Perspectives

The Perspectives curriculum guarantees that students will discover a variety of liberal arts disciplines beyond their major. Through exposure to the major liberal arts traditions, they emerge with an understanding of the different kinds of questions and methods that each of these knowledge communities engages, as well as tools to develop critically informed perspectives that are appreciative of diversity and conducive to becoming ethical, informed, and active participants in society.

Students are given a great deal of flexibility to choose individual courses that particularly interest or challenge them, and even to build clusters of courses that promise the greatest degree of integration with their major.

Students work closely with an advisor to maximize the educational benefits of the unique combination of courses that they choose to fulfill the requirements. Students are required to complete one or two course(s) in each Perspective, but no more than one course in their major field of study may be used to satisfy these requirements.

The Perspectives curriculum aims to strengthen students’ ability to:

  • Exercise critical and flexible thinking in engaging primary texts, whether they be readings, data, art works, or visual texts;
  • Recognize an information need and to locate, evaluate, and ethically use that information;
  • Apply relevant concepts, theories, and methods of the particular subject area in analyzing topical issues or contemporary life;
  • Produce written—and, where appropriate, oral and/or visual—analyses of scholarly, creative, and cultural texts using appropriate evidence and documentation.

Quick Look

Aesthetic (4 Credits)

Courses in this perspective foster critical and intellectual engagement with creative works by examining them in historical, aesthetic, philosophical, cultural, and/or socio-political contexts with a concern for contemporary interpretations.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Develop an appreciation for art through a variety of in-depth encounters that may include field trips, comparative exercises, and surveying reactions to art throughout history.
  2. Consider both the functional and theoretical processes of aesthetic endeavors.
  3. Examine how subjective experiences affect respective perceptions of and reactions to a variety of art.
  4. Build verbal and written skills through assignments and readings that investigate aesthetics in practice and theory.
  5. Develop critical faculties in regards to the arts, enhancing their ability to make personal and qualitative judgments of such.

Diversity (8 Credits)

Courses in this perspective emphasize multicultural understanding, global perspectives, and the values of social justice and responsibility as crucial preparation for life and work in the contemporary world.

Students may fulfill the Diversity Perspectives simultaneously with any other requirement.

Choose from the following, selecting one course from the Global Diversity listing and one course from the U.S. Diversity Listing.

Global Diversity (4 Credits)

Courses in this perspective foster global engagement through a critical examination of the multiple perspectives and experiences within diverse cultures and societies in their historical, contemporary, and transnational contexts.

Student Learning Outcomes
  1. Critically reflect on one’s place in and knowledge of the world.
  2. Examine how economic, geo-political, and/or socio-cultural histories inform contemporary perspectives and experiences.
  3. Investigate how diverse cultures and societies are shaped both on their own terms and through transnational and globalized forms of exchange.

U.S. Diversity (4 Credits)

Courses in this perspective foster an understanding of the connections between: (1) the multiple voices, experiences, and contributions made by historically underrepresented groups, and (2) economic, cultural, and socio-political power and inequality in the United States.

Student Learning Outcomes
  1. Consider the multiple voices, experiences, and contributions of groups historically underrepresented in the U.S. and the enduring legacies of such underrepresentation.
  2. Examine how systems of oppression and modes of resistance operate at individual and structural levels.
  3. Interrogate the intersections among distinct yet overlapping forms of oppression, such as racism, sexism, classism, homophobia and ableism.

Ethics And Values (4 Credits)

Courses in this perspective challenge students to articulate the foundations of their beliefs and judgments, and those of others, by subjecting these value commitments to critical analysis. Critical analysis affords the possibility of making more mature and informed judgments.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify more clearly assumptions about matters of value.
  2. Increase ability to make reasoned arguments leading to value judgments.
  3. Improve understanding of how value commitments determine the way we see ourselves and the world.
  4. Sharpen ability to identify and critically assess systems of reasoning concerning matters of value.

History and Politics (4 Credits)

Courses in this perspective foster an understanding of the context and content of historical, political, and societal actions and events. This perspective likewise provides students with insights regarding the documenting and study of diverse histories and cultures and the evolution of political systems across time.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Critically examine multiple perspectives and experiences of diverse cultures and societies.
  2. Locate and critically evaluate primary and secondary source material.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of context in the analysis of sociopolitical and historical systems, events, and movement.
  4. Describe and apply contemporary theoretical frameworks and methodologies in the analysis of sociopolitical and historical systems, events, and movements.
  5. Recognize the value of social justice and diversity as a democratic and intellectual strength.

Interdisciplinary (4 Credits)

Studies in this perspective challenge students to understand and appraise the role of interdisciplinary knowledge in arts, culture, and/or human affairs by exploring how at least two disciplinary approaches can be brought together to address a topic in a given area.

Students choose from a variety of IN interdisciplinary course sections and topics that will satisfy this requirement. All freshmen and all first-year transfer students are required to complete one 100-level course in the first year of study at Emerson. Upper-level transfer students shall complete one course at the 200-level or above. 

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Recognize the historical and cultural context of different theoretical approaches to the specific topic or subject matter of the course.
  2. Critically engage scholarly, creative, and cultural texts—including primary materials—using a range of modes of representation.
  3. Produce written critical analyses of these texts using appropriate evidence and documentation

Literary (4 Credits)

Courses in this perspective foster a critical, intellectual, and emotional engagement with literature that stimulates reflection on how literary texts use language to communicate about fundamental human concerns.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Exercise critical and flexible thinking in engaging primary texts, whether they be readings, data, art works, or visual texts.
  2. Recognize an information need and to locate, evaluate, and ethically use that information.
  3. Apply relevant concepts, theories, and methods of the particular subject area in analyzing topical issues or contemporary life.
  4. Produce written—and, where appropriate, oral and/or visual—analyses of scholarly, creative, and cultural texts using appropriate evidence and documentation.

Scientific (4 Credits)

In this perspective, students explore existing knowledge in particular natural or physical domains, experience science as an approach to acquiring more reliable knowledge of the natural world, and identify how science pertains to their own lives.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify and explain the key information that comprises the content of the course.
  2. Critically evaluate scientific information and apply the scientific method.
  3. Accurately communicate scientific information in a way that reflects understanding of the impact and relevance of science in our daily lives.

Social and Psychological (4 Credits)

Courses in this perspective examine the social and/or psychological process and mechanisms that influence human behavior. Students will learn to appreciate that people’s actions and thoughts reflect factors intrinsic to the person (such as personality, values, and motives) as well as social influences inherent in situations, groups, institutions, communities, and societies.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Compare and contrast individual- and social-level determinants of human behavior using a depth of knowledge regarding theoretical foundations of how human behaviors and thoughts reflect personal as well as social and cultural influences.
  2. Explain and apply the empirical evidence underlying the theoretical frameworks that form the foundations of the specific field of study.
  3. Consider the relationships between theoretical foundations and real-world applications including the ability to apply their knowledge of human behavior to understand themselves and others.

Quantitative Reasoning (4 Credits)

Courses in this perspective challenge students to reason logically to conclusions; read mathematics with understanding and communicate mathematic ideas with clarity and coherence; calculate mathematical equations with the appropriate methods and formula; and use mathematics and statistics to solve practical, real-world problems.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Reason logically to conclusions.
  2. Read mathematics with understanding. 
  3. Communicate mathematic ideas with clarity and coherence.
  4. Calculate mathematical equations with the appropriate methods and formula.
  5. Use mathematics and statistics to solve practical, real-world problems.

Students who earn an SAT math score of 560 or above, an ACT math score of 24 or above, or who complete four years of math in high school with grades of C or better will have this requirement waived. 

World Languages Perspective (8 Credits)

Courses in this perspective teach students to express themselves in the target language using a range of lexical items and grammatical constructions, demonstrate a growing ability to comprehend information and ideas as well as a variety of textual production, and obtain an appreciation and understanding of the culture affiliated with the target language.

Students must demonstrate qualification (i.e., the completion of an Elementary II-level course) in a single foreign language or in American Sign Language.  Bilingual students or students who complete up to the third level of high school study in any one foreign language will have the World Language requirement waived.

I've had the opportunity to examine social issues and movements from an impressive array of perspectives at Emerson, in classes that have taken me from the Arab world to Latin America to Africa, to LGBT+ communities, to environmental issues, to ethical debates and back again.