Your academic life at Grinnell begins with the First-Year Tutorial. These 13-person classes focus on a very specific topic within a discipline. The aim of the tutorial is to improve your oral and writing skills, as well as to acclimate you to the College's intellectual expectations. The experience is rigorous but rewarding--a common rite of passage for all Grinnellians.
After first semester, you and your academic adviser will develop a curricular path. There are no core requirements; you choose from over 500 course offerings with over 150 professors. You will navigate among the three disciplines: humanities, social studies, and science.
While there are no required courses, Grinnell encourages you to select a diverse array of classes. If you choose to double-major, wish to be considered for Phi Beta Kappa or graduation with Honors, or wish to study abroad, you'll have to keep close track of your course distribution. You will also want to keep track of your grade-point average, which will qualify you for the Dean's List. See the Academic Catalog or follow the links on the Office of the Registrar web pages for specific course listings.
"The professors truly listen to the students and allow their input while still challenging them to develop into better students." Sam Offenberg '14 Glenview, IL
More Than Majors
Your liberal education should include both depth of study in one discipline and breadth of study in several. By choosing an interdisciplinary concentration, you will take a wide range of classes while focusing on American Studies, General Literary Studies, Neuroscience, Global Development Studies, Technology Studies, East Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, Western European Studies, Environmental Studies, Linguistics, Gender and Women's Studies, or Russian, Central, and Eastern European Studies. Many concentrators see their specialized coursework as a lens through which to view their major.
There's a whole world out there! Over half of the students at Grinnell choose to study abroad through our Off-Campus Study programs. You may want to study art in South India or learn Chinese in China or study ecology in Tanzania. There are over 70 programs to choose from. Students who study abroad often consider it (trans)formative to their academic career.
Let's say there is something specific you want to study in-depth. If you feel you could accomplish your research more effectively independently, Grinnell provides several avenues. You may complete an Independent Study, a project that allows you to design your path of study with the advice of a faculty sponsor. Or, if your research is tangential to a class you are taking, you can complete a Plus-2, which adds two credits of independent study to the course. Another option is a Mentored Advanced Project, or MAP. The MAP is a more rigorous undertaking, and culminates in the production of an original academic work and public presentation.
College won't last forever. Internships can help you figure out the big question: what's next? Grinnell students engage in many types of internships, from working with museum curators to campaigning in Washington. Our diverse network of alumni helps coordinate productive learning environments for interested students. The Career Development Office has a wide range of opportunities and is more than willing to help at any time.