Five-Course Interdisciplinary Core

The Five-Course Interdisciplinary Core is based on learning outcomes drawn from the traditional liberal arts: the sciences, history and politics, the social sciences, literature and philosophy, and the fine arts. In these courses students examine great ideas, historic milestones, and works of art; discover connections among different areas of knowledge and methods for gathering it; learn to reason logically, to sift through deception and cant, and to integrate what they know. Students generally complete these five courses during the freshman and sophomore years. All interdisciplinary Core courses must be completed at Roger Williams.

While the five Interdisciplinary Core courses vary in topic, theme, method, and approach, they all address the three Core questions that unite the Core Curriculum: Who am I? What can I know? And based on what I know, how should I act?

Upon completion of the Five-Course Interdisciplinary Core, RWU students are prepared to:

Core 101 - Scientific Investigations

Core 101

  • Students will investigate questions of societal and personal relevance using scientific knowledge.
  • Students will describe and actively engage in the scientific process by asking questions, gathering data and drawing evidence-based conclusion.

Core 102 - Challenges of Democracy

Core 102

  • Trace the growing complexity of the idea of democracy by analyzing primary source documents;
  • Examine the idea of democracy, its inherent tensions, and its relationship to other concepts including but not limited to: reason, equality, liberty, order, and identity;
  • Describe how key concepts within democratic thought are practiced in the modern world including how those concepts relate to the three Core Questions.

Core 103 - Human Behavior in Perspective

Core 103

  • Explain and describe human behavior from various social scientific points of view.
  • Demonstrate an increased understanding of and sensitivity towards human diversity and inequalities.
  • Critically assess social science research.

Core 104 - Literature, Philosophy, and the Examined Life

Core 104

  • Make connections between literary and philosophical texts and the examined life.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of significant literary and philosophical themes and concepts presented in course texts.

Core 105 - Aesthetics in Context: The Artistic Impulse

Core 105

  • Communicate effectively about artistic creation in the fields of visual art, theater, dance, and music in written, oral, and other expressive formats.
  • Create a final project that demonstrates a personal understanding of selected artistic styles and media in their historical context.