General Education Program


As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers more than 44 disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which students cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects every student to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the whole spectrum of the curriculum: the Visual and Performing Arts, the Humanities, the Social Sciences and the Natural Sciences. In a world that is increasingly interconnected, diverse and complex, it does not suffice to be narrowly well educated. We must be able to grasp and make use of new and unfamiliar ideas and to make significant connections not only within traditional spheres of knowledge, but across different intellectual and experiential boundaries. Thus, Earlham aims at a general and deeply multidisciplinary education for all students who seek an Earlham degree.

Earlham’s exceptionally able and thoughtful faculty, at all levels, teach in the general education program. We understand that this teaching is central to the College’s mission, and we also understand that, in a broad sense, everything beyond a student’s major is part of general education at Earlham.

General Education Policies

  • Students who matriculate as first-year students (but not transfer students) are expected to complete all or most of their graduation requirements by taking Earlham courses (including approved courses on Earlham off-campus programs). The Curricular Policy Committee (CPC) is unlikely to approve the substitution of more than two non-Earlham courses to fulfill general education requirements, or the substitution of more than one non-Earlham course in any single general education area. No more than eight credit hours can transfer toward general education.

  • Transfer students and their advisers should work closely with the College Registrar at the earliest opportunity after admission to determine which courses, if any, may be accepted at the time of transfer to meet general education requirements. Only courses that clearly meet the general education goals as specified will be approved as meeting Earlham’s general education requirements.

  • Substitutions for general education courses from other academic institutions: Students who wish to fulfill a general education requirement by taking a non-Earlham course to meet a general education requirement (for example, a summer course at another institution, or a course through another institution’s off-campus program) must seek approval in advance from the Registrar. Petitions for such substitutions are available from the Registrar’s Office. The petition must be signed by the student’s academic adviser.

  • AP credit: Advanced Placement (AP) credits do not count toward Earlham’s general education requirements.

  • IB credit: International Baccalaureate (IB) credit cannot be used to fulfill any of Earlham’s general education requirements.

  • Senior petitions: Students (and their advisers) should be aware that CPC does not accept general education petitions for waivers or substitutions from seniors later than the middle of the semester preceding their final semester at Earlham.

Next steps

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.