Please note: The information displayed here is current as of Friday, November 22, 2019, but the official Course Catalog should be used for all official planning.

2019-2020 Course Catalog

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This catalog was created on Friday, November 22, 2019.


Academic Planning

Preparing for academic success

Students must plan ahead if they are to meet the goals of a liberal arts education. The first step toward planning is to become aware of the range of Lawrence’s curricular offerings and programs. The course catalog contains this information, and students should become thoroughly familiar with it. Students should discuss their academic plans regularly with their faculty advisors and, as needed, with advisors of other programs in which they have an interest. As they pursue their studies, students should seek additional guidance from academic support staff in Mudd Library, the Center for Academic Success, and the Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement.

Faculty advisors

Upon entering Lawrence, each student is assigned a faculty advisor to give advice and perspective on developing an educational program. Students who build strong relationships with their advisors benefit most from a Lawrence education. Students may change advisors as they develop a close working relationship with a faculty member in their preferred area of study.

Every student should have an advisor in their major department or program by the spring term of their sophomore year when they register for their junior courses. The major advisor will help the student plan their coursework to satisfy requirements for the major, select courses in other areas to complement the major or satisfy personal interests, and prepare for their Senior Experience. The major advisor will also certify completion of major requirements when the student applies for graduation.

Students must have an advisor for every major. Students do not need an official advisor for a minor, interdisciplinary area, or teacher certification, and are encouraged to consult with the chair or other faculty in those departments or programs for advice on course selection and how to satisfy requirements.

Planning a course of study

First-year students typically enroll in seven courses (two in fall, two in winter, and three in spring) in addition to the two-term Freshman Studies sequence. Bachelor of Music students have fewer choices in the first year since they must also take music theory and private lessons. First-years should take courses that will help them plan their next three years of study by exploring possible majors and areas of interest while also trying new subjects. Students interested in math, computer science, or natural sciences should take a math sequence the first year, while students interested in the humanities, social sciences, or arts should consider a language sequence. Students should also balance different types of courses each term, with no more than one lab course or intensive reading/writing course at a time. Some majors and pre-professional programs require that specific course sequences be started in the first year. And students may want to look ahead to off-campus programs and learn when these programs are offered and what, if any, coursework is required to participate in them.

In the second year of study, sophomores continue to sample a variety of disciplines and satisfy general education requirements as they work toward declaring a major and finding an advisor in their major department who can help them plan their final two years of study. At this point, students might begin to pursue a minor, interdisciplinary area, or teacher certification. Finally, the sophomore year is an excellent time to plan for off-campus study (often undertaken in the junior year), to explore possible internships or summer research that places learning in context, and to begin considering postgraduate options such as graduate study, professional study, or the start of a career.

In the third and fourth years of study, juniors and seniors complete coursework for the major and any minor, interdisciplinary area, or teacher certification. They may pursue experiential learning through off-campus study, internships, or summer research. All students plan and carry out a Senior Experience to integrate what they have learned in their Lawrence education.

While planning is essential, it need not be rigid. Interests that students express on arrival at Lawrence often change as a result of exposure to new and different areas of study. This is why students are encouraged to explore the curriculum during the first year of study and need not declare a major until later in the sophomore year.

Course numbering

Lawrence courses are numbered at four different levels: introductory (100-199), foundation/gateway (200-399), advanced (400-599), and capstone (600-699). First-year students select courses mostly at the introductory level, though some foundation/gateway courses can be taken without prerequisites or with advanced placement credit. Some departments make further distinctions within these levels, which are described under the Areas of Study.

Introductory courses (100–199): Introductory courses generally do not require prior study unless they are part of a sequence, such as introductory language or mathematics courses. This level includes courses introducing students to the discipline as well as any topical courses aimed at non-majors.

Foundation/gateway courses (200–399): Foundation/gateway courses represent the second tier of work in each discipline and might include methods courses and introductions to sub-disciplines. Typically these courses are not appropriate for beginning students, but in some departments they might be appropriate for continuing students with no prior experience in the subject.

Advanced courses (400–599): Advanced courses include seminar series, special-topics courses, and advanced work in sub-disciplines. Students enrolling in advanced courses are expected to already understand the basic methodology of the discipline.

Capstone courses (600–699): Capstone courses include the culminating work in a discipline that is typically part of a Senior Experience. They are not appropriate for students who are neither majors nor minors in the discipline.

It is the responsibility of the student to satisfy any prerequisites listed for specific courses. Faculty members may refuse to admit any student who has not satisfied listed prerequisites.

Course credit

A standard course at Lawrence is valued at 6 units. A normal course load for a term is three standard courses (18 units). A student must take 15 or more units for full-time student status and may take up to 22 units (plus music ensembles) without additional fees. A total of 36 standard courses (216 units) is required for a Lawrence degree.

Some courses are valued at fewer than 6 units. December Term courses are all 3 units. Academic support courses (academic success, academic English for speakers of other languages, topics in precalculus, etc.) are typically also 3 units. Music ensembles and theatre production courses are valued at 1 unit per term.

For more information about course loads and how to translate Lawrence units into semester or quarter hours, see Academic Procedures and Regulations.

Postgraduate considerations

Career planning

The Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement (CLC) offers a wide range of services to all Lawrentians—undergraduates and graduates alike. These include individual career counseling to assist in identifying career interests and skills as well as assistance in developing internships and summer employment. The CLC participates in job and internship fairs and on-campus and off-campus recruiting opportunities, and it offers workshops and seminars to increase career awareness and to improve job-search skills. It also collects and publicizes information on specific job and internship opportunities. Students are urged to attend CLC events as early as the first year to begin developing career plans and internship opportunities.

Graduate study

Students can discuss options for postgraduate study with any faculty member. In addition, students interested in graduate and professional schools will find a variety of valuable resources in the Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement. Students can research information on specific schools and programs, on graduate and professional school entrance examinations, and on financial aid.

Professional study

Lawrence strongly believes that liberal education—with its emphasis on skills of analysis and communication, on breadth of knowledge, and on the ability to pursue knowledge of one area in depth—affords the best preparation for rigorous professional study. Since these attributes of liberal education can be developed and nurtured regardless of a student’s area of concentration, in most cases Lawrence does not prescribe fixed courses of study for students with pre-professional interests.

At the same time, we recognize that some professional programs and schools require specific preparation at the undergraduate level. Students should consult with the coordinator for pre-professional advising in the Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement, who can arrange for them to meet with a faculty advisor and guide them through the process of preparing for and applying for professional study.

Pre-Business

Advisor: Adam Galambos

Students who plan to undertake postgraduate study in business—in most cases a program leading to a master’s degree in business administration—normally are advised to supplement the major of their choice and the university’s general education requirements with coursework in mathematics, as well as statistics, economics, and computer science. In addition, they should pay particular attention to the development of writing skills.

Pre-Law

Advisory Committee: David Gerard (chair), Minoo Adenwalla, Andrea Guenther-Pal, Jerry Podair

Legal studies require strong analytic skills, a knowledge of society, and the ability to communicate effectively. Students planning to attend law school normally are advised to supplement the major of their choice and the university’s general education requirements with some coursework in philosophy and the theoretical and analytic aspects of their field of concentration, as well as coursework in the social sciences.

Lawrence offers a cooperative degree program with Marquette Law School, which is described in the catalog under Cooperative Degree Programs.

Health Careers

Advisory Committee: Elizabeth De Stasio (chair), Matt Ansfield, Stefan Debbert, Doug Martin, Nancy Wall. Judith Humphries for pre-Vet advising.

The health careers advisory committee works closely with students as they explore career options in health care delivery and as they prepare applications for professional school programs. Committee members assist and advise students planning careers in medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, and allied health professions such as genetic counseling, physical and occupational therapy, physician assistant, and nursing. Students should work directly with a member of the committee to talk about ways to explore health care career paths, including job shadowing, and to discuss sequencing of pre-requisite courses for greatest success. Later in the process, committee members provide guidance in the selection of schools, in developing applications, in the preparation for interviews, and in planning for admissions testing.

Students who plan to attend medical school may concentrate in academic areas of their greatest interest. Health professional schools do, however, require considerable work in the natural and social sciences, including biology, chemistry and physics, and psychology as well as writing and thinking within the humanities. Members of the health careers advisory committee are available to help students select courses that will meet the requirements of medical and other professional schools and at the same time provide a broad liberal education.

Lawrence offers a number of programs designed to familiarize students with the nature of medical education and practice. These programs include workshops, discussions with local physicians, and opportunities to observe, under the supervision of local practitioners, various aspects of the medical profession. The college is able to support healthcare-related experiences and training for students of limited means thanks to the Florence Kasel Testamentary Trust.

Lawrence offers a cooperative degree program in occupational therapy with the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. More information can be found in the catalog under Cooperative Degree Programs. Lawrence also has an articulation agreement with Rush University's College of Nursing with preferential admission for qualified Lawrence applicants to the Generalist Entry Master of Science program in Nursing and certification as a Clinical Nurse Leader. Students complete the pre-professional basic science and general education components of their Lawrence bachelor's degree at Lawrence, while Rush provides the professional curriculum leading to a master’s degree (MSN). Information can be found at https://www.rushu.rush.edu/college-nursing/programs-admissions/masters-entry-nursing-msn-non-nurses.