Academic Information

This section highlights some background information about Midd academics.

The 4-1-4 Calendar Year and Winter Term

Middlebury students take four courses during the fall and spring semesters and one intensive course during the month-long winter term. Winter term provides students with the opportunity to study one subject in great detail, and seniors often use it to work on a senior thesis. Winter term is not optional, but students do not have to spend all four years on campus. Winter term is considered the ideal time to intern in areas of possible specialization after college.

The distinctive Middlebury academic calendar also amplifies the flexibility of the curriculum. During the 13-week fall and spring semesters, students typically enroll in four courses.

Curriculum and Requirements

An academic year at Middlebury normally includes 9 courses (4 fall semester, 1 winter term, 4 spring semester). Students typically graduate with a total of 36 course credits.

The purpose of the degree requirements at Middlebury is to encourage both an area of specialization (the major) and a breadth of experience and knowledge gained from pursuing study in a variety of other areas. All requirements are meant to introduce different perspectives and to sharpen abilities to discern, understand, evaluate, and express thoughts, theories, and ideas.

Upon receiving a degree from Middlebury College all students will have completed:

First-Year Seminar Program

All entering Middlebury students take a First-Year Seminar during their first semester on campus. These seminars are writing intensive courses, limited to 15 students each, and they are taught by regular, full-time faculty members who also serve as students' academic advisers for their first three semesters at Middlebury.

A Second Writing-Intensive Course

This must be completed by the end of the sophomore year.

A Major

Major requirements are typically from 10 to 16 courses in one department (or for interdisciplinary majors, several different departments), and majors are declared by the end of first semester in the sophomore year. Students may choose a single major, double major, joint major, or, as independent scholars, pursue a self-designed major.

Students may elect to pursue a voluntary minor during their course of study at Middlebury. For a minor, 4-6 courses are needed, one should be at an advanced level.

Distribution Requirements

These are chosen from seven of the eight academic divisions listed below. Note that courses that count toward the major can be used to satisfy distribution credit. Up to two AP credits can also be used to satisfy distribution credit if these AP courses are considered the equivalent of on-campus courses that satisfy the distribution requirements.

Academic Divisions
  • Literature
  • The Arts
  • Philosophical and Religious Studies
  • Historical Studies
  • Physical and Life Sciences
  • Deductive Reasoning and Analytical Processes
  • Social Analysis
  • Foreign Language
Cultures and Civilization Requirement

This requirement consists of four courses focusing on some aspect of each of the following four areas:

  1. Cultures and civilizations of northern America
  2. European cultures and civilizations
  3. Civilizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Caribbean
  4. Process of comparison between and among culture and civilizations or courses that focus on identity and experience of separable groups within a culture of civilization

A course can be used to satisfy both a distribution requirement and a cultures and civilizations requirement.

Physical Education Requirement

This consists of two non-credit courses taken in addition to a student’s academic course load during the first two years.

Study Abroad
Pre-professional Program

Middlebury believes that a liberal arts curriculum develops critical thinking and communication skills that are essential for beginning any career or profession. Out undergraduate program focuses on the liberal arts, but offers specific curricula and resources designed to prepare students for professional careers, regardless of their major.

Middlebury Admissions
Emma Willard House
131 South Main Street
Middlebury, VT 05753
Phone: 802-443-3000
Fax: 802-443-2056