Complex Problems & Enduring Questions

As a member of the class of 2023, you are invited to enroll in one of Boston College’s innovative, team-taught Core courses. Open only to first-year students, there are two types of interdisciplinary offerings: Complex Problems, which probe compelling contemporary issues such as global climate change and citizenship and immigration in the United States; and Enduring Questions, which explore subjects crucial to the human experience including health and illness, love and marriage, and the relationship between humans and the natural world.

Complex Problems and Enduring Questions courses extend inquiry beyond the classroom to labs, reflection sessions, conversations with outside speakers, and off-campus field visits, creating an intensive shared learning experience for both teachers and students. They exemplify Boston College’s innovative approach to Core education by establishing a foundation for students’ intellectual development and preparing them to become engaged, effective world citizens.

View the Spring 2020 print catalog

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Core pilot course video

Students and faculty discuss the benefits of Complex Problems and Enduring Questions courses.

Complex Problems

Powering America: The Past and Future of Energy, Technology, and the Environment

John Ebel, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Conevery Valencius, History

Fulfills 1 History II + 1 Natural Science

Complex Problems

#Shop-Apocalypse: Consumer Culture’s Past and the Fate of the Planet

Juliet Schor, Sociology
Robin Fleming, History

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 History II

Complex Problems

Science and Technology in American Society

Andrew Jewett, History
Christopher Kenaley, Biology

Fulfills 1 History II + BIO150301

Enduring Questions

Being Human: Secular-Humanist Perspective

Marcus Breen, Communication

Being Human: Theological Perspective

Louis Petillo, Theology

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 Theology (as Christian Theology)

Enduring Questions

Nature and Power: Making the Modern World

Ling Zhang, History

Nature and Power: Reading the American Place

Suzanne Matson, English

Fulfills 1 Literature + 1 History II

Enduring Questions

The American Divide: The Economics of Inequality

Geoffrey Sanzenbacher, Economics

The American Divide: The Philosophy of Inequality

Cherie McGill, Philosophy

Fulfills 1 Philosophy + 1 Social Science

Enduring Questions

Coming of Age: Literature

Susan Michalczyk, Honors

Coming of Age: Film

John Michalczyk, Art, Art History & Film

Fulfills 1 Art + 1 Literature Core

Enduring Questions

Social Inequality in America

Eve Spangler, Sociology

Rhetoric of Social Inequality in America

Celeste Wells, Communication

Fulfills 1 Social Science, 1 Literature + 1 Cultural Diversity (as Difference, Justice & the Common Good) Core

Enduring Questions

Family Matters: Stories of Adoption and Kinship

James Smith, English

Family Matters: Psychology and Adoption

Oh Myo Kim, Lynch School of Education

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 Literature Core

Enduring Questions

In the Beginning: Scientific Explorations of Our Origins

Michelle Meyer, Biology

In the Beginning: Biblical Explorations of Our Origins

Jeffery Cooley, Theology

Fulfills 1 Natural Science + 1 Theology (as Sacred Texts and Traditions) Core

Enduring Questions

Humans and Other Animals: The Mental Life of Animals

Jeffrey Lamoureux, Psychology

Finding the Animal: Beasts and Boundaries in Literature

Robert Stanton, English

Fulfills 1 Literature + 1 Social Science Core

Enduring Questions

Motivations for Human Cooperation: Sociological Perspective

William Atwood-Charles, Sociology

Motivations for Human Cooperation: Evolutionary Perspective

Yasmin Bijani Zaerpoor, Environmental Studies

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 Natural Science Core

Enduring Questions

Law & Adolescence: Children of Immigrants

Daniel Millan, Sociology

Law & Adolescence: History of Childhood

Carlos Zún͂iga Nieto, History

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 History II Core