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Distribution Requirement

No part of any requirement can be satisfied with the satisfactory/unsatisfactory option.

English Composition (Writing)
English 115 (English Composition) or an equivalent writing-intensive course is required. Such courses are designated as "W1".

Foreign Language
This requirement may be met in one of four ways: 
  1. By attaining before entrance a score of 64 or higher on the SAT Subject Test in a foreign language or in the Colby language placement test taken during orientation, a score of 4 or 5 in Advanced Placement language or literature, a 6 or 7 in an International Baccalaureate higher-level exam or 7 on a standard-level exam. Refer to the section on placement in foreign languages in the Academic Information section for information concerning language placement tests at Colby.
  2. By successfully completing Colby's intensive language program in Salamanca, Spain, or Dijon, France. The Salamanca language program is available either fall or spring semester; the Dijon program is available in the fall semester only. These programs are open to first-year students, sophomores, and juniors.
  3. By successfully completing a sequence of modern or classical language courses terminating with a course numbered above 126 in a modern language or Greek 131 or Latin 131. Students will be placed in the sequence according to ability.
  4. By successfully completing a previously approved intermediate-level language course at an approved college or university (see Transferred Credits in the Academic Procedures section).

    Students who have studied a foreign language not taught at Colby may fulfill the requirement by presenting evidence of having successfully completed at an accredited institution the intermediate level of that language.

    For students whose native language is not English, knowledge of that language will be recognized as fulfilling the requirement. For a language taught at Colby, confirmation from the chair of the appropriate department must be filed with the Office of the Registrar. For languages not taught at Colby, confirmation must be obtained from the International Students Advisor in the Dean of Students Office. Testing may be required.

Distribution Areas
Students are required to pass one three- or four-credit-hour course in each of Areas I, II, III, IV, and VI, and two courses in Area V. Normally, students will be expected to complete these requirements during their first two years. Course descriptions use the letter designations A, H, L, Q, N (and optionally, Lb or OptLb), and S to indicate the area requirement met, if any. (See Key to Courses of Study.)
  • Area I Arts: Courses in the history, theory, and/or practice of the creative arts. (A)
  • Area II Historical Studies: Courses that investigate human experience by focusing on the development of cultures and societies as they evolve through time. (H)
  • Area III Literature: Courses that focus on literary works of the imagination and/or written texts in which ideas and creative or aesthetic considerations play a crucial role. (L)
  • Area IV Quantitative Reasoning: Courses that focus on quantitative or analytic reasoning about formally defined abstract structures. (Q)
  • Area V Natural Sciences: Courses that focus on the understanding of natural phenomena through observation, systematic study, and/or theoretical analysis. (N) At least one course taken to satisfy Area V must contain a substantial laboratory component (Lb for required lab; OptLb for optional lab).
  • Area VI Social Sciences: Courses that focus on theoretically and methodologically directed inquiry into various aspects of human behavior and interaction. (S)

Students are required to pass two three- or four-credit-hour courses that are centrally concerned with:
       (a) the structures, workings, and consequences of; and/or
       (b) efforts at political and cultural change directed against; and/or
       (c) progress in overcoming prejudice, privilege, oppression, inequality, and injustice.One of these courses must deal with these issues as they concern the United States (U designation in course description), and one must deal with these issues in a context other than the United States (I).

First-Year Seminars/Wellness Program
Students must attend evening lectures offered for all first-year and new transfer students as part of the extended orientation called the First-Year Seminars. A variety of topics that the College has identified as fundamental health concerns for the college years will be covered. The purpose of the program is to encourage and assist in the development of responsibility for one's own lifestyle through programs centered on mental, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual fitness. Meeting this requirement, which is certified by the Health Center, does not earn academic credit hours. In order to register for second-semester classes, students must have completed the Web-based AlcoholEdu. In order to register for second-year classes, first-year students must have attended four lectures and completed the AlcoholEdu; midyear entrants must attend three lectures and complete to AlcoholEdu. Transfer students have the first two semesters at Colby to attend four lectures and must complete AlcoholEdu in the semester they arrive on campus.