Haverford's Curriculum Quickview
Class of 2022 and later, and students entering in Fall 2018.
|outside of major
|major & thesis
(1-2 course credits)
(2 in same language)
Quantitative or Symbolic Reasoning
(1 course credit)
Domains of Knowledge
(2 courses each domain; 4 departments across 3 domains)
Meaning, Interpretation, and Creative Expression
(only one of the two credits may be creative expression)
Analysis of the Social World: Individuals, Institutions, and Cultures
Physical & Natural Processes
Mathematical & Computational Constructs
Haverford Degree Requirements: The Basics
In order to graduate from Haverford College, all students must earn 32 credits overall, among which are the following:
- 2 semesters of one language other than English at the level at which they have been placed by the appropriate Haverford language department—this can be fulfilled through study during the academic year within the Quaker Consortium (Tri-co & Penn) or by way of some Haverford study abroad programs. Students should check with department chairs and the study abroad office to learn which languages and programs present this possibility. The French and Spanish departments do not allow students to fulfill the language requirement abroad.
- 1 quantitative or symbolic reasoning credit.
- 1-2 credits of first-year writing (depending on individual placement).
- 2 credits in each of the following 3 “domains of knowledge” (a total of 6 credits, which must cover a minimum of 4 departments):
- Domain A: Meaning, Interpretation, and Creative Expression (only 1 of the 2 required credits in this domain can be designated “creative”)
- Domain B: Analysis of the Social World
- Domain C: Physical and Natural Processes, Mathematical and Computational Constructs
- 1 major (approximately 12 credits), which must be declared upon the completion of 4 semesters of study (which for most students will mean they need to declare in April of their second year).
Of the 32 credits overall one needs, at minimum, in order to graduate, at least 24 must be earned at Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, and/or the University of Pennsylvania (collectively known as the “Quaker Consortium), and at least 8 of those 24 must be earned by taking courses specifically on the Haverford College campus. In addition, at least 19 of the minimum of 32 credits must be earned outside your major department.
Physical Education (PE) is a graduation requirement, but it is not an academic one—if you have any questions about the PE requirement, contact Susan McCabe in the Athletics Department, not the deans. PE credits do not count as academic credits, so you may register for 4-4.5 credits as well as PE credits.
Other important rules:
- The normal course load is 4 credits. You can do under 4 after your first semester of your first year if you have excess credits (for a spring semester first-year student, this would mean more than 4 credits; for a first-term sophomore, this would mean having more than 8 credits; for a first-term junior, this would mean having more than 16 credits).
- Every student is granted 8 completed semesters of study (including study abroad) to complete their degrees, and you can therefore pursue as many majors, minors, and/or concentrations as you can complete in 8 semesters—you will not be granted additional time on the grounds that you cannot finish a minor, concentration, and/or second major, and additional semesters are granted to 0-2 students annually and then only for highly unusual reasons.
- As this implies, all first-year students must take 4 credits in their first semester at Haverford and may not take less unless they have a disabilities accommodation through the College that grants them the right to take fewer than 4 credits.
- You must be enrolled in at least 3 credits to be in residence.
- You may count up to 4 credits of pre-college (e.g., APs, IBs) credits and/or summer school credits toward the 32 you need to earn overall.
- You may certainly earn more than 32 credits over the course of your Haverford career.
- You cannot fulfill the language requirement by way of summer study.
- There are only two ways to terminate taking a course and to be excused from completing it:
Drop a course, which means the course will be erased entirely from your transcript. This can be done with the approval of your academic advisor up to the Friday of the third week of classes. However, in order to stay on schedule, if you drop a course, you will need to be able to get into another course, and as the first 3 weeks progress, this will get more difficult to do unless you have been attending a fifth course regularly.
- Withdraw from a course, which means that it will remain on your transcript with a notation of “W.” This can be done at any point up to the last day of class, but it requires the permission of your dean, and according to faculty rules, this should be done only for “extraordinary” reasons (which typically means acute illness that unavoidably impedes your ability to finish the course). Withdrawals are granted very, very sparingly, and there is no such thing as a retroactive withdrawal.
- During final exams period, each instructor can require you to produce only 1 final piece of work (an exam, a paper, a report, a project), and you have until the last day and hour of finals, no sooner, no later, to complete that work. If an instructor seems to be requiring more than 1 final piece of work in finals period, please contact your dean.
- To count toward a major, you must earn at least a 2.0 on a course; simply to earn credit toward the 32 needed for graduation or to fulfill general graduation (or “distributional”) requirements, including the language requirement, you must earn at least the lowest passing grade, a 1.0.
- If you take a course pass/fail, you can indeed fail, and if you do fail, you will not only get a 0.0 on your transcript, but that grade will be factored into your transcript (in other words, if you take a course pass/fail, you will get a P if you pass it but a 0.0 if you fail). You can take up to 4 courses pass/fail during your years at Haverford, you need to be taking at least 4 credits to take 1 course pass/fail, and if you intend to “uncover” the grade, you must do so by the first week of the next semester.
Haverford Degree Requirements: The Domains
Please keep in mind that the three domains of knowledge that are at the core of Haverford’s general education curriculum are intentionally designed to acknowledge the interdisciplinary nature of the way modern scholars approach the study and interpretation of knowledge. As a result, courses taught in some departments will fall within more than one domain. For instance, history courses will typically be designated as both Domain A (meaning, interpretation, and creative expression) and Domain B (analysis of the social world). However, you cannot use any given course to count toward two domains—therefore, in our example, a history course, you will be permitted to count it toward either Domain A or Domain B, but not both.
How will you designate the domain for which such a course should count in fulfillment of your general education requirements? The answer is simple: Haverford’s registration and academic record system, BIONIC, has been programmed to optimize that choice for you. To take our example, a history course, which is both an A and B, if BIOINIC sees that you have fulfilled your A requirement but not your B, it will automatically give you credit for that course toward your B requirement.
In short, you should not need to do anything to determine toward which requirement a course will count. What you need to do, though, is to ensure that you do not make assumptions regarding how courses will be designated—do not assume, that is, that a course is an A and B, for instance, because you might not be correct, as it might be only an A or a B (or it could turn to be a C!).
The same can be said of Domain C courses and the quantitative or symbolic reasoning requirement: just because it is a science course does not necessarily mean it will confer quantitative credit. In addition, do not assume that just because something, like economics, is quantitative, that it must also be a Domain C course, as economics is in Domain B (analysis of the social world), not C (physical and natural processes, mathematical and computational constructs).
If this sounds confusing, then all the more reason to follow this important advice: please don’t assume you know how a course is categorized for general education purposes—consult the Catalog, the Tri-Co Guide, or BIONIC before deciding to take a course in the hope of fulfilling a general education requirement.