Complex Problems & Enduring Questions

As a member of the class of 2021, you are invited to enroll in one of Boston College’s innovative, team-taught Core courses. Open only to first-year students, Complex Problems and Enduring Questions courses explore compelling issues and subjects crucial to the human experience. They 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.

Complex Problems and Enduring Questions courses 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.

Complex Problems Courses

A six-credit course, team-taught by professors from different disciplines, that satisfies two Core requirements. It consists of three 50-minute lectures and one 75-minute lab session each week, along with a weekly meeting during the evening for reflection and integration.

Enduring Questions Courses

Two linked courses taught by professors from different disciplines who collaborate in choosing shared readings and other class materials. The same group of 19 students takes each class, which meets for 150 minutes per week. Four evening meetings for reflection and integration take place in the semester. Taken together, the courses are worth six credits and fulfill two Core requirements.

View the Spring 2018 Complex Problems and Enduring Questions Catalog

Play
Core pilot course video

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

Complex Problems

Planet in Peril: The History and Future of Human Impacts on the Planet

Juliet Schor, Sociology, and Prasannan Parthasarathi, History

1 Social Science + History II

Complex Problems

The History and Politics of Terrorism

Julian Bourg, History, and Peter Krause, Political Science

History II + 1 Social Science 

Complex Problems

Beyond Price: Markets, Cultures, Values

Can Erbil, Economics, and Kalpana Seshadri, English

1 Social Science + Literature

Enduring Questions

Human Disease: Plagues, Pathogens, and Chronic Disorders 

Kathy Dunn, Biology

Human Disease: Health, the Economy, and Society

Samuel Richardson, Economics

1 Natural Science + 1 Social Science 

Enduring Questions

Religion in a Secular World: Separating Church, Mosque, and State

Jonathan Laurence, Political Science

Religious Diversity in a Muslim World

Dana Sajdi, History

1 Social Science + History I

Enduring Questions

Reading Man, God, and the Whale in Melville’s Moby-Dick

Michael Martin, Honors

Worlds of Moby-Dick: What Historical Forces Shape a Book’s Greatness?

David Quigley, History

Literature + History II

Enduring Questions

Revolutionary Media: How Books Changed History

Virginia Reinburg, History

Revolutionary Media: How Reading Changes Us

Mary Crane, English

History I + Literature

Enduring Questions

Living in the Material World

Elizabeth Kowaleski Wallace, English

Living in the Material World

Dunwei Wang, Chemistry

Literature + 1 Natural Science 

Enduring Questions

Politics of Human Rights

Jennie Purnell, Political Science

Human Rights and Social Welfare

Margaret Lombe, Social Work

1 Social Science + History II

Enduring Questions

Metamorphosis: Evolution and the Genetics of Change

Welkin Johnson, Biology

Metamorphosis: Storytelling as an Attempt to Manage Change

Dayton Haskin, English

1 Natural Science + Literature

Enduring Questions

Passion, Power, and Purpose: Adolescence in a Digital Age

Belle Liang, Lynch School of Education

Fictions of Development: Adolescence in Historical Context

Maia McAleavey, English

1 Social Science + Literature

Enduring Questions

Reading In/Justice: Literature as Activism from Abolition to #BlackLivesMatter

Lori Harrison-Kahan, English

Writing In/Justice: The Power of Response

Eileen Donovan-Kranz, English

Literature + Writing

Enduring Questions

Creating the Modern State: Power, Politics, and Propaganda from the Renaissance to the 21st Century

Hiroshi Nakazato, International Studies

Creating the Modern Identity: Power, Politics, and Propaganda from the Renaissance to the 21st Century

Susan Michalczyk, Honors

1 Social Science + Literature

Enduring Questions

Growing Up Gendered: Contemporary Media Representations

Lisa Cuklanz, Communications

Growing Up Gendered: Socio-Cultural Perspectives on Gender in Contemporary Society

Sharlene Hesse-Biber, Sociology

Literature + 1 Social Science 

Enduring Questions

In Search of Human Rights: Health and Healthcare

Lauren Diamond-Brown, Sociology

In Search of Human Rights: U.S. Foreign Relations

Amanda Demmer, History

1 Social Science + History II

Enduring Questions

Nature on Exhibit: From Sea Monsters to Sea World

Jenna Tonn, History

Through the Looking Glass: Business and the Natural Environment

Lucy McAllister, Environmental Studies

History II + 1 Natural Science