Liberal Arts Core Program

Our Liberal Arts Core Program, required of all students in the School of Arts and Sciences, exposes students to the broad spectrum of human cultural achievements — art, science, literature, language, philosophy, and religion. Consisting of interdisciplinary and skills-oriented courses, the program develops students’ writing, mathematical, and analytical skills, preparing them to function usefully in a world that is multicultural, diverse, and interdependent.

Students entering the program are required to take INS 101, a freshman course that integrates educational, career, and personal goals, campus life, and academic requirements. In addition the liberal arts program requires writing and mathematics courses and a selection of courses in the following categories:

  • Religious Studies
  • Philosophical Approaches
  • Social Analysis 
  • Literature and the Arts  
  • Foreign Language  
  • Scientific Inquiry

A capstone seminar, Viewpoints, taken in the junior or senior year, is also required.

Transfer students with fewer than 15 credits upon entry to the School of Arts & Sciences are required to complete all liberal arts core requirements, including INS 101.

Liberal Arts Core Program Requirements (21-42 credits)

I. INS 110 The First-Year Experience (Fall Course, 3 credits)

The academic component of your first-year experience is INS 110. The course introduces
you to the liberal arts component of a college education and is focused on developing your academic abilities in terms of critical thinking skills, expressing your ideas, presenting arguments
through writing and speaking publicly, and the ability to make connections between different
fields of study, approaches to learning, and different ways of knowing. To accomplish this, we
will be investigating a designated theme throughout the semester.

INS 110 is a semester-long course that will address questions, issues, and more connected to our theme. The class will be divided into three parts. Mondays are reserved for the skills, career, and community component of the course to be delivered by the Student Services division of the College. On some of the Mondays, students will meet with professionals from different units of the College for workshops, presentations, and activities. Some meetings will be common group meetings for all the first-year students. Other meetings will have sections combined and meeting separately from others. On Wednesdays, professors from different disciplines and approaches will give presentations individually or on panels addressing how they, or those in their field, conceive of happiness. On Friday, students will meet in small groups to discuss their opinions about the lectures and any assigned readings of the topic of the week.

The goal of the class will be to examine how multiple disciplines from the liberal arts understand, research, and critique that year’s chosen theme (for example: The Pursuit of Happiness), while simultaneously helping you to develop the skills you need to be successful in college.

II. Skills (0-15 degree credits, depending on placement)

Designed to ensure that the student possesses the necessary competence in thought and expression.
Writing (0-9 credits)
Mathematics (0-6 credits)

A. Writing

The Writing sequence is designed to prepare students to write successfully in their college courses. The courses are interdisciplinary and based on the belief that writing is a mode of learning content and a way of discovering and expressing what one thinks. Courses and tutorials attempt to create a “community of writers.” Word processing and tutoring are required components of WRT 100 Introduction to Freshman Writing, WRT 101 Writer’s Workshop and WRT 102 Critical Research Essay. Students are placed in an appropriate writing level course and must ultimately complete WRT 102. Advanced Placement course may proceed directly to the WRT 102 level.

B. Mathematics

The goal of the Mathematics Program is to develop students’ ability to reason mathematically and to prepare them to live and work in a world in which technology is increasingly important. In addition, courses in the program offer students opportunities to write, read, listen, and speak within a mathematical framework at each stage of their mathematical development. All students are required to demonstrate minimal college-level mathematics competency. Students are placed in an appropriate mathematics course and must ultimately complete MTH 109 Quantitative Reasoning, MTH 116 Pre Calculus/Elementary Functions, or MTH 117 Elementary Statistics.

III. Liberal Arts Categories

(minimum of 3 credits in each category, depending on foreign language
The Liberal Arts Core Program introduces students to the world of ideas. The program strives to create a culture of critical inquiry characterized by active learning, experiential approaches, and practical strategies. Every student is expected to satisfy the minimum requirement for each of the liberal arts core categories:

  • Religious Studies (3 credits)
  • Philosophical Approaches (3 credits)
  • Social Analysis (3 credits)
  • Literature and the Arts (3 credits)
  • Foreign Language (0-6 credits)
  • Scientific Inquiry (3 credits)
  • Viewpoints: Capstone Seminar (3 credits)

Religious Studies

Courses in this category provide a focus for the study of our religious heritage, the religious elements in human life, and the role of religious traditions and values in human society. The following courses satisfy the requirements for Religious Studies:
REL 122 Introduction to the Bible
REL 123 Religious Elements in Life
REL 125 Foundations of Christianity
REL 218 Religion in America: The Catholic Experience
REL 232 Belief in Jesus
REL 235 Church and Ritual
REL 236 Women and Religion
REL 242 Morality and Sexuality
REL 246 Religious Dimensions of Peace and Justice
REL 253 The Spirit of China
REL 255 The Spirit of India
REL 258 Pathways to God
REL 260 Buddhism
REL 267 Spirituality and the Environment
REL 268 Death, Grief, and Religion

Philosophical Approaches

Courses in this category explore the scope, nature, and purposes of philosophy while focusing on commonly experienced everyday life issues.  The following courses satisfy the requirement for Philosophical Approaches:
PHL 120 The Philosophy of Human Nature
PHL 130 Ethics in the Modern World
PHL 240 Critical Issues in Environmentalism
PHL 243 Bioethics
PHL 249 Business Ethics
PHL 256 Philosophy and Gender
PHL 267 Philosophy of Education
PHL 290 Aesthetics
POS 220 Individuals and Societies

Social Analysis

Courses in this category foster knowledge of society, social structures, and social and cultural institutions.  The following courses satisfy the requirement for Social Analysis:
BUS 100 Our Business and Economic Environment
ECO 106 Environmental Economics
HIS 101 Introduction to American History
HIS 260 Divided Societies
POS 280 Law and the Courts
SOC 100 Introductory Sociology
SOC 240 Technology and Society
SOC 270 Growing Up Female
SOW 110 Social Needs and Societal Responses
WMS 148 Women, Gender and Power

Literature and the Arts

Courses in this category are intended to expose the student to the structures and conventions of the arts.
The following courses satisfy the requirement for Literature and the Arts:
ARH 100 Survey of Western Art
ARH 110 Survey of Indian and Islamic Art
ARH 120 Survey of Eastern Art
ARH 130 Survey of African Art
ARH 290 Feminist Art Practice
ARH 370 Early Twentieth Century Art
ARH 375 Art Since 1945
ART 101 Painting for Non-Majors
ART 170 Introduction to Computer Art
ART 203 As the Artist Sees
ART 204 Visual Thinking
ART 206 Printing for Non-Majors
CLS 173 The Comic Spirit
CLS 267 Greek Tragedy
CMA 254 Melodrama in Film and Television
ENG 111 Survey of American Literature I
ENG 112 Survey of American Literature II
ENG 113 Survey English Literature I
ENG 114 Survey of English Literature II
ENG 262 Chaucer
SPA 420 Magical Realism in Latin American Literature

Foreign Languages

Students will demonstrate competence in a language other than English, either in a modern or classical language, on at least the elementary level. The study of a foreign language at the elementary level by a beginning student of the language requires two semesters of work.
* The following courses satisfy the requirement for Foreign Languages:
CLS 111-112 Introduction to Homeric Greek
CLS 121-122 Elementary Latin
CLS 232 Intermediate Latin
CLS 239 Roman Women: Puella, Matrona, Meretrix
FRN 101-102 Elementary French
FRN 204 Basic French Conversation
FRN 209 Intermediate French Conversation
FRN 301 Contemporary French Readings
FRN 302 Advanced French Conversation
ITL 101-102 Elementary Italian
SPA 101-102 Elementary Spanish
SPA 201 Intermediate Spanish
SPA 203 Intermediate Conversation
SPA 205 Intermediate Spanish Writing
SPA 301 Contemporary Hispanic Readings
SPA 304 Advanced Spanish Composition & Style
SPA 315 Advanced Spanish Conversation
SPA 322 Spanish-American Culture and Civilization
SPA 407 Spanish Literature of the Early Twentieth Century
SPA 422 Survey of Spanish-American Literature

*Students should consult with the Chairperson of Modern and Classical Languages with questions about additional courses which may satisfy the Foreign Languages category.

Scientific Inquiry
Courses in this category are intended to familiarize students with the assumptions, methods, and theories of contemporary science, to show how scientific knowledge has advanced through history, and to analyze the impact of scientific advances on the individual and on contemporary society.

Exception: Students majoring in Biology, Chemistry, or Mathematics may substitute a science lab for the Scientific Inquiry core requirement.

The following courses satisfy the requirement for Scientific Inquiry:
BIO 102 Human Ecology
BIO 109 Human Genetics
BIO 110 Concepts in Biology
CHM 104 Chemistry and Color
CHM 105 Chemistry and Health

This category represents a culminating experience serving as a capstone for the Liberal Arts Core Program. Taken in the junior or senior year, usually in the sixth or seventh semester, the course may be presented in a variety of formats. It may be an interdisciplinary liberal arts course in which faculty from two fields explore a theme or a seminar in which a faculty member puts the liberal arts in perspective, perhaps comparing and contrasting a number of viewpoints, or a course growing out of one of the above categories on a more advanced level.