The guide to course selection for first years makes for interesting reading, albeit with a greater than reasonable number of typos. (Not that Blogs without spell-checkers should be the first to throw stones.) Alumni from the 80’s will recall a similar document from that era (perhaps just for the math department), which began: “This document, like all of Gaul, is divided into three parts.” Reading that, as a high schooler with some Latin classes, was my first concrete indication that Williams would be a place that took the life of the mind serious.
However, there are some problems with the guide. It claims that:
There are no ”guts” at Williams, but courses have different paces and
intensities of work.
This is, of course, ludicrous. There were and, no doubt, are plenty of guts at Williams. Perhaps the largest category would be the infamous “non-major” science courses. These are courses which are in science departments but which are so easy that they can not be counted toward the major requirements for that department. Note that in easier departments (english, political science and so on) there are no “non-major” courses. Although it is difficult to know for sure from a distance, I would wager that all of these courses are guts. At least one of them has been a gut from more than 15 years!
For the most part, the Williams curriculum is serious and excellent. These non-major science courses are perhaps the biggest single problem.