At Reed, you have the opportunity to select a major from a variety of fields. Reed’s 26 departments offer 38 majors, of which 13 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.


  • Chinese
  • Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies
  • Computer Science
  • Dance
  • Economics
  • English
  • Film and Media Studies
  • French
  • German
  • Greek and/or Latin
  • Linguistics
  • Music
  • Religion
  • Russian
  • Sociology 
  • Spanish
  • Theatre

Dual-degree Programs

California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, & Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Forestry–Environmental Sciences
Duke University


Distribution Requirements

HUMANITIES Humanities 110 or the equivalent (three units)
GROUP 1 Art, comparative race and ethnicity studies, dance, humanities, language courses, literature courses and creative writing, music, philosophy, theatre
(three units, two of which must be come from the same subject)
GROUP 2 Anthropology, ancient Mediterranean studies (only archaeology and ancient history classes), comparative race and ethnicity studies, economics, international and comparative policy studies, history, humanities, linguistics, political science, religion, sociology
(three units, two of which must be come from the same subject)
GROUP 3 Biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, psychology
(three units, two of which must be come from the same subject, a substantial portion of at least one unit from Group 3 must be devoted to primary data collection and analysis)

“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 literature 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 essential humanisitic questions across cultures and eras. Reed also offers four upper level courses in the humanities.

Learn more about Humanities 110

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


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.