The Curriculum and Academic Opportunities

General Education Rationale and Requirements

Centre College’s flexible graduation requirements and individualized mentoring by faculty members will prepare you to choose the courses that build upon your existing strengths and talents, while also taking you to new levels of achievement. The curriculum prepares Centre graduates for lives of meaningful work and sustained curiosity. By the time you graduate, you will have taken a unique set of courses that will empower you to engage with, to learn from, and to contribute to your chosen communities—and the world beyond them.

The General Education Curriculum is designed to complement, not compete with, your chosen major. Only three courses (two first-year seminars and an interdisciplinary capstone) will take place at specific moments during your academic journey. With guidance from your advisor, you will decide how and when to pursue the other course requirements.

In your two first-year seminar courses you will meet other first-year students, embrace your new role in the Centre College community, and build on your existing skills in writing and oral communication. You will take courses in a second language and in math. You will explore the three main academic divisions of the College: the arts and humanities, social studies, and sciences and math. The Centre curriculum will also challenge you to get out into the world, focusing on experiences and concrete applications of your academic pursuits through areas such as Arts Engagement, Global Engagement, Community-Based Learning, Mentored Research, or Internships. You will join others in discussing sustainability and diversity, two pressing areas of social responsibility. Lastly, as a capstone, a finishing touch to your Centre education, you will complete an interdisciplinary seminar during your junior or senior years. This seminar will push you to think critically and creatively about complex challenges and opportunities in the world today.

Doctrina Lux Mentis Courses I and II

Centre College’s motto is doctrina lux mentis, Latin for “learning is the light of the mind.” We use this motto to remind us of our collective mission. As a Centre College student, you will join a community of scholars who value learning as an engagement that not only illuminates the mind but also shines the light of understanding on the world and all those within it. This motto gives its name to three of the core experiences in Centre’s General Education Curriculum: Doctrina Lux Mentis (DLM) I, II, and III. The first two DLM courses (I and II) are seminar courses taken in your first year, one in the fall and one in the spring, whereas DLM III serves as the capstone experience.

DLM I and II courses provide a small-group learning environment that will engage you in intensive intellectual experiences to develop your collegiate educational skills—how to read critically, how to think logically, and how to communicate effectively. You will complete these courses with instructors from different academic divisions, which will begin your introduction to the breadth of learning opportunities. DLM I will emphasize writing skills, while DLM II will emphasize oral communication skills. Both written and oral exercises incorporate imagination, creativity, reasoning, problem-solving, integration, and judgment—all skills essential to critical thinking. Visual communication (for example: photos, videos, maps, design, or data visualization) and information literacy are part of both courses.

As in all of your courses at Centre, you will work closely with your professors in your DLM courses to develop your communication skills and to reflect on your own process of learning. Techniques include conferences with your professor to revise multiple drafts of a paper and evaluate your own process of thinking, writing, and learning.

Second Language Courses

You live in an interdependent, globalized world. The ability to understand and communicate in multiple languages serves as a key to help you understand the basic modes of thought, life, and expression of other cultures. Knowledge of other cultures will contribute in essential ways to your responsible engagement in this world.

If you have second language skills that place you above the introductory level by our placement test, you will take at least one additional college-level language course conducted in that language. If you do not yet have introductory second language skills—or you would prefer to start learning a new language—you must take at least the two-course introductory sequence in that language.

You can enroll in courses in the following languages at Centre (in alphabetical order): Arabic, Chinese, French, German, ancient Greek, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish.

If you are an international student (meaning a permanent resident of a country other than the United States) and your native language is not English, you will automatically fulfill your second language requirement through your coursework in English.  You are certainly welcome to study an additional language during your time at Centre.


Mathematics is essential to your ability to understand and communicate in the contemporary world. In your math classes, you will improve your analytical thinking and your ability to model, analyze, and solve problems in a wide variety of situations. Mathematics is fundamentally important for both communication and cognition, and your required math course—chosen in conjunction with the professors of the Mathematics program based on your placement test—will help you become an active, informed, and critically thoughtful participant in a complex world.

Exploration Courses

You will have freedom to explore many different disciplines while you are a student at Centre College. This exposure will set you up for a lifetime of curiosity and exploration of the world around you. Your faculty advisor will encourage you to take a wide range of courses, especially in your first and second years. Many students uncover unexpected interests and even new career directions in these first two years.

In Exploration Courses you will continue to learn how to learn as you explore a new academic discipline, building your cognitive skills as well as your knowledge. You will learn how to read carefully, to speak confidently, and to write persuasively; these courses will stimulate your curiosity, empathy, critical-thinking, problem-solving, and leadership abilities. The Exploration requirement has few restrictions, provided that you complete six courses from six different disciplines: two each from each of the three divisions, Arts & Humanities, Social Studies, and Sciences & Mathematics.


Exploration of the Arts & Humanities (two courses in two different disciplines): Exploring the Arts & Humanities means that you will engage with works of creative or intellectual expression. The arts and humanities provide methods for exploring the varied expression of human experience and the means of participating in that expression. Through the use of diverse forms of communication, exposure of multiple perspectives, and engagement of the imagination, you will develop the capacity for creativity, risk-taking, problem-solving, personal insight, and empathy.

Exploration of the Social Studies (two courses in two different disciplines): Exploring the Social Studies means that you will engage actively and empathetically with significant social issues from various points of view. The study of different cultures and communities— contemporary, historical, or prehistorical—develops your capacity to understand the points of view, sentiments, and intentions of others. Through the exploration and study of multiple peoples and perspectives, you will learn to appreciate the multiplicity of human worldviews, to explore your own identity, to identify and challenge injustice, and to work towards a more equitable society.

Exploration of the Sciences & Mathematics (two courses in two different disciplines, including at least one laboratory course): Exploring the Sciences & Mathematics means that you will develop your ability to understand and evaluate the formation and evolution of knowledge in these areas. The study of the computational, physical, or life sciences provides you with a disciplined approach to comprehending our universe. Through the systematic conceptualization, observation and interpretation of data, you will apply empirical methods of critical analysis and problem solving to address a wide variety of current and future problems.

Connection Courses

As you make your way through Centre’s curriculum, you will explore the ways your academic experiences relate to major questions facing all of us: How can you take what you have learned in the classroom out into the world to make the world better? How does consideration of diversity affect our cultural narratives? How do issues of sustainability affect our everyday decisions? With its emphasis on breadth of knowledge and skills, Centre’s curriculum is uniquely suited for preparing students to address complex global issues facing humanity in the 21st Century. You will take four courses explicitly designed to connect theory and practice; at least two of these courses will be experiential while two will engage directly with human diversity and environmental sustainability.

Experiential Learning

The test of a Centre education is not simply how it exposes you to a wide variety of fields and disciplines; rather, its test will be your ability to apply your knowledge and skills to the consideration of real-life problems in the workplace, in your communities, and beyond.  Experiential Learning courses will require you to actively engage with people, materials, and ideas with the aim of contributing to a greater endeavor. 

Centre College offers many Experiential Learning opportunities that enable you to apply and extend the knowledge and skills you have developed in your curricular exploration. These courses are designed to help you put your theoretical knowledge into practice through academically rigorous, hands-on learning activities. All students will benefit when you bring what you learn through such experiential activities into your other courses at Centre. All Experiential Learning courses will actively engage you in the process of learning so that you understand how your courses are relevant to innovation, application, and problem-solving. You will complete at least two courses from two of the following five areas: Arts Engagement, Global Engagement, Community-Based Learning, Mentored Research, and Internships, described below.

Arts Engagement courses allow you to practice skills and apply knowledge about the arts. You will create, perform, respond, and connect by applying principles, refining skills, and mastering techniques through projects in areas like Creative Writing, Music, Studio Art, and Theatre. These courses develop your appreciation of artistic processes and the ability to take risks. Consult the course listings for these opportunities.

Global Engagement courses help you to explore cultures, life experiences, and worldviews different from your own. In these courses you will explore the world as an interrelated system. You may earn credit for this category by participating in relevant study abroad, study away, or on-campus experiences. Consult the Center for Global Citizenship and the course listings for these opportunities.


Community-Based Learning courses introduce you to field-based learning experiences where students and community partners can support and learn from one another. These courses create unique opportunities for you to participate in, learn about, and serve wider communities beyond the college campus. Look for Community-Based Learning opportunities marked in the course listings.


Mentored Research let you take a more active role in your academic journey. These experiences lead you to make connections between key concepts and questions with active involvement in systematic investigation and research. Guided by a mentor, you will apply concepts, skills, and procedures common to a field of inquiry towards the goal of making an original contribution to the discipline. You will engage complex questions and use the relevant methods of inquiry to interrogate sources or evidence and draw informed conclusions. Consult course listings and speak with professors in your chosen field about these opportunities.


Internships allow you to connect skills and knowledge from the classroom to the world of work. Academic-credit internships (usually listed as INT 400 in the course catalogue) provide two levels of supervision: a Centre faculty member and an on-site supervisor. These INT 400 internships combine a substantive academic component with a significant career-related component and are available after you have completed your sophomore year. Please consult the Center for Career and Professional Development for more information.


A Centre education will help you develop and practice skills necessary for effective and respectful engagement within or among local, national, or global communities. These courses will center the experiences and outlooks of marginalized communities, and engage in critical analysis of the varied mechanisms through which individuals and communities are marginalized. Students will explore ways in which these groups have creatively envisioned an equitable and just world as well as how they have responded and resisted as actors with agency.

For this requirement, you will complete one Diversity course which has significant goals and content related to living in a diverse and unequal world. Although other courses are likely to include conversations about diversity and equity, the Diversity requirement formalizes this expectation so that each student will take at least one course that focuses explicitly on the structural challenges and opportunities faced by particular individuals and groups.  Your course will emphasize deep listening to a diversity of perspectives with humility and respect in order to develop an appreciation for the variety of lived experiences. The course will help students to identify behaviors, policies, and procedures that perpetuate marginalization and injustice, and explore ways in which these systems have been, and might be, transformed. Students will be encouraged to consider their own relationships to societal inequities and systemic oppression.

Diversity is the complex representation of factors such as ability, age, citizenship status, class, ethnicity, faith background, gender expression, gender identity, geographic region, national origin, neurodiversity, race, and sexual orientation that comprise individual and group expressions of identity. (These factors are listed alphabetically and not ranked.) Our curriculum will help you envision and build a world in which all groups and individuals are treated with dignity and respect. You may fulfill the Diversity requirement in any discipline because diversity comprises complex issues, and creating a more equitable world requires creative and inclusive interdisciplinary thinking. Look for Diversity courses marked in the course listings.


Sustainability is one of the core values of Centre College. Your professors will help ensure that you can help create both local and global environmental solutions for the 21st Century and beyond. At Centre, you will be introduced to new ways of thinking about environmental sustainability that highlight the interdependence of social, economic, and ecological relationships in our communities. A course focused on environmental sustainability will examine how individuals, communities, and global societies can meet their needs without compromising the interconnected environmental systems upon which future generations depend.


You will complete one Sustainability course that has significant goals and content related to environmental sustainability. In this course you will analyze your own choices and behavior in the context of environmental opportunities and constraints. Together, we will identify sustainable solutions for all communities, racial groups, countries, future generations, and the natural world. You may fulfill the Sustainability requirement in any discipline because sustainability is a complex problem and solutions will require creative and interdisciplinary thinking. Look for Sustainability courses marked in the course listings.

Interdisciplinary Capstone: Doctrina Lux Mentis III

This capstone course will challenge you to work with students and faculty members across the College to think critically about and to propose solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. These interdisciplinary, upper-level courses taken by juniors and seniors require the application of knowledge and skills developed during your broad exploration of the Centre curriculum. You will join a group of student-scholars from across the College in this capstone, closing your Centre career by returning to Centre’s motto, doctrina lux mentis—learning is the light of the mind. This capstone experience will help you move on from Centre with confidence, preparing you to move from Centre, out.

General Education Summary

Upon completion of the requirements and the attainment of a Bachelor’s degree from Centre College, each graduate of the College will develop their skills in Cognition, Communication, Community, Connection, Creativity, and Critical Thinking:

  1. Cognition: Develop strategies to evaluate the process of learning and thinking;
  2. Communication: Effectively write, speak, and read using a variety of modes including numbers, images, and a second language;
  3. Community: Respectfully engage with a range of diverse social and ecological communities;
  4. Connection: Ask questions and solve problems in ways that connect different academic disciplines and perspectives;
  5. Creativity: Think and act in innovative and creative ways;
  6. Critical Thinking: Use knowledge and skills to analyze your world and to solve complex problems.

Summary of Requirements


Doctrina Lux Mentis 110 & 210

2 courses; 6 credit hours

Second Language

1-2 courses; 3-8 credit hours


1 course; 3 credit hours

Arts and Humanities

2 courses; 6 credit hours

Social Studies

2 courses; 6 credit hours

Science and Math

2 courses; 7-8 credit hours


1 course; 0-4 credit hours


1 course; 0-4 credit hours

Experiential Learning

2 courses; 4-8 credit hours

Interdisciplinary Capstone

1 course; 3 credit hours

TOTAL (for General Education)

15-17 courses; 38-56 credit hours

TOTAL REQUIRED FOR GRADUATION (General Education + Major + electives)

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, English, French, German studies, music, philosophy, Spanish, theatre.

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

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, data science, mathematics, physics, psychology.

Minors: behavioral neuroscience, biology, chemistry, computer science, data 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 and Director of Student Academic Support. 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 and Study Away

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. We also have study-away programs that allow students to study and work in a major city within the United States. Of the graduating seniors this year, 83% of them studied off campus once, 37% studied off campus twice, and 10% studied off campus three or more times, making Centre one of the top colleges in the nation where off-campus study is so pervasive and important.

Residential Programs

Centre offers a number of different opportunities for international 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. Six exchange programs bring foreign students to our campus as well as allowing Centre students to study for a semester at Akita International University in Japan; at Yamaguchi Prefectural University in Japan; at one of five universities in Northern Ireland; at Royal Thimphu College in Bhutan; at Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance; or at Marista University in Merida, Mexico. In addition to the program at Marista University, intensive language immersion programs are offered in Nantes, France and through Centre’s special partnership with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies in Segovia, Spain, or Regensburg, Germany.

Our premier study-away program is in Washington, D.C. where students do a full-time internship along with taking courses relevant to the location. We are planning to expand study away opportunities in the next few years, beginning with a program in New York City. 

Many students find their sophomore or junior year is the best time to participate in an off-campus 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 $400 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. Recent sites include Barbados, El Salvador, Fiji, Finland, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel-Palestine, Japan, Myanmar and Thailand, New Zealand, and South Africa. 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

Undergraduate research is an inquiry-based form of active learning that allows a student to practice a discipline rather than simply hearing about it in a classroom. At Centre College, undergraduate research may be an independent project, a collaborative project with a faculty mentor, or a project that occurs at another institution. These projects may be student or faculty initiated. While the majority of research takes place in the summer, academic-year opportunities are common. The College may provide summer housing, stipends, and research materials to students engaged in research. Outside grants are also available. Undergraduate research students are encouraged to present at Centre's annual undergraduate research, internship, and creative endeavors (RICE) symposium. Many students also present their work at regional, state, and national conference meetings.

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. 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 54 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. Other winners of national honors include three Gates Cambridge Scholars (for study at the University of Cambridge in England), 19 Rotary Scholars (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 12 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 contact Robert Schalkoff, coordinator of advising for post-baccalaureate scholarships and fellowships (, 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.


Technology Literacy

Students at Centre College are frequently exposed to and engaged with technology, gaining proficiency in and out of the classroom. Centre students are computer literate. First-year students are immersed in the Finding Your Centre (FYC) program in their first semester at Centre College, during which they are provided with instruction and support on using Moodle, the web portal, document storage, and printing services. During FYC, first-year students are introduced to library staff, services and resources. Students receive instruction on the research process, using the library catalog, searching electronic databases, source evaluation, and citing sources. Students will utilize these skills throughout their four years in most of their classes. Students have access to desktop computers in the library. Laptops, external hard drives, and chargers are available for checkout. 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. They learn to use spreadsheets, computer simulations, statistical programs, 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. 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 for these technology-based projects are available through the Center for Teaching and Learning. In recent classes, students have created videos, made digital presentations, composed and illustrated digital stories, published blogs, developed apps, and built websites. In addition, students have access to a media lab, where they can learn how to use more advanced software programs such as Adobe Creative Cloud, iLife, Comic Life, and Anime Studio, as well as a production studio and green screen where they can record audio and video.

Outside of the classroom, the ITS Technology Support Center provides a central location for computer, mobile device and software support and configuration assistance. Throughout campus, students have access to public computers 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, Zoom and select cloud-based document repositories as well as online student registration, class schedules, and degree program planning tools. Students can also install the full Microsoft Office suite on their personal systems under the College’s licensing agreement. 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 Assistant Dean and Director of Student Academic Support coordinates academic advising and works closely with the Assistant Director of Student Academic Support and FYC Coordinator in partnership 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 and Director of Student Academic Support also works in a targeted way with students who experience academic difficulty, particularly in the first two years at Centre.

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. First Year students have immediate access to our 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 offer students assessments to discern their skills and interests, teach them how to research careers, help them locate and apply for internships or undergraduate research, assist with resume writing and interview preparation, teach them 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 monthly Career Chats, Emerging Professionals events, the annual Etiquette Dinner, on-campus employer information sessions and interviewing days, 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 on CentreNet.

Through intentional involvement with the CCPD, Centre graduates experience unparalleled success. On average, 97% of graduates are employed in professional positions or enrolled in graduate or professional 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 allow students to 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. Centre College has partnered with Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center to support an internship program 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, international studies, 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. Law schools are interested in students from every academic major. 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 and performing very ably once in law school. 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 law, many of whom go on to legal careers. 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 finance, master of hospital administration, and Ph.D. in economics.


Students interested in pursuing a career in education can choose from a wide range of post-graduate options. Those who wish to earn a master's or teaching certification may choose to enroll at one of our partner universities (, the University of Louisville and the Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt. Currently, our partnerships allow Centre students to count course hours from the education minor towards a master's degree in education. Students who complete an education minor are also well prepared to progress to any graduate school for teaching certification or to alternative programs such as Teach for America, Teach Kentucky, or teaching residency programs ( Students are encouraged to talk with education program faculty about how to match their goals with an appropriate graduate program or alternative track. In addition, while at Centre, students interested in education are encouraged to be part of the Society of Future Educators.

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 Pre-Specialty Master's of Science in Nursing Program. In order to be eligible to apply to Vanderbilt's Pre-Specialty 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 and Washington University in St. Louis. This program leads to a bachelor of science degree from Centre and a bachelor of engineering degree from the partner institution. Students typically complete the combined studies in five years—three years at Centre and two years at the engineering school though it is also possible to spend four years at Centre before transferring. The program provides a background in the liberal arts and in engineering, which gives dual degree students communication and critical thinking skills that differentiate them from other engineers. Students complete the requirements for a Centre degree—including a major in biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental studies, 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 and the engineering website:

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 and Director of the Centre Learning Commons. 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 Centre Learning Commons 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 and Director of the Centre Learning Commons, the Director of Housing, and the Director of Parsons Health Services.