COVID-19: Essential Information

Distribution Requirement

Many students use the Your Four YearsYour Four Years and theĀ 

forms to track the completion of distribution requirements.

B. Distribution Requirement

All students must complete two sets of distribution requirements:

(a) academic categories, and

(b) cultures and civilizations.

Courses that count toward the major and the minor may be used to satisfy distribution requirements. Winter term courses, first-year seminars, and College writing courses may also be used to satisfy distribution requirements. .

Independent study courses (0500 and above) do not qualify for distribution requirements.

Students must take at least one course in seven of eight academic categories described below. Single courses can be listed with two distribution categories. A student may count a single course in no more than one academic category requirement.

1. Academic Categories

a. Literature (LIT)

Literature has been a central form of expression for many societies. Analysis and appreciation of the literary text give students insight into the minds and lives of other human beings, both their own cultural predecessors and people of different traditions, and into the process whereby human experience is imaginatively transformed into art. By studying literature in English and in other languages, students also sharpen their ability to express their own ideas with grace and precision.

b. The Arts (ART)

The understanding of the history, theory, and practice of the arts is an integral part of a liberal arts education. Courses in this category either emphasize the creative process through the making and performing of actual works of art (ranging from paintings and sculptures to plays, dances, creative writing, film/video, and musical compositions) or study the place of such works of art within a particular historical, cultural, or aesthetic context.

c. Philosophical and Religious Studies (PHL)

Courses in this category examine philosophical systems and religious traditions from a variety of viewpoints, including analytical, systematic, historical, sociological, anthropological, and phenomenological perspectives. Some courses deal with specific philosophical problems or theological issues; others trace the history of philosophy or of religious traditions; still others examine philosophical schools of thought or religious traditions during specific periods of history.

d. Historical Studies (HIS)

History is that branch of knowledge that seeks to account for the diverse ways in which human beings in different cultures and societies have all met and responded to temporal change. Courses in this area study the development of societies and cultures over time.

e. Physical and Life Sciences (SCI)

Courses in this category study inductive and deductive processes of science. Emphasis is on the methods used to gather, interpret, and evaluate data critically, and the placement of this information into a larger context. Fundamental principles of each discipline are discussed in a manner that illustrates the evolving relationship of science, technology, and society.

f. Deductive Reasoning and Analytical Processes (DED)

Courses in this category deal with one or more of the following: (a) basic principles of reasoning and the axiomatic method; (b) statistical methods for analyzing and interpreting data; (c) key mathematical concepts; (d) abstract symbolic manipulation or reasoning.

g. Social Analysis (SOC)

This category deals with the analysis of the individual in society. Courses in this area involve the systematic study of human behavior and the processes and results of human interaction through organizations and institutions, both formal and informal. Social analysis can be undertaken from a variety of perspectives: inductive (using data to make generalizations about human behavior), deductive (using principles to search for and to develop new theories), and normative (using values to recognize important questions and to evaluate alternative answers).

h. Foreign Language (LNG)

Speaking, listening, reading, and writing in a language other than one's own exercise and expand the mind. Because of the close interdependence between language and culture, study of a foreign language helps one gain insights into other societies and ultimately one's own. Courses in this category include many, but not all, of those taught in a foreign language or which focus on texts in a foreign language.

2. Cultures and Civilizations Requirement

Middlebury College believes that students should 1) have educational exposure to the variety of the world's cultures and civilizations, where these terms are broadly understood to intersect with geography, history, ethnicity, gender and other factors, and 2) engage critically with sameness, difference, culture, and perspective. These goals are integral to most of the academic disciplines represented in the curriculum.

Accordingly, each Middlebury student is required to complete successfully four courses to fulfill the cultures and civilizations requirement. Specifically, every student takes at least one course in each of at least three of the following regions, focusing on some aspect of the cultures and civilizations of that region.

a. SOA: South and Southeast Asia, including the Pacific
NOA: North Asia including China, Korea, Japan and the Asian steppes c. MDE: Middle East and North Africa
SAF: Sub-Saharan Africa
EUR: Europe
AMR: the Americas

plus one Comparative (CMP) course, focused on the process of comparison between and among cultures and civilizations, or on the identity and experience of separable groups within cultures and civilizations.

A single course may be listed as fulfilling one of the regional categories (SOA, NOA, MDE, SAF, EUR, AMR; as recommended by the course instructor and determined by the Curriculum Committee). Courses that satisfy CMP may also carry one of the regional area designations, however a student may not count one of these courses toward both the CMP and regional requirements. A student may count the same course toward both an academic category requirement, and one of the cultures and civilizations requirements. Courses that count toward the major and the minor, winter term courses, summer study courses, and first-year student seminars may be used to satisfy the cultures and civilizations requirement.

College Board Advanced Placement credits may not be used to satisfy distribution or cultures and civilizations requirements.