Sterling offers a single B.A. degree program. To graduate, students must complete 120 credits (including at least 30 from Sterling), follow a major course of study (typically 40-45 credits), and complete general education and foundations curriculum requirements (36-45 credits). Students may complete the balance of their coursework through electives in any area (provided that they have met the prerequisites); students may also pursue independent studies with a faculty advisor, contingent upon an approved proposal. Courses are offered progressively within each major (100-level through 400-level).
GENERAL EDUCATION AND CORE CURRICULUM
Central to Sterling’s general education requirements is the foundations curriculum, which consists of a suite of courses designed to scaffold student learning in the first and through the second year of study and build a foundation for success throughout their tenure.
The Sterling College core curriculum consists of a suite of courses designed to scaffold student learning in the first and through the second year of study and build a foundation for success throughout their tenure at Sterling. The foundations curriculum for all incoming students begins with the College’s flagship course, INT100 A Sense of Place. This 3-credit, two-week intensive course immerses students in interdisciplinary study of the culture, community, literature, ecology, and traditional skills of northern Vermont. In the semesters following this two-week intensive, students will typically enroll in:
- AS100 Tools and their Application (1 cr)
- NS107 Ecology (3 cr) or NS207 Ecology (3 cr)
- NS205 Environmental Science (3 cr)
- SS106 Experiential Education (3 cr)
- SS111 Community Building through Winter Recreation (2 cr)
- SS190 Work Search (1 cr)
- HM110 Writing & Speaking to Issues (3 cr)
- SS300 Practicum in Environmental Stewardship (6 cr) [PR SS190]
- HM225 Writing and Communications (2 cr) [PR SS300]
- INT199 First Semester Experience (1 cr)
Students also enroll in a senior capstone learning experience—either a 15-credit, 3-semester Senior Applied Research Project or a 6-credit Senior Research Project. In rare circumstances, students may petition the Dean of Academics and propose a coursework-only option to fulfill their capstone requirement for graduation.
Finally, as part of their capstone experience students are required to take a minimum of two 400-level seminars. At least one must be in the major, and it is strongly recommended that the second be outside the major.
In addition to these core required courses, students must fulfill the requirements of a major course of study, which typically represents between 40 and 45 credits of coursework, and they are required to complete the following minimum general education requirements:
- Humanities — 6 credits
- Natural Sciences — 6 credits
- Social Sciences — 6 credits
- Applied Sciences — 1 credit
These course credits may include major requirements or any courses taken at Sterling or courses taken elsewhere and transferred to Sterling College for credit.
All resident students must participate and make satisfactory progress in the College’s Work Program. All students must receive a satisfactory grade in their final semester of record in the College’s Work Program.
Sterling’s Work Program effectively serves as a part of the core curriculum as well. While students do not receive credit for their Work Program jobs, through this experience, they learn other skills related to our college-wide competencies, including creating and assessing learning objectives, applying academic learning to real-world experiences, and working with others.
The Sterling College curriculum incorporates the classic elements of a liberal arts education and includes experiences across the arts and sciences designed to help students develop strong problem solving skills and become lifelong learners. Many Sterling College courses require students to integrate skills and content from multiple disciplines. Sterling’s curriculum demands commitment—physical, intellectual, and emotional—to problem solving in real-world situations to meet the following College-Wide competencies:
- Live satisfying and productive lives as environmental stewards.
- Understand the ecology of the natural world.
- Understand historical and global cultural contexts of social dynamics.
- Practice both critical and systems thinking.
- Collect, evaluate, and use information.
- Apply theories and concepts to practical situations.
- Communicate accurately and effectively in writing and in speech.
- Work effectively independently and in collaboration with others.
- Demonstrate resilience when facing challenges.
- Practice leadership and participate intentionally in communities.
- Develop and appreciate creativity in expression, work, and problem-solving.
- Cultivate curiosity and actively pursue life-long learning.
TYPICAL COURSE LOAD
The standard course load, including Core Courses, major requirements, and electives, is between 14 and 16 credits per semester. Students wishing to take either fewer or more credits than a standard load should consult with their advisor. Students should be aware that a reduced course load may require additional semesters of study, at additional cost, to earn their degree. Students may take up to 18 credits per semester without additional charge. Those who wish to take courses beyond this credit limit must seek the permission of the Dean of Academics and will be charged additional tuition.