The certificate program in Humanistic Studies encourages students to explore the frontiers of their home discipline and build bridges to others, illuminating one field with approaches, questions and insights of another.
While concentrating in a home department, students will design a curriculum that links one or more fields that can enrich their work. In this pursuit, they will join a lively community of faculty and students who meet regularly for discussion, lectures, colloquia, meals and cultural activities. The word “interdisciplinary” is often used; this program will provide explicit practice in bridging fields.
Students from all divisions–natural sciences, social sciences, engineering, and the humanities–who want to forge meaningful connections with another field are welcome to apply.
Complete two interdisciplinary courses during the first two years:
- HUM 216-217 or 218-219, Interdisciplinary Approaches to Western Culture; or
- HUM 233-234, East Asian Humanities; or
- Two other equivalent courses that provide a rigorous interdisciplinary approach to the arts and culture over a span of historical time.
Applicants must submit syllabi of the two courses for which they are requesting approval.
In addition to the two prerequisites, students complete six additional courses, which may also be used to fulfill departmental requirements.
- Four of the six must be explicitly interdisciplinary in their approach and/or subject matter.
- The remaining two are chosen in consultation with the Program advisor to coordinate with the student’s individual plan of study. In these courses, students are expected to forge their own interdisciplinary connections and pursue them in their written work.
- One of the six courses is an interdisciplinary capstone seminar created specifically for certificate students, and normally held once a semester or at least once a year. Other team-taught, advanced, cross-disciplinary seminars can sometimes fulfill the capstone requirement, in consultation with the Humanities Council’s executive director.
Spring 2017 Capstone Seminar: “How Literatures Begin” — will be taught by Denis Feeney (Classics) and Joel Lande (German)
Students in the Program must also complete either:
- A senior thesis in their home department with an interdisciplinary focus; or
- An interdisciplinary research paper written specifically for the Program (if their thesis topic does not lend itself to an interdisciplinary approach)
Applicants to the Program are encouraged to reflect on the meaningful connections they wish to forge and to propose a curriculum for their junior and senior years that combines the requirements of their home departments with the pursuits that best complement their interests. These individual paths are likely to group into five major trajectories:
- Bridges within the humanities and arts: Students on this path deepen their study of one particular partnership among the possible combinations of religion, philosophy, history, literature and the arts.
- Bridges between the humanities and related social sciences: Students on this path focus on the intersections between a specific branch of the humanities and a neighboring field of anthropology, sociology or politics.
- Intercultural studies: Students might illuminate their study of western culture with comparative approaches to other areas of the world, for example, or study one or more regions through different methodologies. In this pursuit, they might benefit from participating in global seminars or other opportunities for study abroad.
- Bridges between the humanities and the sciences: These students, while concentrating in the humanities or social sciences, might explore links to cognitive science or other sciences.
- Digital approaches to the humanities: Students in this group might create new kinds of knowledge by examining some field with the resources and insights of computer science.
When should one apply?
Students may apply (or “register”) as early as freshman spring, if they have completed the two prerequisite interdisciplinary courses. Applying early makes you eligible for reserved spaces in the capstone seminars and other desirable courses.
Students are normally admitted to the Program during the second semester of their sophomore year.
Please contact Kathleen Crown, Executive Director, Humanities Council with questions about academic requirements or signing up for the Certificate in Humanistic Studies.