U.S Academics

Apple on top of Books

U.S. Academics

For information about your degree requirements and course selection please consult with your Class Dean.

More information can also be found online at the Advising and Academic Support Website and Student Academic Handbook.

Work Load

Four (4) to five (5) courses per semester may not seem like a lot; you may be used to taking more. However, Wellesley courses are quite demanding. For every hour spent in class, you should expect to spend at least three (3) hours outside of class studying, writing papers, or meeting with other classmates to coordinate group projects. For example, if a course meets two and a half hours a week, you should plan to spend at least seven to eight hours a week just preparing for that class. If your native language is not English, it might take you longer to complete readings, papers, and other assignments.

Expectations, Classroom Atmosphere, and Assignments

As a Wellesley student, you are expected to attend class and participate in all required assignments and exams. You will be graded in part on your participation in the classroom. You may be accustomed to a classroom setting where students are not encouraged to ask questions or offer their own thoughts/ideas during a lecture. If this is the case, you may initially feel uncomfortable actively participating in class discussion at Wellesley. However, as a component of the final course grade, such active participation is normal and even expected. Your contribution is valued, so hopefully you will begin to feel more comfortable speaking up as the semester progresses.

The first day of class, you will receive a course syllabus, a document outlining the topics and assignments for each week. The syllabus will also include the professor‘s name, contact information, and office hours. If you have a question pertaining to the course or would like to discuss something with the professor, do not hesitate to visit their office during these designated hours, or make an appointment to meet with them at another time. Professors at Wellesley are used to and welcome communication with their students. It is always a good idea to approach the professor with a question or concern early on in the semester when problems can more easily be resolved.

Academic Resources

The Pforzheimer Learning and Teaching Center (PLTC) provides many resources geared towards helping students achieve their full academic potential. Included in its offerings are peer tutoring in a variety of content areas, public speaking assistance, study skills workshops, and supplemental instruction (SI) sessions designed to be paired with some of Wellesley’s most difficult courses. Visit the PLTC on the third floor of Clapp Library.

Academic Honesty and Integrity

Essential to the mission of Wellesley College is the commitment to the principles of intellectual honesty and integrity. Academic integrity is important because independent and original scholarship ensures that students derive the most they can from their educational experience. Academic dishonesty violates the most fundamental values of an intellectual community. Thus, Wellesley College views academic dishonesty as one of the most serious offenses that a student can commit while at college.

International students are expected to become familiar with proper procedures for doing research, writing papers and taking examinations—even when definitions of what constitutes academic dishonesty may differ across cultures. Failure to act according to proper procedures is considered academic dishonesty and is prosecuted through the College. The following is a brief list of what constitutes academic dishonesty (this list is not meant to be an all-encompassing definition).

  • Cheating: Intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information or study aids in any academic exercise.
  • Fabrication: Intentional and unauthorized falsification, misrepresentation, or invention of any information, data, or citation in an academic exercise.
  • Plagiarism: Intentionally or knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one's own in any academic exercise by failing to provide proper documentation of source by way of footnote, endnote, or inter-textual note.
  • Unauthorized Collaboration: This refers to instances when students claiming sole authorship submit separate reports or other materials that are substantially similar to one another or which contain duplicate or paraphrased passages. While several students may have the same source material (as in case write-ups), the analysis, interpretation, and reporting of that data must be each individual's original work.
  • Participation in Academically Dishonest Activities: Intentionally or knowingly seeking to create an unfair advantage for a student or others over other community members.
  • Facilitating Academic Dishonesty: Intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to violate any provision of this policy.

Students found responsible for an academic dishonesty violation may face one or more of the following sanctions:

  • Expulsion from the College
  • Suspension from the College
  • Failure in a course or on a paper, project, or examination
  • Grade reduction in final course grade
  • Failure in a graded component of the course (quiz, homework, participation, etc.)
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Participation in an ethics seminar

For a broader overview of Wellesley‘s Academic Honesty and Integrity Policy that includes specific examples of academic dishonestly, please consult the Student Academic Handbook:

The Honor Code

Wellesley College has a nearly-century-old and unique Honor Code system that lies at the foundation of living and learning at the College. Each student at Wellesley signs an Honor Code book upon arrival, pledging to uphold the Code throughout their college experience and beyond.