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January Program Requirement

To be eligible for graduation, each student must complete three January Programs if in residence for seven or more semesters, or two if in residence for six or fewer semesters. First-year students must take a January program and are given preference in 100-level programs. All students have the option of courses, independent study, or internships.

The January Program, introduced in 1961-62, is a period during which topics may be pursued single-mindedly, free from the competing demands of an orthodox curriculum. Selected courses, designated in the catalogue with "j," are offered during January. Most January courses appear only in the online catalogue and are available there beginning in October. January courses are offered for two or three credit hours. No more than three credit hours may be earned in any January.

Because the January Program assures most students considerable flexibility in the use of their time, it permits them to participate more fully in extracurricular activities in athletics, drama, music, and other fields. While students are encouraged to attend the lectures, seminars, concerts, and art exhibitions scheduled by the College, they are expected to spend 30 to 40 hours a week on their January Program topics.

January Program options are:
  • Courses Offered for Credit. Some are created specifically for January; others, originally designed to be offered during semesters, may be modified for January. Such courses are graded in the same manner as semester courses, except that nongraded January courses will be marked credit or fail.

  • Independent Study. An academic project under the direct supervision of a Colby faculty member. Projects ordinarily involve the preparation of an extensive paper or other suitable indication of the student's independent research or artistic efforts. Two options exist for electing January independent study: (a) for course credit that can be applied toward graduation requirements, to be graded as in (1) above; and (b) for January Program credit only, to be graded honors, pass, or fail.

  • Internships. . An internship is a carefully monitored work experience in which a student has intentional learning goals. An internship most frequently takes place at an off-campus job site and is monitored by an on-site work supervisor. An internship during January for Jan Plan credit must have a faculty sponsor and requires completion of an online application. A successful Jan Plan internship will receive transcript notation and may earn, with the approval of the faculty sponsor, one academic credit. Complete internship policies can be found at the Career Center Web site,

  • Noncredit Courses. These courses fulfill the January Program requirement, but students do not earn course credit that can be applied toward the credit hours required for graduation. These courses may be offered by experts in fields not included in the regular curriculum and will be graded credit or fail.
Other than the grades indicated above, marks of I (work incomplete) may be given only in cases in which the student has made an acceptable arrangement with the instructor. Grades of I must be made up within limits set by the instructor and not later than the second day following spring recess. 

A full description of January courses is available on the Web in October, and students elect for January at that time. Changes in preregistration may be filed subsequently; however, students failing to register by the third day of the January Program will be considered to have failed the program for that year, with the failure to be noted on official transcripts. A student choosing not to do a January Program in any year must signify this decision during Web registration. Except under unusual circumstances, no more than one January Program may be taken each year. January Program internships must be approved in advance by the internship coordinator in the Career Center. Appropriate deadlines for the satisfactory/unsatisfactory option in January and for requesting approval for internships are established each year. Complete policies, procedures, and application deadlines can be found at the Career Center Web site,