The Academic Program
Colgate’s curriculum includes a wide range of study opportunities in the arts, natural sciences, and social sciences. It is structured to provide a well-rounded liberal arts education and to prepare students for graduate and professional schools. A student’s academic program consists of courses in the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum, courses in the field of major, electives, and physical education classes. There are 55 majors offered, several of which are interdisciplinary in nature and offer honors programs. Qualified students are encouraged to participate in one of Colgate’s more than 20 off-campus study groups. Other academic options include independent study courses, guided research, and approved off-campus (non-Colgate) study programs.
The Academic Curriculum
The following sections describe important features of the curriculum. For more specific course requirements see Majors and Minors .
Academic credit toward the Colgate degree is expressed in terms of course credits. Most courses taken at Colgate carry one course credit (1.00) or the equivalent of four credits on the semester-hour basis. Fractional credit (0.25 or 0.50) is awarded for academic opportunities that do not fit easily into the standard one course/one credit structure. Fractional credit of 0.25 or 0.50 may be awarded for two types of courses: (1) stand-alone fractional credit courses that have a clear intellectual rationale independent from other courses (e.g., approved half-semester courses, independent study/research); and (2) add-on fractional credit courses comprising components that intellectually engage students in ways that extend beyond the content of the full-credit course to which they are attached (e.g., laboratories, service learning, extended study, and performance). Add-on fractional credit may be either required or optional. A maximum of 2.00 course credits from add-on fractional credit courses may count toward the 32-course credit graduation requirement. There is no limitation on the number of stand-alone fractional credit courses that may count toward graduation.
All fractional credit courses receive separate grades. One-half credit courses are equivalent to two credits on the semester-hour basis and are indicated as 0.50 on the academic record. One-quarter credit courses are equivalent to one credit on the semester-hour basis and are indicated as 0.25 on the academic record.
As used in the catalog, the term “course” means a full (1.00) course credit, as distinguished from fractional credit courses. All laboratories included in course descriptions as bearing academic credit carry 0.25 course credits, unless noted otherwise.
Curricular Requirements for Graduation
Students must complete a minimum of 32.00 course credits (with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00) and requirements for the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum, a major, and foreign language and writing (if stipulated upon admission). Additional requirements, including residency and physical education, are described in Academic Regulations .
The Liberal Arts Core Curriculum: Crossing Boundaries
Crossing Boundaries is the theme of Colgate’s Liberal Arts Core Curriculum. The Core asks students to confront questions of identity, culture, and knowledge across intellectual boundaries. The Core crosses temporal and socio-political boundaries, as well as the boundaries of academic divisions and disciplines. It emphasizes the capacities essential to a liberal arts education: critical reading and thinking, effective writing, being able to move from the specific to the general and back, understanding diverse perspectives, and an overall sense of intellectual wonder.
By having a Core, Colgate affirms the centrality of a common experience for our students as they grapple with enduring questions at the heart of a liberal arts education. That common experience takes seriously classic texts as well as multiculturalism and globalization, the importance of the past as well as the contemporary moment, the relevance of modern science and technology as well as the humanities. In sum, the Core asks students to think in integrative cross-disciplinary ways about their world and themselves.
Four inter-related components - Legacies of the Ancient World, Challenges of Modernity, Scientific Perspectives on the World, and Communities and Identities - constitute the Common Core. These courses provide contexts for engagement in cross-disciplinary conversation. They educate students in complementary ways about the origins, beliefs, traditions, social patterns, and profound ideas that shaped their own and other cultures, helping students see themselves honestly and critically within a diverse global and historical perspective. These courses also help students appreciate how an emerging global community can be transformed in dynamic and significant ways by advances in science and technology and by the rapid transmission of information, ideas, and practices.
Scientific Perspectives on the World (SP) courses engage issues of broader social significance that require scientific literacy. These courses are multi-disciplinary in focus: the topics of the SP courses span the study of the physical world, biological processes, human behavior, mathematical methods, and technological innovations. Students fulfill their SP requirement by successfully completing one of the courses listed in the CORE: Scientific Perspectives on the World type in Course Descriptions .
Courses in the Communities and Identities (CI) component provide students with a multi-layered understanding of identities, cultures, and human experiences in particular geographically distinct communities and regions of the world. Students fulfill their CI requirement by successfully completing one of the courses listed in the CORE: Communities and Identities type in Course Descriptions .
Legacies of the Ancient World and Challenges of Modernity are taught by faculty members from across the University who work together to develop these courses: all sections of these two courses share common texts. Legacies of the Ancient World explores ancient texts that have given rise to philosophical, political, religious, and artistic traditions that continue to influence academic and intellectual discourse and critical thought. In Challenges of Modernity, students and faculty explore a variety of texts that contributed to, or engaged with, the ideas and phenomena central to the intellectual legacy to which we and our students are heirs.
These four Common Core courses are not sequential. Students may take the four required core courses in any order, but are expected to complete the four common core courses by the end of their sophomore year. Exceptions may be made for students completing certain programs (for example, pre-medical study) and for students with special individual circumstances. Students who have not completed the four common core courses by the end of the second year are required to obtain permission of the course instructor to enroll as juniors or seniors in core courses.
Areas of Inquiry
Beyond the four common core courses, the Areas of Inquiry requirement is designed to foster breadth. Students take six additional courses from a range of disciplines with focus in certain areas. The curriculum is divided into three Areas of Inquiry: Human Thought and Expression; Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents; and Natural Sciences and Mathematics. A student will fulfill the Areas of Inquiry requirement by taking two courses from two different departments or programs in each of the areas:
Human Thought and Expression
Courses in this component develop an understanding of what it means to be human: they focus on cultural and intellectual expressions throughout time. Most courses from the following departments/programs satisfy this area requirement: Art and Art History; the Classics; East Asian Languages and Literatures; English; German; Jewish Studies; Music; Philosophy; Religion; Romance Languages and Literatures; Theater; and Writing and Rhetoric. Approved courses from other departments and programs (see the description of university studies below) may also satisfy the Human Thought and Expression Area of Inquiry requirement.
Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents
Courses in this component expose students to the study of social order and human behavior in societies of the past and present. Most courses from the following departments satisfy this requirement: Economics; Educational Studies; Geography; History; Political Science; and Sociology and Anthropology. Approved courses from other departments and programs may also satisfy the Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents Areas of Inquiry requirement.
Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Courses in this component apply theoretical and empirical methods to the study of living organisms, the physical world, and abstract and practical mathematics. Most courses from the following departments satisfy this requirement: Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Geology, Mathematics; Physics and Astronomy; Psychological and Brain Sciences; and several physical geography. Approved courses from other departments and programs may also satisfy the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Areas of Inquiry requirement.
Students are encouraged to explore the range of departmental and programmatic offerings through the six-course Areas of Inquiry requirement early in their studies at Colgate. This can be helpful in making decisions about majors and minors. First- and second-year students should take the Areas of Inquiry requirement into account as they plan their programs. Areas of Inquiry courses can count toward the major or minor.
Students should note that the Areas of Inquiry requirement cannot be fulfilled by Advanced Placement credits or other pre-matriculation credit. Neither can this requirement be fulfilled by courses taken during a summer or winter/January intersession term, unless under exceptional circumstances and with permission of the department chair, division director, and associate dean of the faculty.
As noted, approved courses from interdisciplinary programs can fulfill the Areas of Inquiry requirement. The Division of University Studies houses interdisciplinary programs in Africana and Latin American Studies; Asian Studies; Environmental Studies; Film and Media Studies; Jewish Studies; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies; Linguistics; Medieval and Renaissance Studies; Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies; Native American Studies; Peace and Conflict Studies; Russian and Eurasian Studies; and Women’s Studies. It also houses the Department of Writing and Rhetoric and the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum.
The Global Engagements (GE) requirement, furthers students’ understanding of the complex and diverse world in which they live. Global Engagements courses provide students with an opportunity to analyze and debate the conditions and consequences of intercultural interaction, both in the United States and in the broader world, so that they will be prepared to confront responsibly the challenges of the 21st century. Courses in this component are drawn from departments and programs across the University; all inquire into the ways that people respond to and seek meaning in multicultural national and international contexts. A course taken to fulfill GE credit may also fulfill an Areas of Inquiry and/or major/minor requirements. Many Colgate Study Groups (the ones led by our own faculty) feature courses that count for Global Engagements. Transfer credit, including courses taken on Approved Programs, may not count toward the Global Engagement requirement.
In summary, the required Liberal Arts Core Curriculum has the following structure:
Common Core Courses
Legacies of the Ancient World
Challenges of Modernity
Scientific Perspective on the World
Communities and Identities
Areas of Inquiry
Human Thought and Expression (2 courses)
Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents (2 courses)
Natural Sciences and Mathematics (2 courses)
Distinction Seminar in the Liberal Arts Core
An optional component of the Liberal Arts Core program is the Distinction Seminar in the Liberal Arts Core. The goal of the distinction seminar is to complement senior-level work in departments and programs by giving students the opportunity to reflect on broader, interdisciplinary contexts of their disciplinary research projects. This option is open to students who have completed their Core requirements with the requisite average grade.
For additional information see the Liberal Arts Common Core
Foreign language competence is of critical value in understanding today’s world. In addition, language skills are required by many graduate schools and may be necessary to qualify for certain professional positions, particularly in today’s global economy.
The graduation requirement of competence in a foreign or classical language may be demonstrated in one of three ways:
- by successfully completing at least three years of study of one foreign or classical language (through the third level) in a secondary school prior to enrolling at Colgate;
- by demonstrating basic language skills as measured by tested proficiency (e.g., a score of 580 or better on the SAT Subject Tests in a foreign or classical language);
- by successfully completing the study of a foreign or classical language at Colgate through at least one term at the intermediate level.
Students are expected to complete the language requirement by the end of the fourth term at Colgate. A registration hold will be placed on the record of a student who fails to satisfy the requirement by this time. The student will be required to register for an appropriate course in the fifth term. The registration hold will remain in place until the requirement has been satisfied.
Language study is also required prior to participation in some of Colgate’s off-campus study groups.
First-year seminars (FSEMs) are designed to introduce students to a variety of liberal arts topics, skills, and ways of learning, including the importance of academic integrity. The FSEM emphasizes all aspects of the learning process including the exploration of individual needs and strengths, interactions with classmates, and the multiplicity of resources beyond the classroom. Special emphasis is placed on improving writing skills and using the library’s many resources. The merging of these elements into a single course provides a prime opportunity for the student to obtain a breadth of college-level experience and academic perspective. Many first-year seminars will earn credit within the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum, including Areas of Inquiry. FSEMs are listed each year in the first-year student registration materials.
Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum (FLAC)
Colgate University seeks to create an international ethos for the liberal arts by expanding the range of curricular settings in which students and professors can develop and use foreign language skills. Beyond the foreign language departments, faculty in various departments and programs encourage the use of foreign language materials in their curricula, and certain courses - such as literature in translation - offer FLAC sections in which students can engage with the material in the relevant foreign language.
Students investigate a body of knowledge in depth in a major. An official major must be selected and filed in the Office of the Registrar in the second term of the sophomore year. Students who fail to declare a major by the announced deadline will not be permitted to register for the upcoming term. A student may subsequently change majors with the approval of the new department chair or program director and the filing of a new declaration of major form with the registrar. Most major programs are centered on a single discipline and supervised by one academic department; however, a number of interdisciplinary majors permit students to major in a subject that involves several related departments. Some even cross divisional boundaries. A minimum grade of C- in introductory courses is normally needed for admission to a major. For graduation, the minimum grade point average (GPA) required for courses counted toward the major is 2.00 (C).
The major program includes at least eight courses. Most departments or programs also require a senior-level seminar or research course or independent study.
Students may pursue a double major, a major and a minor, or a major and two minors. No more than two majors, one major and one minor, or a major and two minors, may be recorded on a student’s transcript. Students should see Majors and Minors for an alphabetical list.
Bachelor of Arts Degree (AB) Programs
The major programs are approved by the Dean’s Advisory Council and registered officially with the New York State Education Department. Specific major and honors requirements are found in Majors and Minors .
Some students elect to fulfill the requirements for two separate majors. This choice helps focus the plan of study but greatly reduces one’s freedom in electing courses each semester.
Students wishing to declare a second major must formally file their plan with the registrar by the end of full-term course withdrawal period in the first term of the senior year.
The form filed first will be considered the primary major, unless the registrar is informed that the second form filed is to be the primary major. Students who elect to complete a double major must let each supervising department or program know that a second major is being pursued.
A course may be used to satisfy requirements in both majors. A student will only be considered to have completed a double major when at least seven of the courses completed in fulfillment of each major are unique. If the primary major requires cognate courses (which must be taken but which are not actually considered part of the major), these cognate courses may be counted toward the second major. The minimum GPA of 2.00, required for completion of the primary major, also applies to a second major.
Topical majors allow students, with the advice of a faculty adviser, to design an independent, interdisciplinary course of study outside the existing department and program structure. Topical majors are used for student major programs that encompass courses from more than one department or program. The three topical major programs are in Arts and Humanities, Natural Science, and Social Sciences. Although administered at the divisional level, some topical majors may cross divisional lines. Topical major programs are approved by the respective division directors. In all cases, Colgate’s general requirements for graduation will apply. Topical majors are described under their respective divisions within the alphabetical order of Majors and Minors .
Every department and nearly every program at Colgate offers an optional minor consisting of at least five designated courses or types of courses. A major and a minor, or two minors, may have overlap of course requirements, but at least seven courses must be unique to the major and at least four courses must be unique to each minor. Minors should include coursework at the intermediate or advanced level. A minimum GPA of 2.00 (C) is required in all courses counted toward a minor. Minors must be filed with the registrar by the end of full-term withdrawal period in the first term of the senior year. No student may declare a minor in the same field as the student’s major.
Faculty advising can be essential to a student’s success and sense of satisfaction with the academic program. Colgate recognizes that academic advising needs can be diverse, and individual expectations and requirements often change with time. Effective advising develops in a timely fashion when students take the responsibility of reading this catalog and the Colgate Student Handbook, and seek assistance early and often.
Academic advising typically follows this pattern during the four years at Colgate:
Prior to the first semester
Students select courses for the first semester during the summer, prior to their arrival on campus for the fall orientation program. At this point, the first-year web pages and summer pre-matriculation faculty advisers serve as the primary resources for academic planning and course selection.
The First Semester - Course-Based Advising
One of the four courses that each student selects for the first semester is a first-year seminar. The instructor for this course serves as the faculty adviser for each student enrolled in the seminar. During the first-year orientation program, students meet with their faculty advisers in individual advising sessions and review their fall course schedules.
Throughout the semester, the faculty adviser serves as an important source of counsel and guidance, gives information on course withdrawal and registration for spring term, and monitors midterm reports. Each semester, students are required to consult with their academic advisers prior to registration.
The Second and Third Semesters - Transition Advising
The advising relationship with the first-year seminar instructor usually continues until a major is selected. Students may change their official advisers by completing a form available from the Office of the Registrar.
The Fourth Semester - Declaration of the Major
In spring semester of the sophomore year, each student must declare a major by completing a form to be turned in at the Office of the Registrar. The student chooses or is assigned a major adviser at this time. The major adviser is a mentor who advises students about requirements in the context of a sound, comprehensive academic program.
The Administration’s Role in Academic Advising
The academic advising program is administered by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty and Provost. Questions, concerns, and suggestions about academic advising at Colgate should be directed to the director of academic support and disability services in the Center for Learning, Teaching, and Research.
Honors and Awards
Colgate University encourages students to strive for excellence in their chosen fields of academic endeavor and honors those who achieve distinction in their academic performance.
Honors in Major
Students who earn honors in their majors have so mastered their disciplines that they are able to complete with distinction original work appropriate to their chosen fields of study. While specific requirements differ, all majors (except topical majors) offer the opportunity to pursue honors or high honors. Most major honors require completion of department or program courses with a designated grade point average (GPA) as well as a project designed and pursued independently under the guidance of a faculty sponsor. Departments and programs will determine whether the oral presentation and/or written reports are of a quality appropriate for honors. For details consult the departmental or program major listed alphabetically in Departments and Programs .
Students who maintain a consistently high grade point average (GPA) throughout their academic careers are recognized for their achievements by the awarding of university honors at graduation. University honors are summa cum laude (3.80 for all courses attempted), magna cum laude (3.50), and cum laude (3.30). GPAs for university honors are established and reviewed by the Dean’s Advisory Council. A minimum of 22 Colgate courses taken for a grade will be considered for university honors. Transfer students who have taken between 16 and 22 Colgate courses for a grade will be considered for university honors.
The valedictorian and salutatorian are the students who have the highest and second highest rank in the graduating class based upon the cumulative GPA in all courses taken for a grade. Transfer students must be enrolled at Colgate for at least six terms in order to be considered eligible for the university honor of valedictorian or salutatorian.
The Dean’s Award
The following awards are presented each term to students who achieve the following
Dean’s Award with Distinction - Students who receive a term grade point average of 3.6 or higher while completing at least 3 course credits for a conventional letter grade and a minimum of 3.75 total course credits.
Dean’s Award - Students who receive a term grade point average of 3.3 or higher while completing at least 3 course credits for a conventional letter grade and a minimum of 3.75 total course credits.
See Grading Policies
The Bernard and Sydell Citron Pre-Medical Scholastic Prize — established in 1964. The income from this fund, but not less than $250 annually, is to be paid to the graduating pre-medical senior who has been accepted in a medical school and who has attained the highest scholastic standing among all the pre-medical students graduating that year.
The Class of 1884 Public Speaking Prize — established in 1884 to offer a prize for debate.
The Class of 1997 Award — established to provide financial assistance for one or more graduating seniors. Preference is given to a candidate pursuing a graduate level degree.
The George W. Cobb Awards — awarded to recognize outstanding achievement by undergraduates. No fewer than 10 nor more than 20 awards are made annually to those students who, during the college year immediately preceding the award, shall have demonstrated qualities of outstanding leadership and influence among their fellow students and shall have exercised effective influence in bringing to the college students of the highest character and personal qualities. The recipients of these awards are to be known as the George W. Cobb Fellows.
The Colgate Alumni Corporation 1819 Award — given annually to the senior whose character, scholarship, sportsmanship, and service to others best exemplify the spirit that is Colgate. The 1819 Award is the most selective and prestigious award Colgate University bestows upon a graduating senior.
The Colgate Professional Writers’ Award — juried prize that recognizes and encourages outstanding nonfiction writing by undergraduates.
The Charles A. Dana Scholars — selected each spring in recognition of superior academic achievement as well as demonstrated leadership in the college community. This is a significant academic award, perhaps the most significant after Phi Beta Kappa. Seniors, juniors, and sophomores are eligible for the awards.
The Dean’s Community Service Awards — conferred on the individual or student group that conducted outstanding community service during the school year.
The Dodge Prizes — established by Ebenezer Dodge, D.D., LL.D., president of the university 1868–90, and awarded to the two first-year students who achieve the highest academic record during the first year of their college career, as determined by their grade point averages.
Lampert Award for Outstanding Scholarship — awarded to the student with the most outstanding project of the annual Lampert Fellowships in Civic and Global Affairs.
The Adam Clayton Powell Jr. ‘30 Award — recognizes seniors who have made outstanding contributions to Colgate and, in the process, enriched the life of the student community of color.
The Professor Daniel H. Saracino Endowed Fund for Phi Beta Kappa —created in honor of Daniel H. Saracino, Charles A. Dana Professor of mathematics, to support the work of the Colgate chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. An award will be given annually to the graduating senior with the highest grade point average among those elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In addition, as many as two prizes per year may be awarded at the discretion of the chapter in recognition of specific scholarly or creative projects that are of exceptional merit.
The Edward M. Stimets Memorial Award — conferred on the student who, in the judgment of the dean of the faculty, the dean of the college, the dean of first-year students, and the president of the Student Government Association, contributed the most to Colgate in his or her first year.
The Dr. Leo H. Speno ‘26 Endowed Prize Fund — established in memory of Dr. Leo H. Speno ‘26. This prize will be awarded annually to as many as four seniors who meet at least two of the following criteria: above-average GPA, member of a varsity athletic team, member of a fraternity or sorority, involved in the religious life of the university, involved in service activities in the Colgate and/or Hamilton communities. Special preference will also be given to students who meet the criteria and have demonstrated an interest in pursuing a career in the medical sciences.
The Jewish Student Life Award — awarded by the program for outstanding Jewish student leadership.
The Kingsford Prizes in Public Speaking — established in 1881 for prizes in public speaking.
The Lewis Oratory Prize — established in 1867 in memory of George W.M. Lewis for the orator who excels in the composition and delivery of an original oration.
The George E. Stevenson Prize — established in 1920 for a prize in extemporaneous speaking.
See department/program pages for specific departmental awards.
Acquiring an intercultural perspective is an important goal of Colgate’s liberal arts education. The university offers an academically, geographically, and culturally diverse array of off-campus programs that combine rigorous academic study with meaningful cultural engagement. The global campus provides access to lectures by distinguished scholars and readings by well-known writers; it opens the doors of museums, libraries, theaters and temples; and it allows students to experience the day-to-day fascination of a new and stimulating environment.
Effective September 2019, all students studying abroad on approved programs that are hosted in a non-English speaking country, or in a country in which English is one of many official languages, are required to take at least one language class in that program’s native language or one course taught in a local language other than English during the program.
Please consult the Off-Campus Study web page for a list of language requirements for each program. Exceptions will not be granted except in extreme circumstances.
The off-campus study program is administered by the Office of Off-Campus Study in McGregory Hall. Options include semester-long Colgate study groups directed by Colgate faculty; semester-long approved programs offered by other universities or education providers; and extended study courses taught by Colgate faculty that include a three-week off-campus component.
Students are advised to meet with an off-campus study adviser to learn more about their options and plan in order to take best advantage of this opportunity. Students should consult their academic adviser and department early in the process to discuss degree requirements and any courses to be applied towards the major or minor.
For more information see Off-Campus Study.
Application and Enrollment
Application to off-campus study programs is made through the Office of Off-Campus Study. Applicants must meet the GPA requirements and prerequisites of their desired program, and be in good academic standing with Colgate in the following areas: academic, financial, and disciplinary. Students must demonstrate personal and academic maturity equal to the demands of the off-campus program, which often exceeds the demands of the campus. This maturity should be attested to by the student’s academic record, administrative dean, and academic adviser. Admission to an off-campus study program is competitive and not guaranteed.
The application deadline is normally in November for Colgate Study Groups (Faculty led) and may be found online at colgate.edu/OCS. The annual deadline for Approved, non-Colgate programs is in early February for all of the following year, fall and spring semesters. Programs are listed for review by academic department on the Off-Campus Study Programs website at colgate.edu/OCS.
The number of students permitted to study off campus is managed by the university. Colgate makes every effort to accommodate requests for off-campus study that will enable students to deepen their liberal arts education with coursework sponsored by other institutions. Nonetheless, the university needs to balance enrollments across both semesters and so reserves the right to regulate the number of students who are granted permission to study off campus each semester. Careful planning is vital to successful off-campus study. Students should discuss projected off-campus study plans with OCS and their academic advisers, considering options for both fall and spring terms that will achieve their educational objectives. Students attending a Colgate study group, approved program, or extended study remain enrolled at Colgate during their time off-campus.
Please refer to the Off-Campus Study section in Academic Regulations, for additional policies concerning the transfer of credit and grades from off-campus study programs.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Colgate’s off-campus study tuition and financial structure make programs accessible for all students, regardless of financial means, just as it does for on-campus programs. The tuition structure helps to ensure that Colgate programs meet the university’s high standards for academic rigor and quality.
Students who study on a Colgate-directed study group or on an external approved program continue to pay Colgate tuition and are eligible for Colgate need-based financial aid when studying off campus. Students are billed for tuition by Colgate for the semester they will be off campus plus the cost of any room, board, or other expenses charged by the study group or approved program. Students are responsible for paying other non-billable expenses, such as airfare, government visas, books, refundable deposits, optional fees, and personal incidentals directly. Off-campus study cost estimates are available on the OCS web pages at colgate.edu/OCS.
Students receiving need-based financial aid will have their financial aid package reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid for the semester they will be abroad. Financial aid is applied to students’ accounts at the time of billing. Students are responsible for paying any balance due to Colgate. If there is a credit due, it will be released to the student shortly before the start of the semester.
Financial aid may be increased to meet the additional cost of off-campus study for only one semester and one extended study. Students participating in an additional semester-long or extended study program will have their awards capped at the amount they would have received if they were to have remained on campus.
For information regarding withdrawal from off-campus study, see Withdrawal and Refund Policy section in Expenses.
Colgate Study Groups
Colgate study groups provide students the opportunity to study off campus for a semester under the guidance and mentorship of a Colgate faculty member. Each study group has a unique academic focus and immerses students in new cultures, perspectives and experiences. Depending on the program, students will live together with their peers in apartments, with local students in university dorms, or with local host families. Study groups primarily accommodate registered Colgate students, though occassionaly a few students from the New York Six group of colleges or Syracuse University may participate on certain study groups with visiting-student status on a space-available basis. Study groups normally enroll 15-18 students and are subject to minimum enrollment numbers to operate.
Colgate regularly offers the following semester-long study groups on an annual or biennial basis and currently all but the Washington DC Study Group satisfy the GE credit. For specific details, consult the OCS web pages at colgate.edu/OCS. It should be noted that changes may occur in the scheduling of study groups and that new groups may be added.
- Australia: University of Wollongong (fall and spring)
- China: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai (fall)
- England: London Economics (fall and/or spring)
- England: London English (fall and/or spring)
- England: London History (spring)
- England: University of Manchester (fall)
- France: University of Burgundy, Dijon (spring)
- Germany: University of Freiburg (spring)
- Italy: Ca’Foscari University, Venice (fall)
- Jamaica: University of the West Indies, Kingston (spring)
- Japan: Kyoto (fall or spring)
- Singapore: National University of Singapore (fall)
- Scotland: St. Andrews University (fall or spring)
- South Africa: University of Cape Town, Cape Tow (fall)
- South Korea: Yonsei University, Seoul (fall)
- Spain: Madrid: CEU (fall)
- Switzerland: The Graduate Institute, Geneva (spring)
- United States: National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD (fall)
- United States: Washington, D.C. (spring)
- United States: Santa Fe, New Mexico (fall)
- Wales: Cardiff University (spring)
Colgate allows students to study off campus on a select list of approved programs offered by third-party educational providers, New York Six off-campus exchanges, or other U.S. universities, or to enroll directly in certain exchanges with approved partner foreign universities throughout the world and earn transfer credit toward degree requirements. Approved programs have been carefully vetted by the Off-Campus Study Committee and academic departments for compatibility with Colgate’s curriculum. In addition to meeting Colgate’s expectations for academic rigor, they offer strong on-site support services and emergency support, and provide opportunities for meaningful engagement in the host culture.
Colgate’s approved programs list is available on the Off-Campus study web pages at colgate.edu/OCS, and includes over 100 programs in 50 countries. Approved programs expand the possibilities for students with diverse academic interests and goals by providing options in a wide range of locations as well as a variety of program models.
As a way of ensuring an immersive study abroad experience, students participating on approved programs that are hosted in a non-English speaking country or in a country in which English is one of many official languages, are required to take at least one language class in that program’s native language or one course taught in a local language other than English during the program. Often these courses are conversation-based and designed to enhance student ability to converse with local people. Please consult the Off-Campus Study web page for a list of language requirements for each country. Ordinarily, exceptions will not be granted.
A number of Colgate courses offer short-term study components that extend the course for three weeks beyond the campus and beyond the regular term. These programs offer opportunities for students to gain access to institutions and individuals relevant to their coursework that are not available on campus. Extended study is particularly attractive to students whose schedules do not permit them to participate in semester-long programs. The university has developed some twenty extended study courses, of which up to eight are offered each year. Extended Study groups operate in either January or May immediately following the semester.
Prerequisites may exist for extended study courses. Any seniors electing to participate in a spring extended study will graduate at the next degree conferral date, but will be eligible to apply for participation in the May commencement ceremony. Please refer to the student handbook for details on commencement participation.
New extended study courses are added on a regular basis. Please see the OCS web page for a complete listing of courses offering extended study components.
Students with a compelling academic rationale whose academic interests cannot be met by a Colgate study group or approved program may petition the Office of Off-Campus Study to attend an alternate program. Students should begin by speaking with athe associate director for advice about options and drafting a petition. Students should consult their academic advisors about the possibility of attending a program not already approved by Colgate. Petitions are vetted and determined by the Off-Campus Study Committee and require the support of a student’s academic department and faculty adviser.
Students who do not submit a petition or whose petitions are denied, will not be eligible for Colgate financial aid or grant assistance, nor will academic credit transfer toward the degree.
Petitions for Travel to Countries under a U.S. State Department Travel Advisory
Colgate students are subject to the Colgate Travel Advisory policy that follows federal guidelines and restricts Colgate students from studying abroad or receiving funding in a country with a US Department of State level 3 or 4 rating. Students may not receive sponsorship for activities abroad, including credit for study abroad; funding for internships, research, or volunteer activities; or sponsorship for extracurricular activities, such as music or sport, for countries for which the U.S. State Department has issued a country rating of level 3 or 4, unless granted special approval through a petition process.
Additional Academic Programs
Office of Undergraduate Studies (OUS)
The Office of Undergraduate Studies (OUS) is led by a committed team, composed of a faculty director, an associate director, an administrative dean, and an OUS Fellow. This supportive four-year program aims to tap the potential of each OUS scholar, particularly in terms of academic excellence and leadership in the tradition of the liberal arts. The mission of the OUS program is reflected in Colgate University’s own mission, which includes providing a “demanding, expansive educational experience to a select group of diverse, talented, intellectually sophisticated students who are capable of challenging themselves, their peers, and their teachers.” As OUS students are a highly select, talented, and diverse group of students at Colgate, they especially fulfill and enrich Colgate’s mission and purpose. For information about the program, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Studies at 315-228-7375. For information about admission to Colgate through OUS, please contact the Office of Admission.
To combine education in the liberal arts with engineering training, Colgate has cooperative agreements with Columbia University, Washington University (St. Louis), and Rensselaer Polytechnic University, under which a competent student may pursue this option. A student may earn a bachelor’s degree from both institutions by spending three years at Colgate as a physics major and two at the engineering school (the 3-2 plan). Alternatively, a student may pursue the 4-2 plan. The pre-engineering student may be eligible to continue study for a master’s degree. For further information, students should consult the Pre-Engineering adviser or the chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy .
Sophomore Residential Seminars
Director Wong and Fujioka
This program is a faculty-led, yearlong program that integrates residential, classroom, and academic-travel experiences. Students in the program live together with other members of their chosen seminar. Faculty who teach these seminars act as mentors to this group of students, encouraging reflection and fostering discussion. In doing so, they help the members of the seminar to build a community, one centered on an intellectual pursuit but which extends beyond the classroom.
Members of the seminar travel with their professor for one week in January, deepening and broadening their understanding of the class material. (There is no charge to students for the travel component.) In the spring, all sophomore residential seminar students complete a 0.25-credit course, in order to develop the conversation of the class in light of the travel experience.
Applications for the SRS program are made available to rising sophomores at the beginning of the spring semester of their first year.
Each year approximately 200 Colgate undergraduates receive research assistantships and fellowships funded directly by Colgate, corporate or foundation grants, individual donors, or individual faculty research grants. This funding provides a weekly stipend to enable students to work full time during the summer on research or scholarly projects in close collaboration with one or more faculty members. Often these activities result in presentation of papers at professional meetings or publication in the scientific and scholarly literature, with undergraduate students as co-authors, performers, and exhibitors.
Student/faculty-initiated research proposals are used as the basis for awarding summer research assistantships or fellowships of eight to ten weeks in duration. Partially subsidized on-campus housing options and special academic and recreational events enhance this scholarly summer community at Colgate.
Colgate understands the educational value of research by undergraduate students and is committed to its support. The college is recognized as a national leader in this activity with students and professors from all academic divisions participating. Details about on-campus summer research opportunities may be obtained from department chairs, division directors, or the Center for Learning, Teaching, and Research.
Teacher Preparation Programs
Programs are available to prospective secondary school teachers in the fields of English, mathematics, social studies (economics, geography, history, political science, sociology) and natural science (biology, chemistry, earth science, or physics). Students in these programs major in academic areas for which adolescence teaching certification is sought and take appropriate coursework in the Department of Educational Studies. The department also offers a childhood certification program in elementary school teaching for grades 1-6. Students who wish to gain New York State teacher certification have the option of completing their professional semester in the fall term following graduation as part of the ninth semester program. To be eligible for this special program, students must have received their Colgate degree in the academic year prior to the professional semester and completed all other certification requirements prior to enrolling in the ninth semester. In the ninth semester, students are allowed to enroll only in the professional semester courses, which consist of two or three seminars (depending upon adolescence or childhood certification) and student teaching. Students interested in the ninth semester program should meet with an educational studies faculty member to determine if they are eligible and apply to the program in the spring of their junior year. Colgate’s undergraduate adolescence and childhood certification programs and the MAT adolescence programs are accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) for a period of seven years from May 7, 2014 until May 7, 2021.
Successful completion of all requirements in all teacher preparation programs leads to recommendation for New York State initial teacher certification.
For more information see educational studies department page.
New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium
Established with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium facilitates collaboration among its member institutions in fulfilling their educational missions and serving the public good. Through the sharing of expertise and resources, the Consortium enhances options for students, faculty, and staff. In addition to Colgate, members of the consortium include Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Skidmore College, St. Lawrence University, and Union College.
Students who have completed at least one semester at Colgate have the opportunity to participate in a collaborative cross-registration program made possible through the New York Six Consortium. To be eligible to cross-register, students must be enrolled in a minimum of 3.00 course credits at Colgate. Courses taken as part of this cross-registration program will count as institutional (Colgate) credit, and grades earned will be recorded on the Colgate transcript and calculated into the Colgate grade point average. Because cross-registered courses count as part of the student’s full-time Colgate course load, no additional tuition is assessed by the host institution. Normally students may only cross-register for one New York Six course per term. A maximum of three New York Six credits will count toward the Colgate degree. For additional information, please refer to the registrar’s office web pages at colgate.edu/registrar.
Less-Commonly Taught Language Program
The Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) Program provides opportunities for students to study languages not available through the regular Colgate curriculum. LCTL courses are offered through two methods: shared course initiatives with instructors located on other campuses and self-instructional language courses overseen by the Director of the Keck Center for Language Study and the Language Council. LCTL courses are never offered for languages being taught on campus at Colgate nor do they count toward the completion of Colgate’s language requirement. The Language Council regularly reviews the effectiveness of LCTL courses to determine whether they are suitable for the Colgate curriculum.
Upon approval from the Language Council, the Curriculum Committee, the Registrar, and any other relevant program of study, shared courses will be listed among the course offerings. Students will receive credit for courses taught by the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium members according to the guidelines of that agreement. Courses taught at any other institution will be treated as transfer credit.
Students with a compelling academic rationale to study a language not offered through any other means may apply for a self-instructional language course. The application procedure includes writing a detailed explanation of how the language study fits within the student’s broader academic studies and an interview by members of the Language Council. Students may earn a maximum of 0.5 credits per semester for self-instructional language study. All self-instructional language courses must be taken with the S/U grade option. The final grade in the course will be determined by the director of the Keck Center, and will be based upon completion of self-instructional materials, regular meetings with a native-speaking language partner, and an assessment by an outside reviewer. All courses will have the ‘LCTL’ course designation. Students interested in LCTL should contact the director of the Keck Center for Language Study.
Cooperative Arrangement with Hamilton College
With approval of the faculty adviser and the associate dean of the faculty, a Colgate student may take courses at Hamilton College, to be counted toward the bachelor’s degree at Colgate. These arrangements must be made prior to the end of the Colgate drop/add period each term. Credit and final course grades for courses taken at Hamilton College are recorded on the Colgate transcript. Grades earned at Hamilton College are calculated into the cumulative grade point average at Colgate.
Office of National Fellowships and Scholarships
The Office of National Fellowships and Scholarships (ONFS) advises and prepares students and alumni in their pursuit of nationally and internationally competitive external fellowships, scholarships, and grants.
Through the process of applying for any award, students and alumni engage in deep reflection about their intellectual, personal, and professional goals, along with developing their critical thinking, writing, and presentation skills. The Assistant Dean for Fellowship Advising closely advises and supports students and alumni who are seeking Colgate’s nomination for fellowships that require it. For these nomination-based awards, the Dean and faculty committees are involved in the review and evaluation of applicants for nomination and the further mentoring of nominees.
Students and alumni pursuing fellowships which do not require nomination also stand to benefit from the Dean’s advice and support and are welcome and encouraged to work with ONFS on these applications. All interested students and alumni should contact ONFS well in advance of the deadline to begin the advisement and application process.
The most prominent fellowships, scholarships, and grants for which Colgate prepares students and alumni can be found on the Office of National Fellowships and Scholarships web page.
Phi Beta Kappa
The Society of Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776; Colgate’s chapter was organized in 1878. The Colgate chapter holds three elections each year, in September, February, and May. Seniors whose records of outstanding academic achievement are combined with the society’s traditional regard for moral character and a broad liberal education may be invited to join Phi Beta Kappa in a formal initiation ceremony.
Minimum academic requirements include:
- A course in mathematics, statistics, or logic (or AP equivalent)
- Fluency in a second language, as demonstrated by a year of coursework at the intermediate level (or AP equivalent) or graduation from a non-English language secondary school.
Transfer students should take note that election requires a minimum of 16 courses taken at Colgate for a grade, not under the S/U option.
For questions, contact Professor Jason Meyers, Associate Professor of Biology, President, Eta Chapter, Phi Beta Kappa.
Other national honorary societies
Colgate also has a chapter of the national honor society of Phi Eta Sigma for first-year students.
Honor societies in specific disciplines include
- Lambda Alpha (Anthropology)
- Eta Sigma Phi (The Classics)
- Omicron Delta Epsilon (Economics)
- Gamma Theta Upsilon (Geography)
- Delta Phi Alpha (German)
- Pi Delta Phi (French)
- Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science)
- Psi Chi (Psychology)
- Alpha Kappa Delta (Sociology)
Career Services and Career Development Planning
Colgate Career Services, located in Benton Hall, is a comprehensive center of support that empowers students to engage in strategic exploration, discovery, preparation, and action, translating the liberal arts into a lifetime of meaningful work. The four-year plan – starting in students’ first semester – provides students with a helpful structure to navigate this process while ensuring an individualized approach to meeting students’ unique needs.
Students engage with Career Services’s staff in a working partnership to help outline their first and next steps and encourage students to drive their own progress. Ultimately, Career Services’s staff assist students to understand how to connect their personal identities, academics, and career interests to envision a fulfilling career direction, and then to successfully launch from Colgate in that pursuit.
Core Programs and Services
Career advising: Individual 30-minute sessions with professional staff to identify the traits, interests, strengths, identities and values unique to each student — and how they connect to career options.
Industry-specific advising: Individual coaching sessions held with professional advisers in which students learn how to activate a targeted search toward a specific career, graduate school, or professional school path. Students focus their efforts on creating strong application materials and on networking.
Pre-law advising: Individual advising sessions with Colgate’s pre-law adviser to assist students to clarify their interest in a career in law, pursue opportunities to gain experience, and eventually, strategize on law school admission processes and decisions.
Graduate and professional school preparation: Career Services works closely with faculty and academic departments to support students’ efforts to gain acceptance into graduate programs in the arts, sciences, and humanities, as well as into the full range of professional schools. Students can attend information sessions hosted by deans of admission to learn more about graduate and professional school admission.
Peer advising: Thirty-minute résumé and cover-letter critiques and basic networking strategy, led by trained student staff.
Career search skills workshops: Interactive sessions that develop students’ ability to perform essential career-search skills, such as interviewing and résumé writing, and that help them leverage Colgate’s many resources.
Career Modules: Topical or skill-based seminars designed to assist students to either gain a better sense of themselves and their career interests, or to hone professional skills sought by employers.
Colgate Premier recruiting program: Employer partners from a diverse set of industries recruit Colgate students for internships and jobs. Employers engage through on-campus and virtual information sessions organized by Career Services.
Handshake: Colgate’s online job and internship platform that hosts both Colgate Premier and other internships and jobs.
Access to the Alumni network: After completing basic networking etiquette and strategy training, students are granted access to the Colgate Link, our online platform for student and alumni engagement. Students can search the alumni directory and join discussion groups centered around professional, geographic, and personal affinities in order to engage in career exploration or cultivate a network of professional contacts.
Alumni- and employer-led sessions: Career exploration, networking, and industry-specific training sessions that introduce students to career options, networking contacts, and core skills sought across industries.
First Year Jumpstart: What do employers and graduate schools expect of you now to make you marketable senior year? Teresa Olsen, Assistant Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Director of Career Services, will provide an overview of major selection, internships, career goals and more.
Summer Funding: Colgate and its generous alumni and parent donors offer grants to support students’ living costs and supplemental expenses to pursue unpaid and underpaid summer experiences.
A Day in the Life: A Day in the Life allows first-year and sophomore students to explore careers in their field of interest by shadowing a professional for one day over winter break. By connecting with a Colgate host, you will gain a first-hand look at careers and build your professional network.
SophoMORE Connections: SophoMORE Connections provides second-year students an opportunity to explore their academic and career interests through conversations with alumni, faculty, staff, and upperclassmen.
Immersion Trips: created for students to explore an industry through visits to different employers via Colgate alumni. Previous trips have been to NYC, Boston, and Washington, DC.
Alumni/Student Engagement Initiatives
Colgate Professional Networks (CPNs): Ten interdisciplinary networks designed to connect alumni-to-alumni and alumni-to-students for professional development. The CPNs host regional and online topical programs and networking events. Current CPNs include: Common Good; Consulting; Digital Business and Technology; Entrepreneur; Finance and Banking; Health and Wellness; Colgate Lawyers Association; Marketing, Media, and Communication; Real Estate; and STEM.
A Day in the Life: One-day exploratory winter break job shadow program that matches first- and second-year students with alumni hosts.
Investment Studies Program: Programs focused on increasing students’ concept of investing.
Michael J. Wolk ‘60 Conference on Medical Education: Biannual conference featuring panels and networking opportunities between students and alumni representing various health professions.
Robert A. Fox ‘59 Management and Leadership Skills Program: Skill-based and topical workshops that engage students to build the professional skills and knowledge employers seek.
SophoMORE Connections: An intensive career discovery program designed specifically to support sophomores’ career exploration and skill building.
Career advisers works closely with students to identify and apply for summer experiences, including internships, research, and long-term service projects. In many cases, students leverage career services’ resources, such as Handshake and the Colgate Premier program, the Colgate Link, or connections with panelists to pursue experiences by researching and networking with potential employers and alumni.
Colgate Internship Programs
The John A. Golden ‘66 Endowed Fellowship provides summer internship funding, in addition to advising, programmatic, and financial support for sophomores, juniors, and seniors interested in pursuing law school or medical school. Golden Fellows are selected on a competitive basis for their interest in pursuing law school or medical school, a demonstrated leadership potential, and the ability to maintain a GPA of 3.4 or higher.
The Manzi Fellowship, provides stipends to Colgate students who perform summer-long community service internships at participating nonprofits in the Boston, Massachusetts area.
The Music and Youth Fellowship, established in 2011 by Gary Eichhorn ‘75 and Joan Eichhorn P’05, provides current students an opportunity to work in nonprofit youth development organizations in the Boston area over the summer. Students partner with local organizations to teach music programs as a vehicle of developing self-confidence and self-esteem.
Summer on the Cuyahoga, sponsored by the Colgate Club of Cleveland, is a unique initiative designed to bring Colgate students to Cleveland each summer for challenging paid internships, civic engagement, alumni connections, and social events. Students are introduced to the professional, civic, and personal offerings in northeast Ohio.
The Internship Credit Program allows matriculated students who have completed at least one semester at Colgate, but have not yet completed their degree requirements, to earn academic credit for internships under the following circumstances: Students must apply to Career Services prior to beginning the internship for approval to earn credit; the internship must entail a minimum of 120 work hours and the employer must require academic credit as a condition of hiring. Approved internships carry 0.05 course credit and are graded on a Pass/Fail (P/F) basis only. Students may complete a maximum of four unique internships, for a total of 0.20 credits. Internship credit appears on the transcript with a subject code of INTR and a course number corresponding to the student’s class level. Students may not apply internship credit toward the requirements for the degree.
Through the generous support of alumni and parents, Career Services facilitates a competitive Summer Funding process in which students are awarded grants to pursue unpaid or underpaying summer experiences through the following funds:
The Career Services Internship Fund offers grants in support of unpaid or low-paid internships, research, and community service.
The Browning Family Endowed Internship Fellowship provides financial assistance to one or more students pursuing internships.
The Colgate Family Endowed Internship Fund, established by John K. Colgate Jr. ‘57, provides financial assistance to one or more students pursuing internships.
The Caroline E. Conroy ‘10 Endowed Fellowship provides financial assistance to one or more Colgate students who are participating in unpaid/underpaid internships relating to psychology.
The Class of 1966 Endowed Internship provides financial assistance for one or more Colgate student interns who qualify for need-based financial aid.
The Class of 1968 Endowed Internship provides financial assistance for one or more Colgate student interns who qualify for need-based financial aid.
The Class of 2015 Endowed Internship provides financial assistance for one or more Colgate student interns.
The Class of 2016 Endowed Internship provides financial assistance for one or more Colgate student interns.
The Galvin Family Endowed Fellowship provides financial support to one or more Colgate students who qualify for need-based financial aid.
The Aaron Jacobs ‘96 Memorial Fund provides support for Colgate students who wish to intern in the financial or business fields. Preference will be given to students who would not otherwise be able to complete an internship due to financial constraints.
The David M. Jacobstein ‘68 and Cara Jacobstein Zimmerman ‘97 Endowed Fellowship provides financial support for Colgate students who wish to undertake a public interest summer internship in fields such as law or politics and qualify for need-based financial aid.
The Bernt ‘82 and Maria Killingstad Endowed Fellowship provides financial support to one or more Colgate students who qualify for need-based financial aid.
The Milhomme International Internships are designed for students who want to enhance their cultural competency and gain career experience by means of an internship.
The Dr. Merrill Miller Endowed Fellowship supports students who want to gain experience through an internship or research experience in health or other science-related fields.
The Arthur Watson Jr. ‘76 Endowed Fund for Career Planning provides financial assistance to Colgate first-years or sophomores who wish to pursue an unexplored passion or interest that may lead to a fulfilling career.
Thought Into Action: Entrepreneurship at Colgate
Colgate’s entrepreneurship programs challenge participants to solve complex problems, think creatively, communicate powerfully, build resilience by overcoming failure, and most importantly take action. Student entrepreneurs are supported by robust programs, access to seed funding, dedicated spaces, and a highly-engaged group of over 180 alumni and parent mentors. The entrepreneurial leaders who develop at Colgate are able to tackle today’s most pressing challenges by building, testing, and launching solutions that make an impact on Colgate, society, and the world.
Programs include a year-long incubator in which students create a business or nonprofit, a summer accelerator for later-stage teams, on-campus venture support for student-run businesses, and an annual celebration of entrepreneurship featuring guest speakers and student pitches. Offices are based in Benton Hall, and student participants can work out of our downtown coworking space at 20 Utica Street.
Preparation for the Health Sciences
Colgate’s Health Sciences Advisory Committee (HSAC) is composed of faculty members who counsel students planning for careers in the health professions. The committee believes it is important that students receive complete and accurate information related to planning careers in the health professions. Admission into professional schools in the health sciences is highly competitive. The HSAC provides support for students beginning at first-year orientation and continuing through the application and interview process. Committee members also prepare letters of recommendation for students applying to health science professional school. For more information, contact the Health Sciences Advising Office, 115 Wynn Hall, 315-228-7340 or visit the Health Sciences web pages or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opportunities for High School Students
Community Student Program
The Community Scholars Program provides opportunities for high achieving junior and senior high school students in the area to enroll in Colgate courses for college credit. For additional information, including eligibility criteria and registration procedures, please contact your school guidance counselor or the Upstate Institute (315-228-5473).
High School Seminar Program
The High School Seminar Program provides opportunities for high school students from surrounding school districts to participate in late-afternoon non-credit bearing mini-seminars taught by Colgate faculty and administrators. For additional information, please contact the High School Seminar Coordinator at 315-228-7863.