Complex Problems & Enduring Questions

As a member of the class of 2024, you are invited to enroll in Boston College’s innovative, team-taught Core courses: Complex Problems and Enduring Questions. Each one is collaboratively taught by two faculty members from different academic departments, and each is designed to engage students in interdisciplinary explorations of topics of critical importance. These include areas such as ethics and engineering; race and violence; markets, cultures, and values; economics, law, and health policy; the value of freedom; psychological and literary perspectives of disability; and more.

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 and moral world citizens.

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Core pilot course video

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

Spring 2021 Complex Problem and Enduring Question Courses

Complex Problems

Understanding Race, Gender, and Violence

Marilynn Johnson, History
Shawn McGuffey, Sociology
Lab Instructor: Daniel Millán, Core Fellow (Sociology)

Fulfills 1 History II + 1 Social Science + Cultural Diversity through Engaging Difference & Justice

Complex Problems

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

John Ebel, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Conevery Valencius, History
Lab Instructor: Jonathan Krones, Core Fellow (Environmental Studies)

Fulfills 1 History II + 1 Natural Science

Complex Problems

Consumer Culture: Past, Present, and the Fate of the Planet

Juliet Schor, Sociology
Robin Fleming, History
Lab Instructor: Carlos Zúñiga Nieto, Core Fellow (History)

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 History II

Complex Problems

Neuroscience and Religion: Conflict, Coexistence or Collaboration

Jessica Black, School of Social Work
Melissa Kelly, School of Theology & Ministry
Lab Instructor: Russ Powell, Core Fellow (Theology

Fulfills 1 Natural Science + 1 Theology (Christian Theology)

Complex Problems

Understanding & Protecting Our Oceans in the Wake of Climate Change

Heather Olins, Biology
Yasmin Zaerpoor, Core Fellow (Environmental Studies)
Lab Instructor: John Brooks, Core Fellow (English)

Fulfills 1 Natural Science + 1 Social Science

Enduring Questions

The American Divide: The Economics of Inequality - ECON170301

Geoffrey Sanzenbacher, Economics

The American Divide: The Philosophy of Inequality - PHIL171101

Cherie McGill, Philosophy

Fulfills 1 Philosophy + 1 Social Science + Cultural Diversity through Engaging Difference & Justice

Enduring Questions

Who Are You? The Science of Self - HIST172501

Jenna Tonn, Core Fellow (History)

Who Are You? The Sociology of Self - SOCY172501

Nora Gross, Core Fellow (Sociology)

Fulfills 1 History II and 1 Social Science 

Enduring Questions

Social Inequality in America - SOCY171101

Eve Spangler, Sociology

Rhetoric of Social Inequality in America - COMM170301

Celeste Wells, Communication

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 Literature + Cultural Diversity through Engaging Difference & Justice

Enduring Questions

Death in Russian Literature: Heroes, Cowards, Humans - SLAV116401

Thomas Epstein, Classical Studies

Death in Ancient Greece: Achilles to Alexander the Great - CLAS170101

Hanne Eisenfeld, Classical Studies

Fulfills 1 History I + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

Coming of Age: Literature - UNAS170801

Eileen Donovan Kranz, English

Coming of Age: Film - FILM170101

Susan Michalczyk, Honors

Fulfills 1 Arts + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

Animals in the Moral Imagination: Art and Empathy - ARTH172001

Jennifer Burns, Art History

Animals in the Moral Imagination: Beyond Human Justice - PHIL172001

Melissa Fitzpatrick, Carroll School of Management

Fulfills 1 Philosophy + 1 Arts

Enduring Questions

Building a Habitable Planet, Theological Perspectives - THEO170301

Natana Delong-Bas, Theology

Building a Habitable Planet, Geoscience Perspectives EESC170101

Ethan Baxter, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Fulfills 1 Natural Science + 1 Theology (Sacred Texts & Traditions)