The January Program of Study

Every student enrolled in the College is a fully matriculated Boston University degree candidate who, upon completion of the two-year program, will have earned a minimum of 48 credit hours within the core curriculum and 16 elective credit hours in the other undergraduate programs of the University, for a total of 64 credits. Completion of these credit hours places a student halfway through the 128-credit requirement for nearly all of the baccalaureate degree programs within the University. For information on continuation with a bachelor’s degree following the CGS program, see CGS’s Academic Progress & Continuation policy.

The general education program includes two years of study in social sciences and humanities, and one year of study in natural sciences and in rhetoric. Students must complete four elective courses totaling 16 credits. To fulfill this requirement, students choose from a variety of courses offered through the University’s undergraduate schools and colleges.

Program Outline

The following outline is a guide to the course of study undertaken by students in the College of General Studies January Program. Schools and colleges within the University and outside institutions may use this information in evaluating College of General Studies coursework for transfer credit. For more detailed course descriptions, consult the Courses section in this website.

Freshman Year

The curriculum, “Revolutions: Changing Times, Changing Minds,” will focus on six cognitive revolutions or “tipping points” in Western history, each representing a major shift in thought and culture.

The faculty will take an inquiry-based approach, with a strong emphasis on discussion, research skills, and experiential learning.

First Semester—Boston, 18 credits

  • Focus on the birth of monotheism, the birth of democracy in the ancient world, the rediscovery of nature and the human in the Renaissance, and the transition from “reason to revolution” in the eighteenth century.
  • Students will explore some of Boston’s rich cultural sites, including:
    • The Boston Museum of Fine Arts
    • Symphony Hall
    • The Museum of African American History
    • The city of Lowell, the town of Concord, and Walden Pond
  • Curriculum will include guest lectures by local experts on specific topics.
  • CGS RH 103 The Ancient World Through the Enlightenment (4 cr)
  • CGS HU 103 The Ancient World Through the Enlightenment (4 cr)
  • CGS SS 103 The Ancient World Through the Enlightenment (4 cr)
  • CGS DS 103: Interdisciplinary Directed Study (2 cr)
  • Elective (4 cr)

Second Semester (Six Weeks)—London, 14 credits

  • Focus on “the Century of Change” (1850–1950); concludes with today’s ongoing digital revolution.
  • The program will include:
    • a three-day trip to Paris
    • day trips to Oxford, Manchester, and Bletchley Park
  • CGS RH 104 The Industrial Revolution to the Digital Age (4 cr)
  • CGS HU 104 The Industrial Revolution to the Digital Age (4 cr)
  • CGS SS 104 The Industrial Revolution to the Digital Age (4 cr)
  • CGS DS 104 Interdisciplinary Directed Study (2 cr)

Sophomore Year

First Semester, 16 –18 credits

  • CGS HU 201 Plato to Nietzsche Philosophy, with Art, Film, and Literature (4 cr)
  • CGS NS 201 Scientific Paradigms and Contemporary Applications Cosmology, Evolution, Biological Chemistry, Genetics (4 cr)
  • CGS SS 201 Social Change and Modernization in the Non-Western World: China and Russia History, Political Theory (4 cr)
  • Elective (4–6 cr)

Second Semester, 16–18 credits

  • CGS HU 202 History of 20th-Century Ethical Philosophy and Applied Ethics Philosophy, with Art, Film, and Literature (4 cr)
  • CGS NS 202 Human and Global Ecology Climatology, Environmental Chemistry, Population Biology (4 cr)
  • CGS SS 202 America’s Response to Aggression and Revolution: U.S. Foreign Policy Since the 1930s Political Science, International Relations (4 cr)
  • Elective (4–6 cr)

CGS Directed Study I & II (Required)

The two-credit Directed Study courses use informal and formal writing as a way for students to reflect on the meaning and relevance of the program’s coursework and learning experiences. First, students write an informal weekly blog (weblog) to explore connections between courses and learning experiences, posing their own questions and developing their own insights. Second, students will work with one of their instructors on a substantial documented research project on a topic related to their blog entries, and selected in consultation with the instructor.

Other directed study research opportunities are available at the College. Read the policy on Directed Study for full details.

Internships (Optional)

The College of General Studies offers students the opportunity to receive one credit for internships that require academic credit. Students will be billed for the credit, if applicable. (As always, if a CGS student does not have a 3.0 cumulative GPA or above and is registered for more than 18 credits, h/she will be billed for the overload credit.)

Credit will appear as course “CGS SS 200: Internship” on the transcript. CGS SS 200 does not fulfill a degree requirement at Boston University and does not count toward graduation.

CGS SS 200 is graded on a Pass/Fail basis, and does not affect GPA. A passing grade is assigned once the internship is complete. Student must submit the Internship Supervisor Verification Form (ISVF) to CGS Student Services, room 211.