Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook

Departments, Programs of Instruction, and Interdisciplinary Majors and Minors

The 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 2019–2020; other students must follow the major and minor requirements that were in place the year they matriculated.

Explanation of Symbols Used

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

Course Numbering: Courses are numbered according to the following system:

Numbers Definition
1000–1049 First-year seminars
1050–1099 Courses intended for the non-major
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

Distribution Requirements

Students must earn at least one full credit for a letter grade (unless the course is only graded Credit/D/Fail, i.e., some courses in theater and dance and music) in each of the following five distribution areas:

  • 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.
  • Inquiry in the Natural Sciences (INS). These courses help students expand their understanding of the natural sciences through practices associated with questioning, measuring, modeling, and explaining the natural world.
  • Exploring Social Difference (ESD). These courses develop awareness and critical understanding of differences in human societies (such as class, environmental resources, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation). ESD courses build the analytic skills to examine differences within a society and the ways they are reflected in and shaped by historical, cultural, social, political, economic, and other processes.
  • 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.
  • 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 curriculum:

  • Natural Science and Mathematics (a)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (b)
  • Humanities (c)

Courses that meet these requirements will be marked with the symbols in parentheses. Additionally, courses that are designated as first-year seminars will be marked with (FYS).