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Departmental Course Advice for New Students and Prospective Majors

Please consult this information for departmental recommendations about courses and advice for prospective majors. Be sure to consult with Department Chairs if you have any questions and to discuss your individual circumstances (over the Summer, please see special contact information within each departmental section).

Select the area you wish to read or scroll down to be directed toward the appropriate advice:

Africana Studies

Art & Art History
Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
Civil War Era Studies
Computer Science
East Asian Studies

Environmental Studies


German Studies

Globalization Studies
Health Sciences
Interdisciplinary Studies

International Affairs
Italian Studies
Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies


Physics and Dual-Degree Engineering
Political Science
Premedical Studies


Public Policy 
Religious Studies
Theatre Arts

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Why take an Africana Studies course or become a major or minor? Africana Studies at Gettysburg College offers the opportunity to learn how to analyze problems from a variety of disciplines such as economics, history, linguistics, music, political science, and literature. Africana Studies focuses on African American, Caribbean, Latin American, and continental African experiences, institutions, and perspectives.  It is broadly defined as the study of peoples of Africa and the African diaspora, and the purpose of that study is to participate in the process of improving life opportunities for people of African descent. Interested students and prospective majors and minors can begin their exploration with AFS 130, 131, 132, or any 200-level AFS course. For advising help, contact Prof. Abou Bamba ( .


Those interested in learning more about Anthropology should take at least one of our introductory courses, Anth 103 or Anth 106, during the first year. These courses satisfy the Social Sciences requirement of the Multiple Inquiries goal. They are also Global Understanding courses. Both are required for the major. Taking at least one of these introductory courses makes it possible to enroll in any 200-level course in subsequent semesters since either Anth 103 or Anth 106 is a prerequisite for courses at that level. Some 200-level anthropology courses are cross-listed with Asian Studies, Classics, French, Latin American Studies, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Other anthropology courses may be used as electives for Africana Studies, Cinema and Media Studies, Environmental Studies, or Globalization Studies. For advising help, contact Andrea Switzer ( 


Students expecting to major or minor in studio art should take ARTS 141 in their first year. ARTS 141 is also open to students with general interest in studio art. There are several sections of ARTS 141 in both the fall and spring semester and some enrollment spaces have been reserved for first year students. This course is a pre-requisite for upper-level studio art courses. Students expecting to major or minor in art history should take ARTH 125 in their first year. There are several sections of ARTH 125 in both the fall and spring semester and some enrollment spaces have been reserved for first year students. This course is a pre-requisite for upper-level art history courses. For information, please contact office administrator Leslie Casteel ( or call 717-337-6121.


Should I take an introductory Biology course my first semester?

YES - If you are planning to be a Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular biology (BMB) or Health Science major, are interested in the Neuroscience minor, or if you are planning to attend Medical school immediately after college. Students planning to go to Veterinary school should follow the Biology major recommendations.

Prospective majors should note that Introductory Biology and Chemistry courses are both year-long sequences. In their first year, prospective majors should take Biology 111 in the fall and Biology 112 in the spring.

Since Chemistry is required for the Biology and BMB majors, students who are sure of their intent to major in Biology or BMB should enroll in Chemistry 105 or 107 along with Biology 111 in the first semester. This permits a better integration of chemistry into upper level biology courses. Students may, however, delay chemistry until their second year and still complete the Biology major. A mathematics course (calculus or statistics) is required for the Biology major and should be completed in the first or second year.

OPTIONAL-with special considerations
If you are planning on a Psychology or Environmental Studies major: These majors require 2 semesters of a natural science with labs, but you are not required to take Biology nor are you required to begin the natural science courses in your first semester. However, please note:

  • Students interested in Environmental Science who plan to do the BS degree should take at least one course in either Biology (111 or 113), Chemistry (105 or 107), or Physics (103) their first semester.
  • Non-Biology majors interested in Neuroscience should take Biology 110 their first semester. Some Psych majors who are not particularly interested in the biological side of psychology fulfill their natural science with lab component by taking courses like Biology 101 or 102. But for psychology majors with stronger interest in biological psychology, we recommend considering Biology 110 and 112 (which are required for the Neuroscience minor).
  • If you’re planning to earn a Pennsylvania teaching certificate in Biology, you should plan to complete a full Biology major, complemented by coursework in Education. Contact the Education Department for more details.

 For students interested in other majors: All Gettysburg students need to take two science classes to graduate (and at least one of these courses must have a laboratory component). You can fulfill this requirement of our curriculum by taking an introductory course in Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, or Physics. You are not required to take a science class in your first semester, but it is a good idea to complete this requirement by the end of your sophomore year.

Which biology course is best for me?

  • Bio 101 (Basic Biology - Fall course) is geared towards non-science majors who do not intend to take Bio 112. It makes no assumption about your science background and is a stand-alone course. It has a weekly lab component.
  • Bio 102 (Biological Basis of Disease - Spring course) is geared towards non-science majors. It makes no assumption about your science background- it has no prerequisite. It has an "every other week" lab component.
  • Bio 103 (Plants and Society - Fall course) is geared towards non-science majors. It makes no assumption about your science background and is a stand-alone course. It has NO lab component.
  • Bio 110 (Introduction to Molecules and Cells - Fall course) is geared towards science majors, especially for students who are planning to major in Health Sciences, minor in Neuroscience, or go into a health-related field. It assumes some HS science background and that you plan to take Bio 112. It has a weekly lab component.
  • Bio 111 (Introduction to Ecology and Evolution - Fall course) is geared towards students with a strong science background and is best suited for Biology, BMB, and Environmental Studies majors. It has a weekly lab component.
  • Bio 113 (Introduction to Phage Biology - Fall course) is a research-intensive course geared towards science students. It can substitute for either Bio 110 or Bio 111 for any major/minor. It has a lab component and assumes students will also sign up for Bio 114 (Phage Genomics) concurrently with Bio 112 in the spring. Open to a limited number of students by application only.
  • Bio 112 (Form and Function - Spring course) is required for Biology, BMB, Health Science majors, pre-med students, and has a pre-requisite of Bio 110 or 111 or 113.

For Advising Help: contact Prof. Kazuo Hiraizumi ( or Prof. Matt Kittelberger ( or visit the Prospective Student tab at the Biology Department web site.


Students planning a major in the interdisciplinary Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program should take Biology 111 AND Chemistry 105 or 107 in the fall semester, followed by Biology 112 and Chemistry 108 in the spring semester.  Since Mathematics 111-112 is required for the BMB major, students are strongly encouraged to complete Math 111-112 during the first year.  For advising help, contact Dr. Steven James (, Chair of the BMB Program.


Students planning a major in chemistry should take Chemistry 105 or 107 and Mathematics 111 or a higher-level mathematics course during the fall semester, and Chemistry 108 during the spring semester.  If you have a question, see the Department Handbook online or contact Prof. Michael Wedlock (

Students who are interested in taking a chemistry class because of a general interest in exploring chemistry can also start with Chemistry 107, which explores a broad range of topics and does not presume an extensive background in chemistry; or Chemistry 105, which is taught at the same level of difficulty as Chemistry 107, but focuses more on agricultural and environmental themes.  Either class serves as a pre-requisite for Chemistry 108 offered in the second semester.


There is no better place to learn about the American Civil War than Gettysburg College. CWES 205 is an excellent course for you to begin your exploration of the Civil War Era. Whether you are considering a minor in Civil War Era Studies, or you are just curious to find out more about the greatest conflict in American History, while spending four years at a site that played an important role in the war and its aftermath, CWES 205 (Introduction to the American Civil War Era) offers an interdisciplinary introduction to the social, cultural, political and military aspects of the Civil War Era. Additionally, CWES 205 may count towards the History major. Prospective minors in Civil War Era Studies should plan to take this course as soon as their schedule allows. Also on offer for incoming students are two First-Year Seminars on Civil War-related subjects, FYS 185-3 (Visualizing Emancipation: The African American Image, in and Around the Civil War) and FYS 183-4 (Blood on the Moon: Literature of the Civil War Era). For advising during the summer, please contact Diane Brennan ( .


All 100-level Classics courses are appropriate for any student interested in exploring this discipline, and they also contribute to the major in Classics.  For Fall 2017, students should consider enrolling in CLA 103 Classics of Greek and Latin Literature; for Spring 2018 we will offer CLA 122 Survey of Roman Civilization. In the Fall we are also offering FY Seminar 161-3 Same-Sex Desire: Then and Now (meets Conceptualizing Diversity requirement). Some 200-level Classics courses have no pre-requisites and are also open to any student (Spring 2018: CLA 230 Classical Mythology). Classics also offers courses cross-listed with Anthropology (Spring 2018: CLA 125 Archaeology of the Ancient Mediterranean World; CLA 214 Celts: Ancient and Modern). Most Classics courses meet the Humanities Requirement. Students with a substantial interest in Classics who have studied ancient Greek or Latin in high school should continue their language study (see courses and placement information under Greek and Latin headings); students who have not yet studied one of these languages are advised to begin their study (Latin 101 and Greek 101, spring semester only) in the SPRING of their First Year or no later than Spring of Sophomore year, in order to integrate a study abroad program into their coursework in Classics. For advising help, contact the Chair, Dr. GailAnn Rickert ( (See separate entries for information on GREEK and LATIN.)


First-year prospective majors in Computer Science should schedule CS 111-112, and Math 111 during the first year.  Each course of our introductory sequence, CS 111, 112, and 216,  is offered each semester, so it is possible to begin the CS major at any point through sophomore year, although a later start will limit course choices and increase scheduling constraints.  Students with CS Advanced Placement scores of 4 or 5 will receive credit for CS 111 and place into CS 112.  Students without such AP scores may still place out of CS 111 with permission of a CS faculty member after an informal consultation.  Please note that CS 103 does not count towards CS major requirements. 

CS 107, "Introduction to Scientific Computation", in an alternative to CS 111 for prospective majors in Mathematics or the Natural Sciences.  Such students are strongly encouraged to take CS 107 or CS 111 rather than CS 103.

CS 103 is a lab-based, survey course of Computer Science for non-majors including a historical survey of technology and the use of computers, computer applications, software systems design, programming with scripts, computer hardware and digital logic design, and implications of computing.

To learn more about the Computer Science major, please consult any CS faculty member (x6630), the CS chair, Prof. Clif Presser x6639, or read our CS handbook


Students who major or minor in East Asian Studies must specialize in either Japan or China, and they should consider taking either AS 150 Japanese Culture and Society or AS 151 Chinese Culture and Society in their first or second year.  Because we expect that all majors will study abroad in either Japan or China during their college career and because HIST 224 Modern Japan and HIST 223 Modern China are not necessarily offered every year, students are also encouraged to enroll in HIST 224 or HIST 223, as appropriate for their area of specialization, at their earliest convenience. If they have not previously studied the appropriate language, students should choose Japanese 101 or Chinese 101.  Students who have studied Japanese or Chinese in high school should plan to be tested and interviewed during Orientation for proper placement.  East Asia related courses are also available in other departments including History, Political Science, Religious Studies, and Art History.  For further information, please consult our website or contact Prof. Jing Li ( or Prof. Eleanor Hogan (


Students who major in economics have two degree options: they may choose the Economics major for the Bachelor of Arts degree or the Mathematical Economics major for the Bachelor of Science degree.  We strongly encourage students who wish to pursue graduate study in Economics to choose the Bachelor of Science degree option.

Prospective majors in Economics should take Economics 103 and Economics 104 in the first year, in either order. Students looking primarily to understand nation-level issues of growth, employment, and prices should take Economics 104 (macroeconomics); students looking primarily to understand individual-level decision-making, economic incentives and the role of the marketplace in society should take Economics 103 (microeconomics). These courses meet the social sciences multiple inquiries requirement, and are prerequisites for 200 level courses in regional economic issues (e.g. Asia, Latin America, Africa) that meet some of the diversity curriculum goals.

Students with AP or transfer credit in Introductory Microeconomics receive credit for Economics 103 and so should first choose Economics 104, and similarly students with AP or transfer credit in Introductory Macroeconomics should first choose Economics 103. Students are also encouraged to take Econ 241 (Statistics) as early as possible. In addition, majors are required to demonstrate achievement in Mathematics by taking Math 111 or Math 105-106. It is important to satisfy this Math requirement early since it is a prerequisite for admission to some sophomore courses in the department. The Economics Department strongly recommends Math 111. Those prospective majors who need more preparation in mathematics may take instead Mathematics 105 followed by Math 106 in the spring semester. For advising help, contact Prof. Brendan Cushing-Daniels ( or Sue Holz (


The Education Department offers two programs to students interested in the study of Education: the Educational Studies minor (which does not include teacher certification) and the Teacher Education program, which allows candidates to earn Pennsylvania teacher certification in selected fields. Students in either program should consider beginning their coursework in Education 199 (Foundations of Education) or Education 201 (Educational Psychology), though these courses need not be taken in the first semester or even the first year. Students seeking certification should also consider completing additional course requirements that must be met regardless of certification area and must also be completed before applying for program admission. Many of these courses can also be used to satisfy Gettysburg Curriculum requirements. They include:

  • One course in college-level writing, or a score of 600+ on the verbal section of the SAT.
  • One course in British or American literature, or a score of 4+ on an AP English exam.
  • Two courses in college-level mathematics; a score of 4+ on an AP math exam may be substituted for one or both of these courses. Also, courses satisfying the QIDR requirement of the Gettysburg Curriculum count as math courses for certification purposes. Economics 104 can also be counted as a math course for certification although it does not meet the QIDR requirement. 


The Minor in Educational Studies: The Educational Studies minor allows students to explore education without earning teacher licensure at Gettysburg College. Students interested in earning certification in areas not offered at Gettysburg (in elementary grades, for example) are encouraged to pursue licensure as part of a Master's degree program or through alternative routes to certification. The minor is designed to prepare students for Master’s level coursework by introducing them to education as a cultural phenomenon, explored through various disciplinary lenses (including history, philosophy, psychology and sociology) and/or academic fields of interest (such as public policy, diversity studies, or social justice). The minor can only be declared after a major has been declared. Students who may be interested in eventually declaring a minor should simply begin their studies with one of the two intro courses (Education 199 or Education 201).

Teacher Education program: Students interested in teacher certification and Pennsylvania licensure should begin their programs of study by addressing the common certification requirements described above. Those requirements, plus Education 199 and Education 201, must be completed before admission to the Teacher Education program can be granted; typically, admission is granted before or after the spring semester of the sophomore year. Other certificate-specific requirements may also be necessary; contact the Education Department once you arrive on campus for more information.

Students interested in either the Educational Studies minor or the Teacher Education program should visit the Education Department’s website or the College catalog for more information.

For more information, contact Prof. Divonna Stebick ( ), or Mrs. Kathy Ambrose (717.337.6550; ), the Education Department’s office administrator, in June or July.


Any first year student as well as prospective majors in English may elect one of the First Year Seminars (FYS) that focuses on literature (FYS 142-3, FYS 159-3, FYS 161-2, FYS 178-2, FYS 179-3, FYS 183-4, FYS 191-4) or ENG 111 or ENG 113. All of these courses will fulfill the College's first-year writing requirement as well as count as an elective toward an English major or minor. If a prospective English major has been exempted from the first-year writing requirement, he or she might want to begin with a foundational-level literature course (ENG 210-269).

200-level English literature courses (ENG 210-269) are open to any student who would like to study English or American literature; there are no pre-requisites for these courses. All 200- and 300-level literature courses fulfill the Multiple Inquiries Humanities requirement.

In the fall, good choices for incoming first-year students who would like to take a literature course would be: 

ENG 210-A  Global and Radical Shakespeares   WF  2:10 – 3:25

ENG 212-A  Survey of English Literature: Medieval & Renaissance  TR 8:30 – 9:45

ENG 222-A  The Unreasonable Age of Reason  MWF 1:10 – 2:00

ENG 232-A  Romanticism to Modernism  TR 10:00 – 11:15

ENG 235-A  Survey of African American Literature  TR 2:35 – 3:50

ENG 255-A  Identity & Imagination: Jewish American Women Writers  MW 11:00 – 12:15

ENG 261-A  After Auschwitz: Literature of Witness  TR 1:10 – 2:25

Prospective English majors and minors who wish to focus on creative writing should complete their writing requirement in the Fall semester of their first year and attempt to enroll in ENG 205 Introduction to Creative Writing the Spring semester. If classes are full, students should be sure to enroll in ENG 205 the Fall semester of their sophomore year. ENG 205 is a gateway course to all advanced-level writing classes. First year students who have been exempted from the writing component might consider enrolling in ENG 201 Writing the Public Essay for the Fall or Spring semester. For advising help, contact Jody Rosensteel (


Prospective majors and minors should take ES 196 as soon as possible, preferably in the first year. Note that ES 121 and most other 100-level ES courses are designed for non-majors and typically do not count toward the ES major. Students interested in the Bachelors of Science degree should take two semesters of a basic natural science in their first year (Bio 111-112 or 113-114, or Chem 105 or 107-108, or Phys 103-104, 109-110, or 111-112). Sophomores should take as many core courses as possible (ES 211, 223, 225, and 230). For more information, read the full major/minor requirements. For advising help, please contact Prof. Rud Platt (


All students who have previously studied French and wish to continue the language MUST take a placement test and register at the level where they placed. Students who are unable to sign up for a course but really would like to take it should place themselves on the wait list. We should know by August if we are able to accommodate students in that situation.  Placement in French 300 is only reflective of a good level in French language and does not suggest knowledge of theoretical concepts.  These will be taught in subsequent French classes (305, 310 etc.).  It is thus not unusual for First-Year students to be placed in FR300 and do very well.  Prospective French majors should have completed French 300 by their Sophomore year to ensure smooth planning for study abroad.  Those who have never taken French before and would like to start at Gettysburg College must register in French 101 which meets five days a week.  Any questions should be directed to Ms. Robin Oliver (


The German Studies Major consists of a minimum of eleven courses beyond the elementary language level. Majors are required to spend at least one semester studying in an approved program in a German-speaking country. Prospective majors should take German 301 in the fall, pending placement at that level, but those who begin with German 201 can still schedule the remaining coursework for the major program without difficulty. A department placement test will be required of all students enrolling in German except for those who have never studied German before. German 101 is appropriate for the true beginner and meets five days a week. If you have questions, please contact the Department Chair, Prof. Kerry Wallach . For more information on our German Studies Minor and Major, please consult the department website.


Prospective majors must take all four foundation courses: Anthropology 103, Economics 101 or Economics 104, either POL 103 or POL 104, and GS 225.  These may be taken in any order and ideally should be completed by the end of the second year.  Students should be aware of the fact that because they design their regional and thematic tracks for this major, they must complete an application for the major in direct consultation with a member of the Globalization Studies Academic Committee. The application is available on the Globalization Studies website. For advising help, contact the Chair of Globalization Studies Prof. Alvaro Kaempfer (, or Lin Myers (


Beginning Ancient and New Testament Greek 101-102 are appropriate for students who have never studied ancient Greek. NOTE: Greek 101 is taught in the SPRING and Greek 102 in the FALL. Students who have studied ancient Greek previously should consult with the Chair about appropriate placement. To integrate a study abroad program into their course work, students are advised to complete at least Greek 101-102 by the end of their second year. For advising help or to discuss placement contact the Chair, Dr. GailAnn Rickert (


Prospective BA & BS majors in Health Sciences should take Bio 110 in the fall and Bio 112 in the spring. BS majors should also consider taking Chem 107 in the fall and Chem 108 in the spring. Students can contact the Chair of the Heath Sciences Department (Dr. Dan Drury ) with questions and concerns about scheduling. For more information, see the Department's website.


All 100 and 200- level courses have no pre-requisites and fulfill the Humanities requirement for the Multiple Inquiries Goal. Many of these courses also fulfill the Global Understanding, Conceptualizing Diversity, or STS requirements.  History majors may count one AP History credit as a 100-level elective toward the major, but regardless of any AP credits received, all History majors must have one of the History Department’s 100-level courses.  Students who have AP credit for U.S. History should not take History 231: U.S. to 1877 or History 232: U.S. since 1865.  Prospective majors should take a 100-level or 200 level course. FY students can take 300 level courses only with permission of the instructor. For advising help, contact Prof. Timothy Shannon, Chair,


Courses listed in the College Catalogue under the category of Interdisciplinary Studies involve subject matter and methods of study from more than one discipline or department. All courses with an IDS indicator, except courses numbered IDS 450-499, address the Integrative Thinking Goal through the Interdisciplinary courses option. 200-level courses without prerequisites are appropriate for First Year students. Students may create their own major, normally in their sophomore year, through the Individualized Major Program, which is administered by the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. Note that students who are interested in creating an individualized major must have their applications approved by the end of their second year. For advising help, contact Lin Myers (, Prof. Kevin Wilson (, or consult the departmental webpage.



International Affairs (IA) is offered only as a dual major; therefore, it must be combined with another major.   Students must apply and be accepted into the program.  Applications are available on the IA website.  Students must also have chosen their other major at the time of their application.  Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA in their other major and the general curriculum to be considered for the program and to remain in it.  Most students apply in the second semester of the first year or in their sophomore year.  In the first and second year, students should take Economics 103 & 104, Political Science 103, and History 110. For advising help, contact Prof. Donald Borock, Director of IA (


The Italian Studies Major consists of twelve courses which includes Italian 201 and 202; five courses at the 300 level taught in Italian and five courses at the 200 level taught in English. Students who pursue the Italian Studies Major must spend a semester of study in Italy. The Italian Studies Minor consists of five courses above IT 202, three of which must be at the 300 level taught in Italian. We highly encourage, but do not oblige, our students interested in the Italian Studies Minor to study in Italy for a semester. Please plan on enrolling your first semester to begin to complete the language requirement and possibly study more language courses for the minor or major. Chances to study in a beginning level Italian course diminish significantly after the first year with priority given to incoming first year students to enroll with each subsequent class. If you wish to schedule Italian, but are unable to register for a section matching your language placement results, you can contact the Department Chair, Prof. Alan Perry ( For more information on our Italian Studies Minor and Major, please consult the information on the department website


Beginning Latin 101 is appropriate for students who have never studied Latin in high school. NOTE: Latin 101 is taught in the SPRING and Latin 102 in the FALL. Students who wish to continue their study of Latin (or are interested in Classics) should take the online Placement Exam. To integrate a study abroad program into their course work, students are advised to complete at least Latin 101-102 by the end of their second year.  Students who wish to continue their study of Latin (or are interested in Classics) should consult with the Chair, Dr. GailAnn Rickert ( about appropriate placement.


First-year students wishing to pursue the combined Latin American, Caribbean, Latino Studies/Spanish major, or the LACLS minor, should take the Spanish placement test and sign up for the appropriate level Spanish-language course. Sign up for LAS 147 Introduction to Latin America: Cultural Studies (in the Fall) or LAS 140 Introduction to Latin America: Social Sciences (in the Spring). All of these courses fulfill the required introduction to Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies for majors and are strongly recommended for minors. Students should contemplate studying abroad in Latin America on a college-affiliated program (required for majors) second semester sophomore year or during their junior year.

For advising help, contact the Chair, Prof. Verónica Calvillo ( or the program’s administrative assistant, Tara Bowman (     


The Department of Management offers a major in Organization and Management Studies and a minor in Business.

Organization and Management Studies
Prospective majors in Organization and Management Studies will need to take Psychology 101 or Sociology 101 or 103 in their first year. The earliest a student may take OMS 111 is the spring semester of their first year because of the Psychology or Sociology pre-requisite. Students considering OMS as a major must complete OMS 111, OMS 235, and OMS 270 by the end of their sophomore year. OMS 235 is restricted to first and second year students.

Business Minor
Prospective minors in Business should take Economics 103 in their first year. For advising help, contact Prof. Bennett Bruce (


The Department of Mathematics does not have a placement exam. Rather, we believe that students should self-place themselves into the class that best fits their background and interests with help from their advisor and faculty in our department. Students considering a mathematics course should refer to the Mathematics Placement Guidelines to determine the appropriate placement or consult with a member of the department at 717-337-6630 or email (  Please note that Calculus I (Math 111) is intended for students who have not previously taken Calculus. In general, students who have taken the AB Calculus AP exam should start in Calculus II (Math 112) and students who have taken the BC Calculus exam should start in a 200-level math course. Students who are considering a major in Mathematics, Physics, or Computer Science and are beginning at the Calculus II level should take the Honors section if possible.

Guidelines for Math Placement for First Year Students

It is beneficial to find the most appropriate math course in which to start, given your goals; aptitude and motivation; and background.   If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to discuss your individual situation with a math faculty member.

Step 1 (Goals): What are your goals in taking a math course at Gettysburg College?


Starting course

Pursue further study in math, computer science, economics, or the sciences.

Introduction to Research in Mathematics (Math 201; no pre-requisites), or

Calculus (Math 105, 111, 111H, 112, 112H, or 211; see placement chart), or

Linear Algebra (Math 212; see placement chart), or

Abstract Mathematics I (Math 215; see placement chart), or

Differential Equations (Math 225 see placement chart)

Fulfill the Quantitative, inductive and deductive reasoning (QIDR) requirement.

Note:  Gettysburg College does not have a math requirement.

Mathematical Ideas (Math 103; no pre-requisites), or
Introduction to Research in Mathematics (Math 201; no pre-requisites), or
Math as Muse (FYS 162-2; no pre-requisites), or
Courses in other departments (such as certain courses in CS, Econ., HS, Philosophy, Political Science, etc.)  See Registrar’s website for eligible courses.

Step 2 (Aptitude and Motivation): These are only guidelines to help you decide where it is best for you to start; you may want to keep the following points in mind:

  1. Your motivation (drive and determination) is a very important factor in your success no matter which course you select. Many students are more motivated to work (and will attain higher grades) in a course where the material is new to them as opposed to a course where they have already seen most of the material.
  2. Good study habits and the ability to handle challenges go a long way toward filling occasional gaps in background. If you are unsure about the strength of your background, you should consider your study habits and whether you are diligent in seeking out help.
  3. It is easier to move down than it is to move up. When choosing between two courses, the department's general recommendation is to take the higher course, because you will have an opportunity to move down to a lower level course through the fifth week of classes. If you start in a lower course, you will not be able to move up to a higher course after the second week of classes.

Step 3 (Background): On the chart that follows, find the highest level background course completed in high school in which you did well (grade of B or better). For example, if in high school you had an A in Algebra II, a B in Precalculus, and a C in Calculus, then your highest level background with B or better is Precalculus.

Calculus Placement Chart

Highest Level Background with B or Better

Starting Course

Algebra II

Note:  If you have completed Algebra II, but you do not have a B or better in any of the courses listed in this column, you should pre-register for Math 105 and speak with a math faculty member before the registration in August.

Calculus with Precalculus  (Math 105)
(and in the spring  Math 106)

Note:  Completing Math 105 and Math 106 is equivalent to completing Calculus I (Math 111).

Precalculus   (also taught under titles such as Math Analysis, or Functions, or College Algebra/Trig), including the topics:
Functions, graphs, and shifting/stretching
Polynomial and rational functions
Exponential and logarithmic functions
Trigonometric functions and identities

Note:  A score of 4 or 5 on AP Calculus AB exam gives credit for Math 111.  If you take Math 111, you will lose this credit.

Calculus I  (Math 111)

Some Calculus + Highly Motivated:
If you took some calculus (but not enough to enroll in Calculus II), are highly motivated, and have a Math SAT score of 650 or higher.

Honors Calculus I  (Math 111H)

Calculus:  full year course in high school (not necessarily AP),                  including the following topics:
Limits and continuity
Increase/decrease, max/min, and concavity
Definite integrals
Fundamental Theorem of Calculus

Note: A score of 4 or 5 on AP Calculus BC exam gives credit for Math 112.  If you take Math 112, you will lose this AP credit.

Calculus II  (Math 112)

Calculus + Highly Motivated:
If you earned a 4 or 5 on the AB Calculus test
If you took a year of calculus, are highly motivated, and have a Math SAT score of 650 or higher.

Honors Calculus II  (Math 112H)

AP Calculus BC course, including all Calculus topics listed above plus:
Integration techniques
Applications of integration
Differential equations
Infinite sequences and series

Multivariable Calculus  (Math 211)
Linear Algebra  (Math 212)
Abstract Mathematics I  (Math 215)
Differential Equations (Math 225)



The Sunderman Conservatory offers opportunities for all students, regardless of major. If you are not a music major or minor, please see below: Information for All Incoming Students, to learn about courses and ensembles that will be offered in 2017-18.


Please note: An audition is required for admission into the music major or minor program. For information on auditions, please contact Diane MacBeth in the Conservatory office at


Information for Incoming First-Year Music Majors and Minors (Class of 2021)

Incoming music majors (all degrees) and minors should refer to the New Student Orientation page on the Sunderman Conservatory website for additional important information. As you prepare to register for courses, please check your audition letter to see which degree guidelines to follow from those given below.


Bachelor of Arts, Music Majors and Music Minors: Should register first for MUS_CLAS 141: Music Theory 1 and build the rest of the schedule around this course. Note that for Music Theory you must register for both the lecture section and an activity section (aural skills). Then register for the following: a First Year Seminar (highly recommended; a number of seminars also fulfill the writing requirement), and two courses that fulfill part of the Gettysburg Curriculum other than Multiple Inquiries: Arts. We recommend that you consider a second language for one of your Gettysburg Curriculum courses. Information about registration for applied lessons and ensembles can be found below in the section on Private Lessons and Ensembles. NOTE: If you plan to be a double major, advisors for both music and the other discipline can help you with your course schedule during the summer registration period.


Bachelor of Music Education: Should register first for MUS_CLAS 141: Music Theory 1. Note that for Music Theory you must register for both the lecture section and an activity section (aural skills). Must also register for MUS_CLAS 149: Social Foundations of Music Education and MUS_CLAS 120: Piano Skills 1 (.25) and build the rest of the schedule around these courses.


Music Education majors planning to take a First Year Seminar must ensure their chosen seminar meets the writing requirement OR should take ENG 101/111 (this is a state requirement for teacher licensure that must be completed during the first semester; an approved AP English Writing class with a score of 4 or higher can exempt you from this requirement; consult with music education faculty before opting out of a course that meets this requirement). Music Education majors must also register for a course that fulfills the Gettysburg Curriculum Quantitative, Inductive, and Deductive Reasoning goal (math courses, CS 103). Information about registration for applied lessons and ensembles can be found below in the section on Private Lessons and Ensembles.


Bachelor of Music in Performance: should register first for MUS_CLAS 141: Music Theory 1 and build the rest of the schedule around this course. Note that for Music Theory you must register for both the lecture section and an activity section (aural skills). Then register for a second language, First Year Seminar (with writing component) or Eng 101/ 111, or one multiple inquiries goal course other than in the Arts. Students will register for MUSIC 157 (1) at the time of the first meeting with their studio teacher. As MUSIC 157 is a full course, please ensure you only pre-register for three courses. There may be additional partial-credit requirements associated with your particular degree track (voice, keyboard, strings, or wind/percussion) that you will add in consultation with your music advisor at the beginning of the fall semester.

Private Lessons and Ensembles

Students do not need to pre-register for applied lessons or ensembles. Students register for applied music courses (private lessons) in Voice, Piano, Organ, Guitar, Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, or Strings at the first meeting with your studio teacher in the fall semester. Auditions/placements for music ensembles in Choirs, Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, and Jazz Ensemble will also be scheduled at the beginning of fall semester. Ensemble directors complete the ensemble registration once auditions are over and the ensemble rosters are finalized. Music majors and minors should review the ensemble participation requirements on the New Student Orientation page on the Sunderman Conservatory website. 


Music Information for All Incoming Students

The Sunderman Conservatory of Music offers courses that fulfill the requirements of the Gettysburg Curriculum for students who are undecided or in majors outside of music. All ensembles in the Sunderman Conservatory are open to students from all majors. For information, visit the Sunderman Conservatory website. For advising help, contact Prof. Kay Hoke ( or Prof. Russell McCutcheon (


All introductory (100-level) courses are open to first-year students.  All students are encouraged to consider a Philosophy course early in their college career as an opportunity to develop skills in reasoning and argument, explore a new field, and expand intellectual perspective.  Completion of a 100-level course or a First-Year Seminar taught by a philosopher entitles a student to enroll in any Philosophy course at any level.   Any student completing an introductory level course should feel encouraged to explore all other course offerings in the department.   Prospective majors in philosophy should enroll in an introductory-level course in their first year, although students may begin the program in their sophomore year.  For advising help, contact Prof. Daniel DeNicola ( 


Students planning to major in Physics should take Physics 111 and Mathematics 111 or a higher level mathematics course. Candidates for the Dual-Degree Engineering Program interested in majoring in physics while at Gettysburg College should take Physics 111 and Mathematics 111; students interested in Chemical Engineering and a chemistry major should take Chemistry 107 and Mathematics 111; other non-physics-major dual-degree candidates should take Physics 109 and Mathematics 111.  All dual-degree candidates should take a second language, English 101, or 111, or First Year Seminar that is writing intensive which satisfies the effective communication goal, or Economics 103 or 104 in the first semester. Dual-degree candidates should also give thought in the first year to which of the fifteen engineering majors they wish to pursue. For advising help, contact Prof. Sharon Stephenson (

Intro Physics courses:

  • Physics 101: For non-science majors; does not count toward the Physics major; satisfies the natural science requirement (with lab), open to first years
  • Physics 103: For Biology, Environmental Studies, Health Science majors, algebra-based course; sophomore status required; does not count toward the Physics major
  • Physics 109: For Chemistry and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology majors, calculus-based course; sophomore status required; does not count toward the Physics major
  • Physics 111: For Physics and Engineering dual degree majors, calculus-based course, exclusively for first years


Any student may enroll in Political Science 101,102,103 or 104.  Prospective majors must take three of these introductory courses which are intended to introduce the student to the major subfields of political science and prepare the groundwork for their concentration in two of those subfields.  They may be taken in any order, but should be completed by the end of the sophomore year. POL 215, Methods in Political Science, should also be completed by the end of the sophomore year. For advising help contact Prof. Bruce Larson ( or Carla Pavlick ( ).


Students planning to attend medical school should complete the following courses by the end of junior or senior year, depending on when they plan to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

  • Biology 110 and 112 (or Biology 111 and 112 if majoring in Biology, BMB, or Environmental Studies)
  • Chemistry 107 and 108
  • Chemistry 203 and 204
  • Physics 103 and 104 (or Physics 109 and 110 if majoring in Chemistry or BMB, or Physics 111 and 112 if majoring in Physics)
  • Biology 211 and 212 (Note: Chemistry 333 and 334 may substitute for Biology 212)
  • Psychology 101
  • Sociology 101 or 102 or 103

First year students should take Biology 110 or Biology 111 the first semester. Students with strong science backgrounds typically also take Chemistry 107 the first semester.

Completing these courses by the end of the junior year will prepare students to take the MCAT in the spring of the junior year and apply to medical school the summer between the junior and senior year. If accepted, the student would then attend medical school immediately after graduating from Gettysburg College (no gap year). Completing these courses by the end of the senior year will prepare students to take the MCAT in the spring of the senior year and apply to medical school the summer after senior year. If accepted, the student would then attend medical school one year after graduating from Gettysburg College (gap year). Careful planning is needed to ensure students complete the courses needed for medical school. While medical schools require that students take specific courses to gain admission, they do not require any particular major.

*Some medical schools may require Biochemistry as well as other courses not necessarily listed here, such as Math and/or English.  It is important that students review required courses and pre-requisites for particular schools in the years prior to applying to medical school.

For advising help, contact Kristi Waybright ( ) or Katy Mattson ( ).


Psychology 101 is an appropriate starting place for students interested in Psychology.  Students who have received a 4 or 5 on the Psychology Advanced Placement Exam may register for 200-level psychology classes in the fall.

Prospective majors may elect to take Psych 101 in either the fall or spring.  New first-year students should not take Psych 205 in the fall, although they may take Psych 205 in the spring if they first declare a major in Psychology.  Although the College grants course credit for AP Statistics if students receive a 4 or a 5 on the AP Statistics exam, psychology majors must still take Psych 205 as an additional course.

In addition to psychology courses, psychology majors must take two natural science courses with laboratories. Appropriate courses for the fall include Bio 101, 110 (for those with strong interest in health professions or neuroscience) or 111 (for those considering a major or minor in biology), Chem 107, Physics 103, and Astronomy 101. Prospective psychology majors are not required to take a natural science course in the first semester, but they may find these courses easier to schedule as first-year students than later in their career.  Natural science courses without laboratories fulfill the Gettysburg curriculum requirement but they do not meet the requirement for the psychology major.

For advising help, contact Prof. Kathleen Cain ( or Prof. Brian Meier (

Public Policy

Public Policy is a dual major, meaning that it must be taken alongside of another major. Students interested in the Public Policy major would benefit by taking one or more of the following courses: POL 101 (American Government), POL 104 (Comparative Politics), ECON 103 (Microeconomics), ECON 104 (Macroeconomics), or PHIL 105 (Contemporary Moral Issues). For advising help, contact Prof. Bruce Larson



The Department of Religious Studies focuses on the global, cross-cultural, and academic study of religion. We offer an array of courses that introduce students to major religious traditions of the world, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Native American, and Religions of America. All courses in the department fulfill the one-course requirement in the Humanities. Many courses also fulfill the one-course requirement in Global Understanding, while other courses fulfill the one-course requirement in Conceptualizing Diversity. Although there are no prerequisites for any 100 or 200 level courses, we encourage prospective majors and minors to take Religion 101 early in their career. The department recommends Study Abroad programs and counts toward the major or minor work completed abroad. We also offer a Judaic Studies minor and are related to the Peace and Justice Studies minor. See the Department's website for more information. For summer advising help contact Dr. GailAnn Rickert .


Sociology 101 (or SOC 102 or SOC 103, which are equivalent to 101) is appropriate for any student interested in exploring this discipline and meets the Social Science requirement for the Multiple Inquiries Goal. Students interested in majoring in Sociology should take Soc 101 (or 102 or 103) during the first year since it is a prerequisite for almost all other Sociology courses. Sociology majors planning to study abroad during the junior year ideally should complete Sociology 101 (or 102 or 103), and at least two 200 level Sociology courses (one of which should be either SOC 292 or SOC 296) by the end of the sophomore year. For advising help, contact Andrea Switzer ( )


The Spanish Major consists of a minimum of 9 courses beyond and including Spanish 301. Prospective majors should take Spanish 301 in the fall, or as soon as possible, pending placement at that level. Majors are required to spend at least one semester studying in an approved program in a Spanish-speaking country. Those who begin at a lower level can still schedule the remaining coursework for the major program without difficulty, but should consult with the Department of Spanish for advising. A department placement test will be required of all students enrolling in Spanish, except for those who have studied one year or less of Spanish. Those students who test into Spanish 101 and any student who has not taken Spanish in High School may enroll in any section of Spanish 101. True beginners (those with no high school Spanish) need departmental permission to enroll into the section of Spanish 101 that is dedicated to true beginners (contact Ms. Becky Best at  For those advanced students of Spanish (301 placement) who are interested in learning another language, please consider Accelerated Elementary Portuguese (Port 105). Your Spanish background will help you advance rapidly in Portuguese, the sixth most spoken language in the world. Any questions should be directed to Ms. Becky Best ( 


Any student interested in exploring the Theatre Arts program is encouraged to take one or more of the following theatre courses during the first year: Theatre Arts 105, Introduction to the Theatre (fall/spring);  Theatre Arts 120, Fundamentals of Acting (fall/spring); or Theatre Arts 115, Theatre Production (spring). 

All students interested in acting in campus productions are encouraged to attend auditions for the fall production, The School for Lies, by David Ives. Auditions will take place during the first week of classes. There are also opportunities to work backstage. For more information, contact Chris Kauffman, Department Chair, ( or Carol Coon, Academic Office Administrator, (


Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary program which examines historically marginalized genders and sexualities from the perspective of critical gender studies.  The Program has a special focus on women and on intersections of gender, sexuality, race, class, ethnicity, age, and ability.  The curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, multiple perspectives, and the diversity of human experience. Students learn a number of methods for examining and strategies for modifying the conditions that affect all of our lives.

The Program has several new sexuality studies courses that may be of interest to students as they make their course selections. In addition to regular course offerings, students may take Program-approved cross-listed and affiliated courses which count toward the major and minor.

Prospective majors and minors in WGS are strongly encouraged to talk with a WGS advisor as early as possible in their academic career.  Because there is a preferred sequence of courses, all required courses require careful planning.  Students are strongly encouraged to take WGS 120 in the first or second year, WGS 300 or WGS 310 (Fall) and WGS 290 (Spring) in the third year, and WGS 340 (Fall) and WGS 400 (Spring) in the senior year.  *WGS 300 and WGS 310 are offered alternating years in the Fall.  Students planning to study abroad are encouraged to do so in their sophomore year or in the spring of their junior year.

Our 200-level courses do not have pre-requisites and work towards an array of Gettysburg College Curriculum goals, notably the Interdisciplinary, Conceptualizing Diversity, Global Understanding, Humanities, and Social Science requirements. For advising assistance over the summer, please contact the Office of Academic Advising.