Reed College Catalog

In order to offer students a broad selection of majors, Reed College has affiliated with a number of cooperating institutions where students may undertake a program that will allow them to graduate with degrees from both institutions. Students participating in these programs are required to maintain registration at Reed during the years spent at the other institution. Special registration forms and information are available from the Reed College registrar's office. Students interested in these programs should consult with the appropriate Reed coordinator early in their time at Reed. Summary information about the engineering and computer science programs is also available on the web at

Computer Science

By arrangement with the University of Washington, a student may obtain a bachelor of arts degree from Reed and a bachelor of science degree in computer science from the University of Washington. The program calls for three years at Reed, including completion of the general distribution requirements and major requirements in one department, the passing of the junior qualifying examination, the acquisition of a minimum of 22 Reed units (at least 20 of which, including the distribution requirements, must be earned at Reed), and two years at the University of Washington.

The university will admit up to five students per year on the recommendation of Reed College. Recommended students must satisfy the university’s GPA requirements for transfer students, which may differ from year to year and which are not necessarily the same for Washington residents and non-residents.

Computer science degrees are also available under the engineering programs described later in this section. 

Course Requirements

These vary, depending upon the field of the Reed major—chemistry, mathematics, or physics. Consult the Reed dual degree coordinator for specific information. In special cases, an ad hoc program with the biology or economics department, or with another department, may be approved.


By arrangement with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, or Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a student may obtain a bachelor’s degree in engineering (alternatively, computer science or certain earth and planetary sciences) and a bachelor of arts degree from Reed. The program calls for three years at Reed, including the completion of the general college distribution requirements, completion of major requirements in one department (excluding thesis), the passing of the junior qualifying examination, the acquisition of a minimum of 22 Reed units (at least 20 of which, including all but two units of the distribution requirement, must be earned at Reed), and two years at the engineering school. Transfer students entering these programs should expect to spend no fewer than five semesters at Reed to meet this requirement. The two degrees will be awarded concurrently; all requirements for both degrees must be met before either is awarded.

Admission to the engineering school is contingent on the college’s recommendation and the student’s having met certain course requirements of the engineering school while at Reed. Typical course requirements are two years of physics, one or two years of chemistry, and two years of mathematics, including differential equations. Normally, students with a GPA less than 3.0 should not expect to be recommended. Admission to the specific field of engineering preferred by the student is not guaranteed; the student’s academic record can be relevant.

Admission to Caltech is not automatic upon recommendation, but is subject to review by Caltech and may depend upon factors that cannot be anticipated. Caltech does not guarantee financial aid to otherwise eligible students.

While admission to the other programs is also subject to review by the participating school, admission can usually be expected upon recommendation.

Course Requirements

During the freshman year:

Mathematics 111/112 or 211/212; Physics 100. Consult with the Reed dual degree coordinator for information on other required courses.

Forestry-Environmental Sciences

By arrangement with the Nicholas School of the Environment of Duke University, a student may obtain a bachelor of arts degree at Reed and a professional master’s degree from Duke (master of forestry or master of environmental management). Work at Duke emphasizes three aspects of study and research in forest and other renewable natural resources: management, science, and policy. The program calls for three years at Reed, including completion of the general college distribution and major requirements (excluding thesis), passing of the junior qualifying examination, the acquisition of a minimum of 22 Reed units (at least 20 of which, including the distribution requirements, must be earned at Reed), and two years at Duke. Students in all academic majors may qualify for the program.

Course Requirements

  1. Biology 101,102; Mathematics 111 or 112, and Mathematics 141; and Economics 201.
  2. Successful completion of the junior qualifying exam before the end of the junior year.

Students should plan to take the Graduate Record Examination and make formal application for admission to Duke during the third year at Reed. In the summer following the third year, the student should begin work at Duke.

Additional information may be obtained from the faculty adviser for the forestry-environmental sciences program.

Pre-Medical and Pre-Veterinary

Medical schools value the breadth in educational programs offered by liberal arts colleges. Work in the humanities and social sciences, as well as non-academic factors are all very important. Students should choose majors according to their academic interests and include the following courses to fulfill the admission requirements of most medical schools:

  • General biology: Biology 101 and 102
  • General chemistry: Chemistry 101 and 102
  • Organic chemistry: Chemistry 201 and 202
  • General physics: Physics 100
  • English or humanities: Humanities 110
  • One year of mathematics, including calculus (Mathematics 111)

Course prerequisites for veterinary school usually include the courses above plus additional specific courses, such as biochemistry or upper-level biology. Since there are more than 100 domestic medical schools and 30 veterinary schools, the student may encounter variation in the number and character of admission and residency requirements. Students should be acquainted with the specific requirements and programs of the schools to which they apply.

To prepare a competitive application portfolio, students considering medical or veterinary school are strongly encouraged to consult with health professions advisers and the career services office early in their undergraduate careers.  In addition to offering advising, the career services office maintains a library of resources essential to the medical school planning process, such as Medical School Admission Requirements and the ADEA Official Guide to Dental School. The guide Preparation for Medical School at Reed is available online, and includes important timelines, health care internship information, insight into letters of evaluation, and useful Web links. It is strongly recommended that students meet with a health professions adviser early in their time at Reed to start an advising relationship, and to take advantage of additional resources by attending informational seminars, seeking assistance with the application process, and participating in mock interviews. Graduating students who plan to take time off before applying to medical or veterinary school should discuss their plans with a health professions adviser before graduation.

Visual Arts

The college has made arrangements for Reed students to participate in a variety of exchange programs and summer internships at other institutions. They may choose from programs in painting and sculpture, architecture, art history, archaeology, conservation, historic preservation, and museum work. A joint five-year program is also available with the Pacific Northwest College of Art. These programs are described in more detail in the art department section of this catalog.