Office of the Registrar

2019 Distribution Requirements

2019 Distribution Requirements & Change to the PE Requirement

In fall 2018, the faculty approved changes to Reed’s distribution requirements (also known as group requirements). In spring 2019, the faculty approved the final details of these requirements. They are effective in fall 2019.

The current (2018) group requirements (Humanities, Groups A-D, X) have not changed and may be used by all current students and students on a leave of absence.

Effective fall 2019, new and readmitted students will be subject to the new requirements.

Continuing students enrolled in 2019-20 and later can elect to use the 2019 distribution requirements for graduation or to graduate with the 2018 distribution requirements.

We have updated major planners and declaration of major forms for students using the 2019 requirements and these are now available on our website and outside Eliot 311. We have also created forms to allow continuing students to declare their intent to complete the 2019 requirements.

Distribution Requirements Effective Fall 2019

Students must take three units in each of the following four categories:

Humanities 110: Required of all first-year students and of all transfer students. Sophomore or junior transfers who do not have transfer credit equivalent to 110 may substitute either Humanities 220 or two units from Humanities 211, 212, 231 and 232, and one additional unit from Group I or Group II for the Humanities 110 requirement.

Group I: 3 units from the following subjects, of which 2 must come from the same subject: Art, Chinese, Classics (only Greek and Latin language and literature classes), Comparative Literature, Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies, Dance, English (including Creative Writing), French, German, Humanities, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Russian, Spanish, Theatre. A maximum of two units can be from language classes.

Group II: 3 units from the following subjects, of which 2 must come from the same subject: Anthropology, Classics (only archaeology and ancient history classes), Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies, Economics, International and Comparative Policy Studies, History, Humanities, Linguistics, Political Science, Religion, Sociology.

Group III: 3 units from the following subjects, of which 2 must come from the same subject: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology. A substantial portion of at least one unit used to satisfy the Group III requirement must be devoted to primary data collection and the analysis of that data.

Note 1: No course can count towards more than one of the above categories.

Note 2: Subject is defined as the subject designator for the course. Exceptions include: (1) HUM 411, which does not count toward group requirements, and (2) all literature courses, which are considered one subject.

Note 3: No more than two units from any subject can be used towards the distribution requirements. The one exception is Humanities, where the cap of two units excludes Humanities 110 or, in the case of transfer students, other Humanities courses being used to satisfy the Humanities 110 requirement. A given group cannot be satisfied by a combination of three courses that, due to one or more cross-listed courses, could be listed under the same subject.  

Note 4: No distribution requirement can be taken as credit/no credit.

Note 5: No distribution requirement can be satisfied by waiver or by examination (e.g., AP, IB, or other examination).

Note 6: No thesis course or independent study course can be used to satisfy a distribution requirement.

Note 7: A course that is cross-listed between a department and a program will only count as a course in the department.

Changes from the 2018 Distribution Requirements
(incorporated into the changes above)

  • There is no limit on using courses in the major to fulfill distribution requirements other than the limit of two units in one subject.
  • Courses in the performing arts, studio arts and creative writing are applicable to distribution requirements if they are graded (i.e., not Credit/No Credit).
  • Transfer students who take a 200-level Humanities in place of Humanities 110 may take a second 200-level Humanities course for a group requirement
  • Group X is no longer required.

Change to the PE Requirement

In spring 2019 the faculty approved a proposal to allow students to complete two of their PE credits with community engagement programs, effective fall 2019. The two credits would count for what currently is called non-directed credit, of which students can apply two towards the six-credit requirement.

Students who choose to complete two credits of Community Engagement must then complete four credits of “directed” PE credits to complete the requirement. The general rules for completing this requirement have not changed, e.g., students may earn a maximum of one credit per quarter, and summer credit is not allowed. 

Students may enroll in community engagement through SOLAR, after securing permission from the SEEDS staff.

2019 Distribution Requirements Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I combine literatures from different departments?
    Yes. Any literature course offered in Chinese, Classics, Comparative Literature, English, French, German, Literature, Russian, or Spanish can be combined with another literature course, whether in the original language or in translation, to meet the two-unit requirement in Group I.
  2. Is there a lab requirement?
    There is no longer a lab requirement. Instead, there is a requirement in Group III for data collection and analysis of that data.
  3. How do I know what courses meet the requirement in Group III for “primary data collection and the analysis of that data”?
    There is a list of these courses available at They will noted as 3+ in the Schedule of Classes and can be searched for in SOLAR by selecting 3+.
  4. How do I change to the 2019 requirements?
    If you’ve declared your major, you must complete a “Change to 2019 Distribution Requirements” form stating how you will meet the new requirements and have it signed by your adviser.
    If you haven’t declared your major you can either
    1. Declare your major on the form that includes the 2019 requirements or
    2. Complete a “Change of Major or Distribution Requirements” form
  5. Where do I find all these forms?
    They are all available on the Registrar’s Office website and both inside and outside Eliot 311.
  6. The rules say no more than two units from any subject can be used towards the distribution requirements. Does that mean I can use courses from both Creative Writing and English to meet group I?
    No. Creative Writing is considered to be part of English, and is therefore in the category of a literature course. So you can complete a course in English and one in Creative Writing and those will be considered two units in “one subject.” The other unit must be outside of literature.
    How about using two courses from Latin and one from Greek to meet group I?
    No. While Latin and Greek have different subjects in the Schedule of Classes and on your transcript, they are both in Classics, so you can use up to 2 units from Latin and/or Greek.
  7. What if I declare that I’m using the new requirements but decide later to use the 2018 requirements – can I change?
    As long as you remain enrolled, you can switch back to the old requirements, but must do so in advance of your final semester so you and we can make sure you’ll be able to graduate on time!
  8. Do courses in Environmental Studies meet Group II or Group III?
    Neither. Environmental Studies 200 and 300 do not meet group requirements. 
Office of the Registrar
29 March 2019