Following are some main things to consider when choosing your classes. 

Course Descriptions

Refer to the Whitman College Catalog for course descriptions and details about course requirements.

Course Availability 

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 located in the web portal,

Class Schedule

Pay particular attention to the class meeting times to avoid schedule conflicts.

Course Load

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 First Year Seminar 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   

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.

Foreign Language

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.

General Studies - First Year Seminar

All first-year students enroll in the First Year Seminar, a sequence of two seminar courses that build a foundation for learning and thinking that you will use for the rest of your life. In the fall, you will take "Exploring Complex Questions." In the spring, you will select a seminar in "Making Powerful Arguments."

If You Need Assistance

If you need advice, contact Senior Associate Dean of Students Juli Dunn at