Core Curriculum

core curriculum

A Scripps education begins with the Core Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Humanities, the College’s signature interdisciplinary approach to learning.

Our students say the program is one of their most valuable experiences, calling it “eye-opening” and “mind-expanding.”

The Core Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Humanities will be a central part of your experience at Scripps College. The Core is designed to introduce you via interdisciplinary study to some of the major debates and concepts that have shaped the modern world. The first semester of Core is a broad foundational course in which students and faculty examine contemporary issues and debates through a historical lens. Ultimately this course will serve as an introduction to contemporary humanistic practice.

The current iteration of Core I takes up this task through an examination of crossroads. It considers the constraints we face both collectively and individually. Often it may seem like we have no meaningful choices left to make, so powerful do these forces appear. One need only recall the political situation or global warming to feel an oppressive sense of helplessness; or, at a more individual level, we may languish under the imperatives of social media or anxiety about success in school (and, eventually, in a career). But are we truly without options? In addressing these concerns, we consider how institutions, categories such as race and gender, and other cultural frameworks influence our sense of possibility. This course considers crossroads in the sense of crisis but also of choice.

Core I

During the first semester, all first-year students take Core I which combines lectures with small group discussion. Team-taught by 15-18 faculty members drawn from each of the College’s academic divisions (arts, letters, natural sciences, and social sciences.), Core I is unified by a single syllabus and a particular focus that is approached from multiple perspectives.

Core II

Core II follows in the spring semester. Students continue with a sharper focus—and through a variety of course offerings—the interdisciplinary investigations begun in Core I. Core II courses are taught by a professor with interdisciplinary research interests and may be team-taught by faculty whose research interests make for fresh dialogue.

Core III

Core III is taken the fall semester of students’ sophomore year. Here, students engage in innovative and collaborative projects with others in Core III, and dive into individualized, self-directed research with professors in a small, seminar-style course. The work students complete in Core III culminates in a self-designed project where they delve into a particular topic of interest.