Bowdoin offers its students many liberties with its flexible core requirements. First-year students are required to take a first-year seminar, which essentially allows them to experience an extremely discussion-based course and introduces them to college writing. Additionally, Bowdoin students must fulfill division requirements throughout their four years by taking a class in each of the following categories: Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts, and Non-Eurocentric Studies. They must also take one class that fulfills each of the distribution requirements in Mathematical, Computational, or Statistical Reasoning; Inquiry in the Natural Sciences; Exploring Social Differences; International Perspectives; and Visual and Performing Arts. This sounds like a lot, but a liberal arts education focuses on just how much everything is related. Students can fulfill these requirements by taking a combination of exploratory courses, major courses, and "just for fun" classes. Bowdoin also urges students to take classes outside of their comfort zones by allowing everyone to take up to four classes as pass/fail over their four years—this allows students to branch out without worrying about it affecting their grades and is indicative of the fact that the College and professors want students to get as much out of their Bowdoin education as possible.
Receiving help and support from the professors 24/7 at Bowdoin is the norm. They are a boundless source of intriguing concepts, constructive criticism, advice, and good stories. Some professors grade very hard, others quite easily, but with either professor, your mind will be challenged and you will be provided valuable knowledge. Professors maintain office hours, but most will make time to meet with you outside of those hours if you have a scheduling conflict. Bowdoin professors are always trying to gain better access to their students, and some invite their pupils to dinner or ice cream at their homes. A few professors have even been known to sign their students on as co-authors in their professional journal writings. The faculty at Bowdoin is made up of long-time professors, as well as new and visiting professors. Bowdoin professors are often invited to speak at bigger universities about their research. Many alumni say that the Bowdoin faculty inspired them to feel empowered to do anything to which they put their minds.