All students take three Shared Passage Seminars.
First-year seminars, completed during the fall quarter of the first year in residence, prepare students for further work at the College by focusing on foundational skills, such as writing, oral expression, information literacy, and critical thinking; introducing global or intercultural ideas; and encouraging students to reflect on and integrate their high school experiences and transition to college. While diverse with regard to topic, these seminars are intentionally comparable in terms of the amount of written work expected, the importance of feedback on and regular revision of written work, and the maintenance of a participatory, discussion-oriented atmosphere.
Transfer students who have, prior to admission, already taken a first-year seminar or English composition course similar in content to the first-year seminar at Kalamazoo College may apply that course toward the first-year seminar requirement. The Registrar, in consultation with the Dean of the First Year, makes this determination as part of regular transcript analysis. Other transfer students should satisfy the requirement by taking a first-year seminar (if they qualify as a first-year student) or an approved substitute course. Students who do not pass the first-year seminar must substitute another writing-intensive course, which must be approved by the Dean of the First Year before the start of the sophomore year.
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 enchanced 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 school after the Sophomore year must work with the Dean of the Sophomore Class to identify an appropriate substitution.
Senior seminars, whether disciplinary or interdisciplinary, focus on integrating students' Kalamazoo College experiences and preparing them for future lives beyond "K." Disciplinary seminars integrate students' experiences inside and outside a particular major, while interdisciplinary seminars allow students from a variety of majors to apply diverse aspects of their Kalamazoo education to an interesting topic or problem.
Students who do not pass the senior seminar must work with the chair of their major department or with the Dean of the Senior Class to identify an appropriate disciplinary or interdisciplinary substitution.
Students on approved 3/2 engineering or health professions early entry programs are required to meet the senior seminar 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 seminar guidelines. Upon transfer of the credit for this course back to Kalamazoo College, the student will have completed the senior seminar requirement.