Harvey Mudd College Freshman Courses

Last Updated on July 29, 2023

The Core Curriculum at Harvey Mudd College seeks to nurture students’ intellectual curiosity and joy of learning, provide them with foundational knowledge and skills needed for further study in STEM disciplines, and begin a critical engagement with the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. In keeping with HMC’s liberal-arts approach to STEM education, the Core engages students in thinking critically about consequential problems and complex issues, making connections across disciplinary boundaries, communicating and collaborating effectively, and understanding how their personal and professional actions impact the world around them.

The Core includes:

  • One course each in computer science and engineering
  • One course in biology and a laboratory
  • Two semesters of mathematics
  • Two and a half semesters of physics and an associated laboratory
  • One and a half semesters of chemistry and an associated laboratory
  • A half-semester of college writing
  • A course in critical inquiry offered by the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts

The Core is demanding, but Harvey Mudd fosters collaboration, not competition—students work in teams and learn together. The hands-on, project-based courses in the Core foster a love for collaboration, communication skills and leadership ability.

Harvey Mudd’s curriculum—the Common Core, requirements in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts, and the major—gives students a solid grounding in the sciences, expertise in a chosen field and an understanding of the relationship between technology and the people it serves.

HMC Common Core
The Common Core presents a coordinated, common foundation essential to the education of all students. It includes three semesters of mathematics, two and one-half semesters of physics and an associated laboratory, one and one-half semesters of chemistry and an associated laboratory, a half-semester of college writing, a course in critical inquiry offered by the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts, one semester of biology and an associated lab, one course in computer science, and one course in engineering.

The Core Curriculum at Harvey Mudd College seeks to nurture students’ intellectual curiosity and joy of learning, provide them with foundational knowledge and skills needed for further study in STEM disciplines, and begin a critical engagement with the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. In keeping with HMC’s liberal-arts approach to STEM education, the Core engages students in thinking critically about consequential problems and complex issues, making connections across disciplinary boundaries, communicating and collaborating effectively, and understanding how their personal and professional actions impact the world around them.

All Core courses must be attempted by the end of the fifth semester.

Students have the option of graduating under the curriculum spelled out in any catalog (that is, fulfilling the set of Core, major, HSA, and overall credit requirements represented by any catalog) that is in effect during their continuous enrollment at the College. Students who entered the College in the Fall of 2017, for example, would be able to graduate under the 2018–2019 catalog, if they formally notify the registrar of their wish to do so. However, the student selecting a later catalog is bound by that catalog’s entire curriculum and may not cherry-pick components of the curriculum.

Core courses are listed below. Course descriptions are also given in the course listings for the departments.

Biology (BIOL)
BIOL023 HM – Biology Laboratory (1 credits)

BIOL052 HM – Introduction to Biology (3 credits)

Chemistry (CHEM)
CHEM023A HM – Chemistry in the Modern World I (3 credits)

CHEM023B HM – Chemistry in the Modern World II (1.5 credits)

CHEM024 HM – Chemistry Laboratory (1 credits)

Computer Science (CSCI)
CSCI005 HM – Introduction to Computer Science (3 credits)

Engineering (ENGR)
ENGR079 HM – Introduction to Engineering Systems (3 credits)

Humanities, Social Sciences, And The Arts (HSA)
HSA010 HM – Critical Inquiry (3 credits)

Mathematics (MATH)
MATH030B HM – Calculus (1.5 credits) / MATH030G HM – Calculus (1.5 credits)

MATH035 HM – Probability and Statistics (1.5 credits)

MATH040 HM – Introduction to Linear Algebra (1.5 credits)

MATH045 HM – Introduction to Differential Equations (1.5 credits)

MATH060 HM – Multivariable Calculus (1.5 credits)

MATH065 HM – Differential Equations and Linear Algebra II (1.5 credits)

Harvey Mudd College Course Schedule

Approved Course Times

By default, classes must meet at the times listed below. Some courses including art classes, music classes, some language courses and laboratory sessions may deviate from these times with the approval of the dean of the faculty.

M = Monday;  T = Tuesday; W = Wednesday; R = Thursday; F = Friday

MWFMWTRWFMTWR or TWRF
8–8:50 a.m.8–8:50 a.m.
8:10–9.25 a.m.8:10–9.25 a.m.8:10–9.25 a.m.
9–9:50 a.m.9–9:50 a.m.
10–10:50 a.m.10–10:50 a.m.
9:35–10:50 a.m.9:35–10:50 a.m.9:35–10:50 a.m.
11–11:50 a.m.
12:30-1:20 p.m.11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
1:30–2:20 p.m.1:15–2:30 p.m.1:15–2:30 p.m.
2:40–3:30 p.m.2:45–4 p.m.2:45–4 p.m.2:45–4 p.m.
4:15–5:30 p.m.4:15–5:30 p.m.

T 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. is a legal course time for Clinic.

M,T,W,R or FM,T,W,R or FM,T,W or R
1:15–4 p.m.2:45–5:30 p.m. (preferred)7–9:45 p.m.
MW,TR or WF
10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. (except TR)
1:15–3:45 p.m.
4:15–6:45 p.m.

Labs and studios may run over but must begin at common start time. (e.g., 4‐hour labs that exceed standard class period should start at 1:15 p.m., not at 1:30 p.m. or 12:45 p.m.)

Requests for non‐standard course times must be approved by the dean of the faculty at the home college. Greater leeway given to courses with limited cross‐registration.

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