The objective of a fine liberal education is the acquisition of skills and knowledge instrumental to one’s intellectual and emotional fulfillment and to success in whatever career one chooses. A liberal education does not teach professional or vocational knowledge so much as a comprehensive, connected understanding that can guide the use of such knowledge. Scripps College develops skills—analytical, quantitative, and verbal—that are critical to any endeavor and encourages opportunities for artistic expression and aesthetic response. The College seeks to foster a passion for inquiry in each student, expecting reflection upon and, when appropriate, challenging received ideas. Because a liberal education aims for freedom of mind, it has a moral dimension as well. Scripps expects flexibility of approach, tolerance for the diversity of ideas to which open inquiry exposes one, and the imagination required to understand those ideas.
The Scripps College curriculum has four parts: the three-semester Core Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Humanities ; the General Education requirements; the Disciplines or Area Studies in which students major; and the Elective courses that lend breadth to a student’s education. Scripps requires in every major a senior thesis or project/performance, which demands a thorough professional knowledge of some subject within the major. The earlier, required courses lay a foundation upon which the student’s major(s) and perhaps minor are built. Scripps expects general skills, training in an interdisciplinary approach, and broad knowledge as preparation for the more focused work done in the student’s major. Thirty-two (32) courses, or an average of four (4) each semester, are needed for graduation, though students are encouraged to, and often do, exceed the minimum.
Requirements for Bachelor of Arts Degree
Students are held to the requirements of the catalog in effect at the time they first enroll as a degree seeking student.
The Bachelor of Arts degree at Scripps is earned by satisfactory completion of a minimum of 32 courses to include the following:
1. General education requirements as follow:
2. Completion of a major (nine or more courses - minimum of eight courses plus senior thesis - as defined in this catalog).
3. Additional elective courses, to bring total to 32 minimum.
Each requirement addresses important elements in the building of a student’s educational foundation. They are designed to introduce each student to a variety of formal ways of thinking, to provide a reasonable base of understanding of, and participation in, the world of the 21st century, and to encourage a commitment to lifelong learning. Upon entering Scripps College, a student is assigned a faculty adviser who will aid in arranging a program of studies suitable to the student’s interests, previous training, and academic objectives. The student is expected to consult with an adviser throughout each year regarding academic plans.
General Education Requirements
The General Education requirements ensure an education that is well-grounded in skills and well-rounded in knowledge. The requirements are of two types. One demands competency in certain skills, demonstrated through a test or other means that exempt the student from further course work. The breadth requirements aim for comprehensiveness of outlook.
See the GE Requirements Guide for quick reference.
Core Curriculum: three courses
- Core I to be taken fall semester of the first year;
- Core II to be taken spring semester of the first year
- Core III to be taken fall semester of the second year.
The Core Curriculum offered at Scripps gives students the opportunity to investigate important issues of human existence in an interdisciplinary context. Each first-year student is required to complete the three-course Core beginning in the first fall semester. The courses are described under Core Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Humanities : Histories of the Present .”
Students who transfer to Scripps will be placed into the Core Curriculum sequence based upon their class standing at entrance. Transfer credit from accredited colleges and universities (not AP or IB credit) is considered for Core sequence placement.
- Students who transfer with the equivalent of fewer than 4.0 Scripps courses will be required to begin with Core I and complete the three-course sequence.
- Students who transfer with the equivalent of more than 4.0 but fewer than 8.0 courses will complete Core II and Core III.
- Students who transfer as first-semester sophomores (>8.0 but <12.0 courses) must complete Core III.
- Transfer students entering Scripps with the equivalent of 12.0 or more Scripps courses will be waived from the Core Curriculum requirement.
Breadth of Study
Scripps College believes that it is important for all students to understand that there are different ways of thinking about knowledge and of defining and examining problems. The goal of the breadth of study requirement is to introduce students to different ways of knowing and different ways of thinking. All students are required to complete one course in each of the areas below. A course may meet only one of the four Breadth of Study requirements (i.e., Fine Arts, Letters, Natural Sciences, or Social Sciences).
1. Fine Arts (one course from among the following):
2. Letters (one course from among the following):
- Any art history (ARHI) course (except ARHI131 HM, ARHI179D HM);
- Any literature (ENGL or LIT) course completed in English or a foreign language - excluding writing and film studies courses;
- Any philosophy (PHIL) course except logic;
- Any classics course except Greek, Hebrew, and Latin language through the intermediate level;
- Any religious studies (RLST) course;
- Course area on the portal: “SC Letters”;
- An equivalent course.
3. Natural Sciences (one course from among the following):
- Any Keck Science course numbered 50–89 for nonscience majors; or
- Any introductory science lab course for majors in biology, chemistry, neuroscience, or physics;
- Course area on the portal: “SC Natural Sci”;
- An equivalent course with a lab.
4. Social Sciences (one course from among the following):
Race and Ethnic Studies: one course
- The Race and Ethnic Studies requirement description: Given the systematic discrimination and exploitation of African Americans, Latinxs/Chicanxs, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Middle Eastern Americans that have figured so critically in the history of the United States and its territories, the Race and Ethnic Studies requirement provides the opportunity to study the histories, politics and cultures of people of African, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern and Indigenous descent. Courses must substantially examine the impact of racial construction on power relations and cultural identities of these groups within and/or beyond the US context.
- A comprehensive list of courses approved to meet this requirement is maintained on the Registrar’s web page and a link to the available courses offered each semester appears near the bottom of the “Course Area” list (SC Race and Ethnic St Req) on the portal schedule of courses.
- To add courses to this preapproved list, students must submit courses (including a syllabus) by petition to the Registrar’s Office for faculty review. Seniors may only take pre-approved courses.
Gender and Women’s Studies: one course
- Courses that satisfy the Gender and Women’s Studies General Education Requirement examine gender in a variety of social and cultural contexts. These may include, but are not limited to: race, sexualities, class, ethnicities, ability, and belief systems. These courses draw on feminist scholarship and other theoretical frameworks to explore how norms of gender and sexuality arise, are challenged, and persist.
- Students must complete one course in Gender and Women’s Studies. The requirement may be met by passing any course in the Scripps Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program or any other course approved by Intercollegiate Feminist Center for Teaching, Research and Engagement. Courses that fulfill this requirement appears near the bottom of the “Course Area” list (SC Gndr Womens Studies) on the portal schedule of courses each semester.
Foreign Language: three courses or equivalent competency
- Three semesters of one language through the intermediate level;
- Equivalent courses or competency
Students are strongly encouraged to fulfill their language requirement in an uninterrupted sequence. In all cases, however, the language requirement must be completed by the end of the first semester of the senior year.
One of the most important features of a liberal education is familiarity with the language of a culture other than one’s own. Such familiarity not only clarifies a student’s sense of cultural identity, but also enhances articulateness and enlarges the view of the scope of thought and language. Languages currently available at The Claremont Colleges include Modern Standard Arabic, Chinese, Classics (Greek, Hebrew, Latin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
The Scripps language requirement is met by demonstrating competency and proficiency in one foreign language, ancient or modern, by:
a. The achievement of a thorough knowledge of basic grammatical structure;
b. The ability to write a composition correctly; and
c. In the case of a modern language, the ability to understand a native speaker at a moderate speed and to respond intelligently. The required level of language competency must be demonstrated in one of the following ways:
- By passing the third-semester level course in one language through The Claremont Colleges Modern Languages Program, the cooperative Classics Department, or full-course American Sign Language credit. Students are strongly encouraged to fulfill the language requirement in an uninterrupted sequence. In all cases, however, the language requirement must be completed by the end of the first semester of the senior year.
- By passing a departmental competency examination. Language placement tests in French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish are held at Scripps during fall Orientation, or by arrangement, to demonstrate competency for full or partial waiver of the courses required using one of those languages. Placement exams in Modern Standard Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Russian are administered by other Claremont Colleges during Orientation.
- By scoring at or above the (recentered) scores indicated below on a SAT Subject Tests Foreign Language Achievement Test:
Scripps students may earn .5 course credit for Self-Instructional Language Program (SILP) courses; a maximum of 2.0 cumulative credit can be earned from any combination of SILP courses. SILP courses may not be used to satisfy the language general education requirement.
The foreign language requirement will be waived for international students who graduated from a non-English high school program. Other students may satisfy the the requirement based upon written verification of non-English language proficiency by an interview with a Claremont faculty member who is fluent in the language. Students may also petition to waive the language requirement by successful completion of an off-campus examination at another college, verified by a letter bearing that college’s seal, and forwarded in a sealed envelope to the Registrar. (Any examination fees will be paid directly to the other college by the student.)
Because of the importance of language to the study of the humanities, to work in most majors, and to many future careers, students who have met the basic language requirement in any one of these ways are strongly urged to continue their study of foreign language and literature beyond the required competency level.
Mathematics: one course
The math requirement may be satisfied in any one of the following ways:
- By passing MATH022 SC Great Ideas in Modern Mathematics , MATH023 SC Transcendental Functions ; MATH 030 Calculus I, MATH 031 Calculus II, or MATH 032 Calculus III.
- By scoring sufficiently high on the placement exam to enter Math030 or a higher-level math course. (The Math Placement Exam is administered during fall Orientation.)
- By passing one of the following courses in statistics: MATH 052 SC Introduction to Statistics , BIOL175 KS Applied Biostatistics , ECON120 SC Statistics , or PSYC103 SC Psychological Statistics .
- By passing PHIL144 SC Logic and Argumentation .
- By receiving a 4 or 5, with a corresponding high school course, on either the AP Calculus AB or the AP Calculus BC exam.
The extensive use of mathematics in our lives as individuals and as a society indicates that a knowledge of mathematics is essential for practical living and for professional development. The math requirement may be met in either theoretical or applied mathematics. Theoretical mathematics involves methods of inquiry based on rigorous deduction and formal proof that are different from those in other areas. Applied mathematics is a fundamental tool in the social and natural sciences and in many other areas.
Because of the importance of mathematics to the study of the social and natural sciences and to work in many careers, students are strongly encouraged to continue their study of mathematics beyond the required level.
Requirements for the Major
As the student progresses from interdisciplinary humanities and general education requirements, studies become more focused upon a major in a specific discipline or area study.
Majors are offered in fields in which the senior thesis can be supervised by a member of the Scripps faculty, and, if the major is offered at Scripps, the Scripps major requirements must be met.
Before preregistration in spring of the sophomore year, each student must declare a major by filing an approved major declaration form in the Registrar’s Office. At the same time, the student will select a faculty advisor within the major field who will assist in planning the future program. Students who plan to complete two majors must also declare the second major by filing a second approved major declaration form assisted by a faculty member in the second field. Students planning to complete a minor are encouraged to formally declare the minor at the end of the sophomore year.
A major is an integrated program of study composed of courses and independent work within a discipline or interdisciplinary program. It should have an inner rationale and coherence of structure. The basic educational policy of Scripps is to enable students to think independently and critically. In planning a major, a student should implement this policy by seeking to fulfill the following goals:
- Mastery of (a) skills and methods, (b) principles and theory, and (c) essential materials in the field. This mastery will usually be accomplished by successfully completing certain courses or a combination of courses and supervised independent study as determined by the department faculty. Passing the required courses for the major, a minimum of eight semester courses or their equivalent, with at least a 2.00 (C) grade point average is the basis for this standard.
- Demonstration of competence in the field. In the areas of music, dance, and theater, a senior performance and/or a thesis is required as a demonstration of competence. In studio arts, and Digital/Electronic and Film/Video tracks of Media Studies, a senior project is required. In all other fields, competence must be demonstrated by writing a senior thesis.
During fall of the senior year, in consultation with a major advisor, the student files an approved major declaration form in the Registrar’s Office for each major the student anticipates completing, indicating those courses which the student plans to use to complete the major requirements. Seniors will be held to the specific courses indicated on this senior form. A course change form for major/minor can be used to change these intended courses and must be approved by the major advisor and forwarded to the Registrar.
Choices for Majors
Scripps major requirements must be met if the major is offered at Scripps.
Requirements for majors at Scripps College are defined by departments and are listed in the Majors and Minors section of this catalog. All majors consist of a minimum of eight semester courses or their equivalent, and a senior thesis (or senior project). At least half of these courses must be taken at Scripps, except where this regulation is specifically waived. Courses that fulfill major requirements will be chosen by the student in consultation with the advisor and listed on the approved major declaration form.
Up to two courses (including prerequisite courses) may double count towards each of two majors (but not also a General Requirement). Students may exceed this double counting limit if the total number of unduplicated courses on the approved major declaration form for each major (excluding senior seminar and thesis) is at least six courses (see Double Counting Courses).
Majors are offered in fields in which the senior thesis can be supervised by a member of the Scripps faculty. If the major is offered at Scripps or is an intercollegiate major in which Scripps participates, the Scripps major requirements must be met and a Scripps faculty member must serve as the major advisor. If a student wishes to major in a field for which no provision is made at Scripps (for example, sociology), the student may complete the major in part or entirely at one or more of the other Claremont Colleges, and a faculty member of the off-campus college department must be the major advisor. In this case the student must meet the specific requirements of the other college for the major, to include at least eight courses, and also write a senior thesis. A Scripps faculty member must serve as a thesis reader. Off-campus majors require the Scripps advisor’s signature of approval plus the signature of the off-campus advisor in the major field on the off-campus major declaration form. All majors are subject to review by the dean of the faculty and the Committee on Academic Review.
- A dual major must fulfill all of the major requirements for each of the two disciplines (unless an exception is specified in the catalog) and complete a senior thesis that integrates the skills and knowledge of both fields. The two thesis readers are from the faculty of the two fields represented by the dual major. Normally, students who undertake a dual major would be required to complete only one senior seminar, but two may be taken for credit if the thesis readers recommend it. In the case of a dual major where each department requires participation in a senior seminar, and in the event these seminars meet at the same time, the student, with the assistance of advisors from each department, will determine the senior seminar in which the student will enroll. Courses that fulfill each major requirement will be listed on each of the two major declaration forms as approved by the advisor in each field.
- A double major must fulfill all of the major requirements for each of two disciplines and complete two theses, one in each of the two subject areas. Courses that fulfill each major requirement will be listed on each of two major declaration forms as approved by the student’s advisor in each field.
In exceptional cases a student may petition the Academic Policy Subcommittee of the FEC for approval of a self-designed major. The major must consist of a minimum of ten semester courses or their equivalent (including senior thesis); these courses should allow the student to acquire mastery of the skills, methods, principles, theories, and history related to the course of study. The major will culminate in a thesis that will allow the student to demonstrate the acquired expertise. To plan the course of study the student will work closely with a Scripps academic advisor with experience and fluency in the field. The petition for this self-designed course of study must include:
• A description of the major and its learning objectives.
• An explanation as to why/how proposed major is an intellectual course of study with a unified and coherent subject matter.
• An explanation as to why proposed area of study cannot be accommodated by existing majors, minors, and electives and/or any combinations thereof.
• Statements from at least two faculty members who will be working with the student, defending and supporting the petition. These statements must include a detailed explanation of the basis for this course of study and why the area of study cannot be served by existing 5C majors, minors, or a combination thereof.
• A signature of a Scripps faculty member who agrees, barring unusual or unforeseen circumstances, to serve as a reader for the thesis and, if this Scripps faculty member cannot serve as first reader, then the proposal must, in addition, be signed by a Claremont Colleges faculty member who agrees, barring unusual or unforeseen circumstance, to serve as first reader for the thesis.
• Initially, a student major petition form must be signed by individual faculty members whose courses are being counted towards the self-designed major. Subsequent changes to the proposed major requires only the major advisor’s signature.
A petition form and other relevant paperwork is available in the Registrar’s Office.
Completion of a Senior Thesis/Project is required of every Scripps student. Senior theses constitute an individual and independent work supervised by two faculty members (one of whom must be a member of the Scripps College faculty): the director of the thesis and a second reader chosen in the relevant field. Options consistent with the basic educational policy of the College may be considered equivalent to the thesis upon approval by two faculty members and petition to the Committee on Academic Review. Deadlines for senior theses are determined by the faculty of each discipline. A minimum grade of D- is required for the senior thesis/project for graduation. Each completed senior thesis/project shall be uploaded to and permanently stored in The Claremont Colleges Digital Library’s Scholarship@Claremont site. See the Registrar’s web page for senior thesis upload policies and procedures.
Electives comprise the many courses a student may choose that are taught outside the major and the general education requirements to meet the 32-course minimum requirement for the degree. In any given semester Scripps offers some 130 or more courses. The other Claremont Colleges offer hundreds more. The student’s particular choice of electives from among this array lends special character to undergraduate education.
Honors in the Major
If an honors program in the major is offered at Scripps, the Scripps honors requirements must be met. When the Scripps major does not offer honors, a student may discuss with the department/program chair the possibility of creating an honors program.
Scripps College Departmental Honors
Minimum GPA of 3.67 in the major
Minimum grade of A- on the thesis
In the case of dual theses: Readers should provide their department’s respective guidelines for thesis preparation and evaluation at the outset of the thesis process. In the event of conflicting guidelines, the readers should elaborate criteria that are mutually agreeable. Students will be required to schedule meetings with both readers present at least twice during the preparation of the thesis.
These are the minimum College requirements; individual departments or programs may have additional Honors requirements.
Scripps students may petition for honors in off-campus majors if that major offers honors and the student meets both the off-campus honors requirements and the Scripps minimum requirements for honors as follow:
- GPA requirement of 3.67 within the major (consisting of at least 8 major courses plus thesis, excluding prerequisites); and
- An honors quality senior thesis with a grade of A or A– and when required the oral defense must include at least one Scripps reader.
When the off-campus major has honors at one college and not at another, the student should follow the program of the college that offers honors, but in unusual circumstances may petition the Committee on Academic Review for an exception. In both instances, the petition must include the minimum criteria required by the readers (for example, additional or specific courses or minimum thesis length) and must be acceptable both to the off-campus major advisor and reader(s) as well as the Scripps advisor and reader(s).
For intercollegiate programs where no honors major program has been defined in the Scripps or another catalog, Scripps students may petition for honors in the major. The minimum honors requirements will be as follow:
- GPA requirement of 3.67 within the major (consisting of at least 8 major courses plus thesis, excluding prerequisites); and
- An honors quality thesis with a grade of A or A- and when required the oral defense must include at least one Scripps reader.
In a self-designed major, it is the decision of all faculty members involved in that self-designed major to agree to an honors program and to determine the criteria for honors provided the student meets the Scripps minimum requirements for honors as follow:
- GPA requirement of 3.67 within the major (consisting of at least ten major courses plus thesis, excluding prerequisites); and
- An honors quality thesis with a grade of A or A– and when required the oral defense must include at least one Scripps reader.
Scripps minor requirements must be met if the minor is offered at Scripps. For a list of minors offered at Scripps, refer to the Majors and Minors section.
- Students planning to complete a minor are encouraged to declare the minor formally at the end of the sophomore year by completing a minor declaration form, including the approval of the student’s Scripps advisor and a professor in the designated minor area of study. A minor declaration form must be submitted to the Registrar no later than the deadline to add classes in the last semester of enrollment. Satisfactory completion of a minor will be measured by passing grades in all required courses with a minimum grade point average of 2.00 or higher.
- Requirements for minors at Scripps College are defined by departments and are listed in the catalog under the descriptions of the departmental programs. All minors consist of a minimum of six semester courses or their equivalent. Up to one course may double count between a major and a minor or between two minors (but not also a major or General Education Requirement). Students may exceed this double counting limit if the total number of unduplicated courses on the approved declaration form for each minor is at least five courses. At least half of the minor courses must be taken at Scripps, except where this regulation is specifically waived.
- A few off-campus minors in disciplines not offered at Scripps are available at Pitzer or Pomona Colleges. The requirements for the off-campus minor must be met, but in all instances must consist of at least six semester courses or their equivalent. The above double counting limits apply. The minor declaration form must be approved by the off-campus faculty minor advisor as well as the Scripps advisor and major advisor.
- Students may petition to the Academic Policy Subcommittee for a self-designed minor. The petition must include:
- A description of the minor and its learning objectives.
- An explanation as to why/how the proposed minor is an intellectual course of study with a unified and coherent subject matter.
- Explanation as to why proposed minor cannot be accommodated by existing courses of study available within The Claremont Colleges.
- The signatures of all faculty members with courses listed to the minor supporting the inclusion of these courses within the minor.
- Statements from one or more faculty who will be advising the student defending and supporting the petition. The statement from the faculty must address the basis for this course of study and why the existing areas of study within the 5Cs do not suffice.
A petition form for a self-designed minor is available in the Registrar’s Office.
Double Counting Courses
- The Core may not double count to meet any other General Requirement.
- No course may fulfill more than two requirements. Examples: Social Science plus Race and Ethnic Studies; Social Science plus major. A course may meet only one of the four Breadth of Study requirements (i.e., Fine Arts, Letters, Natural Sciences, or Social Sciences).
- A course used to demonstrate minimum language or mathematics competency may be double counted toward major(s) and/or minor(s) under the conditions outlined below.
- Up to two courses (including prerequisite courses) may double count towards each of two majors (but not also a General Requirement). Students may exceed this double counting limit if the total number of unduplicated courses on the approved major declaration form for each major (excluding senior seminar and thesis) is at least six courses.
- Up to one course (including prerequisites) may double count toward each of two minors (but not also a General Requirement). Students may exceed this double counting limit if the total number of unduplicated courses on the approved declaration form for each minor is at least five courses.
- Up to one course (including prerequisite courses) may double count between a major and a minor (but not also a General Requirement). Students may exceed the above double counting limits if the total number of unduplicated courses on the approved major declaration form is at least six courses and the total number of unduplicated courses on the approved minor declaration form is at least five courses.
Residence Requirement for Graduation
A minimum of 16 courses, evidenced by a minimum of two years in regular, full-time attendance, must be completed in residence at Scripps, including the final eight courses. No portion of a student’s final eight course requirements may be met via transfer credit. Affiliated off-campus study programs meet residence requirements. Normally, students may enroll in an affiliated off-campus study program for a maximum of two semesters; transfer students usually are allowed only one semester in an affiliated off-campus study program. A petition for an exception to residence requirements will be considered by the Committee on Academic Review.
Degree Completion and Commencement Participation
Students may participate in commencement exercises upon satisfactory completion of all degree requirements as verified by the Registrar. For exceptions, see in Academic Policies and Procedures , the Petitioning Process section B.2a/b. Satisfactory completion is demonstrated by a minimum grade point average of 2.00 (C) in the major(s), minor(s), and cumulatively. The cumulative grade point average is calculated only on courses taken at The Claremont Colleges or on an affiliated off-campus study program (study abroad) as a Scripps student. The grade point average in the major(s) and minor(s) excludes grades received in courses prerequisite to the major(s) or minor(s).
There are three degree award dates during the year. October 18 is the degree award date for students completing requirements over the summer; January 20 for students completing requirements during the fall semester; and the Saturday after the end of final exams in May is the degree award date for students who complete in the spring. There is one formal commencement ceremony held in May each year, at which degrees are conferred. Students completing requirements the preceding October and January will be invited to participate in the subsequent May commencement activities.
The Writing Center operates under the supervision of the Director of the Writing Center, the Director of the Writing Program, and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. The Writing Center offers students from all disciplines the opportunity to work on their writing by engaging in discussions with a knowledgeable peer tutor. While tutors do not edit or revise assignments, the tutors do formulate appropriate questions to prompt students to reconsider ideas, reconstruct the organization of their texts, and reformulate the presentation and language of a paper. Although the Writing Center is not intended for remediation, proofreading, or editing, tutors do provide instruction in usage and punctuation. Students at all stages of the writing process, from first-year students working on a draft to seniors working on a thesis, can gain confidence and competence by utilizing the services offered at the Writing Center.
Listen to short but very informative videos including instructions on “Three Ways to Fulfill the Language Requirement, “How to Register for Courses on the Portal”, and “How to Submit a PERM” to an instructor.