Reed College Catalog

In order to offer students a broad selection of majors, Reed College has affiliated with 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 contact with Reed during the years spent at the other institution. Information is 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.


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 completion 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 completing 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 3.3 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 first year:

Mathematics 111 and 112 or 201 and 202; Physics 101 and 102. Consult with the Reed dual degree coordinator in the appropriate department or admissions 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 and 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 consult the prerequisite information from the Nicholas School of the Environment to learn of any additional undergraduate courses that are specifically required for the concentration within the Master of Forestry or Master of Environmental Management program that they plan to complete at Duke University. 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.

Premedical and Preveterinary Preparation

Medical schools value the breadth in educational programs offered by liberal arts colleges; both coursework in the humanities and social sciences and nonacademic factors are important considerations for admission. Students should choose majors according to their academic interests, while including 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 101 and 102
  • English or humanities: Humanities 110
  • One year of mathematics, including calculus (Mathematics 111) and/or Introduction to Probability and Statistics (Mathematics 141)

Some programs may require biochemistry or additional biology, and most programs recommend psychology and social science coursework. Students should be acquainted with the specific admission and state residency requirements of the schools to which they apply. Psychology and social science coursework may be beneficial preparation for the revised Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) as of February 2015.

Students considering professional school are strongly encouraged to consult with health professions advisers and the Center for Life Beyond Reed as early as possible. An early start on the advising process will help preprofessional students capitalize on their time prior to the application process by connecting them with informational seminars, volunteer activities, and the tools needed for applying to and interviewing with a variety of programs. In addition to offering advising, the center maintains a library of resources essential to the medical school planning process. Information on important timelines, health care internship information, insight into letters of evaluation, adviser contact information, and useful web links can be found at (search the term “premed”).