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Offices & Services > Office of the Registrar > Knox College Catalog, 2015-2016

The Academic Program

A view of campus from above.

For its entire history, Knox has been committed to the liberal arts as the best educational preparation for life. At various points in the College’s past, the faculty has reassessed the curriculum, revising it in the light of changes in our society, and in student needs and aspirations. In this same tradition, the Knox curriculum today is designed to reaffirm—and to demonstrate—the continuing fundamental value of liberal education as a preparation for life, for personal success, and for collective civic welfare in the 21st century.

The academic program is structured by four goals, or guideposts: an understanding of five broad areas of human inquiry (Foundations), developing expertise in a field of study (Specialization), acquiring competencies in key areas required for personal and professional success in the new century (Key Competencies); and applying classroom learning through hands-on experience (Experiential Learning). The advising system engages students in a four-year dialogue with faculty through which they a develop a personalized Educational Plan addressing these four goals, but tailored to their own unique aspirations, values, and talents.

In addition to addressing Knox's four broad academic goals, each student's Educational Plan is enriched by special opportunities, such as off-campus study, internships, independent research, the ASSET Program, the Honors Program, the McNair Post-Baccalaureate Fellows Program, immersive terms such as Repertory Term and Start-Up Term, or other special departmentally-sponsored projects (see the Special Programs and Opportunities section of this catalog).

Learning Goals
In keeping with the mission of Knox College, the faculty of the College affirmed goals for a Knox Education in 2012. The aspirations for Knox graduates reflect the college commitment to the individual, their communities, and their roles and responsibilities in a global society. The nine learning goals reflect the outcomes we expect for our graduates that will enable them to achieve their aspirations.

Aspirations for Knox Graduates Knox graduates will:

  • Live personal and professional lives characterized by integrity, intellectual curiosity, creativity, imagination, thoughtful reflection, and critical thinking.
  • Engage effectively with the challenges and opportunities of the wider world in order to contribute to the lives of others, whether locally, nationally, or globally.
  • Live their lives with competence, confidence, and a sense of proportion.

Learning Goals for a Knox Education
In order that graduates are able to achieve the above aspirations, Knox students will be able to:

  • Engage with the central questions and methods used within the broad areas of liberal arts learning: arts, humanities, social sciences, science.
  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of at least one academic field.
  • Use technology appropriate to the major field.
  • Locate, assess, and synthesize a wide range of sources of information.
  • Reason quantitatively.
  • Communicate effectively through writing and speaking.
  • Read, speak, and/or write in a second language.
  • Engage intellectually and empathetically with cultural and social diversity.
  • Initiate and carry out independent, self-directed learning.

The Honor System

Academic and intellectual integrity is the fundamental principle that guides Knox College. All academic work at Knox is conducted under the Honor System, which was established by student initiative at the College in 1951. The system is based on individual integrity and concern for the welfare of the academic community.

By accepting admission to Knox College, each student affirms that the primary responsibility for academic honesty rests with them. Each is morally responsible for the integrity of his or her own work.

The Honor System is overseen by the Honor Board, which consists of at least three seniors, three juniors, three sophomores, and three faculty members. Cases of dishonesty in academic matters are referred to the Honor Board, whose obligation it is to investigate all cases of alleged violation of the Honor System, to determine guilt or innocence, and to specify penalties.

See the publication, The Knox College Honor System, for further details.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements
Specialization: Major Requirements
Key Competencies
Experiential Learning

What follows are the requirements for a Knox degree. The terms used here are explained in more detail in subsequent sections. Students may fulfill the general degree requirements and major requirements which are in effect when they first matriculate, or any set subsequently in effect while they are continuously candidates for a Knox degree (enrolled or "on leave" status). For both the general requirements and major requirements, students who withdraw may be required to fulfill the degree requirements that are in effect after they are readmitted. Students seeking a substitution for or an exception to the degree requirements listed must submit a petition to the Curriculum Committee at least one term prior to graduation. Students requesting exceptions to this rule must petition the Curriculum Committee and, if an exception is granted, the student will incur a late petition fee.

Degree Requirements

The requirements for a Knox degree include the satisfactory completion of at least 36 credits, including:

  1. Foundations: First-Year Preceptorial and at least one designated Foundation course in each of five broad areas of inquiry (Arts, History and Social Sciences, Humanities, Natural and Physical Sciences, and Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning).
  2. Specialization: a major field of study, plus a second field of concentration (a second major, or a minor, or two minors)
  3. Key Competencies, including writing, oral presentation, quantitative literacy, information literacy and informed use of technology, second language and understanding diversity
  4. Experiential Learning: an out-of-classroom hands-on learning experience
  5. Educational Plan

1. Foundations

Students must pass the interdisciplinary First-Year Preceptorial in the first term of the first year. Students who enter in the winter or spring and who are classified as first-year students must also pass First-Year Preceptorial.

Entering students with at least one year of credit from full-time study on a college campus are not required to take First-Year Preceptorial. However, they must do one of the following:

  1. choose to take First-Year Preceptorial or ENG 101 or 102
  2. complete an additional Writing Intensive course (see Key Competencies below).

A student must also pass one credit or credit-equivalent in a designated Foundations course in each area of the curriculum (Arts, History and Social Sciences, Humanities, Natural and Physical Sciences, and Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning). Designated Foundations courses in the student's area of specialization, as well as courses which address key competencies and/or experiential education may also count toward the Foundations requirement. Credit by Examination (e.g. Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate) cannot serve for Knox Foundations credit.

Foundation Learning Goals

Arts Foundations

The arts epitomize the creative impulse and are part of what makes us human. Art both shapes our understanding of the world and imagines what that world can be. In creating out of human experience, artists work in dialogue with nature, culture, and history. Artistic thinking is rooted in a keen aesthetic attentiveness and a dynamic interplay of sensibilities and skills, including memory, imagination, intuition, invention, empathy, feeling, and embodied practice. Study in the arts is valuable not only for the aspiring artist, but for all who strive to become inventive problem-solvers and innovative thinkers.

Students who complete the Arts Foundations requirement will explore the arts through both creative participation and analysis, demonstrating preliminary understandings of artistic practice, creative thought, and cultural or critical contexts.

Arts Learning Goals
By exploring the arts through analysis and engagement in the processes of creative writing, visual arts, or performing arts, students who complete the Arts Foundations requirement will be able to:

  • Engage in creative practice through the manipulation of an artistic medium.
  • Articulate understandings of the methods, forms, and ideas associated with a discipline within the Arts.

Humanities Foundations

A Knox student is meant to develop a free intellect, to cultivate a mind capable of responding with thoughtfulness and with a sense of context and balance to events in the world. With this as goal in mind, courses in the Humanities bring students into contact with the range of human possibilities, especially those not formerly known to them. In part, study in the Humanities fosters an understanding about human experience, thought, and emotion over many centuries and across many areas of the world. Particular attention is often paid to how ideas of the individual and the personal are involved in the course of human history. Humanistic disciplines also bring students into a dialogue (real or virtual) with others and help them to explore tensions between notions of "self" and "other." Students of the Humanities at Knox learn to pull apart ideas, writings, and works of art in order to study them and to ask pertinent questions of them with the additional goal of formulating responses-even if tentative responses-to such questions. Also essential to this study is communicating thoughtful, often analytical responses to such questions, and such communication (whether oral or written) is increasingly refined as levels of thinking, writing, and speaking are refined in a given course of study.

Humanities Learning Goals

At the completion of a Foundations course in the Humanities students will be able to:

  • Articulate questions of ongoing human significance that arise from the study of art, culture, literature, events, or ideas.
  • Recognize the relationship between the individual and cultural, historical, or theoretical frameworks.
  • Construct and defend an interpretation using evidence and argument in written or oral communication.

Social Sciences Foundations
The social sciences analyze patterns of individual and social behavior and how they are shaped by, and in turn shape, social structures, cultures, institutions, and ideas. These subjects are pursued through the diverse methods characteristic of social science disciplines.

Social Sciences Learning Goals

At the completion of a Foundations course in social science, students will be able to:

  • Analyze the patterns within and the significance of individual and social behavior.
  • Identify fundamental components of a methodology from at least one of the social sciences.
  • Give a social explanation for human behaviors, practices, events, meanings, or ideas, using conventions from a social science discipline.

Natural and Physical Sciences Foundations

Courses in this area lie in the physical or biological sciences that include an experimental component.

Natural and Physical Sciences Learning Goals

At the completion of a Foundations course in the Natural and Physical Sciences students will be able to:

  • Identify key concepts used in understanding the physical or biological world using a scientific discipline or framework.
  • Describe important theories in the physical or biological sciences and the empirical evidence upon which they are based.
  • Describe the application of the scientific method to questions using the following concepts: formulate and test a hypothesis, analyze data, draw conclusions.

Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning Foundations

Courses in this area focus on methods of abstract or symbolic reasoning including mathematics, logic, algorithmic or statistical reasoning.

Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning Learning Goals

At the completion of a Foundations course in the Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning area, a student will be able to:

  • Translate between real world concepts and quantitative or symbolic abstract structures.
  • Perform and interpret quantitative or symbolic manipulations in an abstract structure.
  • Use abstract methods to analyze patterns and formulate conjectures with the goal of verifying them rigorously.

Courses Meeting the Foundations Goal

The current list of courses meeting the Foundations goal is below. Note that course descriptions in the Departments and Courses of Study section of the Catalog also indicate Foundation area when appropriate.

Arts (ARTS)

Art and Art History: 110, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 119, 163, 210, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217

Dance: 132, 145, 152

English: 205, 206, 207, 208, 209

Environmental Studies: 284,384

Interdisciplinary: 319*

Journalism: 118, 119, 214

Music: 101, 102, 145, 220, 300A-ZZ

Theatre: 121, 131, 209, 224, 233, 271

* on approval of program director

History and Social Science (HSS)

Africana Studies: 101, 145, 205, 263

American Studies: 233, 241, 259, 260

Anthropology and Sociology: 102, 103, 105, 123, 201, 205, 231, 233, 236, 241, 270

Asian Studies: 236, 241, 242

Business: 280

Classics: 104, 271D

Economics: 110, 120, 205

Educational Studies: 201

Environmental Studies: 231

Gender and Women's Studies: 101, 227, 231, 312

History: 104, 105, 106, 107, 113, 121, 122, 140, 145, 160, 161, 221, 222, 230, 231, 241, 242, 259, 263, 264, 269, 271, 280, 281, 283

Integrated International Studies: 100

Interdisciplinary: 312

Journalism: 123, 222

Latin American Studies: 121, 122, 227, 231, 263, 314, 326

Political Science: 101, 122, 125, 210, 220, 222, 227, 231, 240, 241, 245, 260, 314, 315, 321, 326, 342

Religious Studies: 101, 113, 260, 271

Humanities (HUM)

Africana Studies: 206, 210, 220, 231, 233, 234, 235, 285

American Studies: 307, 325

Art and Art History: 105, 106, 202, 204, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 231, 232, 246, 342

Classics: 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 212, 270, 273

Educational Studies: 203

English: 120, 123, 124, 200, 221, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 242, 245, 251, 252, 253, 270, 320, 331, 332, 352, 353, 363, 380

Film: 124, 363

French: 214, 220, 311E, 330E

Gender and Women's Studies: 206, 221, 235, 238, 243, 325, 332

German: 202, 319E, 325E, 332E, 334E

Greek: 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218

History: 200, 201

Interdisciplinary: 319*

Journalism: 270

Latin: 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218

Latin American Studies: 221, 235, 238, 330E*

Music: 112, 210, 230

Philosophy: 115, 118, 120, 125, 130, 215, 243, 270, 285

Religious Studies: 153, 203

Spanish: 235, 307E, 308E, 325E, 330E*

Theatre: 151, 251, 351, 352, 353, 381, 382

* on approval of program director

Natural and Physical Sciences(NPS)

Biology: 101, 110, 120, 130, 160

Chemistry: 100, 101, 102, 100A, 102A, 273

Environmental Studies: 101, 125, 160, 170

Neuroscience: 250

Physics and Astronomy: 110, 120, 130, 130A, 163, 165, 167, 205

Psychology: 100*, 201, 202

Neuroscience: 240

Science: SCI 100

*Transfer credit for PSYC 100 satisfies NPS Foundations only if the course has a laboratory component

Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning(QSR)

Biology: 331

Computer Science: 141, 142, 147

Mathematics: 121, 131, 143, 145, 151, 152, 175, 205

Philosophy: 202

Political Science: 200

Psychology: 281

Statistics: 200

2. Specialization: Major Requirements

Completion of a major is required for graduation. Students declare a major before pre-enrolling for their junior year, so that the junior and senior years may be planned with an advisor from the major field. The chair of the major department (or a colleague designated by the chair) becomes the student’s academic advisor. Although students may declare a major before junior year pre-enrollment, there is no obligation to do so. Students are encouraged to explore several fields during their first two years, which better prepares them for choosing a major field. Forms for declaring a major are available from the Office of the Registrar.

The completion of a second area of specialization, either a minor or a second major, is also required for graduation. The second area of specialization must be declared by the end of the Winter Term of the junior year. A gradepoint average of at least 2.0 is necessary in courses required for a major or minor. Students participating the Dual-Degree Program in Engineering are exempted from the requirement to complete a second field at Knox, since their pre-engineering work at Knox together with engineering courses taken during the first year of the engineering institution will be considered equivalent.

The specifications for each departmental major are listed in the Courses of Study section of this catalog. Exceptions to any of the specifications of the major or minor require approval of the chair of the department or program. All requests for exceptions must be submitted at least one term prior to graduation.

Students are expected to plan their schedules in advance to take courses required for their majors when those courses are normally offered. Independent study courses may not be substituted for courses regularly scheduled. Exceptions should not be requested by students encountering scheduling difficulties because they wish to graduate in fewer than twelve terms.

Transfer, exam, and off-campus credits are counted for the major or minor if the program chair is willing to accept them, and so notifies the Registrar. This must be done at least one term prior to graduation.

The chair of the program may approve two courses from other departments to be counted toward the elective courses in the major.

See the Academic Rules and Regulations section of this catalog for rules regarding permissible combinations of majors and minors.

3. Key Competencies

Lists below show the Knox College courses that satisfy the Writing, Oral Presentation, and Understanding Diversity key competencies. Transfer courses from other colleges or universities can satisfy these requirements only through petition to the Curriculum Committee.


Every student is required to complete with a grade of C or better three writing-intensive (W) courses (ENG 101 does not count as a W course), including the following:

  • First-Year Preceptorial. Students who do not receive a grade of C or better are required to pass with a grade of C or better ENG 101 or 102 or an additional W course. (Transfer students not required to take PREC 100 must take at Knox or transfer in the equivalent of ENG 101 or ENG 102, or pass an additional credit from any W course beyond the following requirements.)
  • One W course in a student's major. A student with two majors need satisfy this goal for only one major.
  • One additional W course

Independent Studies, Senior Research/Seminars (399), and College Honors courses may count as W courses if the faculty sponsor certifies that they will meet the appropriate criteria.

Writing-enhanced courses currently approved are as follows:

Africana Studies: 336, 383

American Studies: 261, 273, 390

Anthropology and Sociology: 220, 246, 399

Art and Art History: 221, 222, 224, 225, 226, 246, 261, 342

Asian Studies: 340, 344, 399

Biochemistry: 140, 310

Biology: 210, 380, 381, 382, 383, 384 (a total of one credit in 38x courses)

Business and Management: 201

Center for Teaching and Learning: 201, 202, 275

Chemistry: 212, 215

Classics: 201, 301, Greek 310-318, Latin 310-318

Computer Science: 127, 292, 322

Economics: 303

Educational Studies: 202, 203, 310

English Literature and Creative Writing: 120, 123, 125, 202, 206, 207, 208, 270, 275, 306, 307, 308, 311, 320, 330, 335, 336, 342, 343, 344, 345, 347, 352, 370, 371, 383, 398

Environmental Studies: 241, 242, 243, 399

French: 211, 399

Gender and Women's Studies: 227, 231, 312, 333, 334, 373, 383

German: 320, 399

History: 202, 301, 320, 321, 338, 339, 344, 345, 361, 363, 366, 371, 373, 380, 381

Interdisciplinary: 312, 336

Journalism: 270, 370, 371

Latin American Studies: 221, 227, 231, 314, 326, 334

Mathematics: 300, 321, 331, 341

Music: 322, 324

Neuroscience: 399

Philosophy: 215, 273, 278, 399

Physics and Astronomy: 241, 245

Political Science and International Relations: 227, 231, 245, 314, 315, 317, 320, 326, 333, 334, 342, 362, 363

Psychology: 222, 268, 361, 365, 368

Religious Studies: 125, 371, 399

Spanish: 302, 399

Theatre: 151, 352, 383

Oral Presentation

Each student must acquire oral presentation skills through practice and feedback in a manner determined by their major program and approved by the Curriculum Committee.

Courses currently approved as meeting the oral presentation skills goal are as follows:

Africana Studies: 206, 254

American Studies: 392, 399

Anthropology and Sociology: 399

Studio Art: ART 390

Art History: ART 399A

Biochemistry: 265

Biology: 210

Chemistry: 399

Chinese: 203

Classics: All Greek and Latin 200-level courses, CLAS 399

Computer Science: 292, 322, 330, 340

Creative Writing: 306, 307, 308, 311 (the preceding must be accompanied by a Writer's Forum reading)

Economics: 399

Educational Studies: 204, 314, 315, 316, 318, 319

English Literature: 398

Environmental Studies: 399

French: 210

Gender & Women's Studies: 206, 271

German: 210

History: 392

Japanese: 203, 210

Latin American Studies: LAST 230B, 230C, 230D, 230E

Mathematics: 361, 399, 400

Music: 254, 260, or two of: 345, 361, 363

Philosophy: 399

Physics and Astronomy: 241, 245

Political Science and International Relations: 128, 306, 312, 315, 317, 362, 363

Psychology: 271, 273, 282

Religious Studies: 270

Spanish: 230A-E

Theatre: 121, 131, 231, 232, 331

Mathematics Proficiency

All students must demonstrate proficiency in elementary mathematics.

The learning goals for the Math Proficiency are as follows:

  1. (numerical sense) Students will know the nature and properties of the number systems, will understand the use and limitations of numerical data, will be able to perform operations on numbers correctly, and will use the ideas of ratio and proportion in solving problems.
  2. (geometric sense) Students will demonstrate knowledge of basic facts about simple geometrical figures in two dimensions, such as triangles, rectangles, and circles, and about the meaning of the coordinate plane and graphs of equations in the plane and/or graphs of data.
  3. (algebraic sense) Students will be able to manipulate and evaluate simple algebraic expressions in one or more variables according to proper mathematical laws, to solve simple equations, and to graph and interpret basic relationships between variables, such as linear and quadratic equations.

Proficiency in elementary mathematics is demonstrated by satisfying one of the following:

  1. Obtaining a score of 24 or above on the ACT math component, or passing the COMPASS exam with a score of 60, concordant with this ACT score
  2. Obtaining a score of 570 or above on the SAT Level 1 math component
  3. Receiving credit for a course in the mathematics department at the level of MATH 121 or above, or completing CTL 120 or CTL 130
  4. Receiving transfer credit for a course at the level of MATH 121 or above

Note: Students enrolling at Knox before September 2014 must satisfy a two-part Math Proficiency and Quantitative Literacy requirement. See the 2013-14 Knox Catalog for a description of these requirements.

Information Literacy and Informed Use of Technology

Each Knox student must demonstrate information literacy and develop an informed understanding of the use of technology as determined by their major program and approved by the Curriculum Committee.

By developing these skills, students acquire the ability to adapt to continuously evolving technologies and information resources in various formats. Essential skills include:

  • familiarity with at least one of the standard operating systems (Windows and Macintosh systems are commonly used and supported throughout the campus)
  • word processing techniques, including document formatting and editing
  • use of the campus network and e-mail system to store and transmit documents
  • ability to effectively locate, assess, and use information resources on the World Wide Web
  • ability to use the campus on-line library catalog, as well as digital indexes and full-text resources licensed by the library

Information Technology Services and Seymour Library regularly provide assistance to students with basic skills.

In addition, some courses have specific information and educational technology needs, such as:

  • presentation software
  • spreadsheets
  • statistical packages
  • graphics design programs and packages
  • mathematical programs

In cases in which specialized technology is used for a course, a combination of in-class instruction, library instruction, and Information Technology Services support enables students to develop the necessary skills.

Second Language

Each student must demonstrate understanding of a second language by satisfying one of the following:

  1. Passing a language course numbered 103 or above
  2. Receiving a transfer credit for a language that is second semester or equivalent or above.
  3. Receiving a sufficiently high score on the Advanced Placement exam

A student who reads, writes, and speaks a language other than English may request to use that proficiency to meet the requirement by contacting the Associate Dean of the College.

Understanding Diversity

All students should acquire an understanding of diversity by completing at least two diversity courses designated by the faculty. Courses which satisfy this requirement are those that help students (a) to think about the cultural limitations of their own perspectives; (b) to explore the power relations that help define groups and their interactions; and (c) to develop skills and strategies that enable them to interact effectively with people different from themselves.

Currently designated diversity (DV) courses are as follows:

Africana Studies: 101, 205, 206, 207, 227, 228, 233, 235, 254, 263, 278, 285, 336, 366, 383

American Studies: 227, 241, 259, 260, 307, 311, 325

Anthropology and Sociology: 102, 103, 105, 201, 205, 231, 236, 237, 241, 270, 280, 281

Art and Art History: 221, 231

Asian Studies: 236, 320

Business: 340

Chinese: 320

Classics: 273B

Dance: 262, 262A

Educational Studies: 201, 301

English: 221, 233, 235, 242, 245, 347, 353, 380T, 383

Environmental Studies: 228, 231

Film: 227

Gender and Women's Studies: 101, 206, 207, 221, 227, 231, 235, 238, 312, 325, 332, 333, 334, 373B, 383

German: 332

History: 113, 121, 133, 145, 227, 228, 259, 263, 264, 269, 271, 281, 366, 371, 373B

Integrated International Studies: 240

Interdisciplinary: 120, 312, 319, 336

Latin American Studies: 121, 122, 221, 227, 231, 237, 238, 263, 334

Music: 140, 210, 230, 237, 254, 260

Philosophy: 285

Political Science: 122, 125, 220, 227, 231, 241, 260, 265, 268, 311, 323, 333, 334

Psychology: 269, 278

Preceptorial: 115, 121, 125, 132

Religious Studies: 101, 113, 221, 260, 265, 270, 271, 371, 395T

Spanish: 307, 307E

Theatre: 353, 383

4. Experiential Learning

Each student's program of study must include at least one experiential learning project that involves the application of knowledge completed after the first year of study. This may include internships, study abroad or other off-campus programs, courses that involve a substantial experiential component, community service, independent research, teaching assistantships or other activities. An experiential learning project may earn academic credit, subject to the approval of a sponsoring faculty member.

5. Educational Plan

In consultation with his or her pre-major advisor, each student will develop an Educational Plan by the end of the sophomore year when the major is declared. The plan should assess the first two years' experience and set out a preliminary plan for the remaining two years of study. An educational plan should indicate how the student is meeting (or will meet) the goals of general education (Foundations, Key Competencies, Experiential Learning), explain the choice of a major and second field, discuss any proposed internships and/or experiential learning as well as potential plans for off-campus study, community service and/or independent research. The plan requires the approval of the pre-major advisor and may be revised during the student's subsequent terms of study.

Knox College

Printed on Friday, November 27, 2015

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