Liberal Arts Core Curriculum

Humanistic Studies Core Curriculum

All students at MICA take Humanistic Studies courses as part of their degree plans.


All students are required to take nine courses (27 Credits) in Humanistic Studies including "Ways of Writing," at least one course each from five disciplinary clusters outlined below, plus three academic electives. Students are required to take at least one course at every level (i.e. 200-400) of the curriculum including at least two at the 300 level and one at the 400 level. In addition, there is a DEIG requirement which may be fulfilled within any of the five designated clusters.

Ways of Writing is an introduction to college-level reading and writing. Organized around a central theme, course reading material exposes students to different genres (forms) of written expression with various functions and audiences, e.g., scholarship, short stories (fiction), personal essays, journalism, memoir. As such, HMST 101 explores critical reading, attribution, and ways of writing. As part of their practice of active reading, students will develop comprehension skills and increase their information literacy. Ways of writing include the writing process, from initial exploration and articulation of ideas to a polished piece. Students will explore attribution, including questions of whose voices and ideas we include, accept, and use and how writers build upon previous work, ethically and practically.

In addition to "Ways of Writing," students will take one course from each of the following five disciplinary clusters.

Literature and creative writing courses focus on significant works of literature in English (or in translation) or on the study and practice of creative writing in various forms and genres. Literature courses emphasize content and subject matter as they also address the style, form, and structure of texts. In creative writing courses, students are challenged to produce original writing while studying and learning from the works of published authors. Literature and creative writing courses alike treat reading and writing as creative acts analogous to, and supportive of, pursuits in art and design.  

Courses in philosophy or religion examine how belief, reasoning, and ethics have been experienced and applied. They consider diverse systems of knowledge, aesthetics, and morality in their historical and contemporary iterations. Philosophy courses examine human values as well as their metaphysical foundation and justification. Courses in religion explore religion in interdisciplinary and cross-cultural context and focus on how diverse worldviews have shaped, and continue to shape, consciousness, social relations, and conceptions of social justice. Utilizing various methods of inquiry, PHIL & RELG courses share a focus on understanding the world beyond our immediate experience.

Courses in History & Politics engage students in the study of past or present societies, politics, and cultures. The study of past societies cultivates understanding of the roots of cultural expressions, institutions, thorny dilemmas, and conflicts in the present, as well as offering our imagination alternate modes of living and solutions to the problems of today. The methods of historical inquiry – writing, critical reading of sources, problem solving, and techniques for reaching across difference – are vital to all academic and intellectual pursuits as well as applicable to art and design practices. The study of politics is necessarily historical and relates closely to the study of both past and contemporary societies, focusing on the dynamics of power within those societies and how they evolve over time.

Courses in the Sciences allow students to observe, appreciate, and understand the natural world through methods of experimentation, reasoning, problem solving, and analysis. Since scientific knowledge intersects with questions of policy, ethics, and the environment, these courses help students use data literacy and critical thinking skills to better analyze and comprehend crucial issues in the modern world.

Courses in SSCI, MCLT, and CLTR examine societies and cultures -- geographic, ethnic, visual, “mainstream” and “peripheral” -- through social scientific, cultural studies, and interdisciplinary lenses. Often problematizing the social/structural and cultural, these courses are occasions for students to investigate social formations, cultural practice, and cultural products such as film and media as well as interdisciplinary areas of study. Representative disciplines include anthropology, ethnic studies, film studies, gender and sexuality studies, geography, media studies, psychology, and sociology.

DEIG REQUIREMENT (fulfilled within any one of the above areas)
Courses in [DEIG] take critical approaches to power, disciplinary canons, knowledge production, and ideologies of human difference. Students will examine and critique the relationships between knowledge, identity, and systems of power, with a particular concentration on racial, gender, and class positions. As they investigate the construction and consequences of intersecting social categories, [DEIG] courses foreground the voices of underrepresented historical agents and authors. Students will develop understanding of the dynamics of social inequity and resistance as they situate their own social positions related to course themes.