All students take three Shared Passage courses.
First-year Seminars constitute the gateway to the K-Plan and to college life for entering students, while also serving as the foundation of the Shared Passages Program. Offered in Fall quarter, First-Year Seminars are designed to orient students to college-level learning, with particular emphasis on critical thinking, writing, and speaking. In keeping with Kalamazoo College's emphasis on intercultural education, they aim to engage students in the study of significant social and historical differences. They integrate collaborative and group work, effective research strategies and discussions, all promoting active, engaged learning. They work to accustom students to modes of academic behavior likely to promote success in college, including class participation, productive approaches to assignments, visits to faculty members' offices, and awareness of support structures for K students.
First-Year Seminars are linked to academic advising, the First-Year Experience program, Upjohn Library, and the Writing Center. They create connections with the components of the K-Plan; depth and breadth in the liberal arts, learning through experience, international and intercultural engagement, and independent scholarship.
Students who do not pass the First-Year Seminar must take one of the "Reading the World" courses offered by the English Department. Transfer students must work with the Dean of the First Year and the Registrar's Office to determine how the First-Year Seminar requirement will be met, either through transferring in an equivalent course already completed or by taking a substitute course on campus.
Sophomore seminars build upon the learning goals of the First-Year Seminars, focusing on a particular topic or question viewed from multiple perspectives. Learning goals include intercultural proficiency and the ability to differentiate between observation and interpretation (both critical skills for study abroad and experiential education in general), as well as enhanced writing and oral presentation abilities. As in the First-Year Seminars, information literacy and enhanced research skills remain a key component of Shared Passages.
Students who do not pass the sophomore seminar and students who transfer to the College after the Sophomore year must work with the Dean of the Sophomore Class to identify an appropriate substitution.
Senior-level courses in the Shared Passages Program focus on integrating students' Kalamazoo College experiences and preparing them for lives beyond 'K.' Disciplinary senior seminars integrate students' experiences inside and outside a particular major, while interdisciplinary senior seminars provide a liberal arts capstone experience, allowing students from a variety of majors to apply diverse aspects of their Kalamazoo College education to a specific topic or problem.
Students who do not pass the senior capstone must work with the chair of their major department or with the Dean of the Senior Class to identify an appropriate substitution.
Students on approved 3/2 engineering or health professions early entry programs are required to meet the senior capstone requirement by working with the director of their program at Kalamazoo College to identify a single capstone course at the approved school that reasonably fits the published senior capstone guidelines. Upon transfer of the credit for this course back to Kalamazoo College, the student will have completed the senior capstone requirement.