Challenge Curriculum Requirements for Graduation

DRAFT December 12, 2019

General Requirements
  1. Successful completion of 34 courses or the equivalent.
  2. Within these 34 course credits, students will complete at least two full-credit January Term (JAN) course credits during the January Interims. Transfer students admitted with advanced standing are also required to complete two JAN course credits.
  3. Two years (17 courses minimum) are required in residence, including the senior year. The senior year may be the last two semesters preceding the conferring of the degree or at least nine of the last 12 regular semester courses taken toward the
    degree. Exceptions to the senior year residency are made for students enrolled in Study Away Programs sponsored by the College and in cooperative programs with other institutions leading to a B.A. and professional degree. At least three courses of the 17 must be taken outside of the major department.
  4. Gustavus requires students to complete FOUR designated writing requirement courses from at least two different departments in order to graduate. Generally, one of the courses will be taken in the first year, typically in FTS or Three Crowns, and designated WRIT. Students then complete the writing requirement by taking three additional courses (WRITL and WRITD). At least one writing course must be designated WRITL.
  5. Completion of one course designated Quantitative Reasoning.
  6. Completion of one course designated Wellbeing.
  7. Completion of one course designated Global Affairs and Cultures and one course designated U.S. Identities and Differences.
  8. Completion of a Non-English Language Requirement. Students will complete two sequential courses of a non-English language at the college level.
  9. An approved major.
  10. A cumulative grade point average of 2.000 or higher. Each graded JAN course will be included in calculating the grade point average.
  11. All requirements from either the Challenge Curriculum or the integrative Three Crowns Curriculum.
Challenge Curriculum

The Challenge Curriculum course requirements are intended to ensure that each student has had a broadly based liberal arts education.

1. First Term Seminar: As part of their first semester course schedule, Challenge Curriculum students entering Gustavus Adolphus College as first-year students enroll in one course designated FTS-100: First Term Seminar. The FTS is a small,
discussion-based course that introduces students to skills and habits central to the liberal arts: critical thinking, writing, speaking, and recognizing and exploring question of values. The FTS professor will serve as the first-year academic advisor. Each FTS carries a WRIT (writing) designation. A list and description of FTS offerings is published for entering students before registration.

2. Challenge Curriculum Distributive Areas Courses: Students completing the Challenge Curriculum must complete courses from each of the five designated general education areas. No more than two courses from the same department
may be counted.
A Challenge Curriculum course teaches the principles of a particular domain of study, provides its context, questions the values of that domain, and builds bridges towards other disciplines.

  1. Arts
    The arts expand our capacity for imaginative, interpretive and empathetic engagement in society, and develops the innovative thinking essential for addressing the challenges of our time. Courses in this area provide students with intellectual, embodied and practical experiences that open new paths to understanding and interpreting themselves and the world they inhabit. Through engagement and immersion in the creative process, students learn how the arts historically represent, reinforce, and/or critique culture. Students also learn crucial interpersonal and organizational skills such as critical thinking, leadership, creative research and problem solving, strategies for collaboration, intercultural communication, attention to detail, discipline, and community engagement.
  2. Humanities
    The humanities examine the question of what it means to be human through the study of artistic and literary expression, history, language, philosophy, rhetoric, and religion. They equip us to understand and evaluate human thought, culture,
    and history, and the ways in which human beings construct meaning from experience. They offer us an opportunity to reflect on what makes a purposeful life in the wider world.
  3. Natural Science
    Humans are a component of the natural world, which includes quantum particles, molecules, plants, rocks, ecosystems, etc., and the forces that act upon them. Science is the concerted human effort to pursue better explanations about the natural world based on systematic evaluation of physical evidence. This process of discovery allows us to link isolated facts into a coherent and comprehensive web of knowledge. Scientists are inherently curious and crave to understand the world around us. They make predictions based on past experience, investigate, and exchange their understanding with others. In natural science courses, students will examine scientific questions with a variety of
  4. D. Human Behavior and Social Institutions
    Human Behavior and Social Institutions courses rely on empirical data (quantitative and qualitative) to generate and answer questions, such as: Why do humans behave and think as they do? How do social institutions form and function? How do humans and institutions interact? They also develop theories that contribute to an understanding of individual and group behavior in various contexts.
  5. Theological Studies
    In Theological Studies courses, students will critically analyze the religious beliefs and ethical commitments of Christians as well as those adherents of at least one other religious tradition, and consider how those traditions have engaged politics, culture, and society. Courses in this area consider how religious people think about God and the world and how beliefs, texts, practices, and ethics relate to each other and to their cultural contexts. Because the academic study of theology is interdisciplinary in nature and interactive with the human arts and sciences, courses in this area may include approaches from multiple disciplines including religious studies, history, philosophy, and social sciences. Courses in this area will help students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate our religiously diverse world.

3. Completion of a General Education capstone (the Challenge Seminar): The Challenge Seminar bookends the First Term Seminar by providing students an opportunity to collaboratively examine and propose responses to enduring and contemporary questions or challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students will also have an opportunity to engage in reflection about how the college’s mission and their education as a whole has influenced their personal values, plans for life after college, and the role they see for themselves in the world.
Like the First Term Seminar, these courses will explore how values relate to a complex challenge and engage students in critical thinking, writing, speaking, and reflection.