Message from the Department Head
Welcome to the Department of Humanities & Arts (HUA), where 43 full-time faculty members teach in the disciplines of art, art history, drama, English, German, history, music, philosophy, religion, Spanish, and writing.
Faculty members and students in our department devote themselves to the study of human invention and culture--the material artifacts of human expression. Enduring after their creators perish, the things made by humans kindle new inspiration in those who discover them. When we encounter an artifact from another time —a literary or philosophical text, a historical turning point, a work of art or music— we feel the stirrings of the soul that made it and reach out in imagination to the people, conditions, and values of a bygone age.
At WPI we believe that studying the humanities and arts can make better scientists, engineers, and citizens by helping students reach imaginatively across generations and into different cultures, conditions, and points of view. The questions you encounter here may not lend themselves to certain answers or neat measurements, but they will help you appreciate the murky and ambiguous world of human society, where meaning and value are endlessly contested.
All WPI students satisfy a 6-course HUA requirement. Because you choose your own path, you can explore existing disciplines or venture into new areas of thought. You may earn credit with traditional courses and curricular activities in musical and theatrical performance. You may decide on a 6-course sequence in German or Spanish (including perhaps an exchange in Konstanz or a summer immersion in Buenos Aires), or you may choose to study more than one discipline before achieving depth in one particular discipline or topic. You may want to complete the requirement at our London or Morocco HUA Project Center, the only prerequisite being that you first complete three HUA courses. Most students complete the requirement with a major project in an Inquiry Seminar or Practicum.
Please browse our website and explore our curricular offerings. If, like many WPI students, you’re hooked after completing your requirement, please consider a minor or major. As you’ll see, you’ll find many opportunities to develop, in the words of the WPI Plan, your self-confidence and intellectual restlessness.
Professor of English
Associate Dean for the Humanities & Arts