Degree Requirements

We believe that the most appropriate formal preparation to meet the challenges of today’s world and to lead a satisfying personal and professional life is a carefully conceived educational program in the liberal arts and sciences. With this philosophy in mind, the College developed a precise set of curricular and degree requirements based on the principles of basic skills, breadth, depth, and discovery.

Basic Skills Requirements in Expository Writing, Foreign Language, and Mathematics

The College requires each student to demonstrate basic competency in three academic areas: expository writing, foreign language, and mathematics. Basic skills examinations are given once to all students—during orientation prior to entrance. If basic competency is not achieved at that time, a student should take an appropriate course to satisfy the requirement. Students should plan their studies to ensure that all basic skills requirements are met by the end of the sophomore year.

Expository Writing

Entering first-year students are initially placed in HUM 110 or HUM 111 based on English ACT or critical reading SAT scores. (HUM 111 includes a one-hour writing lab). At the end of fall term, the writing performance of all first-year students is evaluated by the Committee on Student Writing. At this time, students whose writing is judged to be competent will have satisfied the writing requirement. Those students whose writing is judged to fall short of competency will be required to submit a satisfactory three-page portfolio to the Committee on Student Writing by the end of the spring term of the first year or pass a writing course (ENG 170) by the end of the sophomore year.

Foreign Language

Competency in foreign language may be established through attaining a satisfactory score on a College-administered exam at entrance or through earning a grade of “C-” or higher in Chinese CHN 120, Classics CLA 120/CLA 121, French FRE 120, German GER 120, Japanese JPN 120 or Spanish SPA 120/SPA 121.


Competency in mathematics may be established by presenting acceptable scores on the appropriate sections of the ACT or SAT examinations or the AP calculus exam. Alternatively, students may meet this requirement by earning a grade of “C-” or higher in the Centre math course MAT 110 or other appropriate math course by placement.

Placement Policy for Expository Writing, Language, and Mathematics

The College’s placement policies are flexibly designed to place students in the course which will best serve as a continuation of their previous education. Placement is based on all available data: results from tests given at the beginning of the first year, scores of College Board achievement tests and other standardized tests taken before entrance, number of years of high school preparation (consideration is given to the time at which high school courses were taken), level of achievement in high school courses, and performance during the first two weeks of college classes. Proper placement helps assure students that they will not be placed in a course which is either too advanced or repetitious of previous work.

Policies for Fulfilling Foreign Language Requirements

All students other than international students must satisfy foreign language requirements through course work or examinations in foreign languages offered by the College, or through foreign language course work transferred from another approved college or university. In the case of U. S. resident students entering with some fluency in a foreign language other than one offered by the College, the College is not obliged to evaluate the student in that language. Normally, such students must establish basic competency in a language offered by the College. Admitted international students (permanent residents of a country other than the United States) whose native language is something other than English automatically satisfy the foreign language requirements (basic competency and further fluency) based on their ability in English, as demonstrated by their entrance credentials.

Convocation Requirement

A minimum of 50 events each year will be designated as convocations. Since “convocation” derives from the Latin com (meaning together) and vocare (to call), a convocation may be any event in which members of the Centre community are called together. The Convocation Committee, consisting of two students, at least two faculty, and at least two members of the administration, will coordinate the selection of convocations and will have final authority in all other matters having to do with convocations. Convocations are a co-curricular requirement. Full-time students who accumulate at least 12 convocation credits in an academic year will receive the equivalent of one hour of “A” recorded on their transcripts and figured into their grade point average. Full-time students who do not accumulate at least 12 convocation credits during the academic year will receive the equivalent of one hour of “U” recorded on their transcripts and figured into their grade point average. Convocation credit is not applied toward the number of credit hours required for graduation. Students who participate in Centre’s fall term or spring term programs abroad receive 6 convocation credits for the term they are abroad. Students who participate in an off-campus program or international internship during CentreTerm receive one convocation credit. A schedule of convocation events will be distributed at the beginning of each term; any additions or changes to the schedule will be publicized. The complete convocation policy is provided in the Academic Policy section of this catalog.

First-Year Orientation Program and Requirement

Each Fall Term, Centre College conducts a required orientation program for first-year students. The orientation program starts five days before classes begin and extends into the first half of the term with weekly meetings. The goal of the program is to help new students make a successful transition into college and into the Centre experience. All fall term first-year students are required to fully participate in the program. Students who fail to satisfy the participation requirements of the orientation program will have one credit hour of the grade “U” added to their transcripts and included in their cumulative grade average. That grade may not be replaced or removed through participation in subsequent programs. Satisfactory participation in the orientation program does not earn academic credit applicable to degree requirements. Incoming transfer students participate in only the portion of the orientation program scheduled before the start of classes.