Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook

Departments, Programs of Instruction, and Interdisciplinary Majors and Minors

The academic departments and programs of instruction in the following descriptions are listed in alphabetical order. Note that major and minor requirements listed apply to students who matriculate in 2023–2024; other students must follow the major and minor requirements that were in place the year they matriculated. Recent editions of the Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook can be found in the Archive. Visit the Bowdoin Digital Commons for the comprehensive collection.

Explanation of Symbols Used for Faculty

Symbol Definition
* On leave for the fall semester.
** On leave for the spring semester.
On leave for the entire academic year.

All courses are listed under the originating department or program and may be cross-listed into other subject areas. Courses are numbered according to the following system:

Numbers Definition
1000–1049 First-year writing seminars
1050–1099 Courses intended for non-majors
1100–1999 Introductory courses
2000–2969 Intermediate courses and seminars
2970–2998 Intermediate independent studies
2999 Intermediate collaborative study
3000–3999 Advanced courses and seminars
4000–4079 Advanced independent studies, advanced collaborative study, senior projects, and honors projects

Additional Information in the Course Descriptions

The Catalogue displays detailed information for courses offered in the last four academic years: the originating course subject, number, and title, the course description, the subject and number for any cross-listings, the course offering frequency, the enrollment limit, the most recent instructor, and the previous terms offered within the last four academic years. Courses that meet distribution (DPI, INS, IP, MSCR, VPA) or division (a, b, c) requirements are marked with the corresponding symbol in parentheses to aid students and advisors in identifying courses that will help students satisfy the distribution and division requirements of the degree. 

Distribution Requirements

Students must earn at least one full credit for a letter grade in each of the following five distribution areasb:

  1. Difference, Power, and Inequity (DPI): These courses examine difference in terms of power and inequity. Students learn theories, methods, and skills to analyze structures of privilege and inequality. Students confront how such structures intersect with their own experiences.
  2. Inquiry in the Natural Sciences (INS): In these courses students engage in the practice and methods of inquiry-based learning in the natural sciences. This requirement is satisfied through courses that both fall within “Division A” (natural science and mathematics) and satisfy the INS learning goals.
  3. International Perspectives (IP): These courses assist students in developing a critical understanding of the world beyond the United States. IP courses provide students with the tools necessary to analyze non-US cultures, societies, and states (including indigenous societies and sovereign nations within the United States and its territories), either modern or historical.
  4. Mathematical, Computational, or Statistical Reasoning (MCSR): These courses enable students to use mathematics and quantitative models and techniques to understand the world around them either by learning the general tools of mathematics and statistics or by applying them in a subject area.
  5. Visual and Performing Arts (VPA): These courses help students expand their understanding of artistic expression and judgment through creation, performance, and analysis of artistic work in the areas of dance, film, music, theater, and visual art.

Division Requirements

Students must earn at least one full credit from each of the following three divisions of the curriculumc.

  1. Natural Science and Mathematics (a)
  2. Social and Behavioral Sciences (b)
  3. Humanities (c)