As an essential tool for academic study, personal expression, and civic life, writing deserves concerted attention in a liberal arts education. A one-semester writing seminar is a general degree requirement of the College, and it must be taken by all first-year students. Writing seminars are courses that integrate writing instruction with scholarly inquiry into particular disciplinary or topical foci. They devote attention to strategies for performing critical analysis, constructing sound arguments, and crafting effective prose. WS-I (Writing Intensive) sections, taught in the fall semester, do not alone fulfill the writing requirement but serve as preparation for writing seminar courses in the spring semester. Students are advised to take other courses as well in which writing receives substantial attention.
Requirements for the Degree
Haverford is a liberal arts college, and its curriculum is designed to help its students develop the capacity to learn, to understand, to think critically, to make sound and thoughtful judgments, and to contribute to knowledge. Haverford’s degree requirements seek to accomplish these objectives through breadth of study (as embodied in general education requirements) and depth of study (as embodied in the departmental major requirement).
The following General Education requirements apply to all current Haverford College students, including those who matriculate in Fall 2017. New General Education requirements will be implemented in the next academic year and apply only to students who matriculate in Fall 2018 and beyond.
Guidelines For Liberal Education
A liberal arts education requires a sense of the breadth of human inquiry and creativity. The human mind has explored the myriad facets of our physical and social environments; it has produced compelling works of art, literature, and philosophy. Every student is encouraged to engage a full range of disciplines—fine arts, the written word, empirical investigation, economy, and society—in order to become a broadly educated person. As a step toward this goal, students must fulfill the following requirements:
First Year Writing Requirement
Competency in a language other than one’s own, ancient or modern, serves many ends. It deepens an appreciation of one’s own language and culture, increases sensitivity and understanding of the nature of language itself, enables the student to gain a far more intimate understanding of different cultures than is possible through translations, and allows greater participation in an increasingly globalized world. Furthermore, with regard to specific disciplinary ends, many graduate programs require a reading knowledge of at least two languages other than English.
For these reasons, Haverford requires all of its students to complete two semesters of college- level study of a language other than English by the end of the junior year. This requirement may be satisfied in one of the following three ways:
- One full year of language study in one language at the level in which the student is placed by the appropriate Haverford language department; or
- Language study in a course conducted under Haverford’s approved Study Abroad Programs, and as certified in advance by the chair of the relevant language department at either Haverford or Bryn Mawr or by the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) when the language has no corresponding department at either Haverford or Bryn Mawr; or
- Language study in a summer program administered by Bryn Mawr in the country of the language if that program is an intensive, total-immersion program, fully equivalent to a full year of language study and certified as such by the chair of a Haverford or Bryn Mawr language department.
Language courses may be taken at Haverford or at any of the cooperating colleges: Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, and with advisor and registrar permission, the University of Pennsylvania. The Haverford department, however, must determine placement. Except as noted above, this requirement may not be fulfilled by language study in a summer school. One full academic year of language study is the minimum requirement, and language courses do not satisfy the divisional requirement.
In addition to fulfilling the writing and language requirements noted above, students are required to complete a minimum of three course credits in each of the three divisions of the curriculum: Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences. At least two departments must be represented within each division must be represented, and one of the nine course credits must be quantitative as described below.
All courses taken Pass/Fail may be converted to a numerical grade if a student chooses to uncover the numerical grade on their transcript. Any course for which a numerical grade is recorded—even if initially taken Pass/Fail—may count towards the fulfillment of requirements in a student’s major, minor, or concentration; the quantitative requirement; the divisional requirement; and the language requirement.
Quantitative reasoning is an extremely important skill. The impact of science and technology in the modern world is enormous. Those who lack the ability to apply elementary quantitative methods to the world around them are at a severe disadvantage. Therefore, students must successfully complete at least one course credit that focuses on quantitative reasoning. Quantitative courses provide experience in some of the following:
- Elementary statistical reasoning
- Other widely applicable types of mathematical reasoning
- Working with, manipulating, and judging the reliability of quantitative data
- Generating and understanding graphical relationships
- Representing theoretical ideas in mathematical language and using mathematics to obtain concrete numerical predictions about natural or social systems.
The quantitative requirement must be fulfilled by the end of the junior year.
It is important to note again that all courses taken Pass/Fail may be converted to a numerical grade if a student chooses to uncover the numerical grade on their transcript. Any course for which a numerical grade is recorded—even if initially taken Pass/Fail—may count towards the fulfillment of requirements in a student’s major, minor, or concentration; the quantitative requirement; distribution requirement; and the language requirement.
Departmental Major Requirement
Each student must meet the requirements for a departmental or independent major program. During the fourth semester of attendance, or earlier only in the case of transfer students, all students should confer with the chair of the department in which they wish to major and apply for written approval of a plan of courses for their final four semesters. Such programs must provide for the completion, by the end of the senior year, of approximately 12 course credits or the equivalent, at least six of which must be in the major department and the others in closely related fields.
Students are accepted into major programs according to the following rules:
- Acceptance is automatic with an earned average of 2.7 or above in preliminary courses in the department concerned;
- Acceptance is at the discretion of the chair of the major department if the average in such courses falls between 2.0 and 2.7;
- Acceptance is rare but may be contingent upon further work in the department if the average falls below 2.0;
- A student who is not accepted as a major by any department will not be permitted to continue at the College.
Students who have been formally accepted as majors by any department have the right to remain in that department as long as they are making satisfactory progress in the major. Each student is expected to file with the registrar by the date specified in the academic calendar, a copy of their major declaration form approved by the chair of the major department. Haverford students may major at Bryn Mawr College on the same terms as those that apply to Bryn Mawr students and, with the proper permissions, at Swarthmore College.
The College affirms the responsibility of each department to make the work in the major field as comprehensive as possible for the student. There is need, in the senior year especially, to challenge the student’s powers of analysis and synthesis and to foster the creative use of the knowledge and skills that have been acquired in previous studies. There is also the need to evaluate the performance of the senior in the major field, not only to safeguard the academic standards of the College, but also to help the student’s self-evaluation at an important moment. In short, synthesis and evaluation in some form are both essential and may be achieved by various means as specified by the major departments in their statement of major requirements:
- A senior departmental study course culminating in a comprehensive exam; or
- A thesis or advanced project paper; or
- A course or courses specially designed or designated; or
- Some combination of these or other means.
To avoid undue specialization in a major program, at least 19 of the 32 course credits required for graduation must be taken outside of a student’s major field of study. For this purpose, courses that are cross-listed in several departments are considered to be outside the major field of study. There are four exceptions to this limitation:
- The limitation does not apply to certain majors at Bryn Mawr College;
- The limitation does not apply to majors in the Classics Department;
- The limitation does not apply to those students who study abroad in programs, such as those at Cambridge or Oxford, where reading in one subject for the entire year is the norm;
- This limitation does not apply to double majors, but such students must still earn a certain minimum number of course credits outside the two majors. The number of course credits required outside the majors will depend on the total number of credits required by the two majors.
To graduate from Haverford, a student must complete the equivalent of four years of academic work, or a minimum of 32 course credits. Eight of these 32 course credits must be taken on the Haverford campus.
Other Curricular Options to Fulfill the Degree Requirement
Entering students should arrange to have Advanced Placement scores forwarded directly to the Office of the Registrar at Haverford College. The registrar will award one course credit for an AP score of 5 and one-half course credit for a score of 4. No credit is awarded for scores under 4. The maximum AP credit awarded to any student may not exceed four course credits.
Credits earned in summer school, in the Advanced Placement program, in “A” Levels, in the International Baccalaureate Program, the French Baccalaureate Program, the German Abitur, and the Swiss Maturité, or in college courses taken either before matriculation at Haverford or during the summers as a Haverford student will be recorded in such a way that the total for any one student does not exceed four course credits. Students should note that general education requirements are not satisfied by any such work, with the exception of summer credits earned during the student’s years at the College.
Special Majors and Double Majors
Students with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50 may propose the design of an independent major. Such majors must have the approval of the Committee on Student Standing and Programs (CSSP); interested students are encouraged to consult the CSSP web pages for additional information regarding the independent major option. Furthermore, a member of the Haverford or Bryn Mawr College faculty must serve as the student’s advisor and also must agree to supervise the student’s senior project or thesis. Students interested in pursuing an independent major at Bryn Mawr College must still apply through Haverford’s Committee on Student Standing and Programs and not directly to Bryn Mawr College.
tudents with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.50 may double major by completing the entire requirements of both majors, including thesis requirements. In order to double major, the student must obtain permission from the appropriate dean and the chairpersons of both departments. When deemed appropriate by the two departments, a single thesis may satisfy the thesis requirements of both majors. However, a single thesis submitted for a double major may not be used to reduce either the amount or quality of work typically required by each major program. The single thesis option may be undertaken only with the written agreement of both departments.
Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary minors, consisting of six to seven courses, are currently offered in various fields at Haverford as listed elsewhere in this catalog, and are described in detail under the headings for individual departments and programs.
A minor is not required for the Bachelor of Arts degree or the Bachelor of Science degree.
Areas of Concentration
Areas of concentration exist at Haverford in order to afford students a formal opportunity to pursue an area of study distinct from, but relevant to, their choice of major. The areas of concentration that are currently available are listed elsewhere in this catalog, and are described in detail under the headings for individual departments and programs.
To fulfill an area of concentration, a student must normally complete six course credits selected with the aid of a concentration coordinator who may consult with an advisory group for that concentration. Of the six course credits, no fewer than two and no more than three will also form part of the student’s major.
Students are strongly encouraged to elect an area of concentration at the same time they declare a major: that is, during the fourth semester of attendance. As with the major, earlier elections are not permitted.
A concentration is not required for the Bachelor of Arts degree or the Bachelor of Science degree.
Independent Minors and Concentrations
As with majors, students may propose to design independent areas of concentration (related to the major) or minors. These programs require the approval of the Committee on Student Standing and Programs (CSSP); interested students are encouraged to consult the CSSP web pages for additional information regarding independent areas of concentration and minors.
Physical Education Requirement
The physical education requirement does not carry academic credit, but all students at Haverford are required to fulfill it during their first two years of College in partial fulfillment of their degree.
For physical education purposes, the academic year is divided into four quarters. Students must complete six quarters of physical education, one of which is the “Intro to Fitness” class, prior to the start of junior year. Intro to Fitness is designed to provide students with the knowledge needed to incorporate fitness and proper nutrition into their lives at Haverford and beyond./p>
Varsity athletes who complete their in-season fitness workouts under the supervision of the Head Coach and Fitness Center Director will satisfy the “Intro to Fitness” requirement. Alternative methods to satisfy the physical education requirement are available for students with medical conditions preventing exercise.