Expect the Unexpected: Surprising General Education classes

We’re well known here at Emerson for our small selection of well-represented majors. We talk often about an enlightening writer’s workshop for our Writing, Literature and Publishing program, or a studio class where our Acting majors flex their chops. But some of the most beloved classes might surprise you. They play on the Liberal Arts foundation that lies at the core of all the majors at Emerson – these are our general education classes!

It might be worth explaining that all students, regardless of major, have to complete a body of general education coursework including 7 classes in varying “Perspectives:” Aesthetic, Ethics and Values, Historical, Interdisciplinary, Literary, Scientific, and Social and Psychological.

Often the place where professors get to focus on a topic that deeply interests them, Perspectives classes can sometimes go off the beaten path to expose students to a broad range of critical thinking topics, including such eye-opening selections as Love and Eroticism in Western Culture, Deviance and Social Control, and Evolution of Human Nature.

These classes are some of the most fascinating because they provide those “wow” moments of intersection between students’ majors and the bigger world of culture, arts, humanities, and sciences. The surprise of connecting the dots between a course that’s required for your Film, Marketing, or Journalism major with an exploratory Perspectives class is what makes a Liberal Arts education so satisfying and fascinating. A student checks out books in the Iwasaki Library

The best part of general education requirements is that students are able to choose whatever class sounds most interesting to them to fulfill each Perspective. Looking to complete your Aesthetic Perspective requirement? How about Theater into Film, Dress Codes: American Clothes in the Twentieth Century, History of Jazz, or Perspectives in World Music? Some of these classes actually live within our theater department, making the Performing Arts curriculum accessible to students of all majors.

Some of the coolest courses live in the world of the Interdisciplinary Perspective: Forbidden Knowledge, American Popular Culture, Blood Rights: Exploration in Religion and Violence, or Staging American Women: The Culture of Burlesque… to name just a few!

Some students just can’t get enough of these unique classes, in which case they’re in luck: we offer minors that allow students to deepen their knowledge in Interdisciplinary areas. While we don’t offer them as majors, did you know students can minor in Sociology, Music Appreciation, Dance, Psychology, Philosophy, or Entrepreneurial Studies? And those only skim the surface of our minor programs! If you find your interest piqued by a general education class, it may lead you down the path to a minor.

Now that your wheels are turning, you can use the course catalog as your guidebook to explore the world of Liberal Arts and general education at Emerson.

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