Knowledge Areas Requirement

A liberal arts education provides a breadth of knowledge spread throughout many disciplines. To this end, students will take courses in each of eight different areas that are grouped by similar approaches. The areas chosen follow closely the mission of the College, which specifies that students learn to be aware of the achievements of the past, learn an appreciation of the arts, understand the methods of science, and become responsible members of a world community that is diverse and constantly changing. Broad knowledge will prepare them for an evolving society, and equip them to take leadership in its formation.


Understand the cultures of Europe and the U.S. through a study of the past. (3 credits)

  • Course designation is V.1
  • Uses historical methods of study which reveal patterns and meanings in European and U.S. cultures
  • Takes an historical approach to political, social, or cultural events in either a broad or a narrow time period

Develop critical insights and extend experiences through the study of literature. (3 credits)

  • Course designation is V.2
  • Includes a range of literary works, either a broad survey, or a narrow and intensive focus on a few examples
  • Examines both the form and the content of the work
  • Teaches students to develop and defend critical judgments about the work

Experience another culture through the study of a foreign language. (3-12 credits)

  • Course designation is V.3
  •  Examines aspects of culture, society, or literature, ancient or modern, that is taught in a foreign language course numbered 202 or above

Understand the world beyond the cultures of Europe and the U.S. (6 credits)

  • Course designation is V.4
  • Introduces students to alternate world views through the examination of the cultures of Africa, Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East

Understand how class, gender, ethnicity, and ethical and religious values affect world views and decision making. (3 credits)

  • Course designation is V.5
  • Examines how concepts like race, class, and gender are understood in cultures, religions, and/or historical eras
  • Alternatively, encourages students to appreciate and apply ethical reasoning in various contexts

Understand creative expression through (a) the study and (b) the practice of the arts. (4-6 credits)

  • Course designations are V.6a and V.6b. (Choose one course for 3 credits in "a" and one course for 1-3 credits in "b")
  • Introduces students to different examples of excellence and examines the criteria for evaluation of an art form
  • V.6a discusses the ideas expressed in specific works of art
  • V.6b teaches students to produce their own work in a specific art form, applying techniques and expressing ideas creatively

Understand how economic, political, and legal systems shape the modern world. (3 credits)

  • Course designation is V.7
  • Examines contemporary economic and political institutional systems and their impact on the global community
  • Takes an analytical approach to specific political and economic problems at the national and/or international level.

Understand the world through (a) scientific theory and (b) scientific experiment and observation. (7 credits)

  • Course designations are V.8a and V.8b. (Choose 2 courses for 6 credits in "a" and a 1-credit lab in "b")
  • V.8b must be satisfied in conjunction with a Knowledge Area V.8a course in biology, chemistry, engineering, environmental science, or physics
  • V.8a introduces students to science through an examination of major ideas and discoveries by relating theories to the evidence upon which they are based
  • V.8b teaches students to conduct a controlled experiment and to evaluate critically the design and the results of the experiment