The Academic Program
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 Ford Fellowship Program, the Honors Program, the McNair Program, Repertory Term, or other special departmentally-sponsored projects (see the Special Programs and Opportunities section of this catalog).
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 10 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, consisting of two seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and several 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.
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.
The requirements for a Knox degree include the satisfactory completion of at least 36 credits, including:
- 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).
- Specialization: a major field of study, plus a second field of concentration (a second major, or a minor, or two minors)
- Key Competencies, including writing, oral presentation, quantitative literacy, information literacy and informed use of technology, second language and understanding diversity
- Experiential Learning: an out-of-classroom hands-on learning experience
- Educational Plan
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:
- choose to take First-Year Preceptorial or ENG 101 or 102
- 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
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.
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 FoundationsCourses in this area focus on methods of abstract or symbolic reasoning including mathematics, logic, algorithmic or statistical reasoning.
Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning Learning GoalsAt 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.
Art and Art History: 110, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 163, 214, 262, 314
Dance: 132, 145, 152
English: 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 319*
Environmental Studies: 284
Journalism: 118, 119, 206
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, 264
American Studies: 233, 259, 260
Anthropology and Sociology: 102, 103, 123, 201, 205, 215, 228, 231, 233, 236, 241, 265, 270
Asian Studies: 236
Economics: 110, 120, 205
Educational Studies: 201
Environmental Studies: 231
Gender and Women’s Studies: 101, 214, 227, 228, 312
History: 104, 105, 106, 107, 113, 120, 121, 122, 140, 145, 160, 161, 214, 221, 222, 223, 230, 231, 241, 242, 259, 263, 264, 269, 271, 280, 281, 282, 283
Integrated International Studies: 100
Journalism: 123, 305
Latin American Studies: 121, 122, 227, 263, 314, 326
Political Science: 101, 122, 210, 220, 227, 240, 241, 245, 260, 275, 305, 314, 315, 321, 326, 341, 342
Religious Studies: 101, 113, 260, 271
Africana Studies: 206, 210, 220, 231, 233, 234, 235, 285
American Studies: 307, 325
Art and Art History: 105, 106, 202, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 231, 232, 246, 342
Classics: 200, 201, 202, 203
English: 120, 123, 124, 200, 221, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 242, 245, 251, 252, 253, 270, 319*, 331, 332, 363, 380
Educational Studies: 203
Film: 124, 363
French: 214, 220, 311E, 330E
Gender and Women’s Studies: 206, 221, 235, 238, 243, 325, 332
German: 202, 323E
Greek: 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218
History: 200, 201
Latin: 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218
Latin American Studies: 221, 238, 330E
Music: 112, 130, 210, 230
Philosophy: 115, 118, 120, 125, 215, 243, 285
Religious Studies: 153
Spanish: 235, 307E, 308E, 325E, 330E
Theatre: 151, 251, 310A, 351, 352, 353, 381, 382
* on approval of program director
Natural and Physical Sciences(NPS)
Biology: 101, 110, 120, 130, 160
Chemistry: 101, 102
Environmental Studies: 101, 125
Physics: 110, 120, 130, 130A, 163, 165, 167, 205
Psychology: 100*, 201, 202
Science: SCI 100
*Transfer credit for PSYC 100 satisfies NPS Foundations only if the course has a laboratory component
Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning(QSR)
Computer Science: 141, 142, 147
Mathematics: 121, 131, 145, 151, 152, 175, 205
Political Science: 200
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.
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 Dean of the College on behalf of the Curriculum Committee. All requests for exceptions must be submitted at least one term prior to graduation. Requests should be made by the student and must have the program chair’s statement of approval.
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.
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, 390
American Studies: 261, 390
Anthropology and Sociology: 220, 246, 330, 399
Art and Art History: 221, 222, 224, 225, 226, 246, 261, 342
Asian Studies: 340, 344, 399
Biochemistry: 140, 310
Biology: 210, 347, 380, 381, 382, 383, 384 (a total of one credit in 38x courses)
Center for Teaching and Learning: 201, 202, 275
Chemistry: 212, 215
Classics: 100, 201, 301, Greek 310-318, Latin 310-318
Computer Science: 127, 292, 322
Educational Studies: 202, 203, 310
English Literature and Creative Writing: 120, 123, 206, 207, 208, 270, 275, 306, 307, 308, 311, 330, 335, 336, 342, 343, 344, 345, 347, 352, 370, 371, 375, 376, 383, 398
Environmental Studies: 241, 242, 243, 399
French: 211, 399
Gender and Women’s Studies: 227, 312, 333, 373, 383
History: 202, 320, 321, 338, 339, 340, 344, 345, 359, 361, 363, 366, 371, 373, 380, 381, 385
Interdisciplinary: 312, 336
Journalism: 270, 370, 371
Latin American Studies: 221, 227, 314, 326
Mathematics: 300, 321, 331, 341
Music: 322, 324
Philosophy: 215, 399
Political Science and International Relations: 227, 245, 314, 315, 317, 320, 326, 333, 342, 362, 363
Psychology: 268, 361, 365, 368
Religious Studies: 268, 371, 399
Spanish: 302, 399
Theatre: 151, 352, 383
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: 254, 392
American Studies: 392
Anthropology and Sociology: 261, 399
Studio Art: ART 390
Art History: ART 399A
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)
Educational Studies: 204, 314, 315, 316, 318, 319
English Literature: 398
Environmental Studies: 399
Gender & Women’s Studies: 206, 271
Latin American Studes: LAST 230B, 230C, 230D, 230E
Mathematics: 361, 399, 400
Music: 254, 260, or two of: 345, 361, 363
Political Science and International Relations: 128, 306, 312, 315, 317, 362, 363
Psychology: 271, 282
Theatre: 121, 131, 231, 232, 331
All students must demonstrate proficiency in elementary mathematics.
a. Proficiency in elementary mathematics is demonstrated by satisfying one of the following:
- 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
- Obtaining a score of 570 or above on the SAT Level 1 math component
- Receiving credit for a course in the mathematics department at the level of MATH 121 or above, or completing CTL 120 or CTL 130
- Passing a full-credit course with a grade of C or better at or above the level of College Algebra at another college or university
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
- 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.
Each student must demonstrate understanding of a second language by satisfying one of the following:
- Passing a language course numbered 103 or above
- Receiving at least 1 credit granted through the Registrar’s Office for a language course numbered 103 or above. This can be accomplished through transfer work at the college level or through 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.
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, 210, 227, 228, 231, 233, 235, 254, 263, 264, 278, 285, 336, 366, 383
American Studies: 227, 259, 260, 307, 325
Anthropology and Sociology: 102, 105, 201, 205, 231, 236, 241, 261, 270, 280, 281
Art and Art History: 221, 231
Asian Studies: 236
Educational Studies: 201, 301
English: 221, 233, 235, 242, 245, 347, 353, 383
Environmental Studies: 228, 231
Gender and Women’s Studies: 101, 206, 207, 221, 227, 228, 235, 238, 278, 312, 325, 332, 333, 373B, 383
History: 113, 121, 133, 227, 228, 259, 263, 264, 281, 366, 371, 373B
Interdisciplinary: 312, 319, 336
Latin American Studies: 121, 122, 221, 227, 238, 263
Music: 210, 230, 254, 260, 262, 262A
Political Science: 122, 125, 220, 227, 241, 260, 265, 268, 311, 333
Psychology: 269, 278
Preceptorial: 115, 121, 125
Religious Studies: 113, 221, 260, 265, 371
Spanish: 307, 307E
Theatre: 353, 383
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.
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.