The humanities at Puget Sound comprise a variety of disciplines that address questions of enduring significance to human beings, while tackling some of the most pressing issues that confront our society today, including environmental crisis, technological change, systemic racism and xenophobia, the breakdown of civil society and political discourse, war between religions, and changing conceptions of gender and sexualities. Students who study the humanities become strong writers and researchers, as well as versatile thinkers, able to respond thoughtfully and solve problems creatively in a variety of situations and careers.
All Puget Sound students are required to take a Humanistic Approaches core course, which introduces them to "fundamental questions of existence, identity, and values." Students may also pursue a major or minor in one of Puget Sound's vibrant humanistic departments or programs, such as African American Studies, English, Philosophy, or Religious Studies. The Interdisciplinary Humanities Emphasis offers another way for students to explore topics of enduring importance through a variety of perspectives. The IHE's seven innovative pathways allow students to customize their own academic experiences while simultaneously fulfilling Core and graduation requirements.
First-year students have the opportunity to enroll in one of several humanities-themed residential Seminars in Scholarly Inquiry. These courses address a wide range of topics, including “Gender and Performance,” “Utopia/Dystopia,” “Imaging Blackness,” and “The Scientific and Romantic Revolutions.” These students form a living-learning community by taking the first-year writing seminars together, and by enjoying a variety of co-curricular activities such as film screenings, guest lectures, dinners, and trips to Seattle and Tacoma plays, concerts, and exhibits.
Studying the humanities is excellent preparation for a wide variety of career paths, from museum work to medical school. Because humanistic disciplines foster both higher order thinking skills - such as problem-solving, critical analysis, and oral and written communication - and essential 'soft skills' like flexibility, empathy, and collaboration, students who complete substantial coursework in the humanities are equally prepared to succeed in competitive graduate programs or professional settings. Whether they go on to become lawyers or actors, whether they work at small non-profits or huge corporations, humanities students will stand out as eloquent speakers, persuasive writers, adept researchers, and savvy consumers of data.