Denison University Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?

Danelle

As a young professor, I'm lucky to have gone to Denison because I have an instant pantheon of role models. The professors care very much about student success, yet hold students to high standards. Now that I'm on the other side of the desk I appreciate how truly difficult that is. One thing that is fabulous about Denison academically is the financial support for undergraduate research. I've gotten a lot of perspective after teaching at a few different places and Denison really has a very robust research program for a college that size.

Antonio

All the professors I've had have been great. Although all of my discussion classes have failed to have any really great conversations as most freshman are just filling out the GE's and don't really care about the subject. So it makes going to class difficult if it's not lecture based. The professors all really care about students and are willing to meet with you. It's not very competitive at least that I've discovered, people often study in groups. My only real complaint is the lack of intellectual conversation, particularly outside of class.All of my professors have known my name, and will address you by name in and outside of class. Class participation unfortunately is students just saying something to get points which really sucks.

Erin

Work hard, play hard. You better be ready to work your ass off. I don't think there are any easy classes on campus, but this is what I like about it. Everyone studies a lot, but at the end of the week everyone lets loose.

Catherine

The academic life at Denison is definitely what you make of it; you can decide to do the hardest things like the Honors Program and Senior Research and get a challenging but fulfilling academic experience, or you can take a lighter load and balance academics with extracurricular and social activities. You can participate in class as much or as little as you want, but there will always be people to learn from among your classmates. The students are not very competitive and react to their academic triumphs with modesty, though they are not shy about engaging in an casual academic discussion. You can decide to make friends with your professors and go to their office hours or schedule coffee talks with them, or you can have professional relationships with them in the classroom. Either way they are concerned about your success as an individual and can work with you on your terms to create the best academic strategy for you. In the end, Denison's requirements and teaching methods educate you to be a successful person at life; the flexibility to learn any new job or have quality relationships with your family/friends/co-workers, the well-roundedness to perform any given task successfully with a little practice and enough knowledge of the world to be culturally aware and respectful.

Claire

An Denison you will know your professors and know that they are there to support you 100% of the way through your classes. Professors at Denison care about their students because they actually know them. Countless times I met with a professor one on one, and no it wasn't a teacher's assistant, it was a real tenured professor. Students operate on a work hard/ play hard basis and so studying is frequent at any given time during the week, but not so much on the weekend. Classes are small, in fact all of mine were less than 20 students and so participation was comfortable and when students spoke they were really heard. Students are not very competitive about grades because classes are based on so much more than scores and numbers, they are based on experience and exposure to new things. Denison is geared toward making its students well-rounded and aware of many fields, not just pump them through to spit them out into the work world.

Amanda

One of my favorite things about Denison is their professors. Not only do they hire people that are qualified for their position, but they also hire people who are open and want to get to know the students. I have not met one teacher in my past two years at Denison who did not want to know more about or my personality. I think this is a great quality because Professors need to understand what kind of student you are so that they are able to teach to you and the class as a whole. Academics at Denison is held very high in standards. It is the number one reason as to why many students attend Denison. I feel very lucky to have found this school. My major is Athletic Training and normally you do not find this major at liberal arts colleges but I am fortunate because not only do I take courses involved with Athletic Training but I also take course in my other areas of interest that will help with my major. For example English and Psychology.

Monica

Yes, all my professors know my name. My favorite class so far has been Introduction to Psychology and my least favorite class has been Public Speaking. I think Denison students are very hardworking and they study everyday for a good amount of hours. Yes, class participation is common and Denison students do have intellectual conversations outside of the class. I do not think that students are competitive amongst each other but Denison is a competitive institution in the sense that academics are very demanding. The most unique class that I have taken is Cultural Psychology. My major is Economics and I do not know the economics department well enough as yet to say anything about it. I do take extra help from my professors outside of the class. I think that education at Denison is geared towards overall personality development so it's more towards learning instead of simply scoring well to get a good job.

Chelsea

It feels like everyone knows your name - not fully sure if that's a good or bad thing, and everyone is either out partying or studying. The students seem to place the most pressure on themselves making sure that they do their best all of the time. This at time becomes extremely stressful. Though, if you are a student like me, who is only at a school because their parents are making them and there major that they desire isn't offer, times become difficult. I'm a girl who loves to shop and desire, from clothes to homes, and i'm majoring in Economics and Women Studies with a Double minor in latin and Art history. I feel the only reason for this is for myself to always keep busy and never actually care about my future.

Tia

My favorate thing about Denison is that the lecture halls have thirty chairs. LECTURE HALLS with only thirty seats. That is absolutely unheard of in bigger universities where you can have HUNDREDS of people in your classes as an underclassman. The professors are really focused on direct contact with students, and are more than willing to mingle after classes. A couple of my profs have facebooks and are facebook friends with me.

Kristen

Studying is a 24 hour job at Denison...there will always be work for you to do. Participation is in every class and it is very important.

Dylan

I had close relationships with most of my professors. But as I said before, it is a two-way street. The professors do care, and they will make time for you- but you have to make it worth their while. The sociology department will change your perspective on life- for the better. I saw the world in a much more encompassing light even after my first class in this field, and it only got better after that. I studied, but never in excess. I was able to maintain a steady 3.3 throughout my time there. You have to know yourself, and when you a re at your intellectual peak. Use that knowledge to your advantage. And have fun for the rest of the time.

Gene

Your transcript/resume will look great... Some teachers are great, but I went to a great high school and those teachers were better on average. Obviously some classes and teachers suck and every one will get stuck in at least one of them during their DU career. Academics are largely what you make of it - you must go to class and take time out of partying to do work, which is not easy when you live with all of your friends, especially during the warm weather when every one is playing frisbee and boozin' on the quad. You will get a great job after Denison though.

Katie

All of my professors know my name. My favorite class was human physiology, simply because the class were fast paced and the professor, Dr. Rhodes, was helpful, challenging, and presented things that were endlessly fascinating. I am a biochemistry major, which presents many challenges, but I am continually growing with the help of my two greatest assets at Denison: the professors and my peers. I have occasionally had lunch with a professor. Academic requirements for biochemists is very rigorous.

John

Very hard and challenging. Most students come from private or boarding schools and the teachers expect the best out of there students

Adrian

Most classes are tough, and you have to work in them. Class attendance is mandatory (usually affecting your grade after the first three absences or so), and the professors expect you to be a contributing member of the class. The close relationships between professors and students is one of the best parts of Denison's academic life. Most of the professors in the English department know me well, even though I haven't had most of them in class; I've had dinner with at least four professors at their houses. They genuinely care about our academic progress, and will help on a variety of post-graduation issues (particularly if you intend to continue on in academia). For the English department specifically, I've got nothing but good things to say. They offer an extensive list of courses, with most of them changing semester to semester. The trouble for many English majors is not getting all their requirements in, but fitting all the English courses they want into their schedule. The Creative Writing Concentration is a very popular one, and the faculty includes well-regarded poets and fiction writers as well as creative non-fiction authors.

Matt

Professors do know my name after about a week of class. My favorite class was economics because it challenged my mind. My least favorite was Planet earth because I hate science and the teacher was a rookie so she was not very good. Depending on the crowd you hang out with, students do have somewhat intellectual conversations. Students are competitive to an extent but for the most part they help eachother out. DU's academic requirements are pretty easy to fulfill and while it is not fun taking classes you do not enjoy, it surely broadens your horizons. Denison definetly prepares you for the workforce following college.

Katie

All of my professors know my name. They learn your name faster if you make an effort to participate in class and talk to them outside of class. My favorite class so far has been Introduction to Hispanic Literature. We read narratives, poetry, and drama and I thought it was a perfect introduction to Hispanic Literature. It was difficult because our papers were 1200 to 1600 words and I was not used to writing that much in Spanish. I also loved my first year seminar about the food industry. Class participation is very common. Students study a lot but there is a balance between work and other activities.

Ryan

Academics at Denison are simply amazing. Professors know your names, are willing to meet with you generally when it works for you, and really take interest in the progress of their students. Class participation isn't just common - it is on most occasions a requirement for the success of the class. Being a music major, I have spent most of my time working with professors in the music department. I regularly meet with them outside of class for master classes, extra lessons, or just hanging out and discussing music.

Jess

Students work hard in their classes, we spend a lot of time writing, researching. People are dedicated to their majors and succeeding in academics. Professors take time to help individual students and no one really slips through the cracks. The academic advising program is far superior to that at any large university. Students get academic attention in and out of the classroom.

Rachel

Students at Denison are very serious about their studies. for the most part, the professors are amazing, and know the students at a personal level. Both students and staff alike show extreme dedication to their tasks. The one complaint I have against the academic requirements is that we are REQUIRED to take several semesters of a foreign language. While I understand that this is part of a liberal arts curriculum, I find it unnecessary and frustrating. Learning is the primary focus of the classes. Jobs are kept in focus, but are not the primary concern.

Paige

All of my experiences with the professors have been really positive. Because the classes are so small, your professors really get to know you. They are very accessible and always willing to help. I think students work pretty hard. There are always a ton of students in the library, especially during exams. Most people take their schoolwork very seriously. The General Education requirements at Denison are very reasonable and easy to fulfill.

Jill

Academics at Denison are pretty important and I've generally had pretty good professors. Some classes are definitely more interesting than others, but I guess you just have to find your niche. I am a psychology major, and I think that Denison has a great Psych department. The classes are really interesting and in my opinion the professors are pretty helpful and want you to succeed. The workload is kind of tough though, and I have yet to have taken a class that I would say was a piece of cake and hardly had to study for. If you want to succeed at Denison you have to study, but there are tons of places you can go on campus where you can have quiet. Our library is really cool and lots of people do a majority of their studying there. It can be kind of a pain come exam time though, when it seems like every seat in the library is taken up. That's when I take advantage of the other academic buildings that are always open. I just stake out a spot in a classroom in a science building somewhere and that works just as well. Class participation is a big thing at Denison, probably because professors expect it and often count it as part of your final grade. Raising your hand often is not unusual and will probably earn you some cred with the professor, especially if you aren't doing very well on the tests. Some teachers will count how much you spoke in class into your grade so you don't fail as miserably, which I think is a nice gesture. Denison, being a small liberal arts school, is more geared toward learning for the sake of learning and less about getting a job, which some people like and some people don't. Don't get me wrong, we all want to get jobs and think getting them is important but with the way the courses are set up, it's not like you find one thing you want to do freshman year and just take courses for that major so that when you get out of college that's all you really can do or know how to do. Denison students have to fulfill so many general requirements by the time they graduate that you get a whole other wealth of knowledge about subjects that you may never have considered taking. This is both good and bad. Its good because coming out of college you have a lot more opportunity at getting different kinds of jobs, not just in one specific field, and lots of Denison alums go on to grad schools. Sometimes its annoying having to fulfill so many GE's because you might have to take classes that you have no interest in, and these classes might pull down your overall GPA (for me it was the three semesters of French I was forced to take). Overall I think GE's are good, however, because a lot of students go into Denison not knowing what their interests are or what they want their major to be, and by taking these different classes, they find it. (This is how I found out I wanted to be a psych major).

Chris

Awesome. The professors are excellent. And if you extend yourself to them, they will extend themselves to you. They are down to have relationships with their students.

Betsy

Denison is a place where students work hard and play hard. True, we may party, and some party a lot, but those crazy partyers on Saturday night get up early on Sunday to do homework. Academics, in general, are extremely rigorous, professors are extremely engaged, classes are participatory, and students tend to be excited about their academic choices.

Ali

I feel that I am actually getting my 40 grand's worth in this department. Though not every class is as riveting as some, that is to be expected. Overall, the professors are great, and the classes are interesting, but Denison is a really hard school. We have a gigantic work load. The fact that the library stays open until 4 am exam week tells me that the administration expects that the students should be up that late working, and then to rub it in, campus is littered with signs that say "make sure to get plenty of sleep...your body needs a full 8 hours etcetera etcetera." Denison students are very competitve and we sometimes have intellectual conversations outside of class, but mainly I have found that we just talk about other Denison people, which isn't intellectually stimulating at all.

Heather

Classes are small and there is no place to hide in the background. Professors definitely know everyone's name and are usually there to help outside of class.

Julie

profs definitely know your name the amount of studying students do depends on the person... i didn't study in high school, and even if i try to study in college, it usually doesn't work out too well. but a lot of people study in groups, or do their homework together which can make the work less boring. Denison have pretty competitive academics, but I wouldn't say that the students are constantly trying to outdo their peers. Everyone I've ran into is supportive of others when they do well, and doesn't try to one up them.

Kayanna

I've never been in a class with more than thirty students, and because of this, all of my professors have known my name and most have known my opinions. I've been invited (with my class) to a professor's house for dinner, and I've made quite a few friends in my classes. When you leave a classroom, you know a lot about your professors and your fellow students, and they help you get to know yourself. This is very important to me. When a professor understands where you're coming from, it's easier for them to relate to you and vice versa. For instance, I told you I grew up in a rural area. Two of the eight professors I had my freshman year did as well, so they knew how being on a campus like Denison's affected me. Professors are emotionally attached to their students as well. I know of more than one case where a classmate has played in a concert or acted in a play and they invited a professor to come see them (and the professors attend if they can). Professors at Denison are your friends, not some enigma you never get close to. Denison has a lot of GE requirements that other schools do not. (Science requirements for English majors or a Black/Women's/International studies course for everyone). That is because Denison is a liberal arts college. They teach you to learn, they don't just teach you information. Many students get jobs after college, and they get far, but Denison is made for learning, not for getting the job. The job is just a bonus after having spent time at Denison. It is a difficult school and studying is necessary; don't come to Denison with the idea that it's going to be cake and you're not going to have to try. You'll find out the hard way that this is not true at all, and you'll spend countless evening studying.

Patrick

Academics at Denison are no joke. Classes are diffculte no matter what your major however, professors are always willing to meet with you to go over course materials. BE PERPARED FOR CLASS, since class sizes are normally very small you need to come to class prepared to get by. Most students take this very seriously, you can tell by how packed the library is on weeknights. I have had dinner at my professor house. A couple of night this past semester most of the professors had dinner with the student body in the dinning halls.

Morgan

The small size of Denison strengthens the academics more than anything else. While I haven't loved every single one of my professors, I have found something about each one that made me at least like them. What fascinated me the most on my very first day of classes was the students eagerness and need to learn something. They would participate in class, which was very different to what would go on in my high school (the teachers would have to practically beg us to answer their questions). I also love how willing professors always are to meet with you outside of class if you want to talk about a certain concept that you didn't understand or a grade/test you got back that was concerning. The only downside of Denison's academics is that they are very demanding. I work really hard to get the grades I do and sometimes those grades do not reflect how much work I am really doing.

Becca

I am a Psychology and Spanish double major. I've had some really interesting and challenging classes within and outside of my majors. The profs are for the most part wonderful. Most of them are very down to earth and personable. They're very accessible and invested in their students. I've only had a few professors I couldn't stand, but luckily there aren't many on campus. My only complaint is that some classes are hard to get into. Class sizes are kept small, so the popular classes fill up very quickly and freshman and sophomore year it is kind of difficult to get all the classes you want.

Kat

Every professor knows my name and most seem to have an interest in my success. I have never had an issue meeting with a faculty member, except for my advisor! I wouldn't suggest Denison for someone who wants to leave college and have a high paying job right away but I have learned a new thought process in my first year.

Terry

Great academic atmosphere. Small class sizes. Top-notch professors. Tons of resources.

sarah

i've had a lot of intellectual conversations outside of class with friends and students are really competitive, a little too competitive. classes can be very challenging and require a lot of work. everybody freaks out during finals week with all the work they have. the professors are pretty flexible, fair but not easy. the international studies department is just a mixture of a lot of other departments and sort of unorganized

Alex

Proffessors know your name--it's like in highschool, only class sizes are even smaller. My first semester classes ranged 10-20 ppl. Favourite class-German, cuz I like to learn languages. I also liked FYS English, cuz I learned how to write papers really well. Physics 125 was pretty damn interesting, eye opening. Economics seems handy and interesting, I M MAJORING IN IT. Class participation is very, very, very, very common. Youre graded on it. Yeah, people, do have academic/intellectual conversation outside school! You'd be surprised, people do get into it a lot. Competitive--in Swimming, YES. We're gonna beat Kenyon, at least at Conference. Most unique class---So far, probably, Cinema, fun, interesting, lots-of-work class. You have to use actual 16mm cameras and real film stock--nice, but a load of work. would have never had anything like that in High school. Don't really hang out with the professors too much. Denison's academic requirements are really subtle--in my opinion. I didn't worry about fulfilling them my freshman year, but when I checked, I alreaady had most of them. Education, so far to me, seems geared for learning for learning's sake. The internships and the good-sounding majors get you that job you wanted. But otherwise it seems to me lots of people go on to grad-school.

Parker

I have a very close relationship with my professors and I have loved my classes-both those for my major, and those required for general education, my classes have been challenging and I have grown intellectually over my four years here, class participation is common, but I would say only a handful of students have intellectual conversations outside of class, Denison however is aimed at students getting a job through their parents connections...

Alex

Professors overall are good. Classes are very rarely enormous; 25 so far has been my largest class size. Evaluations of professors and classes are strongly encouraged by all administration and professors, and it is a great way to have your voice heard. Professors do actually listen to the evaluations and attempt to change accordingly. Most classes are geared towards learning for its own sake. We don't even have a business major here; you have to arrange your majors to accommodate accordingly. Students don't tend to be very competitive. Denison also provides fairly interesting classes for the freshmen, and has a theme each year to focus the class towards one particular topic (Hum|an|imal, for my year). Hearing intellectual conversation outside of class is a little surprising to hear, though it isn't a rare occurance.

Lauren

The professors are great. They know the students names. They have flexible office hours. They are quick about responding to emails and they genuinely care about their students. You have to work really hard at Denison to get good grades. Professors expect a lot of their students so you have to put a lot of time and effort into your work. It was also really helpful coming into Denison with a lot of AP credits because they took care of some general education requirements.

Evan

I really like the academic atmosphere at Denison especially in the Biology Department. I would say over 90% of my professors knew me by name and I found it really easy to talk to them outside of class and that sort of thing. It is clear that the majority of professors at Denison care deeply about their students and want them to succeed. I think that Denison's academic requirements were also quite good. I did not have trouble fitting in all of my classes and I felt that I had a good amount of flexibility with my choice of classes. I was not shut out of any class that I was absolutely dying to take. When I was placed onto a waitlist for a Biology Class that I really wanted to take I just went to the professor and talk to him about why I wanted to take his class and he signed me into it with no problem.

Brad!

Small classes. The biggest class for me was 35 students. Professors know you by name and you know them by name. In the cinema department, I know my professors by a first name basis (I imagine it is like that in other departments too).

Charlie

All the classes at Denison are around 20-25 students, some less. All the teachers know their students and if someone is struggling they will try to help. Class participation, and attendance, is the norm because it is required. Most teachers will drop your grade if you miss more than 4 classes. No one talks about work outside of class unless it is to bitch about the ungodly amout of work that every teacher assigns. Most kids try to fit their work in when they are not drunk or on some kind of drug. The academic requirements are almost impossible to adhere to if you want to have anykind of socail life, so everyone just tries to get good grades so that they will have it on their resume, the actual learning is replaced with cramming on 50mg of adderall.

Dale

Expect to participate. Daily. Professors expect students to participate with thoughtful commentary and critical thinking. This is good for extroverts but sometimes very difficult for introverts and first-years. Professors are generally very approachable and kind, but most are tough. This is good because it encourages students to actively learn and take responsibility. Some professors even invite students to their homes for meals! This is great, and a benefit of attending a small college. Education is geared more toward learning for its own sake. Many students attend because they are looking to get a graduate degree, and perhaps become a lawyer or doctor, or other professional. Other students attend because they are looking for a good education in the arts.

Samantha

None of the majors at Denison are too intense, which really helps you get the full benefit of a liberal arts education if you so choose. Most of my friends are double or triple majoring, but if you stick with one major then you can take pretty much as many electives as you want. The education can be as laid back or stressful as you want it to be. I think the students generally study and stress out way too much, but you'll get that anywhere you go. The professors, especially outside of the science department, really seem to care about actually teaching their students. It's easy to get help outside of class and the professors are easy to reach. I wouldn't call a lot of what I've been learning necessarily "practical" information, but that's mostly by my own choice. I'm learning what I want to learn, and I'm glad I have that option.

Brian

All the professors you have know you by name at Denison and there are no TA's. A lot of the humanities classes are more discussion based so they offer a lot of opportunities to get involved. People strive to do well but the climate is not overly competitive. Average weeks you will spend about two hours on homework per night. Some professors get so close with their students that they will trust them to babysit their kids or, if they are really close, their dogs. Education is geared towards creating an intellectually well rounded student that would be prepared for a variety of jobs. It is a true liberal arts education.

Heather

Academics are excellent at Denison. The classes are all small, even the introductory classes and required classes. Professors make a point to learn your name and interact with you, often expecting you to participate and attend every class. As a Creative Writing major, I've come to learn that the English department is very helpful. It contains the Writing Center, a place where students from any department can come and work with an English major on their papers. Professors often meet and spend time with students outside of class. The requirements are easy to fulfill, as you can fulfill them in unique ways. I fulfilled my science requirements with an astronomy class and a fun class the focused on animal communication.

Ryan

In general most professors are approachable and want you to learn. In addition most professors are easily accessible for questions. One thing to note, if you are looking to major in Math at Denison, you might reconsider. Their Math department is SEVERELY lacking in good faculty. Basically the professor (Dr. Westmoreland) who often teaches Calculus and Differential Equations is incredibly unprepared for class. Basically the amount you learn in his classes over the semester could be easily managed in two good days of class. He also plays favorites so if he likes you, you'll end up with a B+ or higher. If he dislikes you, you are on your own. AVOID HIS CLASSES AT ALL COSTS!!!! He is tenured so the problem isn't going to go away. You'll understand and appreciate my advice if you go there.

Lauren

i know every professor in the psychology and biology departments, even the ones i haven't had classes with, as well as many other faculty members all across campus. my favorite class so far has been honors biosocial dimensions of behavior, the honors version of the intro to psych class. honors classes are even smaller and more discussion based than traditional classes, and the professor was fantastic at involving us all and bringing the material to life. the library and computer labs are consistently full with students studying on a regular basis. participation varies, but the majority of classes really encourage interactive learning, so being a passive learner isn't really an option. meal times are occasionally a time for intellectual and political discussions and debates, but most people are pretty wiped after focusing our academic attention on our classes so that kind of conversation typically stays in class. students are competitive, but it's mostly against yourself--it's never cutthroat or sinister. between my extracurricular activities, department colloquia, and just hanging around the building, i see my professors (and other faculty!) around all the time. it's really nice to be able to start up a casual conversation with them and benefit from their wisdom and experience about classes, graduate school, and more. as a liberal arts college, you have to take classes in every division. it's nice to have choice in which specific classes you take and it's definitely manageable, but with a major, minor, and concentration you have to do lots of careful planning to fit it all in.

Ainsley

All my professors know my name. They even send me an email if I'm absent from class. That said, it's impossible to "blend in" or be a wallflower in your classes. Students study varying amounts. My friends and I often have intellectual conversations outside of class. If we've learned something interesting or controversial, we often share it with our friends. The academic requirements are rigorous.

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