Interdisciplinary Programs and Minors (MCAS)
In addition to the areas of major study offered by individual departments, a variety of special programs are available. All of them are designed to provide a coherent grouping of courses drawn from various disciplines and focused around a specific theme. Through such programs, a student can integrate or enrich an academic program through completing a minor or developing an independent major.
Under usual circumstances, students are advised to follow the formal educational programs offered by departments. In rare instances, for students with special interests that cannot be satisfied in a regular major, double major, or a combined major and minor, the Educational Policy Committee will approve an interdisciplinary Independent Major. Students who wish to apply for an Independent Major must normally have achieved a minimum 3.5 GPA. The student must plan, with the aid of a faculty advisor, a program of 36 credits (ordinarily twelve courses), thirty of which must be in upper-division courses. These will extend over no more than three departments and will be selected in accordance with a clearly defined unifying principle. This program should be equal in depth and coherence to a typical departmental major and should include a plan for a final project or paper that demonstrates the intellectual coherence of the Independent Major and for ongoing assessment of the program by the student and the advisor. Each proposed major should be submitted to the Dean's Office before March 1 of the student's sophomore year. The Dean will then present it to the Educational Policy Committee for approval. An Independent Major will ordinarily be the student's only major.
An interdisciplinary minor in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences must consist of at least 18 credits (typically six, 3-credit courses) and must include either a required introductory course or a concluding seminar or project. (Note: some programs require both.) The minor should aim for a coherent form appropriate to the subject matter and offer courses that give students a definite sense of movement—from a beginning to a middle and an end, from introductory to advanced levels, or from general to specialized treatments.
Students must select at least three of the courses from three different Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences departments. With the approval of the program, students may use one Core course or one course from their major toward the minor (not both). In addition, at least 15 credits used for the minor cannot be used toward any other major or minor. For specific program requirements see the individual program descriptions below. Students carrying a double major are advised not to minor.
Each minor will be administered by a coordinating committee, consisting of a Director appointed by the Dean and at least two additional members who represent departments included in the minor. One important function of this committee is the advising of students enrolled in the minor.
African and African Diaspora Studies
The African and African Diaspora Studies Program (AADS) considers the history, culture, and politics of Africans on the continent and African-descended peoples in the U.S., the Caribbean, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Covering vast historical periods and geographies, AADS acquaints students with the multiplicity and diversity of the African Diaspora and the world in which we all live. Using interdisciplinary and comparative approaches, the program draws on a broad range of methodologies in English, history, sociology, philosophy, theology, communication, and theater.
For more information on the African and African Diaspora Studies program, visit the following:
American Studies is an interdisciplinary program that brings together faculty from various departments to teach a wide range of approaches to American culture past and present. Thematic emphases include race and ethnicity; gender, sexuality, and culture; cultures of cities; society and subcultures; popular culture and media; law, politics, and culture; and America and the world.
The program is directed by Christina Klein of the English Department. Participating faculty come from English, History, Art History, Sociology, African and African Diaspora Studies, and Political Science, among other departments.
Eighteen credits are required for the minor. All students must take ENGL2277 Introduction to American Studies when beginning the minor and ENGL5513 American Studies Senior Seminar during their senior year. In addition, nine credits must be clustered in a common area of concentration chosen by the student in consultation with the director or assistant director. Courses used for fulfilling the minor must come from at least two different departments outside the student’s major.
The interdisciplinary minor in Ancient Civilization introduces students to the history, literature, art, philosophy, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. Students explore the world of the Greeks and Romans by reading primary texts in English translation and by studying their art and archaeological remains. Studying the Latin or Greek languages is not required. The minor consists of six courses (18 credits or more), two required and four electives:
- 3 credits in Greek History or Civilization and 3 credits in Roman History or Civilization, drawn from the following list. These courses, offered every other year, serve as a general overview of the field and an introduction to the minor.
CLAS2205/HIST2201 Greek History OR CLAS1186 Greek Civilization
CLAS2206/HIST2205 Roman History OR CLAS2262/ARTH2262 The City of Rome
- 12 other credits, chosen after consultation with the director, from available offerings in Classics and other departments in the areas of literature, philosophy, religion, art and archaeology, history, and linguistics; however, courses in the Greek and Latin languages do not normally count for the minor.
A list of the courses that are available each semester from the various departments and that can count for the minor will be published at registration time. Interested students should contact Professor Mark Thatcher of the Classical Studies Department, Stokes Hall 245S, 617-552-1807, or visit the Classical Studies website at www.bc.edu/classics.
The Asian Studies program offers students a rich curriculum in the arts and literatures, history, philosophy, religion, and contemporary affairs of East Asia, South Asia, and Central Asia. It rests on three pillars:
- an emphasis on regional and transnational relations
- the integration of different disciplinary approaches
- language study
Students take a minimum of 18 credits to fulfill the minor, 15 of which may not simultaneously be counted towards the Core or other major/minor requirements. The minor begins with an introductory survey course on Asia as a world region from the vantage point of a particular discipline (such as art, literature, history, or philosophy) and concludes with a senior capstone course that approaches a particular topic relevant to the study of Asia from an interdisciplinary perspective. Along the way, students have ample opportunity to hone their interdisciplinary skills and global outlook through a wide range of lower and upper level electives involving different departments. Although no more than an intermediate proficiency in an Asian language is required (the same as the University Core requirement), further language study is encouraged. All minors must meet with the Director when they declare their minor, typically in their sophomore year. They must also meet with the Director prior to choosing the senior capstone course.
Summary of minimum requirements (18 credits):
- Introductory course on Asia as a world region (3 credits)
- Intermediate proficiency in an Asian language (3 credits)
- Two to four electives (6–12 credits) from the list provided
- Senior capstone course (3 credits)
Students are invited to take full advantage of the Distinguished Lectures Series in Asian Studies as well as other Asian Studies-sponsored campus events and are encouraged to study abroad in Asia. Our faculty provide many different resources related to advising, scholarships, and internship opportunities.
The interdisciplinary minor in Catholic Studies at Boston College seeks to develop an intellectual and academic approach to Catholicism which does justice to the full human reality, integrity, and pluralism within this major world religious tradition. Since Catholicism comprises more than a religious institution, a set of moral or ritual practices, a body of doctrines, or individual and communal experiences, no one discipline or several disciplines functioning separately can properly understand it from the vantage point of its lived experience as a culture.
The Catholic Studies minor provides students with the opportunity to explore the Catholic intellectual tradition. The minor emphasizes the richness of Catholic philosophical and theological systems, artistic and cultural expressions, historical evolution (including internal and external moments of contestation), and approaches to social analysis, economic systems, and the natural sciences, in order to appreciate the vision and values which emerge from this tradition.
Six approved 3-credit courses or a total of 18 credit hours:
- 18 credit hours selected from the three Catholic Studies clusters: The Catholic Imagination, Catholicism in Time and Space, and Catholic Social Thought.
- Upon petition, electives and other courses may be counted for the minor if the major research paper course is completed on a Catholic topic.
- In many cases, electives and other required courses can be petitioned for inclusion in the Catholic Studies Interdisciplinary minor based on the Catholic content of the course.
- Students are strongly encouraged to take THEO1401 Engaging Catholicism, which will count towards their Christian Theology (CT) credit in Core theology. THEO1401 is a 3-credit course and will count for Core theology credit as well as the “basis course” for the Interdisciplinary Minor in Catholic Studies.
- Depending upon enrollment numbers in the minor, a concluding 3-credit research seminar will be offered which will focus on texts dealing either with the enculturation of Catholicism in different geographical/regional locations (e.g., Asia, Latin America, Africa, Oceania, Irish-American, Italian-American, Latino/a, Black, and Amerindian), or a Catholic theme that is approached from several disciplinary perspectives and across historical periods (e.g., Catholic practices of asceticism in art, music, literature, and theology). This seminar will offer the student the opportunity to research, write, and present a senior project that thematically integrates what has been learned in the minor. The seminar is facilitated by a member of the Catholic Studies advisory committee. It is envisioned that the seminar presentations will become an occasion for creating intellectual community among Catholic Studies minors and faculty advisors.
Further information is available from the Director, Professor Charles R. Gallagher, S.J., Department of History, Stokes Hall S353, 617-552-0726, or the Catholic Studies website.
East European Studies
The minor in East European Studies encompasses faculty and courses from across the University and spans the entire region east and southeast of western Europe, from central and eastern Europe to southeastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Caucasus, and Siberia. The minor in East European Studies concentrates on the multilingual, multicultural, and multi-religious legacy of Slavic and Eastern European nations and countries. Students who complete the minor will work toward proficiency in a Slavic and/or East European language related to the region and attain valuable knowledge, experience, and professional skills. The Program prepares students for careers in diplomacy, journalism, law, military, business, government, and social service, as well as graduate, academic, or professional study.
Further information is available from the Director, Professor Maxim D. Shrayer, Slavic and Eastern Languages Department, Lyons 210, (email@example.com). Students may also consult the Program's website at www.bc.edu/ees.
The Environmental Studies minor uses an interdisciplinary approach to understand the science and policy of the Earth’s environmental challenges and is designed to complement any undergraduate major.
The goals of the Environmental Studies minor are to provide undergraduate students with: (1) an awareness of the scientific, political, and cultural aspects of the world’s environmental problems and potential paths toward sustainable solutions; (2) a background for environmentally related careers in business, education, law, policy, or research; and (3) preparation for graduate study.
For more information on the Environmental Studies program, visit the following:
Faith, Peace, and Justice
The Faith, Peace, and Justice minor offers students the opportunity to explore, in an interdisciplinary manner, how their own serious questions about faith, peace, and justice are related to concrete work for peace and justice in our world. The goals of the Faith, Peace, and Justice Program are to (1) help undergraduate students acquire skills in the social scientific analysis of challenges for justice and peace, (2) gain a solid grasp of the ethical principles and theories of justice that pertain to these issues, (3) become agents of social change that know how to formulate public policy or transform unjust structures in order to solve these problems, and (4) implement creative methods for conflict resolution appropriate for their particular issues.
To achieve these goals, each student is required to take the introductory course for the minor, THEO2160/PHIL1160 The Challenge of Justice and, in the second semester of their senior year, UNAS4942 Faith, Peace, and Justice Senior Seminar. In addition, the student selects or develops an area of concentration focused on a particular concern for justice and peace. With the advice and approval of the Faith, Peace, and Justice Director, the student takes a cluster of four elective courses, from at least three different academic disciplines, that addresses the area of concentration. These four elective courses serve as the foundation for the student's writing project in the FPJ Senior Seminar. In total, eighteen credit hours are required for the minor.
For further information or to register for the Faith, Peace, and Justice minor, see the Director, Professor Joshua R. Snyder, Ph.D., Stokes 453N or visit the program website at www.bc.edu/fpj.
The interdisciplinary minor in German Studies is one of two minors offered by the Department of German Studies. This program aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of German-speaking civilization and its place in today's world. Students choose the interdisciplinary minor for its flexibility in taking courses tailored to their interests across departments and may complete the entire minor with courses taught in English. German Studies minors are eligible to apply for popular internships, which place Boston College students with companies in Germany or Austria every summer.
For more information on the minor in German Studies program, visit the following:
The International Studies Program offers a flexible and rigorous interdisciplinary undergraduate major and minor in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences that develops keen analytical skills and ethical reasoning amidst complex global dynamics.
For more information on the International Studies program, visit the following:
Founded in 1978, the Irish Studies Program provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Irish culture and society. Our faculty includes internationally recognized scholars whose influential publications and professional commitment distinguish them as leaders in the field of Irish Studies. Undergraduate and graduate courses alike address social and economic history, literature, art, film, music, and the Irish language. The Irish Studies program also offers extensive public programs including a comprehensive lecture, symposia, and renowned music series. Faculty routinely collaborate with the McMullen Museum to present groundbreaking exhibits and have developed public programming, as well as undergraduate and graduate seminars, to complement exhibits.
Students must successfully complete 18 credits in approved Irish Studies courses, which must be drawn from more than one discipline and designated as appropriate by the Irish Studies program advisor. Only one course may be “double counted” toward both a major and minor.
Please contact Irish Studies at 617-552-3938 to arrange curriculum planning assistance. A listing of Irish Studies-approved courses is posted on the Irish Studies Courses web page.
Students pursuing the minor are encouraged to take advantage of partnerships that the Irish Studies program and the Center for International Programs have forged with the National Universities of Ireland at Galway and Maynooth, University College Cork, University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Ulster, and Queen’s University Belfast. It is important to note that only two courses taken abroad in any given semester may be applied to the Irish Studies minor.
Contact: Professor James H Murphy, Director of Irish Studies, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Islamic Civilization and Societies
This program emphasizes the interdisciplinary study of the Middle East and Muslim world from the rise of Islam in the seventh century to the present. Through a sequence of courses, it offers preparation in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies useful to careers in journalism, diplomacy, business, and social service as well as graduate programs of academic and professional training. Courses cover the social, economic, political, cultural, and religious heritage as well as contemporary developments in their regional and world settings.
Students interested in the program should contact Professor Kathy Bailey, Political Science Department, McGuinn 529, 617-552-4170 or Kathleen.Bailey@bc.edu, or Professor Ali Banuazizi, Political Science Department, McGuinn 513, 617-552-4124, or visit www.bc.edu/ics.
The Jewish Studies Program seeks to examine the multiple dimensions and complexities of Jewish civilization throughout its broad chronological and geographical range. In so doing, the program contributes to Boston College's efforts to internationalize and enrich its curriculum by creating a space for reflection on an ethnically and religiously diverse campus. Far from being a parochial field, Jewish Studies is a well-established academic discipline, drawing upon almost every area in the humanities and social sciences in order to understand the myriad expressions of Jewish civilization over the course of thousands of years and in every corner of the globe.
The minor in Jewish Studies consists of a total of six 3-credit courses, including one foundation course, four electives selected from at least three departments within the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, and a concluding seminar/Capstone course.
Although the minor in Jewish Studies has no specific language requirement, students are encouraged to take as many courses as possible in biblical and modern Hebrew; however, a maximum of 6 credits in Hebrew language may be applied to the minor. Students may participate in Boston College's study-abroad program at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. They may also avail themselves of summer programs in Yiddish and Judeo-Spanish.
For additional information or to sign up for the minor in Jewish Studies, contact the program co-director, Professor Donald Fishman, Department of Communications, St. Mary’s Hall 454, email@example.com, or contact the other program co-director, Professor John Michalczyk, Devlin Hall 420, 617-552-3895, firstname.lastname@example.org. The Jewish Studies Program Office is located in St. Mary’s Hall 454.
The Journalism minor at Boston College is an interdisciplinary program designed to bring the liberal arts into direct, ongoing conversation with the wider contemporary world. Students from all majors and schools are invited to apply to this dynamic minor that combines craft skills with a critical understanding of the history and traditions of journalism.
The six-course minor includes the following:
- Introduction to Journalism, to be taken as early as possible during the course of study;
- One “Craft” course (i.e., Investigative Journalism, Feature Writing, Podcasting);
- One “Critical” course (i.e., News Media & Democracy, Reporting Civil Rights, Narrative Journalism in Peace & War);
- Two additional electives drawn from a mix of “Craft” and “Critical” courses; and
- the Senior Seminar, to be taken in the senior year.
Course offerings reflect our shifting technological and media climate while continuing to develop bedrock reportorial and writing skills: identifying and acquiring reliable information; making analytical, ethical, and technical choices about how best to turn that information into news; and presenting the news in useful, compelling ways. As the program continues to develop the possibilities of its Boston location, forging fresh links between the Boston College campus and the city’s international public culture, students will also have more and more opportunities to work with the city’s wide array of talented professional journalists, venture out to do original reporting, and intern at a variety of media outlets. Interested students should contact program director, Associate Professor Angela Ards, Department of English, Stokes S443, 617-552- 3712, email@example.com.
Latin American Studies
The Latin American Studies program encompasses faculty and courses from across the University. With academic advisement from participating faculty, students can shape the Latin American Studies minor to fit usefully with their academic major and with the ambitions they hope to pursue after graduation. Students may earn a minor in Latin American Studies by completing 18 credits (approximately six courses) from at least three different academic departments, selected from courses approved for the program. Proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese that is equivalent to successful completion of a third-year college language course is required for the minor (but this course is not counted as one of the above six). With approval from the Director, two courses with focus on Latin America taken in a study abroad program can count toward the minor.
Students seeking to earn a minor in Latin American Studies must submit a proposed plan of study to the Director of the program, usually no later than the second semester of the sophomore year. The Director, in consultation with the student and other faculty in the program, will review the proposal, and notify the student of his/her acceptance into the minor.
For further information contact the Director, Professor Ernesto Livon-Grosman, Communication Department, St Mary’s Hall South 482, 617-552-2680, or visit the Latin American Studies website.
Managing for Social Impact and the Public Good
The Managing for Social Impact and the Public Good minor is sponsored by both the Carroll School of Management (CSOM) and the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences (MCAS). It draws upon faculty and courses in both schools and is open to all undergraduates. It is the first interdisciplinary minor jointly sponsored by different schools within the university.
In an interconnected world, we are all stakeholders in how business is conducted. Billions of human lives and our planet’s viability depend on whether leaders in the private and public sectors are guided by the principles of sustainability and social justice. The interdisciplinary minor integrates ethical, social, economic, environmental, and management perspectives in analyzing the role of business in society and the challenges of managing private and public institutions for the good of society, both domestic and global.
The minor is an 18-credit program with two required and four elective courses. The required courses are: Managing for Social Impact (BSLW3345 in CSOM), the introductory course to the program, and Leading for Social Impact (BSLW6001 in CSOM), the cumulative seminar course taken in spring of senior year.
Students will select their four elective courses (for a minimum of 12 credits) from approved electives in MCAS, CSOM, and the Lynch School of Education and Human Development. The intro course Managing for Social Impact should be taken prior to taking any of the approved electives. The electives must come from at least three different academic departments, with the Carroll School counting as a single department. Additionally, all electives must also come from one of the three Focus Areas described below.
A course taken during a semester abroad may be approved as an elective counting toward the minor, but such courses must be pre-approved before enrollment if they are to be counted. After a student completes the pre-approval process, credit for courses taken abroad will only be granted upon the student’s return from the program, based on the graded work completed for the course.
Elective courses are grouped into the following Focus Areas:
Digital Economy, Social innovation, and Citizenship
Today’s global digital economy, in which people, companies, markets, and even machines are constantly connected and communicating, enables innovative social solutions as well as opportunities for rapid growth and expansion of services. Such a setting also presents complex challenges. Expectations about long-term employment, economic security, and personal privacy are shifting with the rise of billion-dollar global firms based on freelance jobs, global social networks, digital media, and data mining. The rights and responsibilities of citizenship, both personal and corporate, are open to debate and radical revision, as are the form of the corporation and the appropriate roles of the public and private sectors in addressing urgent social issues. This focus area prompts students to consider the social impacts of the digital economy on citizenship, equality, personal values, work, privacy, and public policy.
Economic Development, Equality, and Enterprise
Citizens of wealthier nations and communities, as well as managers of multinational corporations and local enterprise, need to examine the degree to which their well-being and profitability may rely on the exploitation of natural resources and fellow human beings. Such judgments are difficult without the skills of ethical reflection, social/political/historical/economic analysis combined with research, discussion, and evaluation. This focus area challenges students to move beyond their taken-for-granted assumptions common to life in an economically developed society and to consider models of economic development and enterprise management that provide not only greater material well-being but also more equity and empowerment for individuals and groups in domestic and international settings who are disadvantaged at present.
Environmental and Economic Sustainability
With more than 13,000 signatories committed to the principles of a sustainable and inclusive global economy, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. Its mission recognizes the significant challenges facing nations, corporations, and communities in the twenty-first century. It is vital that culturally and economically diverse populations come to terms with the pressing need to organize environmentally sustainable economies at the local community level as well as for the benefit of the entire planet. Sustainable enterprise and economic development require managers in the private and public sector to balance the needs of their diverse stakeholders in an ethically informed manner. This focus area will enable students to analyze the difficult questions of social, ethical, and environmental sustainability and development from multiple disciplines in the sciences, humanities, social sciences, and management.
Medical Humanities, Health, and Culture
In the Medical Humanities, Health, and Culture minor, students explore health and health care practices through multiple disciplines, including literature, theology, history, and philosophy, as well as natural and social sciences. From each vantage, humanistic and cultural approaches to health and the body are emphasized. The minor, interdisciplinary in its approach, draws on Boston College’s commitment to social justice, ethics, and care for the whole person. This is a useful program for students interested in careers in medicine, health care policy or law, psychology, public or global health, social work, patient advocacy, or health journalism. It is also helpful for students interested in exploring historical, narrative, and cultural contexts for current (and at times competing) ideas about illness, the body, and representation.
The minor is comprised of 18 credits. Courses (not necessarily in sequence) include a required Introductory course (ENGL2212), four electives from a designated list of approved courses, and a final advanced elective, normally taken in the junior or senior year. In addition, minors will be encouraged to take part in reading groups, film series, conferences, and relevant local events.
Students choose electives from at least three different departments. The following thematic clusters will help students to plan a path through the minor:
- Global/Public Health
- Values and Ethics
- Mind and Body
- Health Care Delivery
- Medical narrative, writing and representation
Students interested in learning more or in registering for the minor should contact the Director, Amy Boesky, in Stokes 437 South or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.
Women's and Gender Studies
The Women’s and Gender Studies Program is an interdisciplinary forum for the study of women’s past and present positions in American society and across a diversity of nation-state, international, and global contexts. Drawing from a broad range of theoretical frameworks and empirical scholarship, Women’s and Gender Studies analyzes the intersection of gender with differential identity factors such as race, class, religion, culture, and sexuality. Women’s and Gender Studies sheds light on the construction and maintenance of gender ideologies in different environments and locations and considers gender relations a primary factor in our understanding of women’s and men’s statuses and roles. Multiple perspectives and lenses—literary, historical, sociological, psychological, political, activist, popular culturist—are applied to the study of women’s lived realities, representations, histories, oppressions, coalitions, and movements.
The Boston College Women’s and Gender Studies Program encourages diversity and equality in all areas of campus life. Our WGS courses and professors respect differences in background and identity, including differences in race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and class.
The WGS classroom environment is inclusive: which means that differences are not ignored, but rather that students can have space to bring their various identities into conversation.
We expect students to honor and respectfully listen to differences that may come up in the classroom setting and to listen and respond to other points of view.
In addition, this means that students have space to bring their various identities into conversation with class material as they find helpful, but are not expected to represent or speak for an entire group of people who share aspects of an identity.
Boston College students may decide to minor in Women's and Gender Studies at any time prior to graduation, provided that the requisite scope and number of courses have been completed with satisfaction.
The following two courses should not be taken in the same semester.
- ENGL2125 Introduction to Feminisms
Cross-listed with HIST2502, SOCY2225. Minors are encouraged to take Introduction to Feminisms prior to taking other WGS electives.
- SOCY5593 or COMM4941 Advanced Topics
Always taken as a Senior during Spring semester
Four electives (12 or more credits) from a variety of departments are required and can be tailored to your own interests.
The following guidelines must be followed:
- No more than two electives (6 credits) can be courses within the same department.
- Note: Many courses that count for the minor are cross-listed with other departments. To avoid having to select an alternative course, you can select the department from which you wish to register the course. For example, if you have three additional courses from the Sociology department, one may be cross-referenced with the Communications department; therefore, you would register for it as a COMM course rather than an SOCY course.
- Only one course can "double count" toward the WGS minor and another requirement (ex: Core, major, or another minor). Five of the six courses, or 15 out of 18 credits, must only count toward the WGS minor. The Women's and Gender Studies program does not guarantee that one of our courses will satisfy any major/minor requirements in other departments. You are responsible for knowing whether or not your respective department will accept a WGS elective for major credit. Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions or concerns.
For more information on the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, visit www.bc.edu/ws or consult the Director of the minor, Professor Sharlene Hesse-Biber, Sociology Department, 617-552-4139, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.