In the tutorial every entering student explores a topic of interest to the student and the instructor in a small group, discussion-intensive setting. The objectives of the tutorial are to illuminate methods of inquiry rather than to cover topics comprehensively, focusing particularly on writing, critical reading, oral communication, and information literacy skills. In addition, the tutorial initiates the process of planning for a liberal education at Grinnell through advising conversations between students and their instructors. By promoting close working relationships between tutorial instructors and their students and by combining the roles of instructor and academic adviser, the College provides students with academic advisers attuned to the interests and abilities of their advisees.

A tutorial (4 credits) is required of all students who enter Grinnell as first-year students and of all transfer students below third-year student standing whose previous work does not qualify them for an exemption. A student must complete the tutorial with a grade of C or higher to meet the tutorial graduation requirement and to be eligible to enroll in a “Plus-2” or independent project. Students who receive a D or F in the tutorial must earn a grade of C or better in a course designated or approved by the dean’s office as Intensive Writing (IW).

Tutorials are offered only in the first semester.

Tutorial Titles and Descriptions

Descriptions for the next academic year will be posted by July 1

Sample tutorial Syllabi
Catalog description

History of the Tutorial

Fall 2011 marked the 40th anniversary of the addition of the tutorial to Grinnell's curriculum. Below are documents related to the history and growth of the program.

·         Tutorial Chronology

·         Clotfelter Tutorial Proposal

·         Obermiller Tutorial Proposal

·         Early Tutorial Brochure

·         Grinnell Magazine article, 1970

·         Grinnell Magazine article, 1996

·         Grinnell Magazine article, 2010

·         Al Jones Tutorial History Spring 1999

·         Clotfelter - History of the No-Requirements Curriculum, 2003

·         Tutorial Brochure, fall 2011

Shared-Theme Tutorials

Shared-Theme Tutorials

Tutorials present an opportunity for experimentation for those interested in developing an interdisciplinary course, and faculty members who have taught shared-theme Tutorials report benefitting from scholarly exchange. New Tutorial instructors also have welcomed the mentoring that collaborative teaching provides.  

Previous shared-theme Tutorials have included

(Context of law in the formation of fundamental political and moral principles for the governmental system; Context of law in the context of an overall governmental system)

  • Religion and Politics (REL / POL)
  • Papermaking (ART / CHM)
  • Human Rights and Human Dignity (POL / SOC)
  • What's "Right" about Rights? (POL / POL)