academic Excellence, and other academic support systems at the college, as well as the honor system. All first-year students have a student mentor throughout their first year at CC. Mentors are upper-level students who work with FYE seminar faculty to introduce first-year students to life at the college. Mentors assist first-year students in course selection for their subsequent (non-FYE) blocks during the first year, and again during course preregistration during the spring semester for the following year. Mentors organize joint activities across FYE seminars and provide opportunities for first-year students to get together in informal settings outside of class.

Special Studies and Interdisciplinary Courses

The college offers a series of special programs and courses outside of regular departments. Students with special interests in American ethnic studies, environmental studies, North American studies, Southwest studies, or studies in war and peace, may choose from a variety of suggested courses and in some areas organize them into an approved liberal arts and sciences major, the Individually Designed Major or IDM. Other interdisciplinary studies such as Asian studies and feminist and gender studies are now offered as majors, and requirements are listed under Departmental Courses. Many interdisciplinary courses are offered under the rubrics of general studies, studies in the humanities, and studies in natural sciences. Some courses, designed to help students improve their writing, carry the designation “Writing Intensive” or “Writing in the Discipline.” All of these programs and courses are described in greater detail under the heading “Interdisciplinary Studies and Courses.”

Professional and Cooperative Programs


Graduate study and careers in business are open to students with an undergraduate degree in the liberal arts. The nation’s best universities and employers hiring into management-track positions value the breadth of knowledge that a liberal arts degree provides. The major a student takes to prepare for business can be selected from any offered at Colorado College; what is important to graduate admissions committees and employers is a demonstrated capacity to think critically, analyze complex issues, and communicate effectively in both oral and written forms. To supplement their interest in a business career, students should consider taking introductory courses in accounting and economics, a law course, and statistics. Advice on a course of study while at Colorado College and opportunities for graduate work and employment can be obtained by consulting the pre-business adviser as well as the Career Center.

For students selecting a major in economics, it is possible to pursue the study of business in additional depth through a number of elective courses dealing directly with the role and operation of business in society. These same courses are available to students majoring in any subject as long as the individual course prerequisites are satisfied. The individual courses in the economics and business department offerings that focus directly on business are listed in the Departmental Courses section under Economics and Business.

“Perspectives on Business in a Changing World” is an ongoing program of visiting faculty, executives-in-residence, lectures, symposia, and other activities designed to discuss and evaluate business and economics as institutions in our society.  Faculty and students from different disciplines come together with visitors experienced in business and the economy to explore the social, political, ethical, and technological dimensions associated with the varied and rapidly changing roles of business and economics in the world.


The college has cooperative engineering programs with Columbia University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Southern California. Details can be found at

Health Professions

At the beginning of the academic year, usually during Block 1, the health professions advisor holds a meeting to answer questions and give general advice to students interested in pursuing medical careers. Although most are interested in becoming physicians, more students each year show interest in other careers, such as dentistry, nursing, physical therapy, physician’s assistant programs, or veterinary medicine.

Most new students who are interested in preparing for a career in the health professions have some time to explore their options before diving into a strict program, and the college encourages students to explore the liberal arts curriculum and declare a major at the end of the sophomore year. Students who are interested in the health professions will often major in one of the sciences, but many professional schools value applicants with diverse academic backgrounds, and aspiring physicians may choose to major in any discipline. Regardless of the major, a student must do well in courses for the major and in the required science courses. Consideration for admission to a professional school after graduation is based primarily on grade point average and performance on the required entrance tests. Personal interviews, letters of evaluation and student experience will then factor into the admission decision.

Detailed information about various medical professions is available in the health professions advising office in Olin Hall. Jane Byrnes, the Health Professions Advisor, is available to answer questions.


Law schools select students who show general excellence and high promise in the analysis of abstract texts and in written and oral expressions. The Pre-Law Committee advises students on their selection of courses, law school requirements, and general preparation for admission to law schools. Students interested in law careers choose various majors depending on their interests and the recommendation of their advisers.

Colorado College has a cooperative program with Columbia University School of Law, under which students, if selected by Colorado College and admitted by Columbia University, may enter an accelerated interdisciplinary legal education program after three years at Colorado College. Upon successful completion of the three-year program at Columbia University, the student will receive the bachelor of arts degree from Colorado College and the juris doctor degree from Columbia University. It is expected that only extraordinary students will qualify, and the program will normally select no more than one person. Interested students should obtain specific details from the prelaw advisers.

Military Science

The U.S. Army’s military science program is available to Colorado College students. The four-year program is organized under the provisions of the ROTC Vitalization Act of 1964. Two- and three-year scholarships are available to qualified students. Completion of the military science program leads to commission as an officer in the United States Army, Army Reserve, or National Guard. Additional information and description of courses are available by contacting Professor of Military Science, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80907.

Teacher Preparation Program

Colorado College offers a teacher preparation program leading to licensure for teaching in the elementary school (K-6), secondary school (6-12) in English, math, science and social studies, and at the K-12 level in art, music, French, German, Japanese, Latin and Spanish. The program is designed to make full use of the resources of a liberal arts college for the preparation of teachers and is approved by the state of Colorado. Students wishing to be recommended by the college for a teaching license must have a solid liberal arts background and be well prepared in the subjects they wish to teach (secondary or K-12). In addition, they must complete education coursework. The teacher preparation program stresses performance-based education courses, preparation in subject matter, and a minimum of 800 hours of field experiences that are integrated into professional preparation. Student teaching is required.

Prerequisites and admissions procedures for the teacher preparation program are described under the Departmental Courses section.