The academic catalog is currently being updated for the 2021-22 year. View the Catalog Archive to access the 2020-21 catalog as well as catalogs from previous years.
Common Ground coursework—focused on the arts of language, the academic study of religion, and the pursuit of human health and well being—serves as a foundation for the curriculum as a whole.
(Note that courses taken to fulfill Common Ground requirements may not be used to fulfill requirements for Inquiry across the Liberal Arts.)
Paideia 111/112: A two-semester common course for all first-year students that addresses questions central to the human condition. It develops students' ability to read, write, analyze, discuss, and research by engaging with works from across the disciplines, drawn from different time periods and parts of the globe. As a signature course and a foundation for liberal learning, "Enduring Questions" is taught by faculty from all divisions of the college.
Religion: Two courses, one of which must be in biblical studies.
Language: Foreign language study provides an entrance into another culture and its way of thinking, as well as illuminating one's own native language. As global trade, cultural interchange, and international conflict shape our lives, language remains no less vital than it was at Luther's founding. Like Paideia 111/112, language study deepens reading, writing, and speaking skills.
This requirement must be satisfied in one of the following ways:
Wellness: Two one-credit courses, the first devoted to health and wellness, and the second to developing a physical/athletic skill. NOTE: Only four (combined) HP 100/ES 110 credits will be applied toward the 128 hours required for the BA degree.
Fields of Inquiry includes both the concentration of a major and the general exploration of the subjects of the liberal arts: the natural world, human behavior, and the philosophical and artistic expression of human nature and experience.
Inquiry in Depth: Students must either study one discipline in depth through a traditional major or complete an in-depth interdisciplinary study through an individually designed major. Such work includes
A major will ordinarily require eight to 10 courses, though some programs may be larger. The college requires that students take at least 20 course equivalents outside their major discipline.
Inquiry across the Liberal Arts: Students must complete a course of study that deepens their understanding of the natural world, of human behavior, and of the reflective and creative forms of human expression.
Students will often satisfy two of these six courses within their major. Note that courses taken to fulfill Common Ground requirements may not be used to fulfill requirements for Inquiry across the Liberal Arts.
The Natural World: Interpretations and Interventions
Two courses, at least one of which must be laboratory based. Courses that satisfy this requirement investigate the operations, structures, or patterns within the natural world; the history and development of human interpretations of nature; or the effects of science and technology on the natural world.
Human Behavior: Individual and Communal
Two courses, at least one of which must use social science methods of systematic observation, comparison, modeling, or hypothesis testing. Courses that satisfy this requirement investigate individual human behavior, or human interactions within political, economic, or cultural institutions, including their change over time.
Human Expression: Reflection and Creativity
Two courses, at least one of which must involve substantive study of primary texts, written, oral, or visual. Courses that satisfy this requirement investigate human being, knowing, and moral reasoning; the literary arts; or the visual and performing arts. One of the two courses may be satisfied experientially through music lessons, music ensembles, or theatre/dance participation as defined by the faculty:
Integrative Understanding calls students to wholeness: to draw together their learning in the major in a senior project, and, in Paideia 450, to draw together insight across disciplinary lines in order to address the ethical dilemmas that students will face as learners, citizens, and professionals. The alternate ways of satisfying Paideia 450 offer the chance for more faculty to contribute to it more often, which can enrich interdisciplinary reflection among students and their teachers.
Paideia 450: A team-taught course for juniors and seniors devoted to interdisciplinary study of an ethical issue that confronts us in our lives as learners and citizens. Paideia 450 courses pay special attention to the nature of moral decision making and to the continued development of students' writing skills. Students may satisfy Paideia 450 in one of four ways:
Paired or sequenced courses that satisfy Paideia 450 may, as appropriate, satisfy other requirements in the curriculum in major, minor, or Inquiry across the Liberal Arts.
Senior Project: A scholarly study or an artistic work/performance that draws upon a discipline's methodology and provides a culminating, independent experience of the major. Many senior projects will require formal writing; all senior projects must involve some kind of formal presentation: a poster, formal talk, question and answer session, artistic performance, or other appropriate mode. The senior project may be taken for 1, 2, or 4 credits, depending on the requirements within the chosen program. A student must complete only one senior project to satisfy all-college requirements, but individual programs may require a senior project as part of their major requirements.
Perspectives: Perspectives are ways of looking at subjects—angles from which we can better understand what we are studying. Intercultural, Historical, and Quantitative perspective requirements may be fulfilled in any designated course and may be satisfied within or beyond a student's major. The Ethical perspective requirement is fulfilled in Paideia 450 and as part of each major.
Skills: Good writing, speaking, and research are the currency of academic life. Skills requirements will be satisfied in these ways: