Courses | General Studies

Courses

The Two-Year Program

During your two years at the College of General Studies, you’ll take the following courses:

  • Three humanities courses

     

  • Three social sciences courses
  • Two rhetoric courses
  • Two natural science courses
  • Five to six elective courses toward your major

You’ll work with your academic advisor to determine course selection. All of the courses you take at CGS fulfill BU Hub general education requirements.

Year One

A map to your first two semesters at Boston University

Semester 1

Your first college semester will start at Boston University in January with classes in social science, humanities, and rhetoric. Our faculty teams coordinate the course material and supplement the courses with experiences outside the classroom—getting you face to face with the local culture, museums, art and history that the city has to offer. You’ll also start exploring your major right away, with one or more electives toward your major.

Humanities

CGS

HU

103

Literature and Art from the Ancient World to the Enlightenment

5 credits. 2nd sem.

BU Hub

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  • Aesthetic Exploration
  • Historical Consciousness
  • Critical Thinking

The course examines key figures and works in literary and artistic traditions from the ancient and classical periods through the Renaissance, concluding with a focus on the Enlightenment and Romanticism. The semester’s units concentrate on how the works reflect cultural ideals and developments and on how they represent evolving aesthetic standards that have shaped conventions in literature and the arts. Coursework and assignments include learning trips to various sites of historical and cultural significance in the Boston area to emphasize the Humanities’ relevance beyond the classroom. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Historical Consciousness, Critical Thinking.

Rhetoric

CGS

RH

103

Rhetorical Practices from the Ancient World to Enlightenment

4 credits. 2nd sem.

BU Hub

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  • Writing, Research, and Inquiry
  • Oral and/or Signed Communication
  • Research and Information Literacy

In Rhetoric 103, you will be taken chronologically through key periods in history to learn about the origin and development of the art of Rhetoric and its relevance today, ultimately in order to enable you to apply key rhetorical skills to your own textual and verbal practice. Students will receive semester-long instruction and practice in writing, oral communication, and research and information literacy. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Writing, Research, and Inquiry, Oral and/or Signed Communication, Research and Information Literacy.

Social Science

CGS

SS

103

Politics, Economies, and Social Change in the West: The Ancient World Through the Enlightenment

5 credits. 2nd sem.

BU Hub

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  • Social Inquiry I
  • The Individual in Community
  • Critical Thinking

This interdisciplinary course examines social change in the politics, economies, social structures, and culture of the West from the ancient world through the Enlightenment. Students look at developments in governance, trade, social inequalities, and ideas that gave the West its distinctive character, including the rise of its key institution, democracy. To interpret historical change critically, students are introduced to the social science “toolkit” of analytical concepts. Assignments outside the classroom will encourage students to consider how history has shaped today’s world. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry I, The Individual in Community, Critical Thinking.

Elective(s)

You’ll start exploring your major right away, with one or more electives toward your major. Check the Pathways to a BU Degree and talk with your advisor.

Semester 2

Your spring semester is followed by a six-week global learning experience in the summer. You will have the opportunity to live in South Kensington in the heart of London, studying with the same team of CGS faculty and students you had in Boston and earning 14 credits over six weeks. For those who prefer to continue their studies in Boston, you’ll take part in an immersive educational opportunity in the heart of New England. No matter where you choose to study, you’ll learn inside and outside the classroom—immersing yourself in performances, museums, trips to historical landmarks, and cultural outings.

Humanities

CGS

HU

104

Literature and Art from the Industrial Revolution to the Digital Revolution

5 credits.

BU Hub

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  • Aesthetic Exploration
  • Historical Consciousness
  • Critical Thinking

This course is an interdisciplinary approach to literature and art history. The course focuses on the 19th and 20th centuries and concludes with the technologically complex 21st century. Assignments encourage research skills, critical thinking, and contextual awareness. Trips to historically and culturally important sites enhance the course’s experiential component and augment the humanities’ interdisciplinary significance. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Historical Consciousness, Critical Thinking.

Rhetoric

CGS

RH

104

Rhetorical Practices from The Industrial Revolution through the Digital Revolution

4 credits.

BU Hub

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  • First-Year Writing Seminar
  • Digital/Multimedia Expression
  • Critical Thinking

Through class discussion and learning experiences, students explore connections between readings assigned in Rhetoric and those in other courses, focusing on themes drawn from the two units that comprise the semester’s curriculum. The course further develops skills in expository writing and introduces exploratory essay writing. Students continue to explore the contemporary relevance and meaning of the interdisciplinary curriculum. Students refine their skills in grammar, style, organization, and document design. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: First-Year Writing Seminar, Digital/Multimedia Expression, Critical Thinking.

Social Science

CGS

SS

104

Politics, Economies, and Social Change in the West: The Industrial Revolution to the Digital Revolution

5 credits.

BU Hub

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  • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
  • Social Inquiry II
  • Critical Thinking

This interdisciplinary course examines social change in the politics, economies, social structures, and culture of the West from the Industrial Revolution to the present. Students consider the impact of technological innovation, industrial capitalism, global war, genocide, and the ideologies that shaped these developments. The course concludes with the globalization of economies and social structures in an era of rising inequality. Visits to relevant sites will supplement classroom instruction. One lecture, two discussions, and two additional contact hours as assigned. [5 cr.] Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Social Inquiry II, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking.

Year Two

Deepen your interdisciplinary learning and declare a major — finishing off with a Capstone project

Semester Three

You’re halfway through the College of General Studies and starting your second year at BU with at least 32 credits finished, including an elective or two toward your major. In semester three, you’ll continue taking CGS courses and electives toward your major, fulfilling BU Hub requirements along the way.

Humanities

CGS

HU

201

History of Ethical Philosophy — From the Ancient World to the 19th Century

4 credits. 1st sem.

BU Hub

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  • Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings
  • Ethical Reasoning
  • Critical Thinking

A rigorous course in the history of ethical thought from the ancient world through the nineteenth century. The course also includes selected films and literary works that embody philosophical ideas and ethical dilemmas. Primary texts are used throughout. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Critical Thinking.

Natural Science

CGS

NS

201

Biology I

4 credits. 1st sem.

BU Hub

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  • Scientific Inquiry I
  • Quantitative Reasoning I
  • Critical Thinking

Focuses on the major paradigms (and shifts) including the origin of life, molecular and cellular theories of life, human origins, genetics, evolutionary theory and biodiversity. Encourages use of quantitative and scientific tools required to explore scientific models and connects the scientific process with ethical and social concerns arising from our understanding of the origin, evolution and diversity of life including our own species. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry I, Quantitative Reasoning I, Critical Thinking.

Social Science

CGS

SS

201

Radicals, Rebels, and Revolutionaries: Agents of Global Change

4 credits. 1st sem. First Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 100 or WR 120)

BU Hub

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  • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
  • Research and Information Literacy
  • Writing-Intensive Course

SS201 explores the historical roots of our global political and economic scene from a comparative perspective. Students will examine the radical movements, ideologies, and revolutions that have shaped the contemporary world, focusing on a comparison of two or more nations or regions. Topics may include the history and power of nationalism, the legacy of imperialism, competing political ideologies, the rise of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, terrorism and state violence, and the role popular collective action plays in effecting change. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Research and Information Literacy. Effective Fall 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Writing-Intensive Course, Research and Information Literacy.

Elective(s)

Keep reviewing the Pathways to a BU Degree and talking with your advisor to make sure you’re on track.

Semester Four

In your last semester at CGS, you’ll take the finals for your CGS courses at the end of March. Then, you’ll launch into the Capstone experience—working with a team of five to six CGS classmates to write a 50-page research paper that solves a real-world problem. You’ll meet with your professors regularly during the month of April as you work on your paper—then make your case in an oral defense for your final grade.

Humanities

CGS

HU

202

History of 20th-Century Ethical Philosophy and Applied Ethics

4 credits. 2nd sem.

BU Hub

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  • Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings
  • Ethical Reasoning
  • Creativity/Innovation

The course focuses on the application of philosophical ideas to various areas of modern life, such as politics, science, business, personal development, education, and religious faith. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning, Creativity/Innovation.

Natural Science

CGS

NS

202

Human Ecology/Global Ecology

4 credits. 2nd sem.

BU Hub

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  • Scientific Inquiry II
  • Teamwork/Collaboration

What is the fate of the biosphere and our species? Can humans reconcile economic and technological growth with ecological sustainability? This course examines the impact of one species, Homo sapiens, on the ecosystems of the biosphere, seeking answers to these broad questions. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Scientific Inquiry II, Teamwork/Collaboration.

Social Science

CGS

SS

202

American Foreign Policy Since World War II

4 credits. 2nd sem. First Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 100 or WR 120).

BU Hub

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  • Historical Consciousness
  • Research and Information Literacy
  • Writing-Intensive Course

SS 202 focuses on U.S. foreign policy since the late 1930’s. After considering U.S. policy immediately before and during World War II, it explores how the United States responded to the global challenge posed by the Soviet Union and international communism during the long struggle known as the Cold War. The factors that led to the Cold War, the nuclear arms race, America’s involvement in Vietnam, and, ultimately, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War are examined. The course concludes by analyzing challenges to American interests and security in the twenty- first century. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Writing- Intensive Course, Research and Information Literacy.

Elective(s)

As you continue taking electives, you’ll work with your academic advisor to declare a major and continue smoothly into the school of your choice.

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