The Academic Program
The academic program at Gutenberg is different from most colleges. Students do not sit in large lecture classes but actively participate in small discussion-based classes. Rather than reading textbooks that describe ideas, students read the great thinkers’ works firsthand. Rather than being one of thousands of students studying at an impersonal institution, Gutenberg students are part of a small, family-like institution. Finally, rather than narrowing their education with early specialization, students take the same courses. There are no majors and no electives, although there are occasionally optional courses. Students enter as cohorts and spend four years with their classmates, learning from the texts, from the faculty, but mostly from each other.
Students taking no less than 12 credits are considered full-time students. Students taking less than 12 credits are considered part-time students. However, students who demonstrate proficiency in Greek and/or German—for example, by having previously completed language courses at Gutenberg or another institution—may appeal to have their language requirement waived. Students who have had their language requirement waived but who are otherwise taking all credits required of their grade level shall be considered full-time students even if the number of credits they are taking falls below 12.
All students must successfully complete every required course in order to graduate. The total number of credits required for graduation is 184.5. (One credit hour equals one hour of in-class work plus two hours out-of-class work, or the equivalent.)
In addition, students must pass a set of four qualifying exams at the end of their sophomore year. The exams, designed to determine the student’s mastery level of basic learning skills and necessary background material, cover the content of all their courses during the first two years. The exams provide a valuable opportunity for students to a) review, b) organize what they have learned into a coherent whole, and c) gain the personal recognition of how much they have mastered.
A student’s education culminates with the senior thesis. Students are given the opportunity to use the knowledge and skills they have acquired to examine in depth the thought of two authors of their choosing.
In order to receive a bachelor’s degree from Gutenberg College, students must fulfill all the following requirements:
- Complete all the required courses with a passing grade;
- Pass all the second-year qualifying exams;
- Earn a cumulative grade point average of 2.3 (C+) or higher;
- Pass the senior thesis.
Upon completion of these requirements, the student receives the degree of Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Liberal Arts as authorized by the State of Oregon.