Humanities & Arts at WPI
Humanities & Arts at WPI
Studying the Humanities and Arts is a vital and important part of your education at WPI. We encourage you to begin to explore the Humanities and Arts requirement in your first year. To complete this requirement for graduation, you must take five courses in Humanities and Arts and follow those courses with either an Inquiry Seminar or Practicum experience as your concluding sixth course.
The disciplines in HUA are organized as follows:
- Art/art history, drama/theatre, and music (AR, EN/TH, MU)
- Foreign languages (SP, GN, AB, CN)
- Literature and writing/rhetoric (EN, WR, RH)
- History and international studies (HI, HU)
- Philosophy and religion (PY, RE)
To complete this requirement, you must take:
- At least three courses in a focused topic (usually but not necessarily from a single discipline) selected from one of the above disciplinary groupings. At least one of those courses must be at or beyond the 2000 level. You are strongly encouraged to complete at least one course at the 3000 level. This will provide you with some DEPTH within an area of the Humanities and Arts;
- At least one course in a disciplinary area outside of the area you chose for your thematically related coursework. This will provide you with some BREADTH of exposure to Humanities and Arts.
- If you received AP credit for a humanities course, you are eligible to use one towards your breadth requirement.
- If you take a Great Problems Seminar, and it counts for Humanities and Arts credit, you can use it towards your breadth requirement.
- One concluding Inquiry Seminar or Practicum (HU 3910 or HU 3900) taken AFTER completing the five courses.
Interested in a Foreign Language?
Please note that students who choose to study in German or Spanish take six courses in the language (notes 1-3 do not apply). An element of Practicum will be incorporated into your final advanced course in the language.
- The German and Spanish language courses are offered as follows and you will want to plan accordingly: A term: Elementary German I, Advanced German I, Intermediate Spanish I. B term: Elementary German II, Advanced German II, and Intermediate Spanish II. C term : Elementary Spanish I , and D term: Elementary Spanish II. If you have no Spanish background and would like to complete your requirement in Spanish, you will begin your humanities during the spring terms.
Please note that students who choose to study Chinese or Arabic can view how to complete their requirement here.
What do the levels mean, and where do I start?
1000 level—General introduction to the study of Humanities and Arts, with smaller class sizes to encourage student participation.
2000 level—Assumes some familiarity with the discipline and its mode of inquiry. Larger class sizes with more lecture than in introductory level classes.
3000 level—Seminar-style courses that assume prior exposure to the discipline. Small classes allow significant intellectual exchange.
As a first-year student, you may not know where you want to focus your depth. You may begin by taking a course of interest to you. If you choose to take a humanities course in A and B terms, you can select from the same depth area, or two different areas to help with the decision. You can begin at any level based on your background knowledge.
Before planning your HUA course sequence, please keep the following suggestions in mind:
- The Inquiry Seminar or Practicum must be taken as the very last course in your HUA sequence. It represents the culmination of your coursework and will not satisfy the requirement unless you have passed the other courses before beginning the Seminar or Practicum. The schedule of Inquiry Seminars and Practicum's is published on the Humanities and Arts website each year at the beginning of C term and lists the courses available during the following academic year.
- One AP credit may be applied towards your breadth requirement only, and must be in a different topic than your depth.
- Upon arrival at WPI, you can request to speak to a faculty member regarding your course preparation towards this requirement, and discuss the process of when and how a student would enroll in a seminar or practicum.
- Humanities and arts courses in the above disciplines, as well as in other areas of Humanities and Arts and foreign languages, may be pursued via the Colleges of Worcester Consortium after consultation with, and approval from, a WPI Humanities and Arts faculty member.
AP credit information within the Humanities and Arts
The chart below indicates how HUA credit will be given for AP exam results. Only one AP course credit may count toward the HUA requirement, although other AP credits can count toward HUA minors, majors, and WPI general electives. In general, an AP credit can be applied only to an area of breadth, but some faculty will accept the AP credit toward your area of depth. If you’d like your AP credit applied toward your chosen area of depth rather than breadth, you should consult with the professor offering the Inquiry Seminar or Practicum that interests you.
- American History/US History - HU 1100 (elective)
- Art-General - HU 1100 (elective)
- Art-Drawing - HU 1100 (elective)
- English Language and Composition - HU 1100 (elective)
- European History - HU 1100 (elective)
- French Literature - HU 1100 (elective)
- German Language - GN 1511
- German Literature - HU 1100 (elective)
- Latin: Vergil - HU 1100 (elective)
- Latin: Horace - HU 1100 (elective)
- Music: Listen/Literature - HU 1100 (elective)
- Music: Theory - HU 1100 (elective)
- Spanish Language - SP 1523
- Spanish Literature - HU 1100 (elective)
Can I use my AP credit towards this requirement?
The Humanities and Arts Department will accept a maximum of 1/3 unit of AP credit towards the Humanities and Arts requirement. Students who score a 4 or 5 on the AP test in German or Spanish automatically receive 1/3 unit of credit in the language, provided they do not begin German or Spanish study at WPI with Elementary German I (GN 1511) or Elementary Spanish I (SP 1523). Students who score a 4 or 5 on the AP test in studio art may be eligible for HUA credit, subject to a portfolio review by art faculty. Students who score a 4 or 5 on the AP test in other subject areas of the humanities and arts will receive credit in the relevant discipline. AP credit beyond one course (1/3 unit) in the Humanities and Arts may be counted toward other requirements such as general elective credit or particular majors and minors at WPI.