The F&M curriculum combines a spirit of innovation with a strong sense of tradition. It encompasses elements that prepare students for the cross disciplinary nature of knowledge in the twenty-first century while preserving the depth offered by disciplinary majors and the breadth associated with distributional requirements. The graduation requirements provide sufficient structure to ensure that students receive a general education in the liberal arts while offering enough choice to allow the construction of an individualized educational experience.
Three parts compose the curriculum: (1) General Education, (2) the Major, and (3) Electives.
General Education is one part of the curriculum and includes Foundations, a Distribution Requirement, and a Writing Requirement. In Foundations courses, students examine questions central to human thought, perception, expression, and discovery, and encounter ideas that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. While completing their Distribution requirement, students become familiar with the various areas of the liberal arts: Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Non-Western Cultures. The Writing Requirement ensures that you have a writing intensive experience and develop your skills during your first year at the College.
The Major constitutes an integral element of the F&M curriculum. During the second semester of the sophomore year, you decide upon a concentration in an area of strong intellectual interest. Through your Major, you gain a deep understanding of issues and methods of inquiry characteristic of one specific field.
Electives are a significant part of the curriculum where you can investigate subjects of interest or disciplines that complement the major.
Could you tell me more about first-year seminars?
The First-Year Seminar is designed to provide students with an experience that effectively integrates academic and residential life. Students in First-Year Seminars live together in one of the College Houses. Residents have the opportunity to share an important first semester academic experience. The program promotes an integration of the residence hall and the classroom that enhances both the academic success and personal growth of the students.
The First-Year Seminar can be a special educational experience for its participants. Each class is limited to 16 students. The courses allow students to explore in depth a major theme or concept. The seminars are writing-intensive courses that emphasize the development of critical thinking, reading, and analysis. Additional support and guidance is provided by a Preceptor, an upperclass student who assists the seminar professor.
Could you tell me more about Foundations courses?
Foundations courses are intended to generate excitement about learning by introducing students to fundamental approaches to intellectual inquiry concerning human experience and the natural world.
All students, during their first two years, must pass two regularly graded Foundations courses.
NOTE: As part of pre-registration, you will be asked to provide four choices of Foundations courses. Please read the course descriptions carefully before your Beginnings advising meeting or May phone advising meeting.