Undergraduate students are assigned one or more faculty members to offer guidance and assistance in the preparation of a schedule of academic work that is consistent both with their particular intellectual aspirations and with the requirements of the program. Students are expected to maintain a grade point average of 3.5 from semester to semester in order to remain in the program.
The Shape of the Program
- Freshman: The year is devoted to the year-long UNI ID 500 Seminar; two semesters of a foreign language; four UNI core courses covering arts, science, and history, culture, and society;
and two elective courses selected from UNI and/or other Schools and Colleges of Boston University.
- Sophomores: Two UNI core courses, four elective courses selected from UNI and/or other Schools and Colleges at Boston University, and two semesters of a foreign language.
- Juniors: Students select eight courses from those offered by both UNI and/or other Schools and Colleges and begin to plan their Senior Thesis.
- Seniors: Students select six electives from courses offered in UNI and/or other schools or colleges. In addition, students take a two-semester directed study (DW 401/2) which culminates in the writing and oral defense of a Senior Thesis.
Students interested in proceeding to careers in law or medicine are encouraged to discuss their plans early in their freshman year with the Pre-professional Advising Office of the College of Arts and Sciences to ensure the compatibility of their academic schedules.
Letters & Arts
UNI ID 201 and UNI ID 202 Introduction to Literary Study – taught by Professors Bruce Redford and Daniel Karlin in the fall and by Professors Daniel Karlin and Herbert Mason in the spring
This year-long sequence centers on the critical study of major texts from the Western literary tradition. These texts invite students, in differing ways, to consider the relationship between language and belief, rhetoric and culture, intention and form. The syllabus includes readings from various periods, traditions, and genres. Students are asked to analyze closely, to write frequently, and to learn multiple ways of responding to W.H. Auden’s question: “Here is a verbal contraption; how does it work?”
History, Culture & Society
UNI ID 203 Ethics and Politics – taught by Professor James Schmidt in the fall
From ancient Greece to the modern world, the relationships of individuals to one another and to the societies in which they live have often been complex. This course examines some of the ways in which moralists and political philosophers have tried to address such issues as the nature of the just society, the relation of individual well-being to the public good, the ways in which notions of right and wrong can be justified, and the possible conflict between politics and other human activities. Among the authors read are Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Hume, Kant, and Nietzsche.
UNI ID 204 Culture and Society – taught by Professors Liah Greenfeld and Charles Lindholm in the spring
This seminar will make use of the works of nineteenth and twentieth century social thinkers (such as Marx, Weber, and Durkheim) to undertake a sociological and cultural analysis of some of the central aspects of modern experience and identity, including issues of religion and political culture.
UNI ID 206 Biodynamics and the Human Machine – taught by Professor James Collins in the fall
Our understanding of the functioning of the human body has increased considerably over the last several hundred years. Much of this understanding has been derived from the application of physical and mathematical principles to the body. This course explores how the interplay of physics and mathematics with physiology has yielded insights into the fundamental biological principles. We discuss the essential role of experiments, mathematical models, and machine analogues in the life sciences by focusing on case studies in human biomechanics and neuromuscular control.
UNI ID 208 From Alchemy to Quarks – taught by Professor Sheldon Glashow in the spring
This course chronicles the search for the basic building blocks of matter and the rules by which they combine to produce the wonders of nature. We begin with the 19th-century vindication of the Greek notions of atom and element and proceed through a study of the momentous discoveries of the last century, especially those of quantum mechanics and relativity. We shall learn how our growing understanding of atomic and subatomic structure results from a complex interplay between experimental and theoretical research.