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Area Distribution Guidelines

  1. For a course to qualify for distribution credit, it should introduce the student to a broad field of study or to a broad sub-area within a much larger field of inquiry.
  2. For a course to qualify for distribution credit, it should cover material in a way that introduces the student to the important paradigms, principles, ideas, accomplishments, and modes of analysis characteristic of the field.
  3. A distribution course should be one in which all students from the College would be welcome and none would be at a considerable academic disadvantage vis-à-vis concentrators in that field.
  4. A distribution course should be one that is likely to be of general educational value to students who do not intend to take any additional courses in that area.
  5. In general a distribution course should have no more than one prerequisite, although it is possible to imagine exceptions to this rule (e.g. a literature course that requires fourth-term proficiency in a foreign language, or the second term of an introductory-level natural science or social science course that also carries a math prerequisite). 
  6. Courses at all levels can qualify for distribution credit, provided they meet the above criteria, except those eligible to be taken by graduate students for credit (i.e. all courses numbered 400 and above and all courses with which they are crosslisted). To be consistent with LSA Faculty Code guidelines on course numbering, departments are urged to consider offering broad introductory distribution courses at the 100 or 200 level.
  7. An entry-level sequence for concentrators can qualify for distribution credit if it meets the above criteria.
  8. Courses designed to develop or hone specific skills (e.g., most introductory composition and language courses) do not qualify for distribution credit.
  9. Courses designed to provide detailed knowledge about specialized topics or narrow sub-disciplines within a field, which are primarily of interest to concentrators or to students in closely related fields, do not qualify for distribution credit.
  10. Internships, experiential courses, independent study courses, and upper-level seminar courses do not qualify for distribution credit.
  11. In addition to meeting the above criteria, Interdisciplinary (ID) courses combine in roughly equal measure the approaches within two or three of the primary distributions (HU, NS, and SS) to examine the differences and similarities between disciplines and explore alternative ways of discovering and organizing knowledge. Interdisciplinary work is primarily concerned with crossings and connections between areas of knowledge, inquiry, and method. These courses emphasize critical thinking, team-based intellectual work, and the analytic skills characteristic of each disciplines. Many courses  are interdepartmental but not interdisciplinary in the above sense, such as courses that integrate the approaches of sociology and psychology, both SS disciplines.