Interdisciplinary Majors

The faculty of Reed College believes in the value of interdisciplinary approaches to problems of common intellectual concern. The humanities course required of all Reed freshmen and the Humanities 210, 220, and 230 courses, recommended for sophomores and upper-division students, are four outgrowths of this conviction. Listed below are other courses and programs of study that cross departmental boundaries or that bring the disciplinary materials of two or more departments together in pursuit of insights of mutual interest.

The Reed student has the advantage of other academic choices besides the 23 major fields described in this catalog. A double major is possible, and there are 11 regular interdisciplinary majors that combine two or more compatible fields of study. In addition, several dual degree programs (see the following section) offer students additional interdisciplinary options.

Special ad hoc programs that link two disciplines can be arranged if they meet with faculty approval. The student’s academic record, the validity of the program, and the student’s potential to complete the proposed program successfully are the essential factors considered by the advisers and departments.

Other Cross-Departmental Offerings

A number of courses are cross-listed in two departments. For example, several linguistics courses are included in the offerings of the anthropology or psychology departments. Some of the foreign language departments offer courses, in translation or in their original texts, for general literature credit.

The Double Major

Students with intense interest in two major fields may petition to carry their work through the writing of the thesis in both areas, if they think that an interdisciplinary or interdivisional single major, or a major in one and strong concentration in the other, would not serve their purposes. In such cases, subject to the approval of the student’s advisers and the departments and division(s) involved, a double major leading to a single degree may be possible. Alternatively, a student who has completed requirements for the degree with a single major may be permitted to return to complete the requirements, including the thesis, for a second major; in this case a second (identical) degree will not be conferred, but all work in the second major will become a permanent part of the student’s record.

American Studies
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
General Literature
International and Comparative Policy Studies

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