Campus Information

East Quad at night

In your discussion or seminar classes, you probably have encountered a peer who has identified or introduced themselves as a “Residential College (RC) Student”, and perhaps you have wondered “What does that even mean?”

Well, it means a lot of things, but in a technical sense it refers to their belonging to the living-learning community and academic specialization housed in East Quadrangle and called the Residential College. The focus of this community, as noted on their website, is “guided by a philosophy of participatory education”. The RC has specific administrators, professors, advisors, and so on – who work out of offices and departments located inside East Quad, near the classrooms, studios, and labs in which they work. Typical RC classes are small in size – around 15-20 students – and cover topics in the humanities, social sciences, creative writing, foreign language, and the arts. RC students can choose to concentrate or minor in one of the five areas unique to the RC, as well as combine any minor or concentration with an LSA major and minor.

RC majors and minors are as follows: (majors) Arts and Ideas in the Humanities, Creative Writing and Literature, Drama, Social Theory and Practice, an option to self-direct in the Individualized Major Program and (minors) Crime and Justice, Drama: Text-to-Performance, Peace and Social Justice, STS: Science, Technology, and Society, and Urban Studies.


In order to graduate from the Residential College, in addition to fulfilling all LSA requirements, RC students must:


  1. Start out their freshman year by taking an RC First-Year English Seminar.

  2. Live in East Quad for their first and second years. (This was modified for current sophomore and junior RC students, as their live-in requirement was split between East and West Quad during the 2012-2013 renovations to East Quad).

  3. Complete, by passing the proficiency exam and completing one advanced reading course in, one of the six intensive language programs offered (French, German, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish).

  4. Or by passing the equivalent in LSA if the language of student interest is not offered through the RC.

  5. Explore their artistic side through an RC Creative Arts practicum.

  6. Elect to take four additional RC Courses.

And when one does graduate from the RC, their transcripts look wildly different as well – for every RC class taken, the RC professors offer a paragraph’s worth of review about the academic personality of the student. So, when one sends that off to graduate schools or future employers, they are allowed a more holistic view into the reasoning behind the grade.

Being an RC student is so much more than just the credentials, requirements, and opportunities, though. It’s about the connections made between like-minded (and non-like-minded) individuals, between student and subject, and mentee and mentor. The subject matter addressed in any RC class will seemingly turn the world on its head for any academically inclined and socially progressive student, so passions run high in RC courses – and the instructors are always there to direct that passion into productive conversation and expression.

If this basic review of the Residential College has sparked interest with you, feel free to roam the RC homepage or pay a visit to East Quad and ask some students about the specifics.

Keeping you informed,



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Hey everyone! My name is Andrew Beckman and I am a second-year student from Kalamazoo, Michigan, studying Microbiology and pursuing a minor in Business. I’m involved on campus as a member of Greek Life, as well as other organizations such as IM Sports.

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