Humanities Curriculum

View the requirements to earn an AOC in Humanities as well as sample pathways to this degree.

The Division of Humanities collects together the academic fields concerned with human expression and thought. At New College, Humanities includes Art and Art History, Classics, Languages and Literatures (Chinese, English, French, German, Ancient Greek, Latin, Russian, Spanish), Music, Philosophy, and Religion. Humanities also connects with many interdisciplinary areas—including Environmental Studies; Gender Studies; International and Area Studies; Medieval and Renaissance Studies; Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, to name only a few formally organized interdisciplinary programs at New College.

But “Humanities” is a complex area itself, with roots in the studia humanitatis, or the study of human thought, creation, and experiences. It has roots in ancient debates about the best path to developing “virtue” through balancing contemplation and action in the world. Studying Humanities asks us to continue asking what does it mean to be human, what goes into the category of the human, and how the human intersects or ought to intersect with the non-human world.

Humanities as an AOC allows students to draw together work across the Humanities, to range widely, and engage with multiple lenses to develop a compelling senior project. Because of its range, Humanities is usually not combined with other AOCs.




Area of Concentration Requirements

A student who intends to complete a Divisional AOC in Humanities will meet the following requirements:

    1. The student should demonstrate the ability to read, think, communicate, create and perform in the humanities through successful completion of one or more undertakings in each of the following fields:
      1. the arts
      2. literature(s)
      3. philosophy and religion
    2. The student should explore diverse approaches to the humanities through successful completion of at least one undertaking in each of the following areas (examples in parentheses are meant as suggestions, not as prescriptions):
      1. historical study in one of the humanities disciplines (ex. The Western Art Music Tradition, Christian Scriptures, Art History courses, literature with a historical focus)
      2. theoretical/critical study in one of the humanities disciplines (ex. Introduction to Music, Music Theory I, Postcolonial Literature and Theory, Introduction to Religion, courses in philosophy)
      3. creative work in one of the humanities disciplines (ex. courses in art, acting or directing, creative writing, dance, music composition or performance)
    3. The student should complete from 10-12 term-length activities in the humanities. Transfer students should discuss their coursework from other institutions with a faculty member in the humanities in order to determine if fewer than 10 courses at New College in this area would be appropriate.
    4. The student should study a foreign language (modern or classical) that is related to his or her special interest in the humanities.  Students will be required to successfully complete at least one course in a foreign language sequence at New College at the intermediate level (third semester) or above.  A course or tutorial studying literature or other material in the original language fulfills this requirement.  Intermediate-level coursework in a language not taught regularly at New College from a regionally accredited institution will be considered on a case-by-case basis as fulfilling the language requirement of the Humanities AOC.
    5. Students who declare a Humanities AOC during their fifth contract are encouraged when possible to create a pre-thesis Independent Study Project that designs a plan to complete a thesis or thesis project in the humanities, to develop the Thesis Proposal, and consider the appropriate work for the sixth, seventh and eighth contracts.
    6. The student’s senior project should involve work in one or more of the disciplines in the division. The form and content of senior projects [thesis-monograph, creative project, or “academic portfolio”] will be defined in close collaboration with the academic sponsor and with the approval of the baccalaureate committee.

SAMPLE PATHWAYS to complete AOC Requirements

New College students must satisfy both the requirements of the Liberal Arts Curriculum (LAC), New College’s general education program, and the specific requirements for the Area of Concentration (AOC). With so many opportunities each term, the pathway below is provided as an example of how a student could complete the requirements for graduation. We’ve put some checkpoints in place so that you make the most of your time at New College. Each term you’ll meet with a faculty advisor to discuss courses, tutorials, internships, or other academic experiences. Schedule a meeting with your faculty advisor to discuss which courses satisfy the LAC and which satisfy the AOC. Each student completes a Provisional AOC Plan in the fifth contract to select an AOC, and each student submits a Thesis Prospectus/AOC Form in the sixth contract.

A Sample Four-Year Pathway for Humanities

YearFall Term January / ISPSpring Term
Year 1Intro to Religion (LAC)Group ISP/ Ex. Psychoanalysis & Creative ArtsRussian Short Story
Spanish IBeginning Spanish 2
Social Science or Natural Science Course (LAC)Embodiment (Philosophy)
Other courseSocial Science or Natural Science Course (LAC)
Year 2Drawing I (LAC)Theatrical Production Whose Renaissance? (LAC)
Intermediate Spanish (LAC)Acting II
Acting ISocial Science or Natural Science Course (LAC)
Social Science or Natural Science Course (LAC)
Year 3Lecturas Hispanicas (Spanish lang/lit) Environmental Studies InternshipGender and the Ancient World
Music & Environment (LAC)Novella (Spanish Lit)
Other courseOther course
Other course
Year 419th-century French NovelThesis Tutorial
Performance StudiesOther course
Thesis Tutorial Other course
Other course

A Sample Two-Year Pathway for Humanities

YearFall Term January / ISPSpring Term
Year 32nd year Chinese IGroup ISP Ex: Meals in Jewish TraditionLanguage, Thought, and the World (Philosophy)
Buddhism2nd year Chinese II
Social Science or Natural Science Course (LAC)Drawing II
Social Science or Natural Science Course (LAC)Social Science or Natural Science Course (LAC)
Year 4Chinese language (tutorial)Group ISP Ex: Meals in Jewish TraditionStories of the Strange (Chinese lit)
Calligraphy (tutorial)Thesis Tutorial
Masterpieces (Art History)COURSE /Internship
Thesis Tutorial