Core Curriculum

Scripps College has a long and distinguished tradition in teaching in the humanities. New students must fulfill their general education requirement in the Humanities by taking the Core Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Humanities (Core). The Core is a closely integrated sequence of three courses designed to encourage increasingly sophisticated and focused interdisciplinary investigation of a broad range of historical and contemporary issues.

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. In the second semester of the first year, students choose from a range of Core II courses, each of which is taught by an individual professor or team-taught with two professors. Core II courses are devoted to more intensive study of some of the methods, issues, and problems introduced in Core I.  In the first semester of the sophomore year, students continue their interdisciplinary work in Core III, in which they choose from a large number of options which focus on more specialized topics and in which students develop independent research and projects; each Core III course is taught by an individual professor.

The theme of the Core Program as a whole is “Histories of the Present”. With this inquiry Core faculty and students explore the ways in which our contemporary self-understandings emerge from and express commitments and categories that are often taken as given—as so “natural” and “obvious” that they prevent us from thinking clearly about their complexities and ambiguities, and hinder us from seeing our world in other ways.