How to Choose Your Classes
Following are some main things to consider when choosing your classes.
- Course Descriptions
- Course Availability
- Class Schedule
- Course Load
- Distribution Requirements
- Foreign Language
- General Studies Encounters
Refer to the Whitman College Catalog for course descriptions and details about course requirements. You should read “The Course Schedule and Distributions” section of the catalog to understand the information included in each course description before selecting courses. In that section, you will learn how to tell when a class is offered and how many credits it is worth.
Some of the classes on the course listing may no longer have spaces available by the time you register, so be sure to choose alternate courses. For the most up-to-date information on course availability, please use Search for Classes.
Pay particular attention to the class meeting times to avoid schedule conflicts.
Most students take 12 to 18 credits each semester, depending upon their ability, the difficulty of the courses, and the extent of their extracurricular activities and outside responsibilities. You must register for at least 12 credits to be considered a full time student, and new students are not permitted to register for more than 18 academic credits. Students need to average 15 ½ credits per semester to graduate in four years, so a typical schedule for you would consist of 15 or 16 credits, including the four-credit General Studies Encounters course.
If a class has a pre-requisite, it will be noted in the course description in the catalog. Many year-long sequences of math and science classes list the first semester as a pre-requisite for the second semester.
If the class is listed as needing consent, you will need the professor’s electronic consent before you can register for it.
Distribution requirements are designed to ensure a breadth of exposure to the fields of knowledge that make up a liberal arts curriculum. These requirements are listed in the "General Studies Program" section of the catalog. There are six distribution areas, and you will be required to earn a specified amount of credits and/or courses in each. We recommend that you select courses in two or three different distribution areas this semester and thus begin to satisfy these requirements.
If you have previously studied a foreign language in high school, college, or elsewhere, you must take a Placement Tests before enrolling in a course in that same foreign language at Whitman. It might be best to consult a professor in the language department when you arrive on campus in August for information concerning the appropriate class you should take.
The General Studies class, Encounters (The First Year Experience), is a two-semester class required for all students (except transfer students with 58 or more approved credits). You will automatically be registered in the appropriate section of this class.
If you need advice, the staff in the Academic Resource Center is available to provide assistance in getting answers to your questions. You may reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org or (509)527-5213.