The Curriculum and Academic Opportunities

General Education Rationale and Requirements

We live in a complex, diverse, and rapidly changing world—one presenting us with delicate moral and social problems that demand careful analysis and creative solutions. This is an era of uncertainty, of promise, and of opportunity. We believe that the most appropriate formal preparation to meet the challenges of today, to fulfill career goals, to lead a rich and rewarding personal life, and to serve society as a responsible citizen, is a broad-based, flexible education in the liberal arts and sciences. Building on that belief, the College has carefully designed an academic program that not only prepares students for graduate school, the professions, and positions of leadership in all areas of society, but one that also equips them with skills needed to pursue a lifetime of learning. General Education is the part of the curriculum we require of all students regardless of their major field of study or their career goals. In broader terms, it is the heart of our liberal arts education, because it represents an academic experience so valuable that we believe it should be shared by all Centre graduates. Regardless of the specific discipline addressed, all general education courses have several characteristics in common. These include commitments to: a) exposing students to the fundamental issues and the common methods of inquiry used in the subject; b) placing the academic discipline and methodologies in context with issues of societal and personal choices; c) requiring students to communicate effectively both orally and in writing; d) having assignments and activities that foster students' ability to think creatively, logically, and analytically in order to address problems from a variety of perspectives with open and questioning minds; and e) instructing in ways that engage students as active participants in the learning process.

The College's commitments to liberal education in the arts and sciences aim to preserve the ideals of intellectual freedom and active exploration of the human condition, while also developing skills that are critical for global citizenship.  The general education curriculum develops students’ competence in the following areas: awareness of social context, written communication, oral communication, critical inquiry, and creative exploration. 


The general education curriculum expands students’ awareness of the social and personal contexts that inform learning.  An emphasis on social context enables students a) to understand the connection between course material and the natural, physical, historical, cultural, economic, political, and ethical dimensions in which that knowledge and capacities were created, and b) to critically analyze and address complex social issues.

After completing the general education curriculum, successful students should be able to do the following:

  • Demonstrate understanding of social, historical, and cultural influences
  • Articulate how a specific discipline approaches a particular issue or artifact, and how that approach may differ from other disciplines 
  • Apply specific methods to examine the various dimensions of a particular field of study, cultural artifact, or social reality
  • Formulate possible responses to pressing social problems


The general education curriculum develops students’ ability to express ideas in writing in a rhetorically effective manner. Written communication involves learning to work in multiple genres, styles, and writing technologies.

After completing the general education curriculum, successful students should be able to do the following:

  • Produce accurate formal writing that accounts for contexts, purposes, audiences, and media
  • Employ stance, genre, style, and organization appropriate to specific academic contexts
  • Utilize flexible strategies for generating, proofreading, and revising texts
  • Demonstrate basic information literacy skills 


The general education curriculum develops students’ ability to express ideas in the form of a prepared, purposeful oral presentation or performance. Oral communication takes many different forms – including expository and persuasive speech, storytelling, and dramatic performance – and is designed to increase knowledge, foster understanding, or promote change in an audience’s attitudes, values, beliefs, behaviors, or emotional experience. 

After completing the general education curriculum, successful students should be able to do the following:

  • Present a clear central message
  • Utilize effective organization and supporting evidence
  • Demonstrate an awareness of audience and context
  • Employ language and delivery techniques appropriate to the situation and purpose


The general education curriculum instills a habit of mind characterized by the transdisciplinary exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion.

After completing the general education curriculum, successful students should be able to do the following:

  • Identify what is known and what is not known about a given problem
  • Evaluate evidence, recognizing the responsibility to ask critical questions of the source material
  • Examine alternative formulations or contradictory evidence
  • Demonstrate critical reading skills
  • Apply knowledge from one discipline to areas of study or experience outside that field


The general education curriculum engages students in a process of discovery that involves the use of calculated risks to identify and explore new or existing problems that may have unconventional solutions, the integration of information and skills across disciplines to address these problems, and the clear expression of the results of inquiry in a variety of formats.

After completing the general education curriculum, successful students should be able to do the following:

  • Identify problems and develop strategies for addressing them
  • Advance opinions and offer arguments informed by previous knowledge and experience
  • Communicate ideas in an appropriate medium, including non-verbal and material realms
  • Demonstrate a willingness to take intellectual risks and try new approaches in the face of ambiguity, challenge, or the potential for failure

The General Education requirements are in four areas:
  1. Humanities
  2. Society
  3. Science
  4. Fundamental Questions

1. Humanities (two courses)

A two-term core interdisciplinary sequence in the humanities, taught by faculty members from various academic disciplines, constitutes the requirement. The sequence introduces masterworks of literature and the fine arts within the context of particular times, places, and ideas that inform the masterwork. This sequence, beginning with ancient works, concentrates on developing the critical skills necessary to understand, appreciate, and judge works of literature, art, drama, philosophy, and music. These courses a) lead to an appreciation and understanding of key works in a variety of traditions; b) require students to engage in a close critical analysis of original work; c) sharpen and develop critical and interpretive skills, and provide the information and terminology necessary to make independent aesthetic judgments; and d) enhance the ability to read analytically and imaginatively, to look alertly and sympathetically at works of art, and to express thought with vigor and clarity in both oral and written form.

2. Society (two courses)

Individual human experience always takes place in the context of larger social forces. To think and act as responsible citizens, we must be able to understand these forces in terms of their historical development and their influence on contemporary life. Courses in this area are divided into two categories: those which stress analysis of social institutions and those which emphasize historical inquiry. To satisfy this requirement, students must take one course from each category. Typically courses satisfying the social analysis requirement a) stress the nature, function, and influence of organizations, institutions, or groups in society; b) illustrate disciplinary methods of inquiry necessary to formulate meaningful conclusions; and c) require students to identify significant social issues and analyze them from the standpoint of various theoretical and historical frameworks. Courses satisfying the historical analysis requirement will: a) introduce students to a coherent body of historical knowledge and the nature of historical inquiry; b) increase the student's knowledge and understanding of the complexity of human experience through the diversity of historical interpretation; and c) illustrate relationships between past events and contemporary ideas, institutions and processes.

3. Science (two courses)

Scientific inquiry has altered our view of the world and has brought about great benefits and enormous risks. The liberally educated person understands and appreciates science both as a body of knowledge and as a disciplined approach to comprehending our universe. These courses should enable the student to appreciate the potential of science, to recognize its limitations, to understand some of its technical applications, and to know how to develop informed opinions about its use. This requirement consists of two four-credit laboratory courses, one in life science and one in physical science, or a two-course natural science sequence that integrates the major areas of cosmological and biological evolution. Each of the natural science courses can be taken independently to satisfy either the physical (NSC 110) or life (NSC 120) science requirement. All general education science courses a) provide an introduction to the nature, methodology, historical development, and some fundamental concepts of both physical and life sciences; b) illustrate the interplay between experimentation and theory through direct laboratory experience emphasizing critical thought and the systematic observation and interpretation of data; c) demonstrate the relationships among the disciplines and fields of science; and d) include discussion of some of the social, political, and ethical implications of scientific achievements and research.

4. Fundamental Questions (two courses)

A persistent feature of our humanity is the ability and need to raise fundamental questions about the meaning of our existence, about the possibility and limits of human knowledge, about our common nature and destiny, and about what constitutes a good life. Becoming educated should include a mature understanding and a critical appraisal of values and beliefs which have shaped us and our culture. Because of their influence in Western culture's approaches to fundamental questions, the religious and ethical heritage of the Abrahamic traditions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—receive special emphasis in at least one of the two courses required. Courses satisfying this requirement will: a) introduce students to important figures, original texts, and major concepts and controversies in our religious and philosophical tradition; and b) encourage students to examine their own values and beliefs and those of their society.

First-Year Studies

During the CentreTerm all first-year students will take a First-Year Studies course designed to provide a small-group learning situation that will engage students and faculty in an intensive intellectual experience and to foster basic educational skills—how to read critically, think logically, and communicate effectively. First-Year Studies courses have no prerequisites. Students practice distinguishing evidence from opinion; discussion should reflect multiple viewpoints. Written and oral exercises emphasize imagination, creativity, reasoning, problem solving, integration, and judgment—all skills essential to critical thinking. Visits to museums or other sites, laboratory experiments, field study projects, interviewing, teaching, debating, inventing projects, may be part of a First-Year Studies course. Writing assignments need not follow the formal restrictions of conventional academic prose. The journal, the essay, the description, and the meditation are all useful models of writing, as long as they reveal a thoughtful and ambitious encounter with the material of the course. These courses enroll 15 or fewer students. While the seminar does not count toward a major, it may, through participation in discussion and research, provide a foretaste of upper-level work in the field of the instructor.

Basic Skills

Our general education requirements are separate from our basic-skills program. This program ensures that students attain specified levels of competence in mathematics, expository writing, and a foreign language. Basic competence in these subject areas provides a solid foundation for enhanced learning and academic success in other courses. For example, algebraic skills are a prerequisite for courses in the physical sciences; writing competence contributes to student success in all courses; and achievement in foreign language skills supports study and research in foreign cultures. Moreover, the basic skills program reflects our view that such levels of skill or knowledge in the three previously listed areas are fundamental to the liberally educated person and should be expected of all Centre graduates. Competence in mathematics aids our students in their ability to gather, use, and interpret quantitative data and to reason formally. Effective writing skills increase their capacity to express themselves in an organized, precise, and convincing way and to think analytically and critically. Achievement in foreign language study develops their insight into the nature of language—including their own—and in today’s interdependent world serves as a key to the understanding of the basic modes of thought, life, and expression of other cultures. Ideally, students will have achieved sufficient skill levels in secondary school to meet Centre’s basic skills requirement. For mathematics and foreign language, this may be done by passing a College-administered examination at entrance or, in the case of mathematics, by presenting acceptable scores on the appropriate sections of the SAT or ACT examinations or the AP calculus exam. Alternatively, students may meet these requirements by earning a grade of "C-" or higher in the following Centre courses: Mathematics MAT 110 (or MAT 145 by placement), and in Chinese CHN 120,  French FRE 120, German GER 120, Greek GRK 121, Japanese JPN 120, Latin LAT 120, or Spanish SPA 120/SPA 121. Student performance in expository writing will be evaluated at the end of the first long term of enrollment. At that time, students whose writing is judged to be competent will have satisfied the expository writing requirement. 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 earn a grade of C- or higher in ENG 170 by the end of the sophomore year.

Further Fluency in Basic Skills

To meet the challenges of an increasingly complex and interdependent world, the College believes all of its students should attain a level of expertise that goes beyond basic skills in at least one of the following areas: mathematics, foreign language or computer science. Consequently, students must complete one of the following course options:

  1. A mathematics course numbered 130 or higher
  2. A foreign language course numbered 210 or higher
  3. A computer science course numbered 117 or higher

Summary of Requirements

Foreign Language: 0-2 courses; 0-8 credit hours

Mathematics: 0-1 courses; 0-3 credit hours

Expository Writing: 0-1 courses; 0-4 credit hours

Further Fluency: 1 course; 3-4 credit hours

Humanities: 2 courses; 6 credit hours

Science: 2 courses; 8 credit hours

Society: 2 courses; 6 credit hours

Fundamental Questions: 2 courses; 6 credit hours

First-Year Studies: 1 course; 3 credit hours

Total: 10-14 courses; 32-48 credit hours

Total required for graduation = 110 credit hours

Organization and Structure of the Academic Program—Majors and Minors

The College’s instructional program is organized into three academic divisions—humanities, social studies, and science and mathematics—each chaired by a member of the faculty under the general oversight of the Dean of the College. The work of each division is carried out through separate program committees representing the various academic disciplines. Major Program Committees are comprised of faculty members and one or two student members. Major and minor areas of concentration offered within the divisions are as follows*:

Humanities (Division I)

Majors: art history, studio art, classical studies, dramatic arts, English, French, German studies, music, philosophy, Spanish.

Minors: art history, studio art, classical studies, creative writing, dramatic arts, English, film studies, French, German studies, music, philosophy, Spanish.

Social Studies (Division II)

Majors: anthropology/sociology, economics and finance, history, international studies, politics, religion.

Minors: anthropology, education, history, international studies, politics, religion, sociology.

Science and Mathematics (Division III)

Majors: behavioral neuroscience, biochemistry and molecular biology, biology, chemical physics, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, psychology.

Minors: behavioral neuroscience, biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, psychology.

Interdisciplinary (cross-divisional)

Major: environmental studies.

Minors: African and African American studies (I), Asian studies (I), environmental studies (II), gender studies (II), global commerce (II), Latin American studies (I), linguistics (I), social justice (II). For administrative purposes, these programs report to the noted division.

*One major (no minor) is required for the degree. Students may choose a maximum of two majors and one minor or one major and two minors.

Double Majors

Some students choose to complete two majors during their four years at Centre. This option allows students to expand their academic credentials and explore sometimes quite different personal interests. Some recent combinations include economics and mathematics, Spanish and international studies, psychology and philosophy. Students who double major have an advisor from each program.

Students declaring more than a single major must think carefully about their ability to complete all of their declared major and minor requirements, taking into consideration other plans such as study abroad and/or internships and research. The College does not guarantee that a student can complete more than one major in four years, and exceptions to major and minor requirements cannot be made due to conflicts with requirements in the primary major or due to study abroad.

Self-Designed Majors

In addition to the standard majors, students may also develop a major of their own design. They develop their personal program of junior-senior major study in conjunction with a faculty committee. The completed self-designed major proposal is then submitted for approval by the Academic Standards Committee. By necessity, self-designed majors must rely, substantially, on the strengths and expertise of our faculty and our course offerings. Recently approved self-designed majors include Asian studies, Middle Eastern studies, public policy, film studies and social justice. More detailed information is available from the Office of the Assistant Dean of Advising. Self-designed minors are not permitted.

Calendars and Credit Hours

The credit hour is the basic unit of credit and credit hours are equivalent to semester hours. The credit hour provides one important measure by which progress toward the degree is gauged.  The assignment of credit hours to coursework is not strictly tied to the number of class hours per week. The College recognizes that subject matter, pedagogical methods, and assessment tools will influence the design of any credit-bearing activity, including the frequency and duration of formally-structured faculty-student interactions.

The academic calendar consists of two 13-week terms (fall and spring) and a 3-week term in January (CentreTerm), plus a final exam period at the end of each term. In the fall and spring terms, three credit hour courses typically meet for one hour three days a week or for an hour and a half two days a week. In the January term (CentreTerm), three credit hour courses typically meet for three hours a day four or five days a week.

One credit hour is granted for a minimum of three hours of student academic work per week, on average, for the fall and spring terms. In the CentreTerm, all courses carry three credit hours, and a minimum of 36 hours of student academic work per week on average is expected.  Academic work includes formal faculty-student interactions (lectures, seminars, laboratories, supervised field work, tutorials, applied and studio instruction, etc.) as well as out-of-class activities such as student-instructor conferences, homework, research, writing and revision, reading, student collaborative and group work, community engaged experiences, academic internship work, practica, recitals, rehearsals, and reflection on all aspects of the coursework.

Courses, including credit-hour assignment, are approved by the faculty through a process that requires review and action by the appropriate academic program as well as the curriculum committee.

Study Abroad

We consider living and studying in a foreign culture to be an integral part of a liberal arts education, and study abroad has become one of the hallmarks of a Centre education. In the past few years, about 86% of Centre graduates have studied abroad at least once during their college careers, making Centre one of the top colleges in the nation where international study is so pervasive and important.

Residential Programs

Centre offers a number of different opportunities for off-campus study. Centre-in-London, Centre-in-Strasbourg, and Centre-in-the-Yucatan are residential programs in the U.K., France, and Mexico led by Centre faculty members. Centre-in-England (at the University of Reading), Centre-in-Glasgow (at the University of Glasgow) and Centre-in-China (in Shanghai) are Centre's residential programs in the U.K. and China. Three exchange programs bring foreign students to our campus as well as allowing Centre students to study for a semester at Yamaguchi Prefectural University in Japan; at one of five universities in Northern Ireland; or at Marista University in Merida, Mexico. In addition to the program at Marista University, intensive language immersion programs are offered through Centre’s special partnership with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies in Segovia, Spain, or Regensburg, Germany. Many students find their sophomore or junior year is the best time to participate in a residential program. However, rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors all are eligible to apply. Because these are not primarily language programs, students do not need to have studied French, Spanish, Chinese, or Japanese to study in France, Mexico, China, or Japan. The cost is the same as the cost of studying on the Danville campus, except for a $375 deposit/surcharge and airfare. Special endowed funds are available on a competitive basis to help students with financial need cover these costs.

CentreTerm and Summer Programs

In addition to these semester programs, during each CentreTerm Centre faculty members lead groups of students to study in their areas of expertise around the world. Upcoming sites include Belize, Cuba, France and Germany, Ghana, Italy, Japan, Spain, Thailand and Singapore, and Uganda. Students with intermediate Spanish skills can elect to do a CentreTerm internship through our Merida program in Mexico. In addition to a few courses offered by Centre faculty, each summer the Kentucky Institute for International Studies sponsors more than 20 academic programs that are popular among our students.

Non-Centre-Run Programs Abroad

Students take a temporary leave of absence from Centre to study in semester-long programs sponsored by outside providers. Financial considerations prevent some students from taking this option, since students who are on leaves of absence are not eligible to receive any Centre money and, by law, our financial aid office is not allowed to process state or federal aid due the student. Students planning to participate in a non-Centre program should get prior approval from the Center for Global Citizenship and the Registrar to make certain that all courses will count toward a Centre degree.

Research Opportunities for Students

Centre students often reach a point where they are ready for challenges beyond traditional classroom discussion and testing. When they are ready, students may undertake intensive research either independently or in collaboration with faculty members either at Centre or at other institutions. In some cases, the College provides research materials, summer housing, and stipends. Outside grants also support collaborative research and study. While the majority of research takes place in the summer, academic-year opportunities are also available. Students may present their results at regional, state, and national meetings; many students have won prizes and other awards for their work. In addition, students are encouraged to present their work at Centre’s annual undergraduate research, internship, and creative endeavors (RICE) symposium.

The Brown Fellows Program

In partnership with the James Graham Brown Foundation, Centre launched the Brown Fellows Program in 2009. The initiative is the premier scholarship and enrichment program in Kentucky and is one of the nation’s elite fellowship programs. The program helps students maximize their academic, personal, and leadership potential.

The John C. Young Program

The John C. Young Scholars Program is a senior honors program which enables a select group of outstanding senior students to engage in independent study and research in their major field or in an interdisciplinary area. The scholars work closely with a faculty mentor and receive financial support for research and travel. They present their results at a public symposium in late spring, and their papers are published in journal form by the College. This program was initiated through an Excellence-in-Undergraduate-Education grant from the Knight Foundation. Centre was one of eight leading liberal arts colleges (Carleton, Macalester, and Swarthmore, for example) to receive the first of these awards to encourage increased collaboration between faculty and students on extra-class intellectual activities. Applications for participation are submitted in the spring of one's junior year.

National Fellowships and Honors

Since 1991, Centre has had 51 Fulbright Scholars for a year of postgraduate study, independent research, or serving as an English language teaching assistant anywhere in the world and 13 Fulbright-recommended teaching assistantships sponsored through the French Ministry of Education. One Centre Fulbright Scholar recently received the only Fulbright extension grant (one year) awarded to an American Fulbrighter her year. The six 2018 winners are spending 2018-19 in Brazil, Finland, Honduras, Indonesia, Kosovo, and Mexico. Other winners of national honors in recent years include two Gates Cambridge Scholars (for study at the University of Cambridge in England), eight Rotary Global Grant Scholarships (for a year of international study), a Mitchell Scholar (for a year's study in Ireland), a Boren Scholar (for a year's study in countries deemed critical to U.S. national security), and three Goldwater Scholars (for students in mathematics, science, and engineering). Eight Centre alumni have been Rhodes Scholars (study at the University of Oxford in England). Centre students also regularly win National Science Foundation awards for undergraduate research during the summer; seven have won NSF Graduate Research Fellowships, which provide three years of support for graduate study. Students interested in applying for national fellowships and honors should check the list of contacts available online or consult with the chair of the Honors and Prizes Committee early in the fall for information and applications. It is not too early to begin inquiries as early as the first year or sophomore year. Students interested in undergraduate or graduate NSF opportunities should speak with their science professors.

Computer Literacy

Students at Centre College are frequently exposed to, engaged with, and become proficient with technology both in and out of the classroom at Centre; Centre students are computer literate. First year students are immersed in the Extended Orientation program in the first six weeks of their Centre College experience. Through this, all first-year students gain beginning basic instruction on the technology, as well as other information they will need to be successful in the rigorous academic programs and residential environment at Centre College. During extended orientation, research librarians give every first year student an introduction to library staff, services and resources. Students receive instruction on using the library catalog, searching electronic databases, and citing sources. The information covered in this orientation is also made available in an online Research Guide that students may access at any time. Students will utilize these skills throughout their four years in most of their classes. Students have access to desktop computers in the library. Laptops and chargers are available for checkout and the library has a presentation space available in which students may practice and record their oral presentations.

Students also complete a variety of technology-based assignments in their required first-year seminars, in all general education courses, and in courses throughout the curriculum. These range from the use of word processing programs to create typed papers to a more sophisticated use of spreadsheets, computer simulations, and graphical software. In their upper-level courses, they also learn to use discipline-specific software and technologies. Many courses across the curriculum and at all levels of study require the use of presentation software to complement the delivery of oral presentations. Oral and written communication are explicit student learning goals for the first-year studies courses and for our general education curriculum. Therefore it wasn’t surprising that one hundred percent of first-year students who took the National Survey of Student Engagement(NSSE) said that they gave a course presentation during their first year at Centre College (NSSE Survey 2013).

Equipment and assistance are available for these technology-based projects through the Center for Teaching and Learning. Some recent examples of in-class assignments include: the creation of videos, digital presentations, digital stories, and the writing of blogs. In addition, students have access to the media lab where instruction and availability to more advanced software programs such as Adobe Master Collection, iLife, Comic Life, and Anime Studio exist.

Outside of the classroom, the ITS Technology Support Center provides a central location for computer, mobile device and software support and configuration assistance. Students are provided access to public computers throughout campus with a host of general and specialized software. Students with their own computers and/or mobile devices can access campus systems as well as the Internet most everywhere on campus using Centre’s pervasive wireless and wired campus network. From the campus portal system, CentreNet, students can access their email accounts, Microsoft Office 365 (web-based version), Moodle, and select cloud-based document repositories as well as full access to online student registration, class schedules and degree program planning tools. Our students are also provided with access to many online departmental services from career and graduate school planning resources to discipline-based research services. Centre students have access to and use a variety of sophisticated electronic tools in their pursuit of academic success and excellence.


The Academic Advising Office coordinates academic advising and partners with the Student Life Office to implement new student orientation. New student orientation includes summer mailings, basic skills and placement testing, the fall orientation program, and special programs for students during the fall term. All faculty members (plus selected administrators) serve as academic advisors to students. Students have general advisors—usually matched by interests—during their first and second years. After selecting a major or majors toward the end of the sophomore year, students are then assigned an advisor in a specific academic discipline. The Assistant Dean for Advising also works in a targeted way with students who experience academic difficulty, particularly in the first two years at Centre, and with students with disabilities.

The Center for Career & Professional Development

The Center for Career & Professional Development (CCPD) supports students’ holistic development by helping them connect the dots between the knowledge and skills they are gaining both inside and outside the classroom to potential careers, enhancing their career and professional development through programming and services, and providing them with the tools and knowledge necessary for post-graduate success.
Engaging in the process of career development begins at the start of students’ first year. At Extended Orientation, students are given a Career Roadmap, a four-year guide to career success. The Roadmap provides students with concrete steps they can take to facilitate both career and professional development. To help guide students through the Roadmap and through this process, the CCPD assigns students, once they have declared a major, to career counselors by division (arts & humanities, social sciences, sciences & math), so that students can work with someone with specialized knowledge of their career field(s) of interest. There is also a career counselor dedicated to meeting specifically with students who are undeclared or undecided about their major. Career counselors can walk students through the entire career development process, from career exploration through applying for jobs or graduate schools. Along the way, career counselors can provide students with self-assessments, teach them how to research careers, help them locate and apply for internships or undergraduate research, assist with resume writing and interview preparation, teach students how to network and connect them with interested alumni through the Career Mentor Network, help hone their professionalism skills, and assist with locating and applying to post-graduate jobs and graduate schools. In addition, the CCPD offers numerous special events throughout each year, including Senior Celebration, Career Kick-Start, Career Chats, Emerging Professionals Series, on-campus employer information sessions and recruiting, and the Spotlight Career Fair. Information on all of this plus numerous resources including Handshake, our personal internship and job posting site, can be found on the CCPD website.
Following this, Centre graduates experience unparalleled success. On average, 97% of graduates are employed in professional positions or enrolled in graduate school within one year of graduation. 


The Center for Career & Professional Development (CCPD) recognizes that internships are essential in supporting successful careers after graduation. Aside from valuable real-world experience, internships let students try out careers, giving them the freedom to begin exploring their futures before graduation. An internship is a form of experiential learning that empowers students to integrate knowledge and theory learned throughout the curriculum with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Centre offers internship opportunities to all students on a non-credit basis and during the junior and senior years on a credit basis.
An internship for academic credit can be completed during all academic terms as well as the summer and includes substantive academic work. The experience is guided by a member of the faculty and by a supervisor at the internship site with oversight by the CCPD. Students may earn two or three credits for their experiences based on hours worked. One-credit internships are also available in the summer. Students considering this type of internship must meet with their career counselor to discuss their options and internship requirements. During the summer, a small fee is charged to complete an academic credit internship. 
An alternate non-credit internship exists for students who want to gain additional insights and experiences related to their potential career choice. This internship does not result in academic credit and is most often completed during the summer. The CCPD can assist in finding these sorts of experiences.
Both types of internships can be valuable components of a student’s career and professional development process, enabling them to make connections between the college experience and their chosen career fields. Also, interested students may apply for funding (on a competitive basis) for internships taking place during the CentreTerm or the summer. Whether engaging in an internship for academic credit or not, all participating students should report their experience to the Center for Career & Professional Development. 

Preparation for Careers and Graduate and Professional Schools

Medicine and Other Health Professions

Medicine is the most popular health-career area at Centre, but our graduates also choose specialized study in fields such as dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, nursing, physical therapy, and veterinary medicine, among others. Biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, and chemistry are the most popular pre-med majors at Centre, but students from every academic major are accepted to medical school. Diversity is, in fact, not only possible, but encouraged by many medical schools, which have come to realize that students who pursue interests in art, music, philosophy, history, literature, and other areas of liberal study tend to become well-rounded, highly effective physicians. In fact, the only science background generally required for admission to medical school is two years of chemistry and one year each of biology and physics. However, the MCAT exam, required of all applicants to medical schools, does require a strong understanding of biology, physics, and chemistry, as well as some study of sociology, psychology, and statistics. Centre has established a Health Professions Advisory Group comprised of seven faculty members. Each faculty member is in charge of advising for a different health profession. Each advisor is available to students throughout their four years at Centre (and beyond) to help them plan their courses of study and to assist them in exploring the many health-related professions. They maintain close contact with the medical and other pre-health schools to which Centre students apply most frequently. Advisors play an active role in making sure that the schools to which our students have applied process their materials in a timely manner. This continuing level of personal attention and concern is an important element in the success of Centre graduates in gaining acceptance to medical and other pre-health schools. Another important resource that helps Centre students prepare for careers in medicine is the Pre-Health Society. This organization of students who are aiming toward careers in medicine and other health-related fields engages in a variety of activities. These include taking field trips to pre-health schools and bringing their representatives on campus to speak with interested students, inviting recent graduates back to campus to talk about their experiences in medical or other pre-health school and in practice, and arranging for local health professionals to meet and talk with students. The society also coordinates a volunteer program with Danville’s Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center that enables students to work regularly in the hospital’s different departments to become familiar with hospital procedures in general and the roles of different health care professionals.


English, politics, history, philosophy and economics and finance are the majors most often selected by Centre students who pursue law, but there is no such thing as a rigidly defined pre-law major. Students from every academic major are accepted into law school. The broad-based skills that law schools emphasize—effective writing and speaking, analytical ability, and a general exposure to the social sciences—are essential goals of Centre’s liberal arts curriculum. For this reason our graduates have a solid record of success in gaining admission to law schools. At Centre, a faculty pre-law advisor works with students from their first year on to help them explore law as a profession and to assist them in the application process during their junior and senior years. This advisor also counsels interested students on internship and volunteer opportunities that could enrich their experience and demonstrate their interest in the field of law. In addition, Centre has a Law Society composed of students interested in careers in the legal field. This organization meets regularly, sponsors field trips to places such as courtrooms and law schools, and brings experts in the legal profession as well as representatives from law schools on campus to speak with students. Centre also hosts a law school fair each October.


While business, unlike medicine and law, does not necessarily require an advanced degree, Centre graduates frequently choose it as a field of advanced study. The most common major among Centre graduates who pursue advanced degrees in business is economics and finance, although graduate business administration programs admit students from every academic major. As in other fields of advanced study, Centre graduates have had strong success in gaining admission to a wide variety of master of business administration (M.B.A.) programs. Students panning to pursue an M.B.A. degree should prepare by taking courses in accounting, finance, computer science and economics. Although the M.B.A. is the degree most frequently pursued by Centre graduates who complete advanced study in business, there are other, more specialized degrees that Centre graduates pursue, such as the master of management, master of accountancy, master of hospital administration, and Ph.D. in economics.


Centre has developed partnerships/pathway opportunities with both the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and with the University of Louisville that will enable qualified students to enroll in a master’s degree program with initial certification in either elementary or secondary education. Details about these programs can be found on the Education page of this catalog. Centre students also pursue a career in education through participation in Teach for America and Teach Kentucky.

4-2 Nursing Program

Under Vanderbilt University’s Liberal Arts-Nursing 4-2 Program, a student spends the first four years of college at Centre and the remaining two calendar years at Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing studying in one of the nursing specialty areas that Vanderbilt offers in its Accelerated Master's of Science in Nursing Program. In order to be eligible to apply to Vanderbilt's accelerated MSN program, students must complete six prerequisite courses in science and math while at Centre. Although Centre students are not guaranteed admission to Vanderbilt's program, each application from a Centre student receives heightened attention. In addition to a bachelor’s degree from Centre College, students successfully completing the program earn a master of science degree in nursing from Vanderbilt. This unique combination of study on two differently oriented campuses will provide a student with training in nursing education, strongly complemented by extensive study in the humanities and the social sciences. Additional information is available from the College's pre-nursing advisor.

Dual-Degree Engineering Studies Program

Centre offers a dual-degree engineering program in cooperation with the University of Kentucky, Vanderbilt University and Washington University (St. Louis). This program leads to a bachelor of science degree from Centre and a bachelor of engineering degree from the partner institution. Students normally complete the combined studies in five years—three years at Centre and two years at the engineering school. It is designed to provide a background both in the liberal arts and in technical engineering studies. Students complete the requirements for a Centre degree—including a major in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, or chemical physics—and the partner university requirements for an engineering degree to earn the dual undergraduate degrees. Additional information is available from the College’s dual-degree engineering studies advisor.

Reserve Officers Training Corps

Centre students may participate in the reserve officers training programs of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force through the University of Kentucky. Two-year and four-year Air Force ROTC programs are available. Most courses are offered on the University of Kentucky campus, and students are responsible for their own transportation.

Students receive academic credit toward their Centre degrees for the courses listed in this section. Winners of three-and four-year Army or Air Force ROTC scholarships receive, in addition to their support from the Army or Air Force, scholarships covering room and board for the period of the ROTC scholarship. Students may be eligible for additional scholarships or financial aid.

Disability Services

Centre College is committed to fostering respect for the diversity of the College community and the individual rights of each member of that community. In this spirit, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and expanded by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Centre College seeks to provide disabled students with the support services and other reasonable accommodations needed to ensure equal access to the programs and activities of the College. While the College provides a number of services to support the academic work of all its students, this statement outlines a variety of additional services provided specifically to students with mobility, visual, hearing, or learning disabilities.

Support services for students with disabilities at Centre College are coordinated by the Assistant Dean for Advising. The Assistant Dean counsels individual students to determine appropriate accommodations and identify resources, and is also available to consult with faculty and staff members.

All incoming students are invited to complete a confidential special-needs information form. On the basis of this form and appropriate, current documentation, the Assistant Dean speaks with students who have identified their needs, determines the appropriate services, and completes the appropriate forms to notify faculty members of a student’s classroom needs. Arrangements for services, equipment, modification of course material, classroom, and other reasonable accommodations may require several weeks’ advance notice. Applicants requiring special services are encouraged to contact the Assistant Dean immediately upon acceptance to make timely provision of needed services possible.

Academic modifications vary according to individual need and preference, as well as course content and mode of teaching. Students are expected to discuss arrangements that might be necessary with their professors at the beginning of each term. The office of the Assistant Dean for Advising is prepared to assist both students and faculty members in making such accommodations.

Special housing requests based on documented disabilities may be considered through the joint coordination of the Assistant Dean for Advising, the Director of Housing, and the Director of Parsons Health Services.