Bryn Mawr's college-wide requirements take an innovative approach to engaging students in a variety of fields and preparing them to live in a global society and within diverse communities. All students must demonstrate core quantitative readiness (or develop that readiness through the Quantitative seminar) and then use those skills in a Quantitative Reasoning course. All students must take at least one year of foreign language. And all students must take at least one course in each of four designated Approaches to Inquiry: Critical Interpretation, Cross-cultural Analysis, Inquiry into the Past, and Scientific Investigation. (See definitions below.)
Within this structure, variety abounds. Students can fulfill their Scientific Investigation requirement through courses in Anthropology and Psychology as well as what they more commonly think of as science. There are intro-level courses on the Physics of extra-terrestrial life and on the chemistry of art. Students choose from ten languages, with some developing proficiency in a language they have already studied or already speak, or others taking on new languages.
For each of the Approaches, students may choose courses from a broad range of departments or programs. Significant numbers of students find a major, a minor or a concentration, or a career interest through taking a course to meet a requirement.
Approaches to Inquiry:
Critical Interpretation: critically interpreting works, such as texts, objects, artistic creations and performances, through a process of close-reading.
Cross-Cultural Analysis: analyzing the variety of societal systems and patterns of behavior across space.
Inquiry into the Past (IP): inquiring into the development and transformation of human experience over time.
Scientific Investigation (SI): understanding the natural world by testing hypotheses against observational evidence.