Concentration Requirements

Students from a wide variety of concentrations are able to incorporate at least one semester of off-campus study into their academic programs. Not only humanities and social science concentrators, but also students majoring in the sciences and arts can find high-quality programs that will meet their academic needs.

All study abroad requires planning, but students in some departments may find that fulfilling their requirements on campus and/or transferring credit from study abroad for their concentration requires particularly early planning. Look at information from departments of interest to you to learn what their concentrators need to know to study abroad.


Please see the Art Concentrator's Guide for more information.


Biology concentrators can receive up to two credits toward the concentration from study abroad. Programs in which full enrollment is five or more courses will return four Hamilton units if students are fully enrolled, but each course receives only partial credit. In these cases students will need to take two biology courses to count one full credit toward the concentration, or three biology courses to count two full credits toward the concentration.

Students who conduct an approved biology-focus independent study may be able to transfer that credit toward the concentration. They should discuss plans for their project with biology faculty prior to departing for study abroad. Since all projects must be approved by the department chair upon return, students should be careful to bring back documentation — a detailed field notebook, data set, etc. — as well as the final paper for the project.


The Classics Department encourages students to study in approved programs abroad, especially in Greece and Rome. This is best done in the junior year, either fall or spring but spring is preferred. Concentrators should note that most programs in Greece and Rome do not teach beginning Latin or Greek, so those courses should be completed before the student goes abroad if the concentrator needs them to complete the concentration. Because classics students know Latin or Greek, they are not also required to take courses in the language of the country they are visiting before they go abroad. The department will accept most courses in related fields taken in approved programs abroad, but those courses must be approved by the department chair before the student's semester abroad.

Computer Science

Concentrators should consult with their advisor about specific course requirements, the availability of courses (both here at Hamilton and at the institution abroad) and the potential for transferring credits. Students who have taken computer science courses beginning in their first year and who progress in the concentration sophomore year should be in a good position to take part in any study-abroad program supported by the College. Students who started the concentration after their first year will likely need to transfer courses to be prepared for CPSCI 410, the Senior Seminar, which must be taken fall semester of senior year. Depending on the study abroad program, courses are often transferable and may even fulfill upper-level departmental requirements.

Creative Writing

Creative writing concentrators may not transfer credit for any creative writing workshops taken abroad. By following the department's Study Abroad Planning Guide for Creative Writers, however, creative writing majors can fulfill their requirements and still participate in study abroad.


Economics majors should be aware that they must take the required courses Economics 265, 275 and 285 at Hamilton College. They may not transfer credit for these courses. They should plan to complete all three courses PRIOR to their study abroad because they may not be able to do so senior year. Also, students may not count any transferred courses for 400-level credit, even for the required two electives. They may, however, transfer credits for electives at the 200 or 300-level. They should not take and transfer credit at the 300-level for any course that substantially overlaps a 400-level course they intend to take at Hamilton.

The department does not approve transfer credit courses that are not fundamentally economics courses. Students also will not receive transfer credit for courses that lack sufficient prerequisites, for instance at least one introductory level course in economics for courses taught at the 200- or 300-level. And they will not receive transfer credit for courses that are not sufficiently rigorous or are not appropriate to the liberal arts mission of the College. Courses in business, accounting, management and marketing typically will not be approved for transfer credit.


English concentrators may receive transfer credit from study abroad for courses in literature written in English. One course on a foreign literature taught in the original language, or a course in comparative literature, can be counted toward the concentration – but not as an advanced course and only if  the student has not previously counted such a course taken at Hamilton.

Concentrators studying abroad may also use the opportunity to complete the foreign language requirement. Students who hope to start the language requirement abroad and complete it at Hamilton should make sure that the language they will study is regularly offered through Critical Languages. It is not possible for students to complete the second semester of the language requirement at Hamilton for rarely-taught languages such as Czech, Danish, Swedish and many African and Asian languages.


Students applying to the Hamilton in France Program must have at least French 200, although excellent students who have studied through French 140 may apply. It is important that students have at least some experience writing in French prior to taking university courses in France. The department will award credit toward the major for most courses taken in France, provided they are taught in French and pertain in some way to France. Consult the College Catalogue or theFrench Department website for more information.


The department normally awards transfer credit for government at the 200-level.  Credit may be granted at the 300-level if a course includes a major research paper and if the paper is submitted to the department chair for final approval upon return to Hamilton.


The department normally awards transfer credit for history at the 200-level. Credit may be granted at the 300-level in rare circumstances, provided that the department chair reviews and approves the relevant course syllabi. The department advises concentrators to take at least one 300-level seminar before studying abroad, as this will relieve the pressure of upper-division coursework in the senior year.


The Mathematics Department requires that one of its two required courses, Modern Algebra (Math 325) and Real Analysis (Math 314), be taken before the fall of senior year. Students planning to go abroad in spring of the junior year should, therefore, take one of these courses before leaving. No course at the precalculus level may be transferred for College credit of any kind. Students planning to spend a full year studying in a non-native language will need to plan carefully to be able to meet all the concentration requirements because the department advises that you not take math courses in a non-native language. Students going for only one term or who will be studying in their native languages do not usually have problems meeting the requirements.


The Philosophy Department strongly encourages concentrators to finish Philosophy 201, 203, and ideally, 355, by the end of the sophomore year.


Please see the Psychology Concentrator's Guide for more information.


The department strongly encourages study abroad. Students should take Sociology 301, 302 or both, if possible, prior to studying abroad in their junior year. Both courses must be taken at Hamilton. Courses in related disciplines, such as anthropology, social work or urban studies may be transferred for credit as sociology electives with departmental approval. Because Sociology 549 and 550 (senior thesis courses) are required and taken in the senior year, sociology majors should not be off campus during their senior year.


Theatre students contemplating study abroad should be aware that certain courses required for the concentration are taught only in alternating years, and are not available as independent coverage: Theatre History (307) and Advanced Acting (301) are currently among those courses. Theatre History is generally taught during the fall semester, while Advanced Acting is generally taught during the spring semester. Thus, students wishing to study abroad should either fulfill these requirements prior to leaving campus or should make sure that they will be taught during a semester following their return.

Credit toward the concentration is usually granted only when a course is similar to a required Hamilton theatre course, in its catalogue description and syllabus. Credit is usually not granted for technical courses, either in acting or design, or for courses consisting largely of attendance at productions.

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