Nov 14, 2018  

Academic Program and Policies


Click on a link to be taken to the entry below.

Note: Every effort is made to keep the information in this section current. Changes are sometimes made after the printed catalog goes to press; the online catalog (http://catalog/, however, stays current. The schedule for any semester is published separately on the web. The College must reserve the right to cancel any course if there is insufficient demand or if there are circumstances beyond the College’s reasonable control. Students should consult with their advisers and the Registrar’s Office in planning their program. New students in particular should consult the Registrar’s Office pages on the Davidson College web site,      

The Curriculum


The liberal arts curriculum at Davidson College is dedicated to the intellectual and personal growth of students. This curriculum affirms the intrinsic worth of a broad exposure to intellectual and artistic achievement and strives to nurture students’ capacities for knowledge, understanding, judgment, and compassion. Teaching is the primary activity and responsibility of the faculty, which is also active in research and service. Developing skills in the methods by which knowledge is acquired, evaluated, and appropriately applied is the primary activity and responsibility of students.

Credit is granted on a course credit basis, with a course being equivalent (for transfer purposes) to four semester or six quarter hours. The curriculum consists of six general areas of study: Literature, Fine Arts, History, Religion and Philosophy, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and the Social Sciences. To encourage the excitement and self-discipline that come from probing a subject in depth, the college requires a major in one of the following:

Environmental Studies

French and Francophone Studies
Gender and Sexuality Studies
German Studies
Hispanic Studies
Latin American Studies

Political Science

Students also may develop an interdisciplinary major through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. Davidson allows double majors.

In order to make connections among courses and disciplines, the curriculum includes opportunities for students to pursue a concentration or a minor as well as a major. A concentration is an interdisciplinary cluster of courses which addresses a specific area of study. A student may choose a concentration to complement the major, but concentrations are not required. Davidson offers concentrations in Applied Mathematics, Archaeology, Asian Studies, Biochemistry, Communication Studies, Computer Science, Education, Environmental Studies, Ethnic Studies, Film and Media Studies, Gender Studies, Genomics, International Studies, Medical Humanities, and Neuroscience. Requirements for concentrations are described in the section following the Theatre Department course listings in the print catalog and in the Academic Departments and Concentrations section in the Online Catalog. Students pursuing a concentration may not pursue a double major or a minor.

Some departments or programs offer a minor, a designated set of five or six courses. Students are allowed to declare one and only one minor to the appropriate academic department by no later than October 1 of their senior year. Students declaring a minor may not also declare a concentration or a second major. A minimum overall 2.0 cumulative grade point average and a minimum 2.0 average on all courses counted toward the minor are required. Specific requirements for minors are listed after major requirements in the departments where they are offered.

The college offers courses but no major in Arab Studies, Chinese Studies, Communication Studies, Computer Science, Dance, Education, Greek, Humanities, Latin, Military Science, Physical Education, Russian Studies, and South Asian Studies. Through the Teacher Education Program students may complete the necessary course work to apply for a teaching license. Students have various opportunities for independent and interdisciplinary studies, study abroad, and participation in off-campus programs.

The Davidson curriculum stresses competence in reading, writing, fundamental mathematical skills, oral communication, and use of computers. Students develop oral communication skills through class discussion, seminar presentations, and formal oral communication courses. To develop their skills in writing and analysis, students may select one of the following options to satisfy the college composition requirement: a designated writing course (WRI 101), with a variety of specific topics offered, the four-course humanities sequence (HUM 150, 151W, 250, 251), or the two-course cultures and civilizations sequence (HUM 160, 161W).  The writing courses (WRI 101) normally require completion of five to seven short writing assignments and a longer research paper. Readings for each course span and exemplify different approaches to writing. The courses address elements of style and revision, processes of peer review, word-processing skills, library-based and web-based research techniques, and conventions of documentation.

Computers are used in most laboratory science and mathematics courses and in individual courses in the social sciences and the humanities. Students interested in the degree of competence expected in individual courses may consult the instructor or the course syllabi available in the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the library.

  Requirements for Graduation   


Davidson offers a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree. Requirements for the bachelor’s degree are outlined below.

[The graduation requirements below apply to students who enter in the Class of 2016 and subsequently. Requirements applicable to previous classes differ somewhat, particularly in the area of academic breadth or distribution; consult earlier catalogs (available on the Registrar’s website) for those requirements.]

Requirements flow from a vision of liberal education that shapes their rationale. A liberal education helps students develop a broad range of skills and sensibilities and thereby become critical, inquisitive, and intellectually responsible citizens. In this development students must explore the fundamental question: “How do I know what I know?” The question prompts students to evaluate the origins of knowledge, values, and beliefs, and to question and revise them when needed. Our distribution requirements aim to foster and guide students’ exploration of that fundamental question. They are designed to help students understand

  • the relationship between what we know and how we know it; 
  • the ways interpretation, analysis and expression differ across and within disciplines of the liberal arts; and
  • the ways scholars share information and ideas with one another and with the public.

We expect that these requirements will assist students in applying their own and others’ knowledge responsibly in their civic and professional lives. In courses satisfying the requirements, students will examine complex problems through diverse methods of inquiry, understand how different kinds of knowledge are generated, and identify appropriate standards for evaluating knowledge in different realms. The requirements also provide knowledge of public and scholarly concerns from multiple viewpoints, respecting both tradition and creative new approaches. The faculty hopes that students who take such courses early in their college curricula will address these questions frequently during their time at Davidson.

The faculty supplements the distribution system with requirements in cultural diversity, in foreign language, and in writing. In prescribing a course on one or more cultures other than the dominant cultures of the U.S. or Western Europe, the faculty guides students to explore cultural differences from an academic perspective. In prescribing foreign language study, the faculty guides students toward a foundation for an international education, as well as an understanding of how language works, both as a mode of human communication and as a way of constructing the world in different social and cultural contexts. In prescribing a course in writing, the faculty guides students toward a foundation for making clear and sophisticated arguments about complex intellectual issues.

Distribution Requirements

Each student must complete eight courses fulfilling distribution requirements, one course in each of the following categories (all but the last ordered alphabetically). The eight courses must come from at least seven different departments/programs, as indicated by three-letter course prefixes.1, 2 

1. Historical Thought. Courses that seek to understand past human societies and how those societies have evolved over time.   Examining documents and/or artifacts to construct broad narratives about the past and how human societies have evolved over time, these courses reveal the constructed ways in which we understand the past and suggest the contingency of how we understand the present.
2. Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric. Courses that develop skills for creating and analyzing the complexities of language, form, and aesthetics through which speakers and writers represent the world or express their ideas about it   These courses explore written and oral forms of expression that invite creative interpretation.
3. Mathematical and Quantitative Thought. Courses that study mathematical, programming, or statistical concepts.   Some of these courses instruct students in making and analyzing numerically-based claims about reality; others develop knowledge based on mathematical proof and problem-solving.
4. Natural Science Laboratory courses that study the natural and physical world through direct observation, experimentation, and/or analysis of empirical evidence.   In these courses students encounter concepts and models and test them against measurements of natural and physical processes, differentiating knowledge based on testable explanations of phenomena from other kinds of knowledge.
5. Philosophical and Religious Perspectives. Courses on fundamental questions, philosophical reasoning, and religious thought and practices.   These courses reflect on questions about knowledge, existence, or the social and ethical world; reasoning about the derivation of positions, beliefs, or values; or practices forming individual or community identity.
6. Social-Scientific Thought. Courses that employ systematic analysis of qualitative, quantitative, and/or ethnographic information drawn from the human world.   These courses develop, test, and explain concepts and theories about human behavior, either individual or collective, and differentiate knowledge derived from observations of the human world from other sorts of knowledge.
7. Visual and Performing Arts. Courses that teach students to represent or express ideas or formulate arguments about how the world is represented in music, theatre, visual art, dance, and screen media.   These courses help students build conceptual vocabularies for interpreting and communicating ideas about such works and the formal and aesthetic concerns related to them, and/or understand how others have interpreted and communicated these ideas in historical contexts.
8. Liberal Studies. Introductory courses accessible to first- or second-year students without prior background in the field that do not fall neatly into one of the seven categories above.    

Further Degree Requirements

The candidate for the bachelor’s degree shall:

1.  Complete a course satisfying each of the following

  • Cultural Diversity. A course addressing cultures other than the dominant ones of the U.S. or Western Europe. 
  • Foreign Language. The third-semester course (or its equivalent) in the acquisition of a foreign language. The requirement may be satisfied by an approved transfer course at equivalent level, or by equivalent proficiency as determined and certified by the appropriate Davidson foreign language department. Courses offered through the Self-Instructional Language Program do not satisfy the foreign language requirement. A student who satisfactorily documents that English is not his or her first language satisfies the foreign language requirement through the writing requirement. It is strongly recommended that the student complete the foreign language requirement before entering the senior year.
  • Writing 101. A first-year course focused on writing in the liberal arts. The course must be completed satisfactorily before the beginning of the second (sophomore) year. AP or other pre-college courses may not be used to satisfy the writing requirement.

2.  Be of good character and conduct, as certified by the Dean of Students, and discharge all college financial obligations to the satisfaction of the Controller.

3.  Complete satisfactorily 32 courses, one-half in residence at Davidson College. The period of residence must include the senior year (at least the final 7 courses). Courses in off-campus programs officially sponsored by Davidson College are considered to be courses in residence. 

4.  Complete all requirements for a major field of study, including an average of 2.0 on the courses counted toward the major. For the computation of the major grade point average, when a course is repeated, only the most recent grade counts.

5.  Satisfy the requirements in Physical Education as follows: Davidson 101, required of all students including transfers, during their first semester at Davidson; two (2) Lifetime Activity credits (courses numbered PE 2xx, 3xx, and 5xx); and one team sport credit (PE 4xx).

Students are encouraged, but not required, to complete the physical education requirement by the end of their sophomore year. Upon completion of all Physical Education requirements, the following transcript notation is entered: “PE Requirements completed.”

6.  Note that no single course satisfies more than one requirement, except that a course fulfilling a distribution requirement may also fulfill the cultural diversity requirement, and language courses beyond 201 may fulfill a distribution requirement and/or a cultural diversity requirement as well as the foreign language requirement. Courses fulfilling distribution requirements may also fulfill major, minor, or concentration requirements. A course fulfilling the writing requirement may not fulfill major, minor, or concentration requirements. The Registrar may designate a transfer credit (including AP or other pre-college credit) as satisfying a foreign language, distribution, composition, or cultural diversity requirement following, as occasion demands, consultation with appropriate department or program chairs.

1The Humanities Program would receive an exception to this condition; that is, a three- or four-course sequence in Humanities could fulfill three or four categories. Courses in the Writing Program could not fulfill the categories.

2Certain departments offer courses with more than one course prefix (e.g., CLA, LAT, and GRE in the department of classics, and MAT and CSC in the department of mathematics). Courses with different designations, however, are sufficiently different to meet the goal of breadth across departments/programs, and at other institutions these courses are often taught in separate departments.  

Departmental and Graduation Honors


Many departments that offer a major also offer an Honors Program. Students with an overall grade point average of 3.2 are eligible for consideration for honors by their department as early as the spring semester of the sophomore year, but no later than the fall semester of the senior year. Each department may impose additional individual requirements for honors; students should consult the major departmental listing in the catalog and their major adviser for details. Candidates for honors who maintain at least a 3.2 overall grade point average and at least a 3.5 average in the major and who receive the recommendation of their major department are graduated with honors or high honors in the department of their major.

Latin degree honors are awarded based on cumulative grade point average at graduation:

3.500 — 3.749   cum laude
3.750 — 3.999   magna cum laude
4.00   summa cum laude  

Standards of Progress


Davidson measures satisfactory academic progress annually prior to the beginning of the fall semester. In order to be eligible for enrollment in the fall semester, students must meet the requirements outlined below:

  1. For entrance to the sophomore class or the third semester, the student must have completed seven courses (8 courses represent normal progress), including the composition requirement. A student who has not earned a 1.60 cumulative grade point average by the beginning of the first semester of the sophomore year will be placed on academic probation. A student on academic probation receives special advising services through the Dean of Students’ Office and the academic adviser.
  2. At the time of entrance into the fourth semester (second semester sophomore year) a student with a cumulative grade point average of 1.7 or below at the end of the third semester must immediately make an appointment in the office of the Dean of Students to assess clearly the steps necessary to achieve the average of 1.8 required for entry into the junior class (fifth semester).
  3. For entrance to the junior class or the fifth semester, the student must have completed 15 courses (16 courses represent normal progress) and must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 1.80. In addition, the student must have completed six of the ten distribution requirements (described above under “Requirements for Graduation”), should have completed three of the four required credits in physical education including Davidson 101, and must have officially declared a major.
  4. For entrance to the senior class or the seventh semester, the student anticipating graduation in May must have completed 24 courses; the student may become a senior anticipating August graduation with 22 courses.

Students who do not meet the appropriate minimum Standards of Progress are ineligible to return for the fall semester. Some course deficiencies existing at the end of an academic year (May) may be made up through a summer contract course with a Davidson faculty member or through approved transfer credit. (Note, however, that transfer credits do not affect the grade point average.) The Curriculum Requirements Committee specifies Standards of Progress for students whose records are irregular and who do not fit the requirements for one of the categories above.

The Executive Committee of the Faculty may require a student whose academic work is unacceptable to withdraw from Davidson at any time. No student who has been required to withdraw is guaranteed readmission. A student wishing to return must apply to the Dean of Students for readmission. The Executive Committee of the Faculty states the minimum conditions under which the student may return.

International Perspectives


Davidson seeks to lay intellectual foundations on which students build an understanding of the emerging world of the twenty-first century so that they may take their places as leaders in it. Davidson insists all students have the experience of studying societies or cultures that differ from those of the United States or Europe. Required study in foreign language and in diverse cultural viewpoints is incorporated into the curriculum. For students wishing to pursue international studies beyond the general requirements, curricular and programmatic opportunities exist to allow for international emphasis.

The college expects many facets of the Davidson experience—studying abroad, enjoying friendships with international students, hearing speakers of note, taking part in conferences on world affairs themes—to contribute to the process of producing graduates with a world vision. Some of the components of Davidson’s international studies programs are described below.

Dean Rusk International Studies Program

Davidson strives for distinction among national liberal arts colleges in its emphasis on understanding the world at large and preparing students for the challenges of national and international leadership. Recognizing that international awareness is critical in today’s interdependent world, the college inaugurated the Dean Rusk Program in 1985 to provide a cornerstone for efforts to enhance international offerings on campus and to “give each student, first, an informed awareness of our whole planet, and second, a direct knowledge of at least one foreign area.” The Program, named for Davidson’s distinguished alumnus who was Secretary of State during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, serves as an organizing mechanism for expanding internationalism across the Davidson experience.

The Dean Rusk Program fosters initiatives designed to ensure that Davidson students leave the college with a broad understanding of all dimensions of global affairs—political, cultural, social, economic, and historical. It sponsors visits by experts on international issues, hosts conferences and cultural events, and counsels students about international travel, internships, and careers. It encourages pursuit of an international curriculum through the college’s concentration in International Studies, a major at the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, area studies, or courses in various academic departments. The Dean Rusk Program coordinates Davidson’s chapter of the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for international scholars. In support of international experience, the program provides grants for student and faculty research, study, or service abroad, including medical volunteer work in developing countries. The Dean Rusk Program serves as a catalyst for dialogue on world issues in the greater Charlotte business, professional, cultural, and educational communities through programs it organizes in the Charlotte area and through a speakers program in local schools. It also promotes cultural interaction between American students and foreign nationals studying at the college.

Student and Faculty Advisory Committees help ensure that the Dean Rusk International Studies Program is attuned to student interests and serves the college’s educational objectives. Members of the Student Advisory Committee also organize a number of international activities on campus and in the community. In addition to its grant-making and campus programming activities, the Dean Rusk Program also includes the offices of the International Students Adviser and the Study Abroad Coordinator.

The Dean Rusk Program is located in the heart of campus on the first floor of Duke Residence Hall. Reflecting its mission to build global bridges between students’ lives inside and out of the classroom, the Dean Rusk Program is the only curricular or co-curricular program located in a residence hall. Its lounge, kitchen, and courtyard provide valuable programming resources to internationally-themed student organizations and residential communities.

International Students

Davidson College defines international students broadly to include dual citizens, Americans living abroad, foreign nationals, and permanent residents. This broad definition capitalizes on the diversity and wealth of experiences international students bring to campus. The International Student Office provides advising on immigration regulations and work permits, coordinates international student orientation, aids with student advocacy, and promotes interaction among international students, the college, and local communities. Also available is guidance on cultural adjustments as well as academic, personal, and financial concerns. Services offered are as diverse as the students and are meant to encourage a meaningful educational experience while students achieve personal and academic goals.

The Davidson International Association, composed of international and domestic students who are interested in international issues and programming, holds weekly meetings, organizes excursions in the surrounding area, and represents international interests on campus.

Study Abroad

Davidson encourages students to study in other countries and offers the following specific opportunities: semester or academic year in Tours, France; semester or academic year in Berlin, Germany; fall semester programs in India and in Shanghai; a spring semester program in Peru, and a spring semester Classics program. The cost of semester and academic year programs, including tuition, room, board, and some travel expenses, is approximately the same as for a similar period at Davidson. Students receiving financial aid may usually apply part or all of it to the cost of the year or semester study abroad program. The College also offers a summer archaeological dig in Cyprus and summer programs in England, Ghana, Kenya, Spain, and Zambia (see descriptions below).

Students may also study abroad with programs provided by other accredited American colleges and universities. However, the College seeks to direct students toward quality programs that support their Davidson education.  Balancing institutional needs, including course offerings and student housing, also compels the College to manage the number of students studying abroad in a given semester.  Beginning in the fall semester, 2011, the College reserves the right to set limits on the number of students who may study abroad with non-Davidson programs in the fall and spring semesters.  Also beginning in fall 2011, students who wish to receive academic credit for work done as part of a non-Davidson study abroad program must select from a list of programs that have been approved by the International Education Committee.  The list of approved programs is available online at or in the Study Abroad Office, as is a more extensive description of policies designed for students who wish to make study abroad a part of their Davidson education.  There is a non-refundable administrative fee of $350 for students participating in a non-Davidson program for a semester or a year.

DAVIDSON IN TOURS (FRANCE): Davidson students may study for an academic year as fully matriculated students at the Université François Rabelais or for a semester at the Institut de Touraine in Tours. With a population of 250,000, Tours is the cultural capital of the Loire Valley. Known for its historic towns, Renaissance châteaux, and striking natural beauty, the Val de Loire has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The city of Tours boasts a rich and varied architectural heritage with the old city-Le Vieux Tours-attracting students and visitors alike to its lively Place Plumereau. A network of regional trains connects Tours to Orléans, Chenonceaux, Amboise, and other nearby sites of interest. Paris and its attractions are fifty-five minutes away by high-speed train.

The program typically begins in September for academic year and fall semester students with a four week language course in Paris, after which students go to Tours, where they enroll in classes. The program ends around December 20th for fall semester students. Spring semester students are in France from January until April, including a two-week stay in Paris and elsewhere (examples: Morocco, Corsica). The academic year program ends around late May. Students typically earn four course credits for a semester and eight course credits for the academic year. A member of the Davidson faculty serves as resident director to assist with academic and personal matters and to teach one course per semester. All students live with families, where they have two meals a day. Applications from non-Davidson students are welcome.

DAVIDSON/DUKE IN BERLIN (GERMANY): Offered in conjunction with Duke University, the program allows students to study in Berlin in the fall or spring semester or for the full academic year. The fall program is based at Humboldt University; in the spring, students may attend courses at any of the three major universities in Berlin: the Humboldt University, the Free University, or the Technical University. A resident director assists with academic and personal matters and teaches one course per semester; the staff of Davidson’s Department of German Studies works with students to structure the program that best meets their needs.

The fall program begins in late August and runs through mid-December; the spring program begins in early February and ends in late July. For students on the full academic year program, there is a six week break between semesters. Students typically earn four course credits for a semester and eight courses for the academic year. There is also a six-week summer program, typically yielding two course credits.

For the fall program, no prior study of German is required; for the spring program, proficiency comparable to two years of college study is expected.

Semester Programs

DAVIDSON IN INDIA: The South Asian Studies Program offers an opportunity to study and travel in India during the fall semester. Following a one-week orientation session at Davidson, students travel to India with the Davidson faculty director. There they attend lectures by Indian scholars on Indian history, culture, and society and take a seminar taught by the director. After twelve weeks in Chennai, they travel together for two weeks visiting important historical, archaeological, and religious sites in other parts of India. Students may earn four course credits. The Semester-in-India program is intended for juniors and seniors; occasionally sophomores have been included. Applications from non-Davidson students are welcome.

DAVIDSON CLASSICS SEMESTER ABROAD: This four course program studying the art, archaeology, history, and literature of classical antiquity is conducted on location in Greece, Italy and Turkey; at the discretion of the director, sites in other countries may be included as well. Open to all Davidson sophomores, juniors, and seniors; limited to sixteen participants. The program takes place in the spring.

DAVIDSON IN PERU: The Peru semester program is open to Davidson and non-Davidson students. It will appeal to those interested in Latin American or Peruvian culture, history, politics, and literature. It also will appeal to students interested in social justice, the environment, and human rights. We recommend that students have completed the equivalent of two semesters of college-level Spanish. Pre-semester intensive language training in Arequipa will be offered to students needing additional study before beginning the program (cost included).

Students spend 15 weeks in Arequipa where they live with Peruvian families. Classes are held at the Universidad Católica San Pablo, a local private university where students also may participate in extracurricular activities. Students choose from a selection of program-designed courses taught by San Pablo professors (intensive Spanish language courses; literature; history; Cosmovisión del Mundo Andino; etc), a course taught by the resident Davidson professor, and/or the full complement of regular university courses offered to all the university’s students.  Students may receive core requirement or major credits depending upon coursework chosen and completed.  Students also can audit courses offered at the university. 

There is a semester-opening bus trip down the coast from Lima to Arequipa, with visits to a working farm and winery. There is a mid-semester week-long trip to Bolivia. After the four months in Arequipa, the group travels for two weeks throughout Peru, including Lake Titikaka, the Incan capital of Cusco, Machu Picchu and the vaunted ‘Inka Trail,’ and Peruvian Amazon.

Summer Programs

DAVIDSON IN CYPRUS: In some summers, Davidson sponsors a multidisciplinary archaeological project on the island of Cyprus. The program includes hands-on training in the field (excavation and survey), lectures given by the project director and other visiting or resident specialists, visits to archaeological or historical sites and museums on weekends, and extensive interaction with the local residents of Athienou. The program is open to all classes and carries one course credit. Applications from non-Davidson students are welcome.

DAVIDSON IN ENGLAND (THE CAMBRIDGE PROGRAM): A six-week summer program at Magdalene College of Cambridge University is jointly sponsored by the Departments of English and History for up to thirty students. British lecturers and tutors lead the course of study, which explores the history and literature of Britain from the late eighteenth through the early nineteenth century. The curriculum emphasizes topics that take advantage of the students’ presence in Britain and ability to experience their subjects first-hand, encouraging them to visit the sites of poets’ inspiration, novels’ settings, and history’s memorable events.

Participants in the program earn one course credit, awarded for either English 370 or History 390, which counts toward major requirements in either department. A Davidson English or History professor serves as resident director. Students majoring in all fields of study are encouraged to apply. Applications from non-Davidson students are welcome.

DAVIDSON IN GHANA: This six week program is designed to immerse students in modern and traditional Ghanaian life. The program includes one course credit, a non-credit performing arts class, a service project, and excursions into other regions of Ghana. The classes are taught by University of Cape Coast professors and artists. The program is limited to fifteen participants and is offered as enrollment warrants. Applications from non-Davidson students are welcome.

DAVIDSON IN KENYA: Some summers, a small group of Davidson students with an interest in medicine spend three or four weeks in Kenya, where they work in hospitals in the Nairobi area. In the spring semester before the summer experience, or the fall after, students enroll on the Davidson campus in Biology 368: The Study and Treatment of Human Disease: Western and Third World Perspectives. Each student studies two diseases and consults with an area physician concerning treatment.

DAVIDSON IN SPAIN: Davidson offers a five week summer program in Cádiz, Spain. After a week of group travel through Spain, students take two courses in Cádiz while living with host families. Specific course credits depend on the student’s level of preparation. Applications from non-Davidson students are welcome.

DAVIDSON IN ZAMBIA: This three week summer experience offers students an opportunity to work and study at a mission hospital in Mwandi, Zambia. Mwandi is a community of about 8,000 located on the northern fringes of the Kalahari Desert along the Zambezi River. It is approximately 150 miles west of Livingstone, Zambia, and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Students participating in this experience have the opportunity to work with Zambian doctors and health care staff in the Mwandi mission hospital and in bush clinics in surrounding communities. Students learn about diseases and other health concerns, (e.g., malnutrition) that are prevalent in Africa. Preparation for the summer experience begins during the spring semester at Davidson or continues with a course during the following fall. Students enroll in a seminar course, which concentrates on the study of infectious diseases and treatments for those diseases. In addition, students learn about the culture and history of Zambia.

Students may also participate in the following programs with which Davidson College is affiliated:

SWEDISH PROGRAM: Located in Stockholm, where students take special program courses in Swedish language, economics, literature, history, and politics. Students live with families or in student apartments. Group excursions and activities are scheduled.

SCHOOL FOR FIELD STUDIES: See information under the Department of Biology.

South Asian Studies Program

The South Asian Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program that enables students to study India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan, which together constitute a region in which a fifth of the world’s population is concentrated and which serves as the home of some of the world’s oldest and richest cultural expressions.

More than a dozen courses on the region are taught by faculty members representing the academic perspectives of art, history, religion, and sociology. Instruction is also available in Hindi through the Self-instructional Language Program. Davidson offers a Semester-in-India Program based in the Chennai region. In 1970, the college was accepted as a member institution in the Library of Congress Public Law 480 English Language Materials Program, which now brings to Davidson’s library numerous books, monographs, and English-language periodicals published in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

Self-Instructional Language Program

Competence in a foreign language is essential to international mobility and understanding. While Davidson maintains strong programs in French, German, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and Chinese, it also offers a Self-Instructional Language Program (SIL) that enables qualified students to study less commonly taught languages for which classroom instruction is unavailable. Each offering is an intensive audio-lingual course utilizing appropriate texts and audio/video materials, combined with three hours of small group work per week with a native speaker. The emphasis is on the spoken language with some work on basic reading and writing skills. A final oral examination, which forms the basis for the semester grade, is conducted by a specialist, usually invited from another institution. The languages offered depend on the current availability of native speaker conversation partners and appropriate materials. Self-Instructional Language Program courses do not satisfy the foreign language requirement or the cultural diversity requirement. Normally, participants must satisfy the foreign language requirement before enrolling in a SIL course. An additional fee is required. For more information, see the section about the program under Courses of Instruction.

The College Writing Program


The College Writing Program supports students who produce academic writing at Davidson and the faculty who teach its practices throughout the curriculum.  The Program sponsors writing in a variety of styles, genres, and disciplinary contexts across the college, which values writing as a core feature of undergraduates’ intellectual lives.  The Program’s mission is to promote a robust rhetorical culture at Davidson by:

  1. Offering students practice in analysis, intellectual argument, and other forms of writing associated with civic and scholarly publics;
  2. Fostering effective and innovative methods for teaching writing in the liberal arts;
  3. Guiding students in research practices and writerly ethics, with an emphasis on making fair and effective use of the work of others; and
  4. Regularly assessing students’ work as writers.

The Program also supports the work of the Davidson Writing Center, which provides students free-of-charge consultations on any aspect of their written work—from planning to drafting to revising.  The Program also offers workshops and symposia for faculty who currently teach writing courses or plan to teach them in the future.

Pre-Professional Programs


Many Davidson graduates continue their education at graduate or professional schools. The sound liberal arts education that Davidson offers serves as an excellent preparation for further study or for entering a career directly following graduation.

Students who have definite plans for graduate or professional school are urged to become familiar with graduate school admission requirements and to consult with their advisers early about the best program to pursue. In general, graduate school standards are high. Applicants are expected to have done undergraduate work of good quality, to have a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language, and to make acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination.

PRE-MEDICINE (PRE-DENTISTRY): In general, pre-medical and pre-dental students complete the same course of study. Medical schools in particular recommend that pre-medical students be as academically diverse as possible. With its strong tradition in the liberal arts, Davidson College supports this recommendation in three ways. First, all Davidson students are required to take classes in diverse academic disciplines. Second, pre-medical and pre-dental students may major in the department of their choice. Third, pre-medical and pre-dental students, whether they major in the sciences or in other areas, are encouraged to take a variety of courses outside their major.

  1. Required Courses, Tests and Recommendations
    1. Coursework—Pre-medical and pre-dental students should take the following courses: Biology 111 and 112; Chemistry 115, 201, 202, and 215; Physics 120 and 220 or 130 and 230. Some medical schools have a mathematics requirement and additional required and recommended courses. All medical school course requirements are found at; a modest fee is required for access to this web site. Requirements for dental schools are listed in Admission Requirements of U.S. and Canadian Dental School, a publication of the American Association of Dental Schools.
    2. Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)—Medical schools require all candidates for admission to take the MCAT, an exam that is administered multiple times from January to September of each calendar year. This electronic exam, which should not be attempted before all premedical courses are completed, is typically taken in the spring of the junior year. If not satisfied with their results, students may retake the MCAT in the summer of the rising senior year without delaying application to medical school. Dental students take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) which is offered year round and is self-scheduled by the student.
    3. Pre-medical Advisory Committee (PAC) Recommendation—The Committee, which is chaired by the Pre-medical Director, evaluates pre-medical and pre-dental students. It is highly recommended that all of these students take advantage of the PAC evaluation process. This evaluation ordinarily takes place in the junior year but it is offered to seniors and alums.
  2. Recommended Courses and Experiences
    1. Courses
      1. Humanities and Social Sciences—Academic diversity can be achieved by selecting courses in the languages, fine arts, and social sciences.
      2. Medical Humanities—Students must understand the major controversies and dilemmas facing American medicine. Medical Humanities offers interdisciplinary courses in the theory and practice of medicine.
      3. Advanced Biology, Chemistry, and Neuroscience—Courses in these disciplines help students build vocabulary and concepts which are important in medical and dental studies.
  3. Experiences
    1. Hospital or Clinical Experience—Enjoying work in a medical setting is essential to a successful medical or dental career. Medical Humanities offers “Issues in Medicine” and “Health Care Ethics.” Included in each course are internships in area hospitals and clinics. Physicians in the Davidson area also provide shadowing opportunities on a volunteer basis. International opportunities are available through the Dean Rusk International Studies Program.
    2. Service Experience—Service to humanity is one of the highest ideals of the medical profession. The Office of Civic Engagement provides many opportunities to serve the needs of humanity.
    3. Study Abroad—Foreign travel adds immeasurably to a student’s education. Students who plan to study abroad must plan early in their Davidson studies in order to complete all requirements on time.
    4. Research—The advancement of medicine and dentistry depends on an understanding of basic research.  Many research opportunities are available in the science departments at Davidson and elsewhere.
  4. Services to Pre-Medical and Pre-Health related students
    1. Pre-medical Director—The Pre-medical director is the adjunct adviser for all pre-medical and pre-dental students and assists in all matters related to admission to professional school.  It is recommended that students consult with the director early in their careers at Davidson.
    2. Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), the Minority Association of Pre-medical Students (MAPS) and the Pre-dental Society—These organizations provide opportunities for leadership, citizenship and education through a variety of programs including a speaker series, community service opportunities, social activities, MCAT Forum-EMACS Forum, and practice interviews.
    3. The Pre-Medical Director provides advice to students seeking a career in other health professions such as nursing, physical therapy, physician assistant, etc.

PRE-LAW SOCIETY: The Pre-Law Society works closely with the Careers Office to provide guidance to students interested in pursuing legal careers. Membership in the Pre-Law Society offers students the following: information on legal careers and the law school admission process; LSAT prep courses; sample LSAT; the opportunity to interview with law school admission representatives; access to the Davidson Alumni Attorney Network; the chance to make contacts in the Charlotte legal community; exposure to legal issues through speakers, panel discussions, and other programs on campus; and feedback on drafts of personal statements. Society materials include Davidson Pre-law handouts, guides to law schools, law school catalogs, books on legal issues, and preparation manuals for the LSAT.

TEACHER EDUCATION: In its mission to prepare successful facilitators of learning, the Department of Education embraces the primary purpose of Davidson College, which is “to assist students in developing humane instincts and disciplined and creative minds for leadership and service.” Further, the Department of Education exults in the choice of the college “to emphasize the teaching responsibility of all professors” and actively recruit faculty “whose interest in students and teaching is unfeigned and profound.” The endorsement that quality teaching is the foundation of a strong liberal arts institution informs the threefold mission of the Department of Education: (1) to provide a course of study leading to a Licensure Concentration in Education, resulting in the attainment of a North Carolina teaching license; (2) to provide a course of study leading to an Interdisciplinary Concentration in the study of Education as a liberal art; and (3) to provide courses that meet the distribution requirements in the Social Sciences.

TEACHER LICENSURE: Davidson College provides a course of study leading to North Carolina initial licensure/certification at the secondary level in the fields of Biology, English, French (K-12), Latin, Mathematics, Spanish (K-12), and Social Studies (which includes majors in Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Religion). For more detailed information, interested students should contact the chair of the Department of Education during the first or second year. The Teacher Education Program Handbook is available on the Education Department web site ( ) and provides all details related to licensing procedures.

ENGINEERING DUAL DEGREE PROGRAM: Believing that the liberal arts college has a contribution to make toward the education of engineers in a society faced with increasingly complex technological and human problems, Davidson has cooperative dual degree engineering programs with Columbia University in New York and Washington University in St. Louis. The student attends Davidson for three or four years and, if accepted, attends the engineering school for the last two years. Students are guaranteed admission to these two affiliated engineering schools if they complete the science and math prerequisites and achieve, for admission to Columbia, a 3.30 GPA, or, for admission to Washington University at St. Louis, a 3.25 GPA.

To receive a Davidson degree under the cooperative dual degree plan a student must:

  1. complete at Davidson all distribution requirements with at least a “C” average;

  2. choose a Davidson major and complete a course of study for that major;

  3. complete Davidson graduation requirements in foreign language, composition, cultural diversity, and physical education; and

  4. graduate from one of the cooperating schools in an approved engineering curriculum.

Other 4/2 engineering options exist, which include applying to any engineering school for an M.S. or Ph.D. program or an M.B.A. program. Admission to these programs is not guaranteed.

Since many of the required preparatory courses for the 3/2 path must be taken in proper sequence, it is wise, and for some schools and/or curricula essential, for a prospective 3/2 student to begin the program during the first semester at Davidson. For further information and assistance, contact the faculty 3/2 engineering adviser, Dr. Tim Gfroerer.

ARMY RESERVE OFFICERS’ TRAINING CORPS (ROTC): The Army ROTC program at Davidson is designed to enhance a student’s college education by providing unique training and practical experience in leadership and management qualities that are essential to success in any career. Upon graduation from Davidson, students who have successfully completed ROTC training are awarded a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Army National Guard, or Army Reserve. To prepare students to become commissioned officers, the ROTC program combines college courses and leadership labs in military studies with various summer training opportunities. The military studies curriculum consists of a two-year Basic Course and a two-year Advanced Course.

The Basic Course is taken during the first and second years and covers six tracks of instruction: leadership, personal development, values and ethics, officership, military tactics, and physical training. No military commitment is incurred for participation in the Basic Course. Some or all of the Basic Course requirements may be waived by the Professor of Military Studies for those who have completed Junior ROTC programs or have previous military experience. For more information see the Military Studies section under Courses of Instruction.

The Advanced Course is limited to students who have completed (or have received credit for) the Basic Course and have demonstrated the leadership and scholastic potential to become a commissioned officer. The course provides instruction in advanced leadership development, military history, training management, organization and management techniques, tactics, logistics, and the military judicial system. Advanced Course students attend a 32-day Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) at Fort Lewis, Washington during the summer between their junior and senior years. Students receive travel expenses, room and board, medical and dental care, and a stipend while attending LDAC.

The Army ROTC program offers Davidson students the opportunity to participate in numerous challenging and rewarding extracurricular activities such as adventure training, social events, and community service activities. Both men and women may enroll in the program and apply for Army ROTC scholarships. High school juniors/seniors may apply for a 4-year scholarship online at before January 10th of their senior year. Davidson College students may apply for other types of scholarships. Army ROTC scholarships provide full tuition and mandatory fees, an allowance for books, and a monthly personal expense stipend. Guaranteed National Guard or Army Reserve commissions are available. Students interested in a part-time career with the National Guard or Army Reserves may apply for Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD) scholarships.

A Davidson student may also participate in other military programs, including the Air Force ROTC program at UNC-Charlotte. See “Outside Resources” in the section on Admission and Financial Aid.

 Academic Options


THE CENTER FOR INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES: The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies offers students the opportunity to design their own interdisciplinary majors or develop interdisciplinary independent study courses with members of the Davidson faculty. More information is found under the section “Courses of Instruction.”

CHARLOTTE AREA EDUCATIONAL CONSORTIUM (CAEC): The Charlotte Area Educational Consortium is composed of more than 20 colleges and universities in the greater Charlotte area. Through the CAEC students taking a full course load at Davidson may, during the regular academic year, take an additional course (one not normally offered at Davidson) at no extra cost by cross-enrolling at another CAEC institution. Students must provide their own transportation to the institution at which they are cross-enrolling. Additional information is available in the Registrar’s Office.

CONTRACT COURSES: Students may arrange with individual professors to initiate and take independent study courses on a contract basis during the summer. Tuition for contract courses is announced annually. Contracts are available in the Registrar’s Office. A completed and filed contract constitutes registration.

DAVIDSON-BROUGHTON HOSPITAL PSYCHOLOGY PROGRAM: During the summer, Davidson offers a one-course program in Clinical Psychology at Broughton Hospital in Morganton, NC. Students receive credit for Practicum in Psychology (Psychology 290). The program includes supervised work in the service units of the hospital.

DAVIDSON-HOWARD UNIVERSITY PROGRAM: Davidson and Howard University in Washington, DC, have a cooperative arrangement that allows Davidson students to study for a year at Howard. Additional information is available in the Dean of Students Office.

DAVIDSON-MOREHOUSE COLLEGE EXCHANGE PROGRAM: This program provides an opportunity for students to matriculate at an institution which is culturally and racially different from their home institution. The exchange of students is on a one-to-one basis for a semester or a year. Additional information is available in the Dean of Students Office.

DAVIDSON IN WASHINGTON PROGRAM: The Political Science Department sponsors the Davidson in Washington program, an eight-week summer session of work and study in Washington, DC. Students serve as interns in Congressional offices, government agencies, or interest group offices and take part in a symposium conducted by a Davidson faculty member in residence. Students earn two course credits. The program is open to a limited number of rising juniors and seniors. Participants must have a 2.5 grade point average.

INDEPENDENT STUDY: Independent studies and tutorials allow students to work on topics of special interest and to design a personal course of study with the approval of a faculty member who supervises the student and determines the means of evaluation.

MEDICAL INTERNSHIPS: Davidson College has a cooperative arrangement with the Carolinas Medical Center that provides students interested in medicine or medical research with internship and independent study opportunities in a clinical hospital environment. These experiences are normally arranged through the Pre-medical Studies or Medical Humanities Programs.

SCHOOL FOR FIELD STUDIES: Davidson College is affiliated with the School for Field Studies, enabling students to participate in a semester-long or month-long program studying environmental issues. Students must apply for acceptance to the School for Field Studies. The semester and summer programs concentrate on international environmental issues at one of five SFS research centers: British West Indies; Baja, Mexico; Costa Rica; Australia; or Kenya.

STUDENT RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES: The Davidson Research Initiative, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Abernethy Endowment, Dean Rusk International Studies Program, and Kemp Scholars Program provide students with funding for study and research projects during the summer or the academic year. Additional student summer research support is available through faculty who receive externally funded or Davidson College faculty study and research grants. Some research projects result in collaborative papers that are presented at professional conferences. Students may receive a stipend as a research assistant and are also eligible to apply for a limited number of summer supplemental housing grants which help defray the expense of remaining on campus for eight to ten weeks.  Application guidelines and due dates for each program are announced annually and can be found on Davidson’s website. 

 VANN CENTER FOR ETHICS: The Vann Center for Ethics sponsors a wide range of ethics forums on campus throughout the academic year that are open to Davidson College students, faculty and staff, as well as the surrounding community. The Director of the Vann Center, who also holds the title of Professor of Applied Ethics, teaches ethics courses through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies; course offerings include Ethics and Warfare, Business Ethics and Consumer Responsibility, Ethics in Professional Life, and the Moral Status of Humans and Other Animals. The Director is also available to supervise independent study courses designed in consultation with students. The Vann Center hosts an interactive blog on diverse topics entitled “On Balance,” at, and provides other resources in practical ethics at, which are intended in part to support student research and reflection in practical ethics.

Academic Support



Davidson College librarians partner with faculty to educate students in information literacy, defined by the American Library Association as “a set of abilities requiring individuals to ‘recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.’” Librarians teach students in a Davidson 101 module, sessions in W courses and in 100-400 level courses, and one-on-one through research consultations.

In addition to teaching, librarians assist faculty in building the library’s collection of books, journals, electronic resources, and federal government documents each carefully evaluated and selected to support the Davidson curriculum and faculty and student research. Over 200 endowed materials funds augment the college budget and are used for the purchase of library materials. As a selective federal government depository the library has received over a quarter of a million U.S. public documents, a rich collection of primary sources serving both the Davidson community and the general public. An ever-expanding array of online resources, including not only government documents but also subscription databases and scholarly materials, is accessible through the library’s web site; the librarians also provide faculty and students with web-based guides to and tools for using these and other specialized materials. Most electronic resources are available off-campus as well as on campus through the library’s proxy server. Should students and faculty need materials not available at Davidson, the library also has a fast and efficient interlibrary loan service and can easily obtain books, articles, and other items from other libraries.

The E.H. Little Library, the main library, houses most of the research collections, study spaces, and computing facilities. It also serves as the primary service point for students needing research assistance. The Library offers a 24-hour study room, which is card-accessible when the library is closed. Several other facilities within the Library are worth noting: the College Archives, which preserves and makes institutional records and manuscript collections related to the College and the town of Davidson available to researchers; the Davidsoniana Room, which houses books by and about Davidson alumni and faculty members; and the Rare Book Room, which contains incunabula, examples of fine printing, the Cumming Map Collection, and rare materials like the first edition of the world’s first great encyclopedia, Diderot’s Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, par une société de gens de lettres (1751–1765).

There are also two branches on campus. The music library, providing recordings and scores in support of the music curriculum, is located in the Sloan Music Center. The chemistry collection of books and journals is in the Martin Chemical Laboratory.

Information Technology Services

Information Technology Services’ (ITS) mission is to work in collaboration with members of the Davidson community to facilitate the use of current and emerging information technology resources. ITS partners with faculty and educates students in all aspects of technology use. The range of systems and services provided include those that support, enrich and transform teaching, learning, research. The systems and services touch virtually every aspect of campus life and are central to the academic enterprise as well as the supporting administrative processes.

The department is organized into teams that work together to provide comprehensive technology services to faculty and students.

Instructional Technology and Media Production: Instructional Technologists work directly with faculty and students to design and support a diverse array of technological solutions for pedagogical and research needs. Classroom technologists plan, implement, maintain and support technology in “smart” classrooms. Media production staff support the use of media throughout the curriculum.

The team is responsible for the Center of Instructional Technology (CIT). The center is located in the south basement of Chambers and is the primary faculty computing space in service of teaching and learning with technology.  The CIT is supported by professional and student staff during hours of operation, but is open to faculty 24 hours, 7 days a week.  The center is equipped with tools to support the following:

  • Instructional website and multimedia development
  • Media compression for delivery over the campus network
  • Development for Web technologies (such as blogs, wikis, and podcasts)
  • Image, video and audio recording, capturing, editing and duplication
  • Image, text & OCR (editable text) color scanning
  • CD and DVD production
  • Mass printing and duplication for CDs and DVDs
  • High-resolution color printing

The team is also responsible for the Language Resource Center (LRC). Located in the south basement of Chambers, the LRC is a dedicated resource to support language programs, namely Arabic, Chinese, Classics, French, German, Russian, Spanish and the self-instructional languages. The LRC houses specialized tools to support these departments.

The Connelly Media Lab, also located in the south basement of Chambers, falls under the purview of the Instructional Technology and Media Production Team. The lab serves students and faculty in the film and media studies concentration, but is open to the campus upon request.  The space is designed to give students experience in the leading non-linear video and audio editing tools

Technology Help Services: The group is responsible for direct client support to students, faculty and staff. The primary services provided by this unit include the Help Desk, office visits, project consultations, support of student-owned computers in the residence halls, computer labs, classrooms, and the administration of student computer lease program. The team’s central responsibilities include:

  • The Help Desk staff provides first-level support for technology services, including computer hardware, software applications, printing, email, internet, network accounts and connectivity, file and directory servers, telecommunications, smart phones, remote access, wireless, college web content management system (CMS), Banner, and Moodle.
  • Product research, testing, and recommendation and standards for campus desktops, printers, and peripherals.
  • Consultation, purchasing, delivery, and inventory control.
  • Support for student personal computers.
  • Support and maintenance of lab and classroom computers.

Systems and Network: The group supports the following functions:

  • Server implementation and support, including all campus services such as Banner; Moodle; Library online catalog; the college website; directory services; e-mail; various internet, intranet, and extranet websites; and file sharing.
  • Storage services, including two storage area networks for shared disk storage and a backup tape library.
  • Network connectivity and wiring, including firewall, VPN, Clean Access, and Wireless access.
  • Internet access.
  • Telecommunications, including local, long distance, and intra-campus telephone service and voice mail.
  • Cable television services provided for residence halls.

All campus buildings have access to wireless, data and telephone connectivity, and have personal computers connected to the campus data and wireless networks. All faculty members are connected to the campus data and wireless networks. The high-speed, high-performance wired and wireless networks provide broadband access to students, faculty, and staff throughout all the buildings and 100-acre main grounds of the campus.

EDUCOM CODE: The statement below, known as the EDUCOM Code, is the policy of Davidson College. Members of the college community abide by its provisions.

Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. This principle applies to works of all authors and publishers in all media. It encompasses respect for the right to acknowledgment, right to privacy, and right to determine the form, manner, and terms of publication and distribution. Because electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced, respect for the work and personal expression of others is especially critical in computer environments. Violations of authorial integrity, including plagiarism, invasion of privacy, unauthorized access, and trade secret and copyright violations, may be grounds for sanctions against members of the academic community. 

 The Center for Teaching and Learning


Davidson’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) integrates teacher-focused and learner-focused services from across campus. The CTL helps students reach their highest potential by providing services to supplement the learning that occurs under direct faculty supervision, and helps faculty by providing resources to create or explore new teaching tools, to hone traditional teaching methods, and to develop new pedagogies that will challenge their students, all with the ultimate goal of improving student learning. In 2011, the first phase of the Center for Teaching and Learning was established on the first floor of the E.H. Little Library. All of the services listed below will share space in the CTL’s library location. Additionally, during this initial phase the following centers will retain their primary locations as indicated: Economics Center (Chambers 2187); Writing Center (Chambers North Wing, lower level); the Math and Science Center (Lower level of Belk next to computer lab); and the Multimedia Center (Chambers South Wing, lower level).

Academic support: Study Skills and Time Management/Support for students with disabilities and Learning Differences.

Auxiliary Academic Support Services: Academic support assistance helps students with note-taking, time management, study and organizational skills, in addition to reading enhancement.  Individual counseling, accommodations assessment for students with learning disabilities, and assistive technology are available. Quiet testing and study spaces are provided.

Economics Center: Experienced peer tutors assist students with any Introductory Economics assignment. Tutors may be available to assist with some of the basic computing tools used in economics courses. Workspace is provided for individual or small groups of students to work on economics projects.

Information Literacy:  The library’s information literacy program focuses on student learning; it is designed to help students acquire and polish their research and critical thinking skills so that they can be successful at Davidson and throughout the course of their lives. Through scheduled and point-of-need instruction, professional librarians teach students to identify, locate, evaluate, and use information effectively. In addition to working one-on-one with students, the information literacy librarians also collaborate with faculty by teaching course-integrated information literacy session, assisting with the development of class assignments, and designing activities, Web-based tutorials and guides, and other learning opportunities that lead to the achievement of faculty members’ course goals. The program reaches students at every level as well as courses in every academic department, program, and concentration.

Instructional Technology: Instructional technologists collaborate with faculty on the use, development, and evaluation of a wide range of teaching and learning technologies, including multimedia, web-based, and emerging technologies. Innovative applications of classroom technology presented periodically in open forums tie technologies to pedagogical goals. Information Technology Services staff will maintain and support the technologies identified by faculty and instructional technologists. ITS sponsors a faculty showcase for the classroom technology applications during poster sessions held approximately once every 18 months.

Math and Science Center: Assistance is offered to students in all areas of math and science, with a focus on the introductory-level courses. Trained and highly qualified peers hold one-on-one and small-group tutoring sessions on a drop-in basis or by appointment, as well as timely recap sessions ahead of scheduled tests. Help with lab reports, data interpretation, research projects, and oral presentations is also offered. Emphasis is placed on thinking critically, understanding concepts, making connections, and communicating effectively, not just getting right answers. In addition, students can form or join a study group and use the Math and Science Center as a group or individual study space. 

Multimedia Center: Peer tutors provide assistance to students incorporating digital practice in their course projects at any level and at any point in a larger process that may involve writing, oral presentation, or discipline specific software applications. Students can receive help for application-specific questions and guidance on general best practices in the topics of web design, graphic arts, presentation design, pre-production digital narrative planning, video and audio production, and copyright.

Speaking Center: Peer tutors assist students with general and discipline-specific presentations, including speeches, group projects, and interviews. Assistance is available for dealing with speech anxiety, topic selection, research strategies, organization, and effective delivery. Resources include a media-equipped classroom for presentations, private rooms for tutorials, and digital video recorders to record presentations for analysis. Students may purchase DVD-Rs at the College Bookstore if they wish to retain a copy of their presentation. The Director of the Speaking Center, a professor of Communication Studies, teaches courses in principles of oral communication and communication studies and provides training and supervision for the peer tutors. Tutorials are free for all students.  

Tutoring Program: The Center for Teaching and Learning coordinates discipline-specific tutoring for students desiring academic assistance in courses outside of economics, mathematics, and the sciences. Specially trained students who are well-versed in the subject matter are available to tutor in most subject areas. Students pay their tutors directly. Grant subsidies are available for students receiving need-based financial aid.

Teaching Resource Center: Faculty are supported as they develop ideas for teaching innovations. Faculty and staff interactions are facilitated across and between institutions in order to support best teaching practices. The TRC encourages collaborative efforts for faculty development with Directors of the Math and Science Center, the Writing Center, and the Speaking Center, as well as the Information Literacy Librarians, the Instructional Technology Group, and the Teaching Discussion Group.

Writing Center: Peer tutors are available to assist any student with both general and discipline-specific writing problems at any stage in the writing process. The Director of the Writing Center, a member of the English Department, provides training and supervision for the peer tutors. Tutorials are free for all students.  

 Laboratories and Studios


KATHERINE AND TOM BELK VISUAL ARTS CENTER: This 43,000 square foot building, designed by the architect Graham Gund, houses classroom and laboratory facilities for painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. Art history is taught in the Semans Lecture Hall, equipped with video and sound technology, and in a seminar room, which doubles as a study room for art history slides and images. The Visual Arts Center contains two public galleries as well as studios and offices for faculty, the gallery director, visual resource collection and curator, and staff. Declared majors with an emphasis in studio art may apply for one of the seven individual student studios in the building.

CHARLES A. DANA SCIENCE BUILDING: The Dana Science Building contains classrooms and laboratories for instruction and research on three floors. Two floors house the Physics Department, where there are special facilities for student-faculty research in the areas of atomic and molecular physics, condensed matter physics, laser spectroscopy, theoretical physics, and computational physics. Student laboratories are used for the study of astronomy, introductory physics, electronics, optics, and advanced physics. All labs contain networked computers. Major physics instrumentation includes a diode-pumped Nd:YAG laser coupled to a Ti-sapphire ring cavity, a pulsed frequency-doubled optical parametric oscillator and a pulsed Nd:YAG dye laser system, dual-beam optical tweezers, a 1.3-m scanning monochromator, a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer, a differential scanning calorimeter, wavemeters and spectrum analyzers, a transient capacitance spectroscopy system, liquid helium and nitrogen cryostats, a Penning ion trap, and a 2-Tesla electromagnet. This equipment is used to study alkali atoms, negative ions, cellular and molecular biophysics, semiconductors, and doped insulators. Dana also houses the Physics Computation Center, which contains high-end workstations for science computation. The second floor of the Dana Science Building includes cell and molecular facilities for the Biology Department. There are two teaching laboratories where upper-level courses including biochemistry, genetics, cell biology, microbiology, immunology, neurobiology, and developmental biology are taught. Student-faculty research facilities include research laboratories in genetics, immunology, genomics, and synthetic biology. Specialized equipment rooms support student-faculty research and house major instrumentation including a flow cytometer, DNA and RNA hybridization systems, PCR equipment, 96-well microplate reader for visible and flourescence detection, tissue culture facilities, inverted microscopes, epifluorescence microscopes, image analysis work stations, real-time RT PCT machine, microarray printer and scanner, auroclave, -80ºC freezer, and growth chamber.

MARTIN CHEMICAL LABORATORY: The building includes a lecture hall, a seminar room, a computer lab, six teaching laboratories, eight student-faculty research laboratories, several instrument rooms, and offices for both faculty and staff. The chemistry library collection, both journals and bound volumes, is housed in the building. Online access to the journals of the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry, as well as to Chemical Abstracts Service through SciFinder are included as part of the library holdings. Major instrumentation includes a 400 MHz FT-NMR; a FT-IR; and instruments for atomic absorption, UV-VIS, circular dichroism, and fluorescence spectroscopy. Other instruments include an ion chromatograph, a HPLC system, a GC, a GC-MS, protein chromatography systems, several lasers, and a polarized light microscope.

WATSON LIFE SCIENCES BUILDING: The four floors of the Watson Life Sciences Building houses laboratories for instruction and research in Biology, Psychology, and Geology/Environmental Studies. Special facilities are available for student-faculty research and laboratory courses in the areas of developmental neurobiology, statistics, animal behavior, behavioral neuroscience, cell biology, child development, clinical psychology, conservation biology, ecology, entomology, industrial-organizational psychology, microbiology, physiology, population biology, psychopharmacology, attention and perception, social psychology, socioecology, and virology. Major instrumentation includes computer stations in all teaching laboratories, a laser-scanning confocal microscope, cryostat, PCR machines, spectrophotometers, water purification systems, incubators and growth chambers, centrifuges, phase contrast microscopes, an autoclave, a -80° freezer, ecological sampling equipment, global positioning system, computer-based physiology equipment, operant chambers, a computer-controlled radial maze, and equipment to measure motor behavior, locomotor activity, and the conditioned rewarding effects of drugs.

INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA SERVICES: Located in the south wing, lower level of the Chambers Building, the Office of Instructional Technology & Media Services includes the Language Resource Center (LRC), the Center for Instructional Technology (CIT), and the Connolly Media Lab. The office supports college needs related to classroom technology, portable media equipment, television and satellite downloads, digital media services, short term loaner equipment, and media services for live events.

The Language Resource Center primarily serves Davidson’s foreign language and Classics community and contains a laboratory classroom equipped with 22 multimedia workstations and projection equipment. All workstations provide fast internet access, learning materials related to foreign languages and cultures, and multimedia software and equipment. In addition to hosting language classes, the LRC is available to all classes by reservation and offers students the opportunity to hear, read, write, and produce foreign language and other class materials on their own time.

The Center for Instructional Technology is a curricular development center for all Davidson faculty containing multimedia software and equipment for both Macintosh and Windows workstations. The Instructional Technology Group (ITG) is composed of staff with expertise to assist faculty as they apply technology to teaching and learning. All members of the ITG are available to faculty for training, consultation, and assistance in preparing materials for classroom use.

The Connolly Media Lab is a digital video editing lab for campus video projects. Access, training, and support for non-linear video and audio editing in the lab are available to faculty, students, and staff by request.

MUSIC FACILITIES: The Music Department occupies the Sloan Music Center. The departmental and faculty offices, a classroom, and the Music Library are on the main level. The wing devoted to the Music Library preserves and maintains collections of music scores, reference books, videos, DVDs and CDs, and has four listening stations, four computer-based multi-media stations, and a small group listening/viewing room.

The Tyler-Tallman Recital Hall on the upper level seats 150 and provides an intimate performance space for student recitals, lectures, and master classes. Available on the stage are a Kingston Harpsichord and two concert grand pianos: a New York Steinway “D” and a Hamburg Steinway “D.” A spacious instrumental hall and a large choral room equipped with a Steinway “D” offer students excellent ensemble rehearsal spaces.

The lower level houses piano, voice, and string studios and includes instructional spaces for string, wind, and brass teachers. A state of the art recording studio suite and a keyboard laboratory are located here. There are six spacious practice rooms, fully soundproofed and equipped with pianos and stands, as a well as multi-functional classroom/small ensemble rehearsal space. The student lounge with vending areas, lounge chairs, and study tables sits in the center of this level.

Other venues for the Music Department’s concerts are the Duke Family Performance Hall with a drop-in acoustical shell and a Steinway “D” concert grand piano, and the sanctuary of the Davidson College Presbyterian Church, which is the site of many choral concerts and the annual Christmas Vespers Service.

THEATRE FACILITIES: Mainstage theatre productions take place in The Duke Family Performance Hall. The Hall is a state of the art theatre with a seating capacity of 625 and a 49 lineset fly system. The second stage series is performed in the newly renovated flexible space, The Rupert T. Barber Theatre, with a seating capacity of 175, located in the Cunningham Theatre Center. Production support facilities within the Cunningham Theatre Center include a 3000 square foot scene shop with woodworking and metalworking capabilities, a paint shop with integrated spray booth, the Thomas Design Classroom with a dedicated theatrical lighting lab, a sound studio with digital recording and editing equipment, the Studio 145 Rehearsal Room with dedicated lighting and audio system, and props and costume storage. The Cunningham Theatre Center is also home to the Zuravel Green Room, which houses the Script Library, and departmental offices and production meeting spaces.

General Information and Regulations


Admission and Withdrawal

The Admission and Financial Aid Committee is responsible for setting the criteria for admitting students to Davidson College. All withdrawals, voluntary or involuntary, as well as readmissions, are processed through the Office of the Dean of Students.

Course Enrollments

The Schedule of Courses for each semester lists the course offerings planned at the time of the publication of the schedule. The document is not a contract; the college reserves the right to alter course offerings if enrollments or resources require. Further, the college cannot guarantee that a student will be able to enroll in any particular course. Enrollments are guided by stated course ceilings, stated prerequisites, space requirements, a random number registration priority system, and academic quality determinations.

Schedule Adjustment Period

At the beginning of each academic year, the Registrar distributes procedures for Schedule Adjustment which may include a pre-semester period and periods during the first week of each semester to drop and add and periods during the second week of each semester to drop and to add with written approval of the professor of any course to be added. A late fee is charged for courses added or dropped after the first week of the semester. After that time, a student who drops a course without special permission from the Dean of Students (for medical or psychological reasons) or the Dean of the Faculty (for specific educational reasons) receives an “F” in the course.

Course Loads

The normal academic load is four or five credit courses per semester. Students who have extra credits may elect a three-course load in any one semester of the senior year or the spring semester of the junior year. During the regular academic year, there is no reduction in tuition for a reduced course load, nor is there an additional fee for an overload. (Each Davidson course credit is equivalent to four semester hours.)

Class Attendance

Regular class attendance is the student’s obligation, and the student is responsible for all the work of all class meetings. A student who is absent from more than one-fourth of the course meetings scheduled by the instructor shall be assigned a grade of “F” unless the instructor specifies a different policy at the beginning of the course. Students should note that each professor has the discretion to establish the attendance policy in each class.

The Committee on Educational Policy reviews schedules for athletic and other college-sponsored extracurricular activities to insure minimal necessary class absences and to require early notification to students and professors of schedule demands that conflict with class times.

Audio and Video Recording of Classes

POLICY:  Students may not make audio or video recordings of classes (or other organized teaching activity, such as lab sessions) without the prior express authorization of the instructor, except in cases where Davidson College is required by law to provide for recording of a class as a reasonable accommodation for a qualified student with a disability.

PURPOSE:  Davidson College’s intellectual property policy (available at: provides that it is generally the college’s policy that intellectual property such as lecture notes and course materials shall be the property of the author or creator. However, the college has a non-exclusive, perpetual and royalty-free license to use all faculty-owned intellectual property for internal instructional and educational purposes. In keeping with this policy, Davidson College prohibits the unauthorized recording of classes.

ADMINISTRATION OF POLICY: Students who wish to create an audio or video recording of a class must obtain the prior express authorization of the instructor. Qualified students with a disability should make a written request for academic accommodation to the Student Disability Resources Coordinator. The Dean of Students Office authorizes academic accommodations and will send written notifications to instructors that the student is authorized to make audio or video recordings of class.

Recordings authorized by either the instructor or the Dean of Students Office are subject to the following conditions of use:

1.   Authorized recordings will be used solely for the purpose of class notes for individual study. Students will not use the recordings or allow them to be used for any other purpose;
2.   Students will not reproduce (other than transcription solely for the student’s own use as class notes), distribute, or sell the recordings or information contained therein;
3.   Students will not allow authorized recordings to be reproduced, sold, or distributed in any manner to any other person(s); and
4.   Students will destroy all recordings at the end of the course.

Nothing in this policy prohibits an instructor from agreeing to alternate conditions of use; however, a student must obtain the prior express authorization of the instructor to use a recording in any manner not permitted by this policy.

Making an audio or video recording of a class without the prior express authorization of the instructor or the Dean of Students Office is a violation of the Honor Code. Violating the conditions of use set forth in this policy (or otherwise authorized by the instructor) is a violation of the Code of Responsibility.

Suggested syllabus language for faculty who wish to prohibit recording: Davidson College policy prohibits audio/video recording of classes by students without permission of the instructor. You may not record class sessions or portions thereof unless the Dean of Students has authorized recording as an academic accommodation for a qualified student with a disability and has notified me of that authorization. All such recordings are for the sole use of the individual student and may not be reproduced, sold, posted online, or otherwise distributed.

Suggested syllabus language for faculty who wish to allow recording:  While Davidson College policy prohibits audio and video recording of classes by students without permission of the instructor, I grant permission for all students in this class to make recordings. This statement gives permission only to record me during class time. It does not imply authorization to record other class members. Authorized recordings are for the sole use of the individual student and may not be reproduced, sold, posted online, or otherwise distributed.

Suggested syllabus language for faculty who wish to allow recording on a case-by-case basis:  Davidson College policy prohibits audio and video recording of classes by students without permission of the instructor. I will consider permission requests on a case-by-case basis. For students with a disability, permission will always be granted when the accommodations authorized by the Dean of Students Office include recording. Authorized recordings are for the sole use of the individual student and may not be reproduced, sold, posted online, or otherwise distributed.

Grading System

Each instructor reports grades at the end of each semester. Grade points assigned for each grade are:

































There is no percentage-based institutional numerical standard or equivalent for the grades issued by individual faculty members.

Special grades are issued as follows:



Incomplete; student has not completed final work.



Pass or Fail for course taken on a Pass/Fail basis; to earn a Pass, the student must perform at the level of “C-” or above. See the Academic Regulations for additional P/F information.



Laboratory—ungraded; no separate credit is awarded for a laboratory.



Authorized Withdrawal approved by the Dean of Students or the Dean of the Faculty.



Ungraded credit; credit transferred from another institution or Davidson Study Abroad credit.



No grade received from the professor.

Transfer Credit

The Registrar evaluates all transfer credit. The host college must be accredited for a “liberal arts and general” program or analogously accredited in countries outside the United States. The course must be consistent with the academic objectives of Davidson College. In order to receive credit, the student must earn the grade of “C-” or higher.

Transfer credit assigned at Davidson is on an ungraded basis (UG) and is not used in computing the grade point average. Transfer credit is limited to 16 courses (or no more than one-half of the courses for graduation) and no more than one-half of the courses used to satisfy major requirements. Individual departments may employ additional restrictions. Other guidelines for transfer credit may apply: further details may be found on the “Authorization to Transfer Credit” form in the Registrar’s Office.

A student who has previously obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Davidson or from another institution may not receive a second degree from Davidson using credit from the previous degree.

Self-Scheduled Exams

The ultimate expression of Davidson’s Honor Code is the self-scheduling of semester examinations for most classes. The academic calendar provides eleven or twelve three-hour examination periods at the end of each semester during which students may take examinations on a self-scheduled basis. The Honor Council, the Student Government Association, and the Office of the Registrar administer self-scheduled exams.