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.

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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
Prasannan Parthasarathi, History

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 History II

Complex Problems

Beyond Price: Markets, Cultures, Values

Can Erbil, Economics
Kalpana Seshadri, English

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 Literature

Complex Problems

From #BlackLivesMatter to #MeToo: Violence and Representation in the African Diaspora

Régine Jean-Charles, Romance Languages and Literatures
Shawn McGuffey, Sociology

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 Literature

Complex Problems

Making the Modern World: Design, Ethics & Engineering

Jenna Tonn, History
Jonathan Krones, Earth & Environmental Sciences

Fulfills 1 Natural Science & 1 History II

Enduring Questions

Thinking about Feelings: The Psychology of Emotion

Andrea Heberlein, Psychology

Feeling Like Ourselves: How and Why Literature Moves Us

Andrew Sofer, English

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

Life, Liberty & Health: Policy, Politics & Law

Mary Ann Chirba, BC Law

Life, Money & Health: The Economics of Healthcare

Tracy Regan, Economics

Fulfills 1 History II + 1 Social Science

Enduring Questions

Living on the Water: Coasts, Development, and Sea Level Change from Venice to Boston

Gail Kineke, Earth & Environmental Sciences

Living on the Water: Venetian Art, Architecture, and the Environment

Stephanie Leone, Art History

Fulfills 1 Natural Science + 1 Arts

Enduring Questions

Spiritual Exercises: Engagement, Empathy, Ethics

Brian Robinette, Theology

Aesthetic Exercises: Engagement, Empathy, Ethics

Daniel Callahan, Music

Fulfills 1 Arts + 1 Theology (Christian Theology)

Enduring Questions

Narrative and Myth in American Culture: Disney

Bonnie Rudner, English

Social Norms and Values: Disney

Rita Rosenthal, Communication

Fulfills 1 Literature + 1 Social Science

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

Fulfills 1 Literature + 1 Social Science

Enduring Questions

The Value of Freedom: Imperial History

Elizabeth Shlala, History

The Value of Freedom: Politics and Economics

Candace Hetzner, Political Science

Fulfills 1 History II + 1 Social Science

Enduring Questions

Flawed Founders: George Washington and the Mythology of a Heroic President

Marc Landy, Political Science

Flawed Founders: King David and the Theology of a Political Hero

David Vanderhooft, Theology

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

Enduring Questions

Environmental Migrations: Climate Change

Yasmin Bijani Zaerpoor, Environmental Studies

Environmental Migrations: Asylum Seekers

Carlos Zún͂iga Nieto, History

Fulfills 1 History II + 1 Social Science

Enduring Questions

When Life Happens: Disability and the Stories We Tell

Clare Dunsford, English

When Life Happens: Psychology View Disability

Penny Hauser-Cram, Lynch School of Education and Human Development

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 Literature