Office of the Registrar
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Phone: (603) 646-xxxx
Fax: (603) 646-xxxx
Email: reg@Dartmouth.EDU

Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2016-17

General Education Requirements: Categories

This section describes the categories of the General Education requirement. The following section addresses some procedural matters regarding these requirements.

  1. World Culture Requirement. All Dartmouth undergraduates must satisfactorily complete one course from each of the three areas listed below:
    1. Western Cultures (W). The cultures of the classical Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman Mediterranean, and of Europe and its settlements. The disciplines of the Arts and Sciences as they are studied at Dartmouth developed in these cultures, as did the institution of the liberal arts college itself. For this reason, Dartmouth students are required to take at least one course with a focus on the cultures of the West.
    2. Non-Western Cultures (NW). Non-Western cultures, including those with a history of colonialism. The world in which Dartmouth graduates will function demands an understanding of its non-Western majority. Knowledge of non-Western peoples, cultures, and histories is thus an increasing practical necessity as well as a form of intellectual enrichment. Courses that satisfy this requirement have as their primary focus understanding the diverse cultures of the non-Western world.
    3. Culture and Identity (CI). All students are required to take a course studying how cultures shape and express identities. Courses satisfying this requirement examine how identity categories develop in cultures and as a result of interactions between cultures. Forms of identity to be studied may include but are not limited to those defined by race, gender, sexuality, class, religion, and ethnicity. Courses in this category may study the relations of culture and identity with reference to cultural productions from any part of the world.
  2. Distributive Requirement (Dist). All Dartmouth undergraduates must satisfactorily complete ten courses divided as indicated below:
    1. Arts (one course): (ART). Courses fulfilling this requirement usually focus on one or more art or media forms, using historical, critical, and/or participatory methods. Dartmouth aims to foster creativity, to encourage the acquisition of artistic skills and disciplines, and to equip students with the historical knowledge and interpretive powers that will allow them to be informed participants in the world of the arts and contemporary media.
    2. Literature (one course): (LIT). Rigorous critical reading and writing are central to all academic discourse; although these skills are not taught exclusively in literature courses, they are actively cultivated in those courses. Knowledge and appreciation of literary texts, and of the diverse cultural histories embedded in them, remain crucial to any liberal arts education. In recent times, the emergence of literary theory has transformed literary study and broadened the scope of literary criticism to include cultural and interdisciplinary perspectives. Literary theory also poses fundamental questions about the ways in which language and literature represent the world. Courses that satisfy this requirement are usually in the language and/or literature departments.
    3. Systems and Traditions of Thought, Meaning, and Value (one course): (TMV). Courses satisfying this requirement provide students with systematic, critical understanding of philosophical issues or systems of religious belief and practice. They address the ways human beings have conceptualized and put into practice claims about such topics as the meaning of human existence and the nature of truth, knowledge, or morality. Such courses are not restricted to a particular cultural, geographical, or historical focus and may include studies from a wide variety of cultures and time periods.
    4. International or Comparative Study (one course): (INT). In addition to understanding the traditions of particular cultures, an educated person needs to be aware that no nation, society, or culture exists in isolation. To an increasing degree, an international dimension informs all human endeavors, including economic, political, social, ideological, religious, and artistic ones. Thus all students are required to elect one course that considers interrelationships among societies, cultures, or nations and/or the methods or approaches employed in comparative studies. We seek to ensure that Dartmouth students will be internationally as well as nationally informed.
    5. Social Analysis (two courses): (SOC). Courses in this category examine theories of individual and social human behavior, methods of social observation and analysis, historical analysis and inquiry, and issues of civic life and public policy. Social scientific and historical analyses are important tools in our efforts to understand ourselves and others, the contemporary world and its past. They also serve an important purpose in the development of public policy. Courses in social analysis familiarize students with the critical interpretation of evidence and such means of investigation as experiments, modeling, observation, comparison, statistical sampling, interviews and surveys, the use of records and artifacts.
    6. Quantitative and Deductive Science (one course): (QDS). Mathematical sciences are fundamental to much scientific and social scientific investigation, while the underlying mode of deductive reasoning continues to inform many ways of obtaining knowledge. In this category, students must pass a course in mathematics, in mathematical statistics, or in symbolic logic, the underpinning of mathematical reasoning. Modern mathematics includes areas as diverse as topology, probability, and combinatorics, as well as the more familiar algebra, geometry, and analysis. An understanding of some basic mathematical techniques is essential for appreciating ways in which the world can be visualized and studied. At the same time, such understanding helps in testing the suitability of many of these visualizations, and gives tools to examine the fit between natural phenomena and their abstract models.
    7. Natural and Physical Science (two courses): (SCI or SLA). These courses introduce students to scientific methods of inquiry as well as research methodology and interpretation. One of these courses must provide a laboratory, experimental, or field component as an integral part of its structure (courses in the Technology and Applied Science category may also be approved as satisfying the one-course laboratory requirement.) An understanding of the basic principles and terminology of science, and of the ways in which scientists obtain, validate, judge, test, and then re-judge information, is an essential form of education for this century and the next. Students should acquire some expertise in scientific discourse: in the ways in which facts are acquired, tested, and challenged, and in some of the scientific principles that help to explain physical, cosmological, chemical, and biological processes.

      Many science courses are taught with coordinated laboratory activities. In some cases these laboratories take the form of a field trip, outdoor or off-campus, to a site or facility at which the student can examine first hand some phenomenon, feature, or object.

    8. Technology or Applied Science (one course): (TAS or TLA). These courses must include the methodology and theory of applied science, and may consider the social contexts, benefits, and threats of technology. They enable students to understand the process by which the discoveries of basic science have been translated into products, facilities, services, devices and technical information. These courses address the principles underlying technology or applied science, rather than just making use of technology.