New College Objectives

New College was established in 1971 to provide an opportunity for highly motivated undergraduates to have greater flexibility in forming a curriculum leading to a bachelor of science or bachelor of arts degree. The underlying assumptions of the New College program are

  • that students are capable of accepting much of the responsibility for their own learning
  • that each individual is unique, and that educational programs can be developed which reflect each student's interests and capabilities
  • that significant learning can occur outside of the classroom as well as within, and that students may receive credit for such outside learning experiences
  • that problem-focused, general education experiences of an interdisciplinary nature are highly desirable in a fast-changing society

The two major objectives of New College are to create an opportunity for a highly individualized education that enables students to draw from the resources of all University classes and faculty, and to serve as an experimental unit with the expectation of exporting successful innovations to other sectors of the University.

The New College curriculum has two principal elements. First is the depth study, which is the student's area of concentration. The depth study may or may not resemble a traditional major. The second element of the curriculum is a general education component, which helps to ensure that students will have an exposure to the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences beyond their depth study. Included here are six interdisciplinary seminars focusing on these three areas, offered by New College faculty. Students are expected to complete this component either through these interdisciplinary seminars or, in exceptional circumstances, through other courses in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Students are also expected to develop their own independent studies and out-of-class learning experiences to enhance their understanding of the subject of their depth studies and to add to their learning experiences.

A minimum of 120 hours is required for graduation. Many New College students earn credit through performance on proficiency examinations for prior learning experiences, in out-of-class learning, by independent study, or in other nontraditional ways.