Core Curriculum

From the beginning to the end of their enrollment at Wells College, students participate in a liberal arts foundation sequence, Sustainable Community (SC), exploring what it means to be a member of interconnected communities.

Four themed seminars enhance students’ ability to communicate, both orally and through writing, using relevant technology. Students also learn quantitative skills and how to reason clearly while making logical arguments; they come to appreciate what is distinctive about scientific explanations; they develop an appreciation for languages and cultures in a global context; they develop awareness of the physical body and what practices help maintain health; they engage in experiential learning; and in the senior year, they explore different perspectives on a seminal idea or theory related to sustainable community in an interdisciplinary capstone experience.


General Requirements

In order to be recommended by the faculty for the degree of Bachelor of Arts, a student must successfully:

  1. complete a minimum of 120 semester hours;
  2. complete two years in residence at Wells (60 semester hours, which may include up to 20 semester hours in Wells College affiliated programs;
  3. complete the College requirements, including those for the major;
  4. maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 and a minimum GPA of 2.0 for courses taken for the major.


College Requirements

NOTE: This description of requirements assumes students are entering Wells as first-year college students.

Information about how these requirements apply to transfer students, and more complete descriptions of each requirement, is provided in a document available through the College website (on the faculty and staff page of the Globe).

1. Themed seminars (12 semester hours)

Seminars on designated themes, described below, develop students’ communication skills, both written and oral, their information literacy, and their knowledge of appropriate technology for group presentations. Students choose two seminars in the first year—SC 101 in the fall, restricted to first-year students, and a seminar on the designated first year theme in the spring semester; one in the sophomore year, either fall or spring semester; one in junior year, either fall or spring semester. Only one themed seminar can count toward a student’s major. Faculty advisors will work with students to choose themed seminars that introduce them to the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

First year: Crafting Meaningful Lives

The first year Wells experience is designed to root students in the creative, transformative world of learning. These writing attentive seminars examine the way engagement in social issues, political action, creative work in the arts and sciences, and the pursuit of knowledge bring meaning and focus to individual lives.

Second year: Local & Global Interconnections

“Think Globally. Act Locally” is more than just a bumper sticker. Since the 1970s when the phrase originated, it’s been argued that global problems can be turned into action only by considering variations in the ecology, economy, and culture of local surroundings. In these sophomore seminars, students will develop an understanding of interconnections between local and global experiences in the past, present, and future.

Third Year: Contemporary Challenges & Ethical Engagement

The world in which we live is full of challenges--poverty, war, political unrest, gender inequality, illness, illiteracy, and environmental degradation, to name a few. In third year seminars, students will examine the concepts and processes of ethical reasoning through focus on concrete social or global issues. The accompanying service learning component will encourage a deeper understanding of the impact of individual actions and choices as students engage with selves and others.

2. SC 111 New Student Experience (1 semester hour)

In this peer-led course, one-half in first seven weeks of fall semester, and the second half in second seven weeks of spring semester, students are introduced to College values, resources, and support services.

3.  Quantitative reasoning (QR) (3 semester hours)

One course on mathematical concepts and skills develops students’ understanding of how real-world problems are approached and solved. Most courses in mathematics, as well as designated courses in other disciplines, fulfill this requirement.

4. Critical analysis and reasoning (CAR) (3 semester hours)

Students choose one designated course in which they learn to apply higher order analytic and creative cognitive processes to arrive at reasoned and supportable conclusions and to apply knowledge within and across academic disciplines.

5. Natural Sciences (3 or 4 semester hours)

One laboratory course involving hands-on learning develops students’ understanding of the reasoning involved in developing, supporting, and discarding scientific theories and elucidates the distinction between scientific and other types of explanations.

6. Modern Languages (6 to 8 semester hours)

Two courses at the college level in a single language other than English develop students’ appreciation for languages and cultures in a global context. Students may also fulfill this requirement by placement through examination to the 200-level.

7. Lifelong Wellness (4 semester hours)

One course during students’ first year, Lifelong Wellness 100 (2 semester hours), and at least one physical activity (1/2 semester hour) each year, develop students’ bodily-kinesthetic intelligence (i.e., awareness of the body and what to do to take care of it) and encourage them to engage in healthy behaviors which facilitate the cultivation of meaningful lives.

8. Experiential Learning (3-8 semester hours)

Experiential learning, generally achieved through internships, off-campus study, or student teaching, enables students to apply course-based learning to situations outside the classroom. By critically reflecting on their experiences and sharing what they have learned with others, students deepen their knowledge of the liberal arts as well as their own career and personal goals. Wells students are required to complete two experiential learning opportunities during their time at Wells. At least one experiential learning activity must be off campus and only one can be for one semester hour of credit.

9. Senior year, Sustainable Community capstone (2 semester hours)

All seniors in the first half of the spring semester will choose a designated multidisciplinary capstone that explores different perspectives on key ideas or problems such as climate instability, evolution, or globalism. Students will use a variety of critical approaches to focus on interdisciplinary connections, reflecting on and integrating liberal arts in the service of lifelong learning.