Requirements for the BA/BFA Degree

Students must accumulate 120 semester-hour credits to earn the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Goddard College.

The college offers the following baccalaureate degrees:

All bachelor’s degree seeking students meet the following requirements:

Wide Knowledge (General Education)

Goddard’s pedagogical perspective includes the philosophy that we engage with the world most fully when we can apply various modes kinds of questions, ways of knowing, and ways of organizing information, practices and ideas. Each of the following areas provides a different lens for viewing and/or interacting with the world. These areas of wide knowledge can be studied one at a time or in relationship with each other. How students approach this depends on their individual course of study.

Demonstration of learning in Wide Knowledge can also be shown through transfer credits, Assessment of Prior Learning, or packet work. Courses from other institutions with a grade of C or better will fulfill Wide Knowledge requirements.

Content AreaCredits
Arts and Creative Expression: the study and practice of any of the arts, which might include visual arts, creative writing, dance, music and performance6
Humanities: the study of human constructs, human experiences and concerns, which can include philosophy, history, language, literature, history, and religion.6
Mathematics as a Lived ExperienceThe study of abstract concepts such as quantity, structure, space, and change; mathematics is a tool for making informed judgments and decisions regarding issues that involve quantitative reasoning, which can include statistics, ratios, percentages and probabilities.3
Natural and Life SciencesAny systematic study of the structure, function and/or behavior of a natural phenomenon, and the development and testing of theories to describe these findings. These studies might include the sciences of climate change, biology, anatomy, nutrition, geology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, etc.3
Additional Math or Science3
Social Sciences, the study of human behavior and cultures, including the study of sociology, anthropology and psychology and economics, among others, etc.6

Thoughtful Action

Goddard students are required to take some intentional action to affect the world outside of themselves, often but not necessarily in collaboration with others. John Dewey, among others, argued that education must include experience. Others since have referred to “praxis,” that is, putting theory into practice. This is demonstrated in the specific ways you:

  • Identify issues, concerns or objectives in your community and the larger world.
  • Plan strategies and articulate intentions with thoughtfulness, conviction and commitment.
  • Implement or try out strategies for addressing concerns, problems or goals.
  • Reflect on your actions, including their impact on you and others, their effectiveness, and lessons learned toward future action.

Positive Self Development

As you develop broad knowledge, engage in thoughtful action and deepen your awareness of our shared social and ecological contexts, you will change and grow. The degree to which you engage that process intentionally and reflect on that change in yourself is demonstrated in the ways you:

  • Engage in a conscious process of personal growth and self-awareness in response to learning, life experiences and relationships.
  • Develop and articulate an awareness of your social identity in relationship to other identities and experiences.
  • Integrate learning into who you are, who you want to be, and how you are growing.

Demonstration of learning in Thoughtful Action and Positive Self-Development can be shown through prior learning (APL), packet work, or as part of the reflective essay in the progress review portfolio.

Thinking, Learning, and Communication

The following skills are required of all undergraduate students at Goddard College:

  • Engaged critical thinking and writing
  • Research
  • Use and documentation of sources
  • Writing mechanics
  • Presentation of ideas to others in forms appropriate to the subject and audience
  • Understanding and use of technology
  • Cultural understanding

Critical thinking includes:

  • Curiosity and openness to ideas, perspectives and information beyond one’s own experience or ideas, and reflection on one’s own biases and perspectives.
  • Gathering information and ideas from a number of diverse sources.
  • Assessing the authenticity and credibility of information.
  • Raising and exploring questions about and problems with ideas and information.
  • Attributing ideas and information to their sources
  • Well-reasoned conclusions and solutions

Engaged Critical Thinking 

While critical thinking happens in a variety of learning experiences, including visual, oral, movement and written work, all students are required to document competency with engaged critical writing in order to meet this degree requirement.

Students must submit at least a 6-10 page Engaged Critical Paper by Level 3, and a 10-15 page paper by level 6 or 7.

Students are encouraged to work into a fully engaged critical paper by engaging in a variety of writing practices, including writing research summaries, annotations, annotated bibliographies, literature reviews, exploratory essays and contextualized personal narratives. Working with different kinds of writing will allow you to develop greater familiarity with your chosen topic, with your own ways of thinking, and with your voice as a writer.

The Engaged Critical Paper:

  • Demonstrates engaged critical thinking
  • Has an organizing question or theme
  • Includes information and ideas from multiple and various sources (i.e. not just internet and popular sources)
  • Examines several perspectives on the subject, in addition to the writer’s own
  • Synthesizes and organizes information in a way that supports clarity and understanding
  • Includes a strong sense of who the writer is, and how they relate to and analyze the information and ideas presented
  • Demonstrates an awareness of the writer’s personal biases and perspectives on the subject
  • Documents information and ideas using a recognized citation and bibliography system (APA, MLA, Chicago)
  • Uses accepted writing mechanics: sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, transitions, etc. (except for clearly stylistic purposes)

Social and Ecological Context

The Social and Ecological Context degree requirement asks students to reflect on the ways that their learning and growth involve a developing awareness of social and ecological systems as a context for personal, community and planetary well-being. Through awareness of these large-scale systems and their dynamics, students will be better positioned to effectively transform yourself and your community into places with greater creativity, equality, positive social connection, and ecological health.

A variety of people—including Goddard students—have developed divergent perspectives on social and ecological dynamics and approaches. We welcome variety and diversity in the choice of perspectives, frameworks or concepts you use to articulate your understanding of the social and ecological context for being, knowing& doing in the world.

The Social and Ecological Context can involve awareness of:

  • The social construction of knowledge – the understanding that what we know or take to be true is shaped by varying social, historical and cultural conditions.
  • Human social systems – understanding various forms of systemic oppression, such as classism, racism, sexism, and other forms of identity-based discrimination as well as individual and systemic theory and efforts to pursue justice and equity.
  • Natural and domesticated ecosystems – becoming aware of the effects of the globalized integration of consumerism, industrialization agriculture and natural resources on the planet’s peoples and ecosystems as well as various approaches to ecological and economic sustainability through public policy and community and individual choices.
  • Social and Ecological Justice– recognizing the integral and fluid connections between human social systems, natural ecosystems, and domesticated ecosystems and understanding the dynamic relationships between social and environmental well-being.
  • Efforts to transform social systems to promote well-being and equity for all people.
  • Efforts to improve the ecological health of natural and domesticated ecosystems.

Fulfillment of the SEC degree requirement will be evaluated using a process-based assessment. This means that the focus is on the development of your awareness – your process of change and growth – rather than on your arrival at a particular awareness or understanding. From this perspective, reflect on the directions and development of your learning, growth and change in relationship to our shared social and ecological context. This can involve:

  • Establish a “start”–perhaps when you arrived at Goddard—in order to articulate a baseline orientation toward SEC.
  • Articulate your current awareness.
  • Discuss the formative experiences that helped move you forward on your own path.
  • Describe how you constructively integrated challenging experiences into your world and views.
  • Reflect on where you tend to get stuck and what helps you move forward to greater clarity and place in the world.
  • Articulate where you want to move in the future and how you want to challenge yourself to grow.

Senior Study

A senior study, or thesis, is a sustained body of work that integrates the student’s explorations and demonstrates their deep engagement with a subject area. The study can take the form of either a written thesis or a creative project (for example, a body of artwork or a training manual), accompanied by a critical context paper.

Progress Toward the Degree

At a traditional college, your progress toward meeting degree requirements would typically be measured by successful completion of a given number of courses in a given set of academic areas.

At Goddard, students demonstrate progression toward meeting degree requirements through the submission of Progress Review Portfolios following the first year (PRI) and prior to the final year (PRII) of study.

Progress Review Portfolios include specific documents, including but not limited to:

  • Transcripts from course-based programs that you may have completed prior to enrolling at Goddard
  • Samples of semester work completed at Goddard
  • critical writing sample
  • And any other document that demonstrates you have met Wide Knowledge or other degree requirements outside of the Senior Study
  • reflective essay that describes how you developed as a learner


Important Announcement

The Board of Directors for Goddard College have made the difficult decision to close the college at the end of the 2024 Spring term.  


Current Goddard students will have the opportunity to complete their degrees at the same tuition rate through a teach-out with like-minded institution, Prescott College. Updates and scholarship funds will be available in the coming weeks and months. Information will be posted to

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