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