Admission

Majors

At Reed, you have the opportunity to select a major from a variety of fields. Reed’s 23 departments offer 35 majors, of which 12 are interdisciplinary.

Students may design special programs that link two or more disciplines, with approval from both departments. In addition, Reed offers several dual-degree programs, which allow students to graduate with degrees from both Reed and an affiliated institution.

Majors & Interdisciplinary Majors

American Studies
Anthropology
Art
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Biology
Chemistry
Chemistry-Physics
Chinese
Classics
Classics-Religion
Dance-Theatre
Economics
English
Environmental Studies
French
General Literature
German
History
History-Literature
International and Comparative
Policy Studies
Linguistics
Literature-Theatre
Mathematics
Mathematics-Economics
Mathematics-Physics
Music
Philosophy
Physics
Political Science
Psychology
Religion
Russian
Sociology
Spanish
Theatre

Dual-degree Programs

Computer Science
University of Washington & California Institute of Technology
Engineering
California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, & Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Forestry–Environmental Sciences
Duke University
Visual Arts
Pacific Northwest College of Art

Curriculum

Distribution Requirements

HUMANITIES Humanities 110 or the equivalent (three units)
GROUP A Literature, arts, religion, philosophy
(two units in one discipline, excluding applied courses)
GROUP B History, social sciences, psychology
(two units in one discipline)
GROUP C Natural sciences
(two units in biological or physical science)
GROUP D Mathematics, logic, linguistics, foreign language
(two units in one discipline)
GROUP X Two units in any one discipline outside of the
major department (not courses used for groups A–D)

One group of groups A–D may be in the student’s major department.

“We were all really good friends in my Humanities 110 conference and had such fun that we were sad when it ended.” —Samantha Carrick, English major from Ontario, California

Reed’s core curriculum begins with Humanities 110, a yearlong interdisciplinary course that gives you the opportunity to develop disciplined thinking and writing as you study Greco-Roman civilization and the Persian, Egyptian,and Jewish cultures that helped to shape it. Reed also offers four upper level courses in the humanities.

In the junior year, students take a junior qualifying examination administered by their major department or interdisciplinary committee. The objectives of the examination are to gauge your mastery of your discipline or related disciplines and to prepare you for thesis work the following year.

“The opportunity to collaborate with curious and passionate students is one of the extraordinary features of the Reed academic experience.” —Sarah Schaack, Professor of Biology

The senior thesis, undertaken with support from your faculty adviser, is the culminating achievement of a Reed education and your opportunity to explore a problem or answer a question—experimental, critical, or creative—that holds particular significance for you. Reed is one of few institutions where every student produces a senior thesis, each of which becomes a permanent resource in the library.

Learn more about planning your major

Grades

To emphasize learning—not striving for a grade—exams, papers, and lab exercises at Reed are returned with extensive feedback from faculty instead of letter grades; although grades are recorded for all classes, they are not routinely reported to students unless students ask to see them.