3 Crowns Curriculum

Connections, Ideas, and Values

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The Three Crowns Curriculum is a unique way for you to fulfill General Education requirements at Gustavus. Unlike your Major and Electives, courses in General Education are designed to introduce you to different ways of understanding the world as part of your preparation for living. Liberal arts education aims to encourage you to think for yourself, ask questions, and link different ways of knowing. What distinguishes our program from most General Education curriculums is that the Three Crowns Curriculum makes the idea of connection paramount. We emphasize connections between disciplines; between ideas and values; between past and present; between learning and life; between students and faculty; and between students themselves. As a curriculum, it consists of a specially prepared sequence of interdisciplinary discussion-oriented courses that students take together in a group. It is a connected core curriculum in which integrated courses build upon each other to create a common body of knowledge that is shared among students.

Together as a cohort you will consider our 7 Integrating Questions:

  1. What are different ways of knowing?
  2. What does it mean to be human?
  3. What can we learn about the human condition or human history from an artistic or literary work?
  4. What constitutes moral and ethical behavior?
  5. How did society come to be this way?
  6. How do individuals construct local and global communities?
  7. What makes for a good life?

A theme of “the individual and community” is seen throughout our program as we examine the artistic, literary, religious, philosophical, and scientific heritage of the Western tradition within a global perspective. Three Crowns courses are small and discussion oriented. Out-of-class events planned for our students enrich this sense of belonging to a learning community. Three Crowns faculty participate in our off campus events giving you a chance to talk with your professors informally (and beat them in broomball!). These shared experiences deepen the discussions and examination of values emphasized in our program. As Three Crowns students, you are challenged to address ethical questions in class and in Three Crowns-sponsored cultural, social, and intellectual activities.

Three Crowns courses are open to Three Crowns Curriculum students only. The program is available to any entering first-year student subject only to a limitation of 60 students per entering class, with preference for early applicants. It is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and enrolls students from all the major fields of study. I think the Three Crowns Curriculum to be an exciting and richly rewarding program. It may be for you!


Lori Carsen Kelly
Three Crowns Curriculum