About Courses of Instruction

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A course at Rhodes is an academic activity undertaken by a student that is structured, directed, advised, and evaluated by a faculty member. Typically, a course requires a student to read, listen, discuss, and write while learning and developing specific abilities and sensibilities and while internalizing information and ideas from the specific subject areas outlined in the course syllabus. These activities require many hours of work over a semester and involve regular meetings with the faculty member and other enrolled students. The meetings or class sessions provide opportunities for lecture by faculty, discussion among students, student presentations, and other activities directly related to students’ learning that are naturally done in a collective setting. Class meetings and the final examination period together usually constitute only one-fourth to one-third of the time spent on a course, so the majority of time a student dedicates to a course is outside of the classroom or laboratory. Measured in academic credit, a typical student’s work load each semester is sixteen credits. Such a load corresponds to approximately fifty to fifty-five hours of work per week and is consistent with the understanding that a student’s academic work is considered to be his or her full-time job while enrolled in the College.

One credit is equivalent to one semester hour. A student is expected to spend a minimum of forty-six hours in academic study for every hour of academic credit. This principle applies to directed inquiries, tutorial study, and to all courses in the curriculum.

The College reserves the right to cancel any course for which there is insufficient enrollment.

“Fall” and “Spring” below the course titles indicate the semester in which the course is normally taught. However, course offerings are affected by semester or annual staffing patterns, so the semester class schedule should be consulted for the official course offerings for any one semester. Course credit is shown at the right of the line.

Courses taught in a two-semester sequence are normally scheduled with the Fall Semester course being the first in the sequence. In most cases, the second course in the sequence requires successful completion of the first course, but there are some sequential courses that allow the second course to be taken first. The course descriptions will identify such courses. Credit is given for half of a hyphenated course should the student not enroll the following semester.

Course Numbering

Normally courses numbered in the one-hundreds and two-hundreds are for first and second year students; those in the three-hundreds and four-hundreds are for juniors and seniors. Courses numbered above 500 are graduate-level courses and are open only to students admitted to the graduate program. Courses numbered above 800 are courses designed for and offered only to students attending any of the various Rhodes foreign study programs.

In general, courses numbered in the one-hundreds and two-hundreds are offered yearly. Higher level courses are frequently offered every other year. Students making long range plans for majors are urged to consult with the chairperson of the department for information concerning the sequence of offerings.

From time to time, special topics courses are offered by faculty members. These courses are not listed in the catalogue by title or description. They are conducted in a manner consistent with regular course offerings, governed by normal class schedules and examination policies; however, they may not be used to satisfy degree requirements unless so specified at the time the course was approved. Special topics courses are also used for transfer credit in some cases where no exact equivalent course is offered in the Rhodes curriculum.

Because the course topics and content vary from year to year, the courses offered through the British Studies at Oxford are not described in this catalogue. These courses are numbered from 800 to 899. Course descriptions of offerings of this program are available from the Office of British Studies or from the Registrar at Rhodes. In addition, several departments offer “Topics” courses for which the course description varies from semester to semester. Those course descriptions may be available from the appropriate department or faculty member.

Foundation Courses

Only certain courses in the Rhodes curriculum and in each department are approved to meet Foundation requirements. Each of these courses is designated in the course description in this catalog and on the class schedule for each semester online. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of what courses in which they may be enrolled satisfy foundation requirements. Such courses are submitted by faculty members to the Foundations Curriculum Committee for approval. It is not possible for students to request foundation credit approval by the Committee for any coursework with the exception of Foundation 11. Self-initiated requests for F11 credit for certain coursework or experiences may be requested using the appropriate form available online.
Directed Inquiries may not be used unless requested by the department and approved by the Foundations Curriculum Committee. With very few exceptions, the courses designated as fulfilling degree requirements carry four credits. An accumulation of one-credit applied music may be used to satisfy the Fine Arts or the F5 requirements.

Class Schedules

Courses carrying four credits normally meet for a total of 150 minutes per week. The four-credit classes meeting three days per week meet for fifty minutes during each class period. Those four-credit classes meeting two days per week meet for seventy-five minutes during each class period. Others will meet four or five times per week on other daily schedules. Laboratory courses carrying four credits will also meet one or two afternoons per week for the laboratory. The amount of credit does not necessarily equate to the time spent in the classroom. Outside of class assignments, readings, service-learning opportunities, and other activities supplement the actual class time.

The Academic Calendar

The academic year consists of two semesters, each containing fourteen weeks of instruction and a fifteenth week devoted to examinations. The first semester begins in late August and ends in mid-December; the second semester begins in January and ends in early May. A detailed calendar including dates of recesses and special academic days may be found elsewhere in the College catalogue or on the Rhodes web site. Students normally enroll in four courses, totaling sixteen credits, each semester. In each academic year a student should plan to earn a minimum of thirty-two credits in order to meet all graduation requirements in the standard four-year undergraduate program.




PLEASE NOTE: This document reflects information as it was published in the 2014-15 Rhodes Catalogue. You may find more current information elsewhere on rhodes.edu.