The required curriculum is divided into four components: the Common Core, which provides the foundation for advanced study; the program in Humanities and Social Sciences, which completes the liberal arts nature of a Harvey Mudd College education by providing humanistic and social scientific perspectives; the Major, which builds depth and technical competence; and the Integrative Experience, which explicitly addresses the interface between society and science and technology. Unifying all of these is an emphasis on strong oral and written communications, the development of computational skills, and direct experience with a research or design project. The academic programs are demanding, but the college fosters cooperation rather than competition under a successful Honor Code.
In order to be recommended by the faculty for the Bachelor of Science degree, students are required to complete satisfactorily a minimum of 128 credit hours of courses (including approved transfer credits for courses taken at other colleges). Students must also complete all of the requirements of each of the four curricular components as well as three one semester courses in physical education. Participation in a varsity team sport for an entire season may be substituted for a physical education course.