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Anonymous asked: Do you have to take math at Oberlin? I couldn't find any specific "math" requirement on the website...

*deep breath*

In the next year, Oberlin’s shifting its credit system and graduation requirements, to be in effect starting in the fall of 2013. While all the details are not ironed out at the moment, you can read more about the progress and outlines of the upcoming changes on the Source.

Your question specifically pertains to one of the curricular requirements for graduation, the Quantitative and Formal Reasoning (QFR) Requirement, which will replace the current Quantitative Proficiency (QP) Requirement. From the Source:

Both the Quantitative and Formal Reasoning Requirement and the Writing Requirement redirect students from thinking of quantitative skills and writing as proficiencies to be attained to understanding that they are fundamental ways of engaging the world that develop with attention to the processes of quantitative reasoning and writing in multiple contexts.

What you need to know at this moment:

  • From math department chair Susan Colley:
Students will have to take two coursesat Oberlinthat have a QFR designation, but they need not be courses in the mathematics department. For example, courses in psychology, sociology, even history, so long as there is a quantitative (or formal reasoning) component to them will satisfy the requirement. 
  • If you’re reading through the course catalog and looking at possible classes you could take as a future Oberlin student, you can begin to get an idea of what might fall under the new QFR requirements by looking at some of the classes designated as QP, but in no way is that comprehensive.

I realize this might be a bit confusing/wayyyy too much info for your simple question, so the short answer is no, you don’t have to take a math course at Oberlin, but you will be required to complete two courses that fulfill the quantitative and formal reasoning graduation requirement, which could be completed through taking courses in the math department.

- Ma’ayan Plaut ‘10, Social Media Coordinator

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Anonymous asked: how many excos would it be normal to take?

While you can take as many ExCos as you want (or as many as you get into), it is recommended to take one, maybe two tops in a semester, depending on what the two are. As of now, a maximum of 5 ExCo credits can be counted towards your overall graduation requirements, though you are welcome to take a course for credit each semester to add to your semester credit requirements.

Keep in mind that ExCos are not an extracurricular to collect; they are legitimate classes with meeting times and assignments, and if you miss more than three classes, you don’t pass. Since the course goes on your permanent transcript, that’s a big deal.

- Ma’ayan Plaut ‘10, Social Media Coordinator

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sexbuddha-deactivated20140117 asked: As to the whole graduation requirement thing-a few of my professors have told me (with a pretty high degree of certainty) that changes in graduation requirements and scheduling changes won't impact current students, but rather incoming freshman for the class of 2013. None of that's definite, but it definitely put me at ease, if that helps.

That’s good to hear, and thank you for sharing what you know. As I find out more, I’ll be sure to pass it on. Collective knowledge is good.

- Ma’ayan Plaut ‘10, Social Media Coordinator

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wheneverythingmeanteverything asked: I keep hearing about changes that are being made to Oberlin's graduation requirements. I'm a second year, and what I've read says that the changes aren't going in place until 2013, so will I be affected by them? Also, any idea what the changes are?

Unfortunately, no, I know no more than what was announced on the president’s blog in May. It’s my understanding that the details are being solidified in the coming school year; the announcement was made to inform campus that their would be changes but no additional details have been shared since then.

- Ma’ayan Plaut ‘10, Social Media Coordinator

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Anonymous asked: I'm coming to Oberlin next year, but I don't understand Pass/No Pass. Since I'll be in the conservatory, would it make sense for me to take my classes in the college for P/NP? Is that something that happens often? Do you still get credit for classes you take P/NP and pass? Thanks

Ah, pass/no pass (referred to as P/NP for the rest of this post). I’ll see if I can make this moderately understandable. Keep in mind that your soon-to-be-assigned academic advisor is an excellent resource when it comes to understanding P/NP.

P/NP is a grading option for classes. The simple version of what P/NP does it that it exempts the class in question from GPA calculations. If you pass the course, you will receive credit. If you do not pass, you will not receive credit. Either way, if you are taking a class P/NP, the course does not affect your GPA.

Things to consider about P/NP:

- You have to have your advisor sign off on a form for the courses you wish to P/NP, which means you’ll talk about your reasoning and where it fits into your academic best interest, too. Your professor will not know if you’re taking the course P/NP.

- If you take a class that is required for your major as P/NP, it usually doesn’t count. Something to chat with your major advisor about, though. When it comes to general graduation requirements, P/NP doesn’t affect your credits (unless you don’t pass).

- If you’re taking a class with regular grading, you can still pass a course with a D-. If taking a course P/NP, then you will have to get a C- or higher to pass. The former is obviously not great for your GPA (plus many majors require a grade above a certain cut-off; usually a C), so you can still technically pass a course without applying for P/NP but it might not be the greatest plan. Again, your advisor is an awesome resource in this situation.

Why folks use P/NP:

- Some courses at Oberlin are automatically P/NP. All ExCo courses fall into this category, and I believe there are some other courses that are always P/NP as well (rhetoric and composition courses come to mind, and I’m sure there are others).

- To quote a student, you may here a phrase like this used as an explanation for declaring P/NP for a course: “This semester I’m taking two tough classes in my major and doing independent research and teaching an ExCo, but I really want to take this awesome elective as well; I’m going to declare P/NP so I can enjoy that course and still stay committed to my other work.” 

Hope this helps!

- Ma’ayan Plaut ‘10, Social Media Coordinator

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Anonymous asked: What are the graduation requirements (and layout of when you take certain classes) for the BMus (vocal performance) major?

While this isn’t a distinct schedule of when you should take what courses, a basic overview of requirements for the BMus vocal performance major is located in the course catalog.

Basic requirements:

- a minimum of 76 credit hours of conservatory courses and a minimum of 24 credit hours of liberal arts courses.

- Expository writing proficiency

- Music Theory I-IV and Aural Skills I-IV (note that music theory I and aural skills I must be taken in the same semester, theory II and aural skills II must be taken in the same semester, etc.)

- Junior and Senior Recitals

I asked a current student to propose an example schedule for vocal performance:

Semester 1: Music Theory II, Aural Skills II, Private Lessons, a diction course, an ensemble credit, a liberal arts elective

Semester 2: Music Theory III, Aural Skills III, Private Lessons, a language class (French, German, Italian), a diction course, an ensemble credit

Semester 3: Music Theory IV, Aural Skills IV, Private Lessons, a language course, a diction course, a liberal arts elective


If you have any other additional questions or want a more detailed schedule, drop us a logged-in ask (so we can answer privately) or message with your email.

- Ma’ayan Plaut ‘10, Social Media Coordinator

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h-oneyybee asked: Does Oberlin have a PE requirement?

Nope! The credit requirements for graduation are:

- 112 credit hours (within that, you must complete your major requirements and can not break the 84 hour rule — that is, you can not accumulated more than 84 hours towards graduation in one division, so you must complete 28 hours outside of your division of study) plus the following requirements:

- Distribution requirements: 9 credit hours each in natural science, social science, and humanities (a.k.a. the 9-9-9) and 9 credit hours fulfilling cultural diversity.

- Writing proficiency: completion of two courses from two different instructors that are designated as writing intensive, or can be completed with acknowledged AP or SAT II scores.

- Quantitative proficiency (QP): can be completed with two 1/2 credit QP courses or one full credit QP course or with acknowledged AP or SAT II scores.

For full information about Oberlin’s graduation requirements plus the equivalent AP/SAT II scores mentioned here, visit the course catalog.

- Ma’ayan Plaut ‘10, Social Media Coordinator

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