Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook

Special Areas of Study

Arabic

Requirements for the Minor in Arabic

Arabic minors attain a basic level of proficiency in the language, while also exploring how important Arabic is to gaining a deeper understanding of the history, politics, society, and culture of most Middle Eastern and North African countries.

The minor consists of five courses.

Required courses:

  • Four courses in Arabic instruction (two years, beginning at the level into which the student is placed)
  • A fifth course focusing on any aspect of the cultures of the Middle East or North Africa (such as a course in philosophy, religion, literature, history, or politics) at the 2000- or 3000- level

Additional Information

  • No more than one independent study may be counted toward the minor.
  • Courses that count toward the minor must be taken for regular letter grades, not Credit/D/Fail, and students must earn grades of C- or better in these courses.
  • Up to two courses taken at another college or university may be counted toward the minor with prior approval by the Middle Eastern and North African Studies Committee.
  • First-year seminars do not count toward the minor.
  • No courses applied toward the minor may be double-counted toward a student’s major.

Arctic Studies

A focus in Arctic studies, offered through a variety of departments, including the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Earth and Oceanographic Science, the Environmental Studies Program, the Department of Government and Legal Studies, and the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center, provides students with opportunities to explore artistic, cultural, social, political, and environmental issues involving Arctic lands, seas, and communities. Students interested in the Arctic are encouraged to consult with the director of the Arctic Studies Center in order to plan an appropriate interdisciplinary program involving course work and fieldwork, and study abroad. Work-study and internship opportunities at the Arctic Museum complement the academic program, as does the Bowdoin Students Arctic Initiative, a student-run organization.

Coastal Studies

The College offers expertise in the marine sciences primarily through the biology, earth and oceanographic science, and environmental studies departments and programs and two unique field sites: Schiller Coastal Studies Center, located on Orr’s Island in Harpswell, Maine, and the more remote Kent Island Scientific Station located in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada. The College offers the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester (BMSS), an intensive immersion experience in marine fieldwork, lab work, and independent research. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors from Bowdoin and other colleges who are interested in marine science are welcome to submit an application. During the BMSS, students take four courses sequentially in three-to-four-week modules taught at the Bowdoin Marine Laboratory and the Schiller Coastal Studies Center, while residing on Bowdoin’s main campus. Other courses in the College curriculum, taught in the College's standard format, take advantage of the temperate and subarctic environments of coastal Maine and the Canadian Maritime provinces; please contact the relevant academic department or program coordinator for details. Summer research fellowships in coastal and marine studies are also available annually. Interested students should speak with Amy Johnson, professor of marine biology and interim director of the Schiller Coastal Studies Center, or Steven Allen, assistant director of the Schiller Coastal Studies Center and coastal studies program coordinator.

Digital and Computational Studies

The Digital and Computational Studies (DCS) program is premised on the recognition that the power of computation is fundamentally changing the world. Students in DCS courses, using digital and computational tools, explore methods in problem-solving and creative expression across the curriculum while appreciating the historical and ethical implications of using these tools. DCS currently offers introductory courses that engage with topics such as the disruptive role of computation and digital information across disciplines, the basic elements of programming, the complex nature of data, computational thinking, and the power and privileges associated with the pervasiveness of digital culture in everyday lives. DCS courses at the advanced level are cross-listed with a variety of departments where the basic critical approaches of DCS are applied within particular disciplines. DCS is coordinated and supported by: Crystal Hall, director and associate professor; Martha Janeway, coordinator;  Eric Chown, professor; Mohammad T. Irfan, assistant professor; and Fernando Nascimento and Erin Johnson, visiting professors.

Engineering Dual-Degree Options

Bowdoin College arranges shared studies programs with the University of Maine College of Engineering (open only to Maine residents), the School of Engineering and Applied Science of Columbia University, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College.

3-2 programs are available in which students complete certain courses at Bowdoin during the first three years of their undergraduate career; students may then apply to transfer to Columbia, Caltech, or UMaine for two years of that institution's engineering program. Admission to these programs is highly competitive. Columbia also offers a 4-2 option, which may be of interest to some students.

Dartmouth offers a number of options, including the 2-1-1-1 program in which students complete two years at Bowdoin, their third year at Dartmouth, senior year at Bowdoin, and a fifth, optional year of specialized engineering courses at Dartmouth.

Students who successfully complete the Columbia, UMaine, or Caltech programs earn a bachelor of science degree from the engineering school and a bachelor of arts degree from Bowdoin, both conferred at the end of their fifth year. For the Dartmouth program, engineering courses taken in the third year are used as transfer credits to complete the Bowdoin degree, conferred after the fourth year. The Dartmouth engineering degree is conferred upon successful completion of a fifth year in engineering at Dartmouth.

Once a student decides to pursue a dual degree, the student must receive departmental permission,  meet with the associate registrar, and submit a declaration of intent to pursue this program to the Office of the Registrar when applying to the subsequent institution.

Finally, students may also apply as regular transfer students into any nationally recognized engineering program, earning only a degree from that engineering institution.

These programs are coordinated by Corey Colwill, assistant director for the Center for Cocurricular Opportunities, with assistance from representatives from the natural sciences including Professor William Barker in the Department of Mathematics, Professor Stephen Majercik in the Department of Computer Science, and Professor Dale Syphers and Laboratory Instructor Gary Miers in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Curricular requirements for engineering dual-degree options vary by program. It is important for students to secure advising about the program early in their careers at Bowdoin to plan a course of study that will satisfy major and distribution requirements. Students interested in these programs should contact Corey Colwill.

Legal Studies

Bowdoin students from every major and department have been successful applicants to highly competitive law schools. Students are provided guidance and assistance on all aspects of the application process by Career Exploration and Development advisers. They have excellent written and online resources about law schools and careers in the legal field and can introduce students to alumni attending law school or practicing law. It is best to begin planning for law school by the beginning of the junior year. In addition, Career Exploration and Development also supports and assists Bowdoin alumni with the law school application process if they choose to apply in the years following graduation.

Middle Eastern and North African Studies

Requirements for the Minor in Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENA)

By studying the languages and cultures of a region outside of Europe and North America, Middle East and North African studies minors enhance their awareness of global diversity and learn about the importance of language in understanding human perspectives. MENA minors hone their abilities to analyze historic and current events in the region, while exploring how accurate, informed conclusions require both nuance and a recognition of complexity.

The minor consists of five courses.

Required courses:

  • Two courses in a single Middle Eastern language (most likely Arabic, but Hebrew, Turkish, and Persian studied off-campus could count, with prior approval)
  • Three additional courses in the cultures of the Middle East and North Africa (such as a course in philosophy, religion, literature, history, or politics) from at least two departments and no more than one at the 1100-level

Additional Information

  • No more than one independent study may be counted toward the minor.
  • Courses that count toward the minor must be taken for regular letter grades, not Credit/D/Fail, and students must earn grades of C- or better in these courses.
  • First-year seminars do not count toward the minor.
  • Up to two courses taken at another college or university may count toward the minor with prior approval by the Middle Eastern and North African Studies Committee.
  • No courses applied toward the minor may be double-counted toward a student’s major.