The Interdisciplinary Core Minor

The Interdisciplinary Minor in the Core Curriculum provides a pathway for students to explore further one or more of the engaging questions or themes first encountered in the Core classes. By taking courses in a range of different departments and disciplines, students can give greater depth to their study of the texts, works of art, music, and key ideas of Western and other cultural traditions treated in Core.

You are eligible to begin the minor after taking one of the four two-course sequences available in Core: CC 101/102 (First-Year Humanities); CC 201/202 (Sophomore Humanities); CC 112/211 (Social Sciences); or CC 111/212 (Natural Sciences). Beyond these classes . . .

  • Core minor students will take at least four other four-credit courses;
  • among these, at least two must come from two CAS departments outside of Core, and
  • at least two must be 300-level or higher (unless permission to substitute is obtained).

(You will consult with your advisor on the applicability of the Core or elective class before counting any class toward your minor.)

The culmination of the minor is the two-credit capstone workshop, in which students over the course of a semester complete a major paper or project that crosses at least two fields of study. The capstone workshop will be offered for the first time in Spring 2018.

[Download the Core Minor factsheet]     |     [Download the Core Minor advising form]

The Capstone Project

Students in the minor will take part in a capstone workshop, offered for the first time in Spring 2018. Meeting weekly with fellow workshop members for one-hour sessions, students will prepare proposals of their final project; present preliminary versions for group critique; and receive instruction on rhetoric in preparation for the final formal presentation. The workshop is designed to strengthen skills in writing, speaking and digital communication, and acts as a “creative incubator” in which ideas can be nourished, developed and articulated.

“Laika”, a 2018 Core Minor capstone project by Cat Dossett (click the thumbnail above to open the PDF in a new window)

“The Venetiad”, a 2018 Core Minor capstone project by Gregory Kerr (click the thumbnail above to open the PDF in a new window)

Benefits of the Core Minor

  • AN OPPORTUNITY FOR FOCUSED STUDY. The minor allows you to explore an aspect of the curriculum in greater depth by taking relevant classes in various CAS departments.
  • MENTORING. Students in the Core minor each work on their theme and the capstone essay under the close direction of a faculty mentor.
  • INTERDISCIPLINARY SCOPE. You will be able to deliberately pursue knowledge across disciplinary boundaries.
  • A LEARNING COMMUNITY. Through the capstone workshop you will participate in an exchange of ideas with a small group of peers who share a common intellectual background gained in the Core courses. Further, each student will be invited to present his or her work at a public event attended by the larger community of Core students, faculty and alumni.

Example Course Pathways for the Core Minor

Students who would like to register for the minor in Core must be ready to identify and pursue a central idea, theme or question. To give you an idea of the type of course selections and project themes that might be suitable for your minor program, we offer you the following examples of hypothetical, but entirely feasible, pathways to fulfilling the minor requirements.

Hypothetical Example 1.
Focus: the relationship of literature to social and national identity.
Initial Core sequence: CC 101 and CC 102 (Humanities)
Additional Core classes: CC 112 (SS), which studies culture, ethnography and religion or CC 201, which examines the emergence of Europe
Departmental options: History classes which explore the relation of culture and identity, such as HI 191 (“What Is Europe?”) and HI 315 (“The American West”); or courses which explore national literary traditions, such as CL 221 (“Greek Tragedy”), EN 392 (“Modern Irish Literature”), or LJ 282 (“The Samurai in Myth and History”)
Hypothetical Example 2.
Focus: encounters with different cultures in the work of an author associated strongly with a national tradition, such as Montaigne (France) or Cervantes (Spain).
Initial Core sequence: CC 201 and CC 202 (Humanities)
Additional Core classes: CC 112 (SS), which among other topics looks at the encounter between Western religion and Eastern cultures
Departmental options: RN 410 (“Religion, Community and Culture in Medieval Spain”) explores the intersection of cultures, and HI 213 (“Sacred and Secular Power in Christianity and Islam”) provides essential background. Numerous courses examine examples of cultural mixing, including LX 420 (“Spanish in the United States”), RN 312 (” Buddhism in America”) and AN 327 (“Islam in Africa”).
Hypothetical Example 3.
Focus: the links between science and broader cultural questions.
Initial Core sequence: CC 111 and CC 212 (Natural Sciences)
Additional Core classes: CC 202 (HU), whose introduction to Modernism engages with issues raised by the study of quantum theory and relativity in CC 212
Departmental options: There is hardly any department which does not offer courses touching upon the question of how science and culture are interrelated. Choices include: RN 242 (“Magic, Science and Religion”); PH 272 (“Science Technology and Values”); HI 302 (“Science and American Culture”); BI 119 (“Sociobiology”); GE 250 (“The Fate of Nations: Climate, Resources and Institutions”); and SO 277 (“Technology and Society”).

How to Begin

You can begin your pursuit of the minor by choosing a faculty advisor, who will be responsible for approving all courses taken for the minor and will supervise the writing of the capstone project. (It is expected that faculty advisors will be associated with the Core, though the advisory committee may approve other advisors when warranted in particular cases.)

Once an advisor has been selected, you will submit a brief written statement outlining the area of study you mean to focus on with your coursework and capstone project. Once the minor brief has been approved, you and your advisor will consult regularly. These meetings will ensure a coherent plan of study which satisfies the minor class requirements with coursework in relevant departments, including ones new to you.

For more information, or to schedule a preliminary meeting to discuss your interest in minoring in Core, email