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Information on this website is posted for historical reference only. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for current requirements.


Professional Schools

The Professional Schools of Dartmouth College are the Dartmouth Medical School, the Thayer School of Engineering, and the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration. Information on their entrance requirements, courses of instruction, and other matters is published in separate bulletins, which may be obtained by addressing the Dean of each School. For the requirements for the degrees of Doctor of Medicine, Bachelor of Engineering (in several engineering curricula) or Master of Engineering Management, and Master of Business Administration, also see the bulletins of the Dartmouth Medical School, the Thayer School of Engineering, and the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, respectively; they are available from the respective schools or from the College Editor.

Graduate Degrees in Arts and Sciences

Programs leading to advanced degrees are offered in all departments in the Division of the Sciences, as well as in the Departments of Music, Psychological and Brain Sciences, and the Programs in Comparative Literature and Liberal Studies. The requirements for the degrees awarded by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the types of fellowship support available to graduate students in these programs are described in the following paragraphs. Inquiries regarding graduate study should be addressed to the department to which admission is sought or to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Graduate Special Students: Under special circumstances holders of the Bachelor’s degree may be admitted to College courses and register as Graduate Special Students. Permission to register must be secured from the Dean of Graduate Studies. Students in this category are not candidates for any Dartmouth degree.

Grades: Course work and grades are only one component of graduate education, and the grading system is designed to reflect this fact. The following grades will be used in courses acceptable for credit toward a graduate degree:

HP: High Pass, indicating work of quality which is distinctly superior to that normally expected of a graduate student.

P: Pass, indicating work of good quality, worthy of graduate credit. This would be the most common grade denoting satisfactory graduate performance.

LP: Low Pass, indicating work which is acceptable for graduate credit, but in which the student exhibited one or more serious deficiencies. Graduate programs may, for example, limit the number of LP grades acceptable for a degree.

CT: Credit, indicating satisfactory work in certain courses, such as research courses, in which assignment of a grade of HP, P, or LP is considered inappropriate. The grade CT is not intended as a routine alternative to the HP, P, and LP system, and CT is the only passing grade in a course in which it is used. Approval of the use of CT in any course must be obtained from the Council on Graduate Studies by the graduate department offering the course.

NC: No Credit, indicating work which is not acceptable for graduate credit.

When it is not possible to assign a grade in a course at the end of the term, the instructor may request permission to record the temporary status of Incomplete. Use of Incomplete will require approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies and the request must include an agreed upon completion date. All Incompletes for any term must be removed by the end of the following term and may be extended only upon approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies. Incomplete grades which have not been resolved by submission of a permanent grade will revert to No Credit after the stated deadline.

The designation ON (On-going) may be used when the work of a course extends beyond the limit of a single term, such as in Research Rotation. All ON grades must be resolved before the degree is awarded.

Graduate students enrolled in courses for which they are not receiving graduate credit will be graded with the undergraduate grading system.

Transfer of Credit: Upon recommendation of the department accepting the student for graduate work, credit for graduate courses (not research) taken at other institutions may be granted by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Not more than three of the course requirements for the Master’s degree nor more than six for the Ph.D. degree may be fulfilled in this way.

Course Changes: Courses may be added, dropped, or exchanged with no charge at any time during the first two weeks of the term. The dropping of courses after the first two weeks of a term requires permission of the adviser and the Dean of Graduate Studies. Appropriate forms for adding or dropping a course are available from the Office of Graduate Studies and from departmental and program offices.

It is expected that the requirements for the Ph.D. degree will be completed no later than seven years after initial enrollment, unless the student enters with a Master’s Degree in his or her field of proposed study, in which case the student is expected to complete the doctorate in five years. Failure to complete the work in the time periods specified or failure to meet the academic standards of the student’s graduate program shall necessitate revaluation of the student’s progress and may result in a notice of termination.

The Degrees of Master of Arts

Master of Science

Graduate work is offered leading to the degree of Master of Arts in the fields of comparative literature, liberal studies, and digital musics, and to the degree of Master of Science in computer science, earth sciences, engineering sciences, health policy and clinical practice, and physics. (Refer to the Thayer School catalog for graduate work leading to the degree of Master of Engineering Management.)

To receive the degree of Master of Arts or Master of Science from Dartmouth College, a graduate student must have spent at least three terms in residence at Dartmouth and must have received credit for eight courses of graduate quality. These courses may be replaced in part by research or special study approved and supervised by the department accepting the student for graduate work, provided that not more than four of the required courses may be so replaced. Additional requirements may be imposed by the individual departments.

Candidates whose preparation is deemed deficient by the department accepting the candidate may be required to correct this deficiency by taking courses in addition to those required for the degree.

Thesis: A thesis is ordinarily required of candidates for the Master’s degree but on recommendation of the department in which the degree is sought this requirement may be waived.

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

The Dartmouth Faculty at present offers programs leading to the Ph.D. degree in biochemistry, biological sciences, chemistry, cognitive neuroscience, computer science, earth sciences, engineering sciences, health policy and clinical practice, experimental and molecular medicine, genetics, mathematics, microbiology and immunology, pharmacology, physics, physiology, and psychological and brain sciences. (Refer to the Medical School catalog for the program leading to the Doctor of Medicine degree.)

A limited number of students who have done superior work in attaining the Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and who have had an experience in liberal learning comparable to that offered by Dartmouth College will be accepted in these programs. Because of the limited enrollment in each department, it is possible to tailor the academic program to individual needs and to assure each student extensive contact with the faculty. Although the core of the Ph.D. is research and scholarship, the Dartmouth Ph.D. programs in the Arts and Sciences recognize the importance of preparing students for careers in colleges and universities. By example and by program, the faculty gives explicit testimony to this aspect of graduate training.

Ph.D. Teaching Requirement: An essential element of graduate education at Dartmouth is the experience gained in teaching other students, especially for the many students who are pursuing academic careers. Therefore, at least one term of undergraduate teaching is required of all Ph.D. students. For pedagogical reasons, some departments may require that students participate in more than one term of supervised teaching. Each student’s program will be arranged, according to his/her individual needs and interests, in consultation with the faculty advisor and the department. For those departments or programs in which there are no opportunities for supervised teaching, students will fulfill Dartmouth’s supervised teaching requirement by a substitute activity (e.g. tutoring) established by individual departments and approved by the office of Graduate Studies.

The minimum residence requirement for the Ph.D. degree is six terms (two academic years). Course requirements are established by the individual departments. Further information about these programs may be obtained by looking under the offerings of the appropriate department in this bulletin or by writing to the chair of that department.


Most Arts and Sciences graduate students receive financial assistance through a program of Dartmouth fellowships, scholarships, and loans. These are supported through Dartmouth funds and through federal and private fellowships and traineeships.

Fellowships carry stipends of approximately $17,523 for the 2009-2010 academic year or approximately $23,364 for the twelve-month year. Scholarship awards normally cover full tuition. Opportunities for summer fellowships and scholarships are available in most departments.

Most graduate students who participate in the Dartmouth Student Group Health Plan (DSGHP) and receive a full tuition scholarship and full stipend support also receive a credit on their student accounts to partially offset the expense.

Insofar as is consistent with the terms of the individual awards, each student’s program of course work, teaching, and research is designed to promote most effectively his or her academic progress without reference to the source of financial support. Efforts are made to avoid large discrepancies in the size of stipends.

The Degree of Master of Arts in Liberal Studies

Dartmouth College offers a graduate program leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (M.A.L.S.). This program features an interdisciplinary approach to advanced study in the liberal arts. It is intended for students dedicated to furthering their liberal education by both directed and independent study.

M.A.L.S. participants design an individualized plan of study in consultation with the program’s faculty advisors, choosing courses from a series of special interdisciplinary courses offered by the M.A.L.S. Program as well as from regular offerings of the College. Completion of the M.A.L.S. coursework normally requires a minimum of two summers plus another term of study at Dartmouth. While it is possible to take courses on a year-round basis, a student must be in residence for a minimum of one summer, participating in two summer symposia or one symposium and an approved symposium substitute. All M.A.L.S students also produce a thesis as the final program component to receive the degree.

Dartmouth College’s M.A.L.S. Program is a member of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs. For more information write: M.A.L.S. Program, 6092 Wentworth Hall or email: MALS