Core Curriculum

Areas of Inquiry

In these general elements of our Core curriculum, students choose from a broad array of courses that have been designed to meet specific learning objectives.

Analytic Reasoning ~ Show Description

Course Structure: A menu of three-hour courses to be taken in the first or second year.

Learning Objectives:

  • To develop capacities for quantitative and analytic reasoning.
  • To understand the centrality of these capacities to the natural and social sciences.
  • To recognize the applications of such capacities to matters of personal and public life.

The Natural World ~ Show Description

Course Structure: A menu of five hour lecture/lab courses to be taken from the first year onward. Courses not required of science majors.

Learning Objectives:

  • To gain awareness of some significant scientific theories and achievements, and to recognize how they are related both to other areas of science and to our understanding of broader societal issues.
  • To develop an understanding of the methods of natural science and a capacity to reason scientifically.
  • To experience first-hand the scientific process method through discovery-based learning.

Perspectives in the Creative Arts ~ Show Description

Course Structure: A menu of three-hour courses to be taken from the first year onward.

Learning Objectives:

  • To develop cognitive and affective appreciation for the process and products of artistic creation.
  • To participate actively in the creation of an artistic product.
  • To reflect on the nature and sources of aesthetic value.
  • To develop habits of participation in artistic and cultural events that will lead to lifelong engagement within the creative arts.

Physical Well Being ~ Show Description

Course Structure: A one credit, two contact-hour, pass/fail course selected from a menu of courses devoted to physical and health education and activities, taken any time in the first to fourth years.

Learning Objectives:

  • To develop life-long habits of good health and physical activity.
  • To increase awareness of the centrality of health and wellness for pursuit of a good life.

The Social World ~ Show Description

Course Structure: A menu of three-hour courses to be taken from the first year onward.

Learning Objectives:

  • To study selected questions about human beings and the social, cultural, economic, and political world in which they are embedded.
  • To develop an understanding of the variety of quantitative and qualitative research methods social scientists use to study the social world.
  • To develop the ability to discern the social, scientific and ethical dimensions of issues in the social world, and to understand the interaction between a society's values and its definition of social problems.

Texts & Ideas ~ Show Description

Course Structure: A menu of three-hour courses to be taken from the first year onward.

Learning Objectives:

  • To engage in reading, writing and discussion about important ideas drawn from the study of important texts in a variety of areas - including among others literary texts, dramatic texts, sacred texts, historical texts, philosophical texts, and scientific texts.
  • To develop capacities for argument, interpretation and aesthetic appreciation through engagement with these texts and ideas.
  • In order to ensure that courses are designed to serve the needs of the general education student, we recommend that courses offered for core credit meet two important criteria:

    1. They should carry no prerequisites, and
    2. Their primary purpose should not be to prepare students for more advanced work in a particular discipline.

    In addition, courses offered under the "Areas of Inquiry" requirement should be appropriate to freshmen and sophomores (i.e., they should be 100- and 200-level courses).