The liberal arts curriculum at Davidson College is dedicated to the intellectual and personal growth of students. This curriculum affirms the intrinsic worth of a broad exposure to intellectual and artistic achievement and strives to nurture students’ capacities for knowledge, understanding, judgment and compassion.
Teaching is the primary activity and responsibility of the faculty, who are also active in research and service. Developing skills in the methods by which knowledge is acquired, evaluated, and appropriately applied is the primary activity and responsibility of students.
The Davidson curriculum stresses competence in reading, writing, mathematical skills, oral communication and technological literacy.
Students develop oral communication skills through class discussion, seminar presentations, and formal oral communication courses.
To develop their skills in writing and analysis, students may select one of the following options to satisfy the college writing requirement: a designated writing course (WRI 101), with a variety of specific topics offered or the two-course (and three credit) Humanities sequence (HUM 103, 104).
First-year writing courses (WRI 101: Writing in the Liberal Arts) are designed around four major writing projects, each devoted to producing a sophisticated written argument in response to a "big question" of interest to both scholars and the wide, educated public. Students learn the arts of productive disagreement, learn how to frame issues for various intellectual contexts, and practice the arts of drafting and revising prose.
The Writing requirement is the only course that first-year students must complete during their first year. To aid in the selection of additional courses, students should familiarize themselves with the College's graduation requirements.
Most academic courses at Davidson are worth one credit (there are a few two credit courses with the course number 103), and 32 credits are needed to graduate. With the normal course load being four classes, four credits times eight semesters equals 32 total credits required for graduation. Other schools award credit using a semester credit scale, and in those terms, one Davidson credit equates to four semester credits. Davidson classes typically include three hours of in-class instruction and nine hours of out-of-class work per class per week.
To encourage the excitement and self-discipline that come from probing a subject in depth, the college requires students to declare a major by the end of their second year.
For more information about majors, minors and interdisciplinary minors, see the College Catalog.
Students may also develop an interdisciplinary major through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.