Humanities & Arts

Integral to the WPI Plan, the university’s signature approach to undergraduate education, the Humanities & Arts Department plays a considerable role in each student’s journey here.   

The aim is to educate well-rounded, globally aware graduates with exceptional analytical skills and sensitivity to culture and context. The way is to offer a major, minors, concentrations, courses, and a required immersive experience. The result is that all WPI undergraduates get a chance to embrace their inner musician, thespian, poet, artist, linguist, or philosopher.

2022 1879 Awards Program

2022 1879 Awards Program entry form

The Class of 1879 Prize is awarded by the Humanities & Arts department yearly for excellent work in the culminating project for the Humanities and Arts Requirement. These projects must demonstrate exceptional creativity and skill in conceiving, developing, and expressing a theme within any discipline in the humanities and arts. This competition recognizes exceptional work in the Humanities & Arts by awarding prizes of cash and certificates for an outstanding Inquiry Seminar or Practicum completed in any term during 2022. Learn more about the past winners.

Degree is also offered online.
Area of Study Bachelor Minor Certificate Master PhD
Creative Writing minor
Drama/Theatre minor
English minor
Foreign Language minor
History minor
Humanities & Arts bachelor
Interactive Media & Game Design (MFA) master
Interactive Media & Game Development bachelor minor master
Interactive Media & Game Development (BA) bachelor
International & Global Studies bachelor minor
Latin American & Caribbean Studies minor
Media Arts minor
Music minor
Philosophy and Religion minor
Writing & Rhetoric minor
Writing (Professional) bachelor

WPI's Choral Groups Unite

Current and former members of two of WPI's choral groups—Glee Club and Alden Voices—came together virtually during the spring to unite on a moving rendition of To My Old Brown Earth, led by Professor Joshua Rohde.

Banding Together

Members of the WPI Concert Band reconnected in D-Term in a virtual concert that involved each member recording their own parts from home. Together they bridged the distance and performed three numbers: Machine Awakes by Steve Bryant, Loch Lomond by Frank Ticheli, and First Suite in Eb by Gustav Holst.

APART - WPI Concert Band

The 2021 WPI Concert Band's Virtual Exhibition, APART. Thanks to the CB Production Team you'll hear and see a very engaging and creative presentation including aerial drone footage of the campus during the 3rd/last piece. Performance order: Percy Grainger's "Shepherd's Hey," David Biedenbender's "Melodious Thunk," and Rossano Galante's "Journey Through the Stratosphere."

Professor Ibbett's 2021 practicum

Explore Your Passion

Humanities & Arts Requirement

All WPI students complete the Humanities & Arts requirement. The goal is for every student to graduate with a broader perspective than that provided solely by the study of science and technology. Students will be exposed to art, theatre, music, and other forms of creative expression by completing six courses—including a seminar or practicum requirement—of their choice.

Academic Theatre Programs

Where Creativity and Expression Meet

New Voices is the nation’s longest continuously running collegiate new and original play festival. Since 1982 the festival has featured performances of original, unpublished scripts from the WPI community. In 2006, New Voices became established in the Little Theatre, the university’s first dedicated theatrical space—an intimate 99-seat black box facility.

Faculty Snapshot

Headshot of Peter Hansen

Professor Peter Hansen

In each issue of the Journal we introduce you to members of the faculty through items they have in their offices.

Featured Faculty

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Joel J. Brattin
Professor of English, Humanities & Arts

Born in Michigan in 1956, I graduated from the University of Michigan in 1978, earning my PhD at Stanford University in 1985. I have enjoyed teaching British literature at WPI since 1990. I like the intelligence and good work ethic of WPI students; I especially enjoy the opportunity to meet and interact with students in small groups and on an individual basis. The bulk of my scholarly work falls into three principal areas.

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Jennifer deWinter
Professor-Arts, Communications, and Humanities, Humanities & Arts

Jennifer deWinter has long been interested in how culture (which is local) moves internationally. She has spent a number of years analyzing anime, comics, and computer games as part of global media flows in order to understand how concepts such as "art," "culture," and "entertainment" are negotiated. In 2003, Professor deWinter joined the Learning Games Initiative, a group of scholars and game designers dedicated to the general study of games and the use of games to teach concepts and skills in particular.

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Roger S. Gottlieb
Professor of Philosophy, Humanities & Arts

Roger S. Gottlieb is the author or editor of twenty books and more than 150 articles. He is internationally known for his work on religious environmentalism, spirituality in an age of environmental crisis, environmental ethics, and the role of religion in a democratic society. He has edited six academic book series, serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals, is contributing editor to Tikkun Magazine, and has appeared online on Patheos, Huffington, Grist, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Real Clear Religion, and many others.

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V J Manzo
Associate Professor- Arts, Communications, and Humanities, Humanities & Arts

V.J. Manzo (Ph.D. Temple University, M.M. New York University) is Associate Professor of Music at WPI. He is a composer and guitarist with research interests in theory and composition, artificial intelligence, interactive music systems, and music cognition. V.J. is author of several books published by Oxford University Press including Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Foundations of Music Technology, and co-author of Interactive Composition and Environmental Sound Artists.

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Michelle Ephraim

Michelle Ephraim is the Shakespeare scholar at WPI. She is the author of Reading the Jewish Woman on the Elizabethan Stage (Routledge, 2008) as well as numerous articles on 16th- and 17th-century literature. Professor Ephraim also teaches writing courses on Creative Nonfiction and Speculative Fiction (Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy). Her essays have appeared in publications such as the Washington Post, McSweeney’s, Lilith, Tikkun, The Morning News, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Joseph Cullon
Professor of Teaching, Humanities & Arts

One of Professor Cullon's students recently called him "strangely fascinating." He knew that he was strange but he was happy to learn that a student found his approach to teaching fascinating. He likes to encourage students to see history not as a mass of dead facts but as a vital mode of inquiry and a moral project that has the potential to inform the present as much as illuminate the past.

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Kate McIntyre
Assistant Professor, Humanities & Arts

Dr. McIntyre’s research interests include fiction and creative nonfiction, collaborative writing, narrative theory, literary magazine publishing, the contemporary novel, the intersection of literary and genre fiction, and the gothic. Her short story collection, Mad Prairie, was selected by Roxane Gay as the winner of the 2020 Flannery O'Connor Award and is out now from University of Georgia Press. 

Learn more about WPI's new minor in creative writing!

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Kristin Boudreau

My research interests include literature and culture, humanities and STEM integration, and engineering education. These areas are unified by broad concerns for justice, inclusion, and social progress. My literary scholarship considers the ways literature helps to advance social progress and justice, while my educational research investigates educational environments and works to develop pedagogies and content that open STEM education to broader populations by bringing the humanities and arts to scientific and technical subjects.

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See More News
Why study the humanities when there is work to be done? Because this is where the nuance is, and maybe this is where the real information is.
  • Professor Frederick W. Bianchi
The humanities and arts gives you the reassurance that other people have asked the same questions in various ways since human beings first appeared on the Earth.
  • Professor Wesley T. Mott
IQP Learning Outcomes
  • Critically identify, utilize, and properly cite information sources, and integrate information from multiple sources to identify appropriate approaches to addressing the project goals.
Start Expanded
One of the wonderful things about art is that it can create things that don’t exist in the real world, and that maybe don’t exist yet – it has a visionary quality that in some ways can lay the groundwork for things to come.
  • Associate Professor Joshua Rosenstock
Poetry teaches us how to ask questions about ourselves, our lives, about other lives. How have other people loved, hoped, dreamed, struggled; how they met their obligations or failed to; what legacy have they left.
  • Associate Professor James Cocola
Sometimes it’s just a matter of learning that we are not alone.
  • Professor Kristin Boudreau, Department Head

Career Opportunities

The skills that students acquire in the Humanities & Arts (HUA) program provide them with a distinct advantage in their chosen fields, which range from careers in environmental studies and public health to writing and performing. For more information on how students put their talents to use after graduation, see the career outlook for HUA graduates.