Degree Requirements

Requirements for the Interdisciplinary Humanities Emphasis

Completion of five units to include:

  1. Five units chosen from a single pathway, two of which must be at the 300-level or above.
  2. Students wishing to declare the IHE meet with the program director or a member of the faculty advisory committee to discuss their educational goals and create a plan for completion of one of the pathways. This plan will be finalized in a signed contract to be filed with the Office of the Registrar; further, the goals described in the contract will also be added to the student’s ePortfolio at this time. Once filed, the contract will be reviewed periodically, and may be modified as needed.
  3. In the first semester of their senior year, students pursuing the IHE submit to the program director a short essay that reflects on their progress in their chosen pathway and its relevance to their major(s), minor(s), or other programs of study through ePortfolio.


  1. Because these pathways are not intended as substitutes for a minor or major, students may not count more than two units from any department or program towards a single pathway.
  2. A student may double-count a maximum of two units from any given pathway with each major, minor, or program that the student plans to complete.
  3. With permission of the program director, students may substitute one of the five required units with a relevant second semester, second year (or higher) foreign language course, e.g., German 202, French 202, etc.
  4. Courses in the IHE may not be taken as Pass/Fail.
  5. A student must have a grade of C- or higher in all courses of the IHE.
  6. Four out of the five required units must be taken on campus.

IHE Pathways

The Artist as Humanist

This pathway encourages students to engage with the interplay between creativity, creative processes, and humanistic concerns such as the representation of cultural values, exploration of identity, and inquiry into questions of meaning within the fields of visual and literary arts, theatre, and music. It fosters questions about the complex relationships between artists, aesthetic objects, and audiences. Courses in this pathway explore the following questions:

  • How do aesthetic objects or performances alter perceptions and communicate ideas, and how do they participate in larger social and political discourses?
  • What is the role of sensations, emotions, and poetics in invoking form, conveying meaning, and fostering critical thinking?
  • How does the creative process itself contribute to the production of knowledge?

Course List - The Artist as Humanist

Challenging Inequality, Leading Social Change: Issues of Gender

This pathway encourages students to evaluate the ways in which understandings of sex and gender have informed and intersected with institutions and hierarchies across time and space, through an exploration of a variety of disciplinary lenses and genres. Courses within this pathway explore the following general questions from different cultural, historic, or geographical perspectives:

  • How do cultures understand and/or conceptualize gender?
  • How do those understandings intersect with political, cultural, and social institutions? How do they shape the lived experiences of individuals and groups? How have dominant ideas and practices around gender been challenged, and what implications might those challenges have today?
  • How do different disciplines explore, conceptualize, and/or evaluate concepts of sex/gender?

Course List - Challenging Inequality, Leading Social Change: Issues of Gender

Challenging Inequality, Leading Social Change: Issues of Race and Ethnicity

This pathway allows students to explore how race and ethnicity have influenced the construction of individual and collective identities, and to better understand both the marginalization of individuals and groups, as well as the strategies of resistance to oppression. Courses within this pathway explore the following general questions from different cultural, historic, or geographical perspectives:

  • How have race and ethnicity shaped individual and collective identities?
  • What forms of resistance have been undertaken by racial and ethnic minorities?
  • What is the relationship between race and ethnicity, and how do the two vary across different regional and historical contexts?

Course List - Challenging Inequality, Leading Social Change: Issues of Race and Ethnicity

Empire, Colonialism, and Resistance

This pathway asks students to compare the processes of empire-building, the experiences of rulers and subject peoples, and challenges to imperial rule across global contexts and time periods. Students engage with a variety of disciplinary perspectives on central questions, including:

  • What has led peoples or nations to conquer and govern other peoples or nations? What political, institutional, or cultural structures have empires developed in the distant and recent past?
  • How is empire justified and explained to the conquerors and the conquered?
  • How have conquered peoples and/or colonized subjects responded to—accommodated, resisted, ignored, undermined—imperial or colonial powers and institutions?
  • How do the processes of empire-building, consolidation, and decline impact the political, social, and economic lives of ordinary people and elites?
  • How have post-colonial thinkers responded to the legacies of colonialism and empire? What are the legacies of empires in developing regional, transregional, and global interconnectedness in the past and present?

Course List - Empire, Colonialism, and Resistance

The Global Middle Ages

This pathway encourages students to take a comparative approach to studying different regions and cultures in the period from roughly 500 to 1500 C.E., an era in which virtually every part of the globe experienced significant political, intellectual, religious, social, and technological developments which continue to shape our world. Though encompassing a variety of regions and disciplinary approaches, courses in this pathway share a concern with larger questions about human experience and self-expression in these centuries, such as:

  • How can we give voice to a range of medieval perspectives?
  • To what extent were medieval societies inclusive and/or exclusionary?
  • How did various medieval cosmologies impact political institutions, social hierarchies, and aesthetic sensibilities?

Course List - The Global Middle Ages

Science and Values

This pathway encourages students to evaluate and understand the sciences through a humanistic lens, and to consider questions such as:

  • How can the sciences be understood in their broader historical, social, and ethical contexts?
  • What is the relationship between science and values (in the past and the present)?
  • How were scientific methods and approaches developed and why?
  • How have claims about what is ’natural’ been used to defend or undermine value statements?

Course List - Science and Values

Visual Culture

This pathway allows students to engage critically with numerous manifestations of visual culture, including artifacts, images (from paintings to film), and built environments from various historical periods and diverse cultures. The pathway urges students to examine the role of visual practices in history, culture, and the forming of human subjectivity. Courses in this pathway explore questions such as:

  • How do objects, images, and built environments reflect or shape social, religious, and political values?
  • How may objects, images, and built environments foster the development of personal or group identities?

Course List - Visual Culture