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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 the four 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).

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.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements
Foundations
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, which is chaired by the Dean of the College, 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 four broad areas of inquiry (Arts, History and Social Sciences, Humanities, and Mathematics and Natural Sciences).
  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. International students entering as first-year students may defer the Preceptorial until the fall of the sophomore year.

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
  2. complete an additional Writing Intensive course (see Key Competencies below).

A student must also pass one credit or credit-equivalent in a designated Foundation course in each area of the curriculum (Arts, History and Social Sciences, Humanities, and Mathematics and Natural Sciences). Designated Foundation 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 Foundation requirement.

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, 118, 119, 163, 214, 262, 314

Dance: 132, 145, 152

English: 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 319*

Environmental Studies: 284

Interdisciplinary: 319*

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

Business: 280

Classics: 104

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

Interdisciplinary: 312

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

Humanities (HUM)

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

American Studies: 307, 325

Art and Art History: 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

Interdisciplinary: 319*

Journalism: 270

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

Mathematics and Natural Science (MNS)

Biology: 101, 110, 120, 130, 150, 160, 201

Chemistry: 101, 102, 161, 273, 275

Computer Science: 141, 142, 147

Environmental Studies: 101, 125, 140, 150, 160, 201, 275

Mathematics: 141, 151, 152, 175, 205, 210

Physics: 110, 120, 130, 163, 167, 205, 241

Psychology: 100*, 201, 202

Science: SCI 100

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

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.

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.

3. Key Competencies

Writing

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 an additional W course. (Transfer students not required to take PREC 100 must 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, 330, 399

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

Asian Studies: 340, 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: 275

Chemistry: 212, 215

Classics: 100, 201, 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, 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

German: 320

History: 202, 320, 321, 338, 339, 340, 345, 359, 361, 363, 366, 371, 373, 380, 381, 385

Interdisciplinary: 312, 336

Journalism: 270, 370, 371

Latin American Studies: 221, 314, 326

Mathematics: 300, 321, 331, 341

Music: 322, 324

Neuroscience: 399

Philosophy: 215, 399

Physics: 241

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

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: 254, 392

American Studies: 392

Anthropology and Sociology: 261, 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: 271

German: 210

History: 392

Japanese: 203

Mathematics: 361, 399, 400

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

Philosophy: 399

Physics: 241

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

Psychology: 271, 282

Spanish: 230A-E

Theatre: 121, 131, 231, 232, 331

Mathematics Proficiency and Quantitative Literacy

All students must demonstrate both proficiency in elementary mathematics and quantitative literacy.

a. 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 concordant with this level
  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. 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

b. Quantitative literacy is demonstrated by receiving credit for a course designated by the Curriculum Committee as QL. The current list of QL courses appears below.

Chemistry: 101, 102, 205, 321

Computer Science: All 1 credit courses except CS 127

Economics: 302, 303

Mathematics: any course, with the proviso that MATH 121 cannot be used to satisfy both proficiency and quantitative literacy

Physics: any course except PHYS 161

Psychology: 282

Statistics: 200

Notes: A passing grade in any mathematics course (with the exception of MATH 121—see above) will simultaneously satisfy both math proficiency and quantitative literacy. STAT 200 has math proficiency as a prerequisite, and so fulfills only quantitative literacy.

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 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.

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, 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

Business: 340

Educational Studies: 201, 301

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

Environmental Studies: 228, 231

Film: 227

Gender and Women’s Studies: 101, 206, 207, 221, 227, 228, 235, 238, 278, 312, 325, 332, 333, 373B, 383

German: 332

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

Interdisciplinary: 312, 319, 336

Latin American Studies: 121, 221, 222, 227, 238, 263

Music: 210, 230, 254, 260, 262, 262A

Philosophy: 285

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

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.