Foundation Level

Required 4 credits – 1000 Level

The Foundations of Critical Inquiry (FCI) course, a theme-based course of study at the 1000 level, engages an interdisciplinary style of reasoning, interpreting, and understanding. As an introduction to the liberal arts, the course examines the processes by which individuals and societies create meaning. While there is a selection of themes through which this is explored, each course pays special attention to issues of identity and systems of power. This space for critical inquiry also allows students to reflect on their own agency. Currently students may choose one of the following themes:

  • Justice and Inequality
  • Memory and Forgetting
  • Nature and Environment
  • Self in Context

Intermediate Level

Required 12 credits – 2000 Level

At the Intermediate Level, the themes, issues, and questions that were introduced and explored at the Foundation Level are now elaborated and subjected to distinct modes of analytical inquiry. Students become familiar with a number of different disciplinary frameworks and learn how the competencies introduced at the Foundation Level are made manifest in disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowing. This study enhances students’ abilities to do close readings of texts and other sources, and to identify patterns and make refined distinctions and connections within the subject matter, all features of the analytical process. All of the courses at this level continue to develop and refine the rhetorical competencies that were introduced in the rhetoric courses and that were practiced in FCI.

Students take three 4-credit courses at the Intermediate Level. They are required to take one course in each of three categories History and Social Science (HSS), Cultural Studies and Philosophy (CSP), and Literature and The Arts. This distribution reinforces and deepens the general education foundation introduced in the first year of the Liberal Arts curriculum. In its focus on analysis, the Intermediate Level anticipates the Advanced Level that emphasizes the development of critical synthesis and independence of thought.

The History and Society Division offers both HSS and CPS courses.

History and Social Sciences (HSS) (4 credits)

Courses in this category develop students’ capacity to understand and analyze social context, which are essential skills for global citizenship. In HSS courses, students will learn content, methods, theories, and other tools for understanding:

  • social relations, including the relationships among individuals, identities, and groups;
  • governance structures and social movements and how they impact and are impacted by individual and collective life; and
  • how and why collective life, social relations, and governance structures change over time.

The primary disciplines in this category are History, Political Science, and Sociology

Cultural Studies and Philosophy (CSP) (4 credits)

Courses in this category develop students’ capacity to understand and analyze how cultural meanings and values are shaped and contested in varying contexts. In CSP courses, students will learn methods, theories, and tools for understanding:

  • the cultural construction and meaning of identity, representation, difference, power, and agency;
  • ethical and ideological structures for interrogating the world and making decisions, such as individual and communal responsibility for environmental, political, and social concerns; and
  • the construction of socio-cultural contexts by individuals acting as ethical agents.

The primary disciplines in this category are Philosophy, Anthropology, Ethnomusicology, Media Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Sustainability Studies.

Advanced Level

Required 4 credits – 4600 Level

The Advanced Liberal Arts courses are the capstone of the three-level Liberal Arts curriculum and completes the Liberal Arts requirement. Advanced Level courses challenge students to think with increased confidence, independence, and creativity about the material. They will be expected to synthesize or apply disciplinary approaches and to express their own views in creative ways. For example, they may be asked to bring their own contributions to class, to lead class discussions, to write independent critical research essays, or to carry out creative projects.

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