Humanities and Arts Experience

Humanities and Arts in the First Year

The Humanities and Arts (HUA) are integral to the WPI Plan and each student’s academic journey here.

The aim of WPI’s six-course HUA Requirement is to educate well-rounded, globally aware graduates with exceptional analytical skills and sensitivity to culture and context.

In the first year you have the opportunity to embrace art, theatre, music, and other forms of creative expression. Alternatively, you can explore themes of complexity, diversity, and the richness of human experience by examining art/architecture, history, languages, literature, philosophy, or religion. Once you have started your HUA experience on campus, you will later have the option to complete your HUA Requirement at select HUA off-campus project centers whether in London, Argentina, Japan, Morocco, or Taiwan.

No matter how you choose to explore HUA here at WPI, you will acquire broad-based skills that complement and enhance the technical side of your WPI education. By understanding yourself and the diversity and creativity of human experience, you will become a more well-rounded scientist, engineer, entrepreneur, innovator, or change agent. HUA will allow you to see the world and solve its problems through a lens that is uniquely your own.

Through HUA, WPI undergraduates get a chance to embrace their inner musician, thespian, poet, artist, creative writer, historian, linguist, or philosopher.

First Year Introductory Courses in HUA

New students are encouraged to design their own HUA experiences and can start wherever their curiosity and passion take them – from art to music, languages to writing, history to philosophy, theatre to literature, and religion to gender, sex, and women’s studies.

In Fall 2022, WPI is offering a number of first-year introductory courses across HUA disciplines. These seven-week courses in A and B Terms offer spaces for new students to collectively explore their interests while building connections with other members of the Class of 2026. In addition, these courses will build academic skills and prepare students to follow a purposeful pathway through the HUA Requirement, while encouraging students to understand and embrace WPI’s Mental Health and Well-Being Initiatives.

These First Year Introductory Courses in HUA are available in A and B Terms with the following courses available:

A Term

EN 1251-A02 – Introduction To Literature | Joe Aguilar

Higgins Labs 202 | M-T-R-F | 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM

This course introduces the student to a variety of critical perspectives necessary to an understanding and appreciation of the major forms, or genres, of literary expression (e.g., novel, short story, poetry, drama, and essay). Writing and class discussion will be integral parts of this course.

EN 1219-A01 – Introduction to Creative Writing | Kate McIntyre

Stratton Hall 309 | M-T-R-F | 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM

This course introduces the student to a variety of critical perspectives necessary to an understanding and appreciation of the major forms, or genres, of literary expression (e.g., novel, short story, poetry, drama, and essay). Writing and class discussion will be integral parts of this course.

HI 1312-A01 – Introduction To American Social History | Joseph Cullon

Olin Hall 126 | M-T-R-F | 1:00 PM – 1:50 PM

An introduction to the historical study of American society. It addresses two questions: What is social history? and how do social historians work?

HI 1322-A01 – Introduction To European History | Emily Gioielli

Atwater Kent 232 | M-T-R-F | 9:00 AM – 9:50 AM

This course introduces students to the major currents that have defined modern European History. Themes and topics will vary and may include the philosophical impact of science on modern thought, the development of liberalism and socialism, the crisis of culture in the twentieth century. Students read selections on major episodes in European history and develop their skills in critical thinking, analysis, oral and written argument.

HI 1330-A02 – Introduction To The History Of Science And Technology | David Spanagel

Innovation Studio 205 Active Learning Classroom North | M-T-R-F | 3:00 PM – 3:50 PM

This course introduces students to the major currents that have defined modern European History. Themes and topics will vary and may include the philosophical impact of science on modern thought, the development of liberalism and socialism, the crisis of culture in the twentieth century. Students read selections on major episodes in European history and develop their skills in critical thinking, analysis, oral and written argument.

HU 1500-A01 – Introduction To Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies | Lindsay Davis

Stratton Hall 202 | T-F | 2:00 PM – 3:50 PM

This foundational course offers an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of gender, sexuality and women’s studies . The course fosters critical examination of gender, sexuality and women and asks how the interlocking systems of oppression, including colonialism, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and ethnocentrism, shape people’s lives, and how individuals and groups have worked to resist these oppressions. Potential course topics include histories of gender activism, gender, sexuality and their relationships to the law, religion, reproduction, education, technology, and mental health, globalization and transnational experiences, and the role of popular culture. No prior background is required

ISE 1800-A01 – Introduction To Academic Reading And Writing For Non-Native Speakers Of English | Althea Danielski

Stratton Hall 203 | M-R | 11:00 AM – 12:50 PM

The goal of this course is to provide international students for whom English is not their native language the necessary skills for academic success through reading and writing assignments. Students will focus on developing vocabulary, critical reading, paragraph, and essay writing skills. Emphasis is also given to a review of English grammar through intensive written and oral practice to promote accurate and appropriate language use. Strongly recommended for first-year international non-native English speakers. Admission determined by Writing Placement or consent of the instructor.

 MU 1611-A02 – Fundamentals Of Music I | Joshua Rohde

Alden Hall B06 Janet Earle Room | M-T-R-F | 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM

This course concentrates on basic music theory of the common practice period. If time permits, instruction includes ear training, sight singing, and work on scales and intervals. Recommended background: basic knowledge of reading music.

PY 1731-A02 – Introduction To Philosophy And Religion | Rebecca Moody

Olin Hall 218 | M-T-R-F | 3:00 PM – 3:50 PM

This course provides an overview of key concepts, methods and authors in both fields. These introduce the student to the types of reasoning required for the pursuit of in-depth analysis in each discipline. Emphasis on topics and authors varies with the particular instructor.

WR 1010-A01 – Elements Of Writing | Shana Lessing

Unity Hall 405 | T-F | 10:00 AM – 11:50 AM

This course provides an overview of key concepts, methods and authors in both fields. These introduce the student to the types of reasoning required for the pursuit of in-depth analysis in each discipline. Emphasis on topics and authors varies with the particular instructor.

B Term

EN 1219-B01 – Introduction to Creative Writing | Joe Aguilar

Olin Hall 109 | M-T-R-F | 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

This course introduces the student to a variety of critical perspectives necessary to an understanding and appreciation of the major forms, or genres, of literary expression (e.g., novel, short story, poetry, drama, and essay). Writing and class discussion will be integral parts of this course.

HI 1311-B01 – Introduction To American Urban History | Joseph Cullon

Salisbury Labs 104 | M-T-R-F | 12:00 PM – 12:50 PM

An introduction to the history of the American city as an important phenomenon in itself and as a reflection of national history. The course will take an interdisciplinary approach to study the political, economic, social, and technological patterns that have shaped the growth of urbanization. In addition to reading historical approaches to the study of American urban history, students may also examine appropriate works by sociologists, economists, political scientists and city planners who provide historical perspective.

HI 1312-B01 – Introduction To American Social History | Lindsay Davis

Kaven Hall 115 | M-T-R-F | 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM

An introduction to the historical study of American society. It addresses two questions: What is social history? and how do social historians work?

HI 1345-B01 – Atlantic Worlds | John Galante

Kaven Hall 115 | M-T-R-F | 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

This introductory course reviews the history and legacies of Atlantic systems such a colonialism and migration that have connected Africa, the Americas, and Europe from the sixteenth century to the recent past. Taking a transregional approach to historical inquiry, the course places the Atlantic Ocean at its geographic center and explores the diverse people, cultures, ideologies, institutions, economies, and other phenomena that have traversed this ocean basin and connected the regions that line its shores. The course pays special attention to the technological, social, and political innovations, the systemic inequalities, and the heterogeneous notions of belonging that have emerged from transatlantic interactions and exchanges. The course can provide students with preparation for HUA depth in Global History and International and Global Studies as well as work at overseas project centers in regions often incorporated into Atlantic Worlds. No prior background is required.

MU 1611-B02 – Fundamentals Of Music I | Abigail Koo

Alden Hall B06 Janet Earle Room | M-T-R-F | 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM

This course concentrates on basic music theory of the common practice period. If time permits, instruction includes ear training, sight singing, and work on scales and intervals. Recommended background: basic knowledge of reading music.

WR 1010-B01 – Elements Of Writing | Shana Lessing

Unity Hall 405 | T-F | 10:00 AM – 11:50 AM

This course provides an overview of key concepts, methods and authors in both fields. These introduce the student to the types of reasoning required for the pursuit of in-depth analysis in each discipline. Emphasis on topics and authors varies with the particular instructor.