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Exploration and Discovery

Course Sections


Exploration and Discovery is a yearlong program divided into two semesters.

Fall Semester:
In the fall, students explore enduring questions and ideas in the liberal arts tradition through reading, discussing, and writing on provocative works drawn from such fields as philosophy, literature, religion, and science. All fall sections read the same “core” of common works selected by the faculty teaching E&D that semester. Yet each section is also unique, exploring its own theme and reading its own additional materials. This year’s common works, read in all sections, include selections from The Bible, as well as writings by Plato, Euripides, Woolf, and Freud. Students compose four or more essays (totaling 20 pages) on these and other course readings, and take a midterm and a final exam. Students are also invited to attend an evening series of E&D Lectures and/or films related to the common readings.

Spring Semester:
The spring semester focuses on multidisciplinary approaches to studying the human condition across centuries and in a diverse world. Seminar topics vary depending upon each instructor’s interest and expertise, and range from war to the environment and from human rights to travel, and studying vampires or the Mayas.

In every section, students write at least twenty pages of formal writing, including two short papers and a research project that leads to the production of a major essay. Students thereby increase their competency in the fundamentals of academic research, including information literacy. In addition, all students take a midterm exam and give at least one formal oral presentation, often based upon the research project. Students thereby build upon the skills honed in the fall, adding to them formal speaking, research methods, and information literacy.

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Exploration and Discovery

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