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The Curriculum

  1. Literature {L}, either in English or in some other language, because it is a crucial form of expression, contributes to our understanding of human experience and plays a central role in the development of culture;

  2. Historical studies {H}, either in history or in historically oriented courses in art, music, religion, philosophy and theatre, because they provide a perspective on the development of human society and culture and free us from the parochialism of the present;

  3. Social science {S}, because it offers a systematic and critical inquiry into human nature, social institutions and human relationships;

  4. Natural science {N}, because of its methods, its contribution to our understanding of the world around us and its significance in modern culture;

  5. Mathematics and analytic philosophy {M}, because they foster an understanding of the nature and use of formal rational thought;

  6. The arts {A}, because they constitute the media through which people have sought, through the ages, to express their deepest feelings and values;

  7. A foreign language {F}, because it frees one from the limits of one's own tongue, provides access to another culture and makes possible communications outside one's own society.

We further recommend that students take performance courses offered in exercise and sport studies, because they provide opportunities for recreation, health and the development of skills for the complete person.

Curricular Requirements and Expectations

Each first-year student is required, during her first or second semester at Smith, to complete at least one writing intensive course. There are no further required courses outside the student's field of concentration. The college does, however, make two demands of the student: that she complete a major and that she take at least half of her courses outside of the major. Furthermore, students who wish to become eligible for Latin Honors at graduation must elect at least one course (normally four credits) in each of the seven major fields of knowledge listed above. Each student has the freedom and responsibility to choose, with the help of academic advisers, a course of studies to fit her individual needs and interests. The curricular expectations and requirements for the degree therefore allow great flexibility in the design of a course of study leading to the degree.

Social Justice Courses

Courses included in the social justice inventory ask students to reflect on the ways different communities (historical and contemporary) have defined a just society. Through coursework students will address one or more of the following areas in order to develop an analytical, critical understanding of societies in the past and the societies they live in. Additional details and a list of social justice courses can be found here.

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