Degree Requirements

In order to receive a degree from Rhodes College, there are several requirements that you need to meet. Below is an overview of components of a Rhodes College degree.  

The Foundations Curriculum
The total number of credits required to graduate is 128 credits. The number of credits required for transfer students to graduate is also 128 for the classes of 2012 and 2013. Therefore, the normal student course load is four four-credit courses each semester or 32 credits per year.

To earn a bachelor’s degree under the Foundations Curriculum, all students must complete the following requirements:

  • 128 credits
  • Completion of the courses required to satisfy the Foundations Requirements; unless stated, each requirement is met by passing one course that meets that requirement.
  • Completion of a major field of study

The Search and Life Programs
All students must enroll in either “The Search for Values in the Light of Western History and Religion” or “Life: Then and Now” to satisfy the F1 requirement in the Foundations Curriculum. Many entering students have questions about the exact nature of these two options. The best description of the programs is in the Rhodes College Catalogue, and that section should be read carefully.

The Writing Requirement
First Year Writing Seminar 151 and several other courses may be used to satisfy the F2 requirement. There are actually two different types of writing courses, the writing seminar (F2-s) and the writing-intensive course (F2-i). The Writing Seminar(F2-s) may be taken in either the fall or the spring semester, as may be dictated by the constraints of your schedule, your interests and class availability. There are actually three writing courses required in the Foundations Curriculum: One is satisfied by the Search/Life (F2-i), one by the Writing Seminar (F2-s), and the third (F2-i) is to be taken sometime during the second year.

The Foreign Language Requirement
The Foreign Language proficiency requirement (F10) may be fulfilled in any one of the following ways:

  • By the successful completion of any appropriate four-credit language course numbered 201 or higher 
  • By demonstrating proficiency through placement into a language course at a level above 201 and approval by the appropriate language faculty. Students who take 201 (or higher) or the equivalent at another institution can earn transfer credit, but must still demonstrate proficiency (see above) in the specific language before the degree requirement is satisfied. This pertains to languages that are taught at Rhodes
  • Students who can demonstrate native or near-native proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening in a language other than English may petition the department of Modern Languages and Literatures to waive the F10 requirement

All students who plan to fulfill Rhodes’ foreign language degree requirement in a language they have previously studied for two years or more in high school must take a placement test in that language. For French, German, Russian, and Spanish, scores on that test will be used to place students in the course most appropriate for them at Rhodes. Students with fewer than two years in a language may enter that language at the 101 level. Any student who scores at the 202 level or higher will need to consult with the department to see if he or she fulfills Rhodes’ foreign language requirement. Students wishing to fulfill the foreign language requirement in a language not previously studied should sign up for a course numbered 101 in that language. However, a student may not take a course numbered 101 in any language for academic credit if two or more years of that language were completed in high school.

The First-Year Experience (FYE) Foundation Requirement
FYE is a year-long, integrative program for first-year students that is designed to ensure their success. Through participation in the Rhodes Reads program, weekly First-Year Seminar classes, and a wide range of other events and activities, students will explore what it means to be a member of the Rhodes community; develop the skills required to become an informed, active, and engaged student-citizen at Rhodes and in Memphis; and contribute to making our campus a welcoming and inclusive place for everyone.

The Choice of Elective Courses
The Rhodes curriculum is designed specifically to offer students opportunities to combine a carefully structured and intense study of at least one subject with the broad and diverse understanding that is characteristic of an education in the liberal arts and sciences. Although required to meet certain objectives, the Foundation courses may be selected from a wide range of course offerings. These are only the beginning of a student’s exploration of the fields of human knowledge and creativity. In selecting courses beyond these requirements and outside the major discipline, students should consider the ways in which their education can be broadened, complemented, and enriched.

The Major
Completion of an academic major is required. Rhodes offers many different majors, and, in some departments, the further choice of a particular concentration (emphasis) within that major. For students seeking broader programs of study, interdisciplinary majors – majors that combine two or more departments–are available. These majors are described in the Rhodes Catalog.

Most majors require 11 to 14 courses, and several majors also require related courses from other departments. In some departments, introductory courses must be taken in the first year in order to complete the major in four years. Such departments note that fact in the registration materials in this curriculum guide. Although you are not required to declare a major until the second semester of your sophomore year, you may do so during your first year if you have a strong interest in a particular department.