Liberal Arts Curriculum

The liberal arts curriculum reflects the distinctive mission of Wilson College. Through requirements which bridge the sciences, humanities, and social sciences, students develop effective written and oral communication skills, the power to reason critically, and increased awareness of cultural differences within the U.S. and a global framework.

II. Transdisciplinary Studies

The general requirements for the Transdisciplinary Studies categories below are:

  • Courses must be taken in at least six different disciplines
  • At least four of the courses must be at the 200 or 300 level
  • Each requirement must be satisfied by a different course
  • Courses required by the major which are outside of the primary field of study may be used to satisfy these requirements
  • Writing-intensive courses may be used to satisfy these requirements

A. Western Cultures and Societies

Three courses, one in each of the following areas:

  • Foundations of Western Cultures (FWC)
  • History of Western Cultures and Institutions (HWC)
  • Contemporary U.S. Culture and Institutions (CC)

In order to function capably in a globally-interdependent society, students benefit from an understanding of the institutions, histories, and traditions of various cultures including our own. Courses in this category address the economic, political, and social influences on U.S. culture and society, and promote student understanding of the ethnocentric nature and development of knowledge, ideas, and experience.

Pedagogical approaches encourage students to think critically in analyzing economic, social, and political dimensions of contemporary conflicts and issues. In addition, deeper understanding of contemporary political, philosophical, literary, economic, linguistic, and social issues will provide a foundation for social and civic responsibility and action.

Appropriate courses in classics, culture and civilization, economics, history, historical treatments of art, literature, mass communications, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion studies, and sociology will satisfy these requirements.

B. Studies in Cultural Diversity

Three courses, one in each of the following areas:

  • Women's Studies (WS)
  • Cultural Diversity within the U.S. (CD)
  • Non-Western Cultures and Institutions (NWC)

Studies in cultural diversity at Wilson provide broad exposure to diversity, including different values and different ways of knowing. Students are exposed to perspectives and voices of populations historically excluded from academic discourse: women, racial and ethnic minorities, lesbians and gay men, the physically challenged, and others who are disadvantaged and/or disempowered by virtue of their positions in society.

Students also learn about the social construction of gender as it interacts with class, race, age, sexual preference, and nationality in a variety of settings, cultures, and times. They explore and analyze the experiences of racial, ethnic, and cultural diversities found among persons living in the United States, and develop an understanding of groups of people whose culture, language, literature, and history are significantly different from the Western tradition.

C. The Natural World

Three courses, at least one with a laboratory component*, and at least one in each of the following areas:

  • Natural Sciences (NS)
  • Environmental Studies (ES)

*The designation of a course as NSL or ESL indicates that it meets the requirement as a lab.

Students explore the natural world with the aim of increasing scientific literacy. Students learn basic concepts and principles. They also achieve an understanding of the methods and limits of scientific discovery and they are exposed to the history and philosophy of science. Relationships among science, technology, and society are also considered.

Courses are available in biology, chemistry, math, physics, behavioral sciences, and physical education. All students take at least one course in environmental studies from among six academic disciplines.

D. Modes of Thought, Inquiry, and Expression

Three courses, one each in three of the following areas:

  • The Arts (ART)
  • Literature (LIT)
  • Frontiers of Knowledge and Human Beliefs (ETH)
  • Formal Thought (ET)

In consistency with Wilson College's mission as a liberal arts college, these courses broaden students' exposure to knowledge, values, and different ways of knowing. Students develop artistic expression through courses in dance, studio art, music, and creative writing. Literature courses are available in English, religion studies, French, and Spanish. Students explore the frontiers of knowledge and human beliefs through courses which emphasize thinking in a disciplined and reasoned way about questions of meaning, ethics, and values. Courses which satisfy this requirement are offered in the disciplines of philosophy, religion studies, environmental studies, political science, and mass communications. Appropriate courses in fields such as computer programming, higher mathematics, music theory, and philosophy satisfy the formal thought requirement.

E. Major

Depth of knowledge in one of the student's principal intellectual and professional interests is sought through the selection of a major in a single discipline or a major which combines two or more disciplines. Single discipline majors involve in-depth study in a specific academic discipline. Some of these include the option of a specific track within the major.

Combined majors integrate two interrelated or complementary disciplines (e.g., History and Political Science). Within these majors, areas of concentration may be available to permit in-depth study within a specific field of knowledge.

Special majors cover topics not ordinarily offered as a major at the college. Special majors are individually designed interdisciplinary majors composed of two or more related fields of knowledge. Special majors are designed by students in consultation with faculty from appropriate disciplines and they must be approved by the Committee on Academic Procedure.

Double majors may be pursued under some circumstances, although they may take longer than four years to complete. Students confer with two academic advisers and meet the major requirements of both major fields of study.

F. Minors (optional)

Students may select one or more minor. The minors are designed to provide opportunities for in depth study outside of the major field of study. Students are encouraged to venture out into disciplines which are unrelated to their major field of study. Courses required by the major, which are outside of the primary field of study, may be used to satisfy requirements for the minor.

Liberal arts college for women

Contact Information

Admissions Office
Norland Hall
717-262-2002
800-421-8402
admissions@wilson.edu