Core Curriculum

Our core curriculum combines the strong foundation of a traditional curriculum with alternative paths. You will take courses in four areas (below) that progress toward a Integrative Capstone Seminar that combine the wisdom accrued in your major with more general questions from across the spectrum of human inquiry.

Professor leading a seminar discussion

Core courses are small, and stress basic critical thinking, clear writing, and analyzing issues from different perspectives. You are challenged to raise thoughtful questions, evaluate conclusions and arguments, and devise creative solutions.

Creative Arts: Courses examine questions common to all the arts. You will explore both the broad purposes of all the arts as well as unique achievements of particular art forms. Courses focus on basic principles - representation, evocation, and context - shared by all the arts. You will concentrate on understanding how each of the different arts make use of these fundamental ideas.

Human Heritage: Courses explore the rich traditions that shape human social life, including the ideas, visions, and cultural practices that are shared, lasting, and tenacious. Whether we look at the prevailing values of modern, cosmopolitan society or the folk traditions that develop in small communities, these deeply rooted realities help us to understand our identity and to make choices about our affinity with family, community, history, values, and place. Through direct engagement with primary texts, you'll learn to ask questions, debate ideas, and come to understand ways that we experience past events and ideas as part of the fabric of our lives.

Professor and student

Self and Society: Courses foster a deeper understanding of both ourselves and our society, which enables us to transform both. Societies provide the ground in which we grow and develop. It is impossible to understand ourselves and those around us without an understanding of the societies that have and are shaping us. This understanding of the social world in which we think, work, and live enables us to be more than just the passive recipients of this "shaping." Furthermore, societies are also shaped by the beliefs, values, and activities of human beings. Consciously shaping one's own society for the better requires an understanding of the current structure and what created it; in particular, an awareness that what seems "natural" are socially created ways of thinking and doing.

Professor assisting student

Science and Technology: Courses take a broad view of the scientific endeavor by studying scientific reasoning, discovery, and invention as they are understood in basic concepts that appear in particular historical contexts. Courses cover traditional advanced study in a particular scientific area as well as integrative courses such as oceanography, earth sciences, astronomy, and human biochemistry or health. Laboratory courses feature a hands on  dimension such as field work, regular laboratory sessions, or other appropriate methodical testing of classroom concepts.