Requirements for the Degree

NOTE: While faculty members and administrators stand ready to counsel students about degree requirements, the final responsibility for meeting the requirements rests with each student.

Students must fulfill the following requirements in order to earn a bachelor of arts degree at Kenyon.

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In order to encourage in-depth understanding of one particular field of study, a Kenyon student must successfully complete all requirements of one major course of study including the Senior Capstone. (See The College Curriculum)

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Kenyon credits are measured in Kenyon units/semester hours, sixteen (16)/one hundred and twenty-eight (128) of which are required. Of these, a minimum of 8.00 units/64 semester hours must be earned at Kenyon on a letter-grade basis. Above this minimum required, the student may include a maximum of 3.00 units/24 semester hours earned at summer school, a maximum of 0.50 units/4 semester hours of credit from physical education courses, and a maximum of 3.00 units/24 semester hours earned on a student-chosen pass/D/fail and credit/no credit basis. (See also Transfer Credit and Grades and Credit)

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Kenyon is a residential college committed to the value of a community to scholars studying, learning, and engaging in education together. Therefore a Kenyon degree requires eight semesters of full-time undergraduate enrollment (1.50 units/14 semester hours or more). A minimum of four of these semesters, including the senior year, must be completed at Kenyon College, on the Gambier campus.

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In order to demonstrate the successful completion of 16.00 units/128 semester hours, the student must earn an overall minimum grade point average, at Kenyon College, of 2.00 ("C") to graduate. A minimum of 2.00 is also required for each major course of study. Like most other colleges and universities, Kenyon is concerned only with the grade point average earned in residence with Kenyon faculty, not with the average earned elsewhere. (See Transfer Credit)

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Just as the College requires students to focus in a major, they must also demonstrate engagement with a range of other subjects and field. Therefore, a student must earn 9.00/72 or more units/semester hours outside the major department; or, if there is more than one discipline in the department, the student must earn 7.00/56 or more units/semester hours outside the major department as well as 9.00/72 or more units/semester outside the major discipline. (A discipline is a traditional area of academic study.)

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In order to broaden their education beyond the major, students must encounter fields and disciplines across the College. To focus this engagement within diverse fields, the College distributes this requirement across four divisions — the fine arts, the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. By the time a student graduates, they must complete at least 1.00 unit/8 semester hours, within at least one department, in each of the four divisions of the College. Taking two courses within the same department intends to give students more depth in that subject matter and a better sense of the field that the department represents.

In fulfilling this requirement, students should pay careful attention to the relationships among disciplines, departments, interdisciplinary programs, and divisions. For example, 0.50 units/4 semester hours in MUSC (music) and 0.50 units/4 semester hours in ARTS (studio art) will not together satisfy a distribution requirement, because these two disciplines, though in the same division, are in separate departments. These charts summarize the distinctions among disciplines, departments and divisions.

Students may earn 1.00 unit/8 semester hours in a division by combining a course from an interdisciplinary program with an appropriate departmental course — but only if the interdisciplinary course is "cross-listed" in a department in this catalog. For example, ENVS 112, Introduction to Environmental Studies, is listed not only in the environmental studies section of the catalog but also in the biology section; thus, ENVS 112 may be paired with any 0.50 unit/4 semester-hour biology course to satisfy the natural science requirement. In cases where all of the courses in an interdisciplinary major or program fall clearly within a single division (neuroscience within the science division, gender and sexuality studies within the social sciences division) 0.50 unit/4 semester-hour of course credit within that interdisciplinary program may be used to satisfy the divisional requirement. For specific interdisciplinary courses that count toward the fulfillment of diversification requirements, please refer to the Registrar's Office webpage

Courses taken to satisfy the quantitative reasoning requirement or the second language requirement (see these requirements described below) may count toward the satisfaction of the appropriate diversification requirement. Courses that count toward the completion of one diversification requirement may not be counted toward a second diversification requirement.

Advanced Placement courses will not satisfy this requirement.

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As our mission statement underscores, Kenyon is committed to providing an education that promotes an understanding of the "world and all who inhabit it." One step toward this goal is our advocacy of learning a second language. Therefore, students must demonstrate a level of proficiency in a second language equivalent to one full year of introductory college study. They may meet this requirement in any of the following ways:

(a) by earning language credit in a course in the Kenyon Academic Partnership program

(b) by earning a score of 4 or 5 on any Latin Advanced Placement examination; or by earning a score of 3 or better on the College Board Advanced Placement test in a second language or literature 

(c) by earning a score of 540 or higher on an SAT II modern language test

(d) by achieving a satisfactory score on a placement exam administered during Orientation

(d) by completing an introductory-level modern or classical language course at Kenyon

(f) by obtaining transfer credit for coursework that completes the equivalent of a year or more of language study at the transfer institution as determined by the registrar and the relevant department(s). Students may complete the equivalent of a year or more of language study at the transfer institution by transferring credit for the last semester (or final session) of a one-year (or longer) sequence. Transfer credit must be pre-approved by the registrar and the chair(s) of the relevant department(s), who must confirm in advance that the proposed course meets the departmental standard.

(g) by providing documentation that is satisfactory to the registrar and/or the Committee on Academic Standards, such as an ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview certificate or STAMP test, that indicates they have achieved proficiency equivalent to one year of introductory college-level study

(h) by earning a score of 4 or higher on an International Baccalaureate HL or SL exam in any language.

If the student seeks to meet the requirement through the study of a language that is not offered at Kenyon, the student is responsible for providing documentation that is satisfactory to the registrar. Likewise, if a student seeks to meet the requirement through an off-campus study (study-abroad) program other than one of the Kenyon-approved programs, the student must provide documentation that is satisfactory to the registrar. Because Kenyon's introductory modern languages courses are taught as a single, year-long curriculum, it is not possible to take one semester of a language at another institution and complete the requirement by taking a second semester at Kenyon.

Kenyon considers achievement of language proficiency important for many reasons, among them:

  • Language study forms part of the traditional foundation to the liberal arts because it leads to the rigorous study of texts in the original across many disciplines.
  • Language study increases understanding of one's native language and of language in general.
  • Language study provides insight into other cultures and cultural differences.
  • Language study enables students to function in a global context.
  • Knowledge of a foreign language increases one's desirability as a job candidate, particularly for leadership positions.
  • Foreign language study requires structured learning and can therefore improve study skills.

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The student must earn a minimum of 0.50 unit/4 semester hours of credit in a course, or courses, designated as meeting the quantitative reasoning (QR) requirement. These courses are marked "QR" in the course catalog. Advanced Placement courses will not satisfy this requirement.

In order to transfer credit to fulfill the QR requirement, a student must present to the Kenyon registrar evidence that the proposed transfer course is equivalent to a specific Kenyon QR course (a list of descriptions of which are available on the registrar's Web page). For any proposed transfer course that does not correspond directly to a Kenyon equivalent, the student must supply explicit evidence that the course meets the specific criteria established for QR courses at Kenyon (e.g. it teaches students "to use statistical methods to analyze and interpret data," "to make inferences and decisions based on quantitative data," "to design experiments, and learn and apply data-collection methods," etc.) as a continuing theme in the course. In turn, the registrar will consult with the chair of the relevant department(s) to evaluate whether the proposed course is in fact equivalent to a Kenyon QR course or whether it adequately meets QR guidelines. The registrar, acting on behalf of the Curriculum Policy Committee, reserves the right to deny the transfer of QR credit. In every instance, the burden of proof falls to the student to present evidence that the QR criteria have been met; this evidence should take the form of course descriptions, syllabi, copies of assignments, and examinations. 

Note: A course will satisfy the QR requirement only if it is designated a QR course for the semester in which it has been taken. Students should be aware that a particular course may change in character from one year to the next, so that it may count as a QR course during one semester but not during another.

Quantitative-reasoning courses may focus on the organization, analysis, and implementation of numerical and graphical data; or they may involve learning mathematical ideas, understanding their application to the world, and employing them to solve problems. In QR courses, students will learn some or all of the following:

  • To use statistical methods to analyze and interpret data.
  • To make inferences and decisions based on quantitative data — for example, by developing and testing hypotheses.
  • To critically assess quantitative information — for example, by reading and critiquing journal articles with quantitative information and analysis.
  • To design experiments, and learn and apply data-collection methods — for example, by developing data in laboratory exercises.
  • To use mathematical reasoning and the axiomatic method — for example, by using systems of symbolic logic.
  • To develop and use mathematical models — for example, to predict the behavior of physical, economic or biological systems.
  • To learn and apply the basic ideas of probability, chance and uncertainty.
  • To understand and apply concepts in algorithms and computer programming.
  • To communicate quantitative information and mathematical ideas — for example, by constructing and interpreting graphical displays.

A given QR course probably will not include all of these abilities, but every QR course will engage students in some of them. In courses identified with the QR tag, the use of quantitative reasoning is a major and continuing theme. Although the subject matter of QR courses will vary by department and discipline, the quantitative knowledge and skills developed will be applicable in a wide variety of settings.

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