Humanities and Arts Courses and Social Science Courses

The Course of Study Committee is responsible for certifying courses as meeting the humanities and arts requirement and the social science requirement. For further information, contact Beth Baumgartel, Secretary to the CSC Chair.

Guidelines for Humanities and Arts Courses

Courses designed to fulfill the humanities and arts requirement should aim to provide substantial engagement with the materials and critical methods or theoretical perspectives of at least one of the humanities disciplines. Assignments and grading procedures should reflect this aim. The Course of Study Committee will consider whether a proposed course is sufficiently representative of study in the humanities that it could reasonably stand as one of only two courses that a student might take in this area. Courses that focus predominantly on the improvement of skills, such as instruction in music performance, expository writing courses, or introductory and intermediate courses in foreign language acquisition, would not normally count toward the humanities and arts requirement. Independent study courses—tutorials, directed research, directed reading courses, and the like—cannot be used to satisfy any of the distributional requirements.

Guidelines for Social Science Courses

Courses designed to fulfill the social science requirement should aim to provide substantial engagement with the materials and critical methods or theoretical perspectives of at least one of the following disciplines: anthropology, archaeology, economics, linguistics, political science, psychology, sociology, and statistics. Assignments and grading procedures should reflect this aim. The Course of Study Committee will consider whether a proposed course is sufficiently representative of study in the social sciences that it could reasonably stand as one of only two courses that a student might take in this area. Courses that focus primarily on the practical execution of research techniques or the acquisition of skills in statistics or data analysis would not normally qualify as meeting the social science requirement. Independent study courses—tutorials, directed research, directed reading courses, and the like—cannot be used to satisfy any of the distributional requirements.

Multiple Designations

In very rare cases, a course may carry both Hu and So designations, but only if it is fully interdisciplinary in nature, and not simply because it is offered in a program that draws individual courses from several different disciplines. In cases where you may wish to nominate a course for both Hu and So designations, please bear in mind the following practical considerations:

  • Students are required to take only two course credits in the humanities and arts and two in the social sciences. Would the course suffice as substantial study in either of the areas?
  • An important consideration should be the division in which the principal instructor holds appointment. The relevant programs for the Division of the Humanities are Architecture, Art, Classics and Classical Civilization, Film and Media Studies, History, History of Art, History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health, Humanities, majors in language and literature, Music, Philosophy, and Religious Studies; those for Social Sciences are Anthropology, Archaeology, Economics, Linguistics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Statistics.
  • For multiple-titled courses, the departments sponsoring the course should also be an important consideration. Courses that carry the names of two or more departments in different divisions may be considered for double designation.
  • Some courses bearing Hu or So designations may also qualify for designations that satisfy the area requirement in science or the skills requirements in foreign language, quantitative reasoning, or writing. Questions about these designations should be referred to the SQR Education Office, the Language Study Committee, or the Writing Center Advisory Committee.