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 Fall 2019 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

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

Juliet Schor, Sociology, and Prasannan Parthasarathi, History

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 History II

Complex Problems

Beyond Price: Markets, Cultures, Values

Can Erbil, Economics, and Kalpana Seshadri, English

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 Literature

Complex Problems

Citizenship, Immigration & Belonging in the United States: Can Education Save Us?

Andrés Castro Samayoa, Lynch School of Education, Gabrielle Oliveira, Lynch School of Education

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 History II

Complex Problems

Global Implications of Climate Change

Brian Gareau, Sociology and International Studies, and Tara Pisani Gareau, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 Natural Science

Enduring Questions

Revolutionary Media: How Books Changed History

Virginia Reinburg, History

Revolutionary Media: How Reading Changes Us

Mary Crane, English

Fulfills 1 History I + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

Writing in/ Justice: The Power of Response

Eileen Donovan-Kranz, English

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

Lori Harrison-Kahan, English

Fulfills 1 Writing + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

Fictions of Development: Adolescence in Historical Context

Maia McAleavey, English

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

Belle Liang, Lynch School of Education

Fulfills 1 Literature + 1 Social Science

Enduring Questions

Oppression & Change in US: Sociocultural & Psych

Lisa Goodman, Lynch School of Education

Oppression & Change in US: Writing

Paula Mathieu, English

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 Writing

Enduring Questions

Roots & Routes: Writing Identity

Lynne Anderson, English

Roots & Routes: Reading Identity

Elizabeth Graver, English

Fulfills 1 Writing + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

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

David Quigley, History

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

Michael Martin, Honors

Fulfills 1 History II + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

Life, Money & Health: The Economics of Healthcare

Tracy Regan, Economics

Life, Liberty & Health: Policy, Politics & Law

Mary Ann Chirba, BC Law

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 History II

Enduring Questions

Privacy, Fairness, and Law

Alfred Yen, BC Law

Privacy, Fairness, and the Digital World

Howard Straubing, Computer Science

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 Mathematics

Enduring Questions

When Life Happens: Psychology Views Disability

Penny Hauser-Cram, Lynch School of Education

When Life Happens: Disability and the Stories We Tell

Clare Dunsford, English

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

Trash Talking: Political Ecology of Waste and Resources

Jessica Worl, Sociology

Talking Trash: Industrial Ecology of Waste and Resources

Jonathan Krones, Environmental Studies

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 Natural Science

Enduring Questions

Geographies of Imperialism: History of Colonization

Elizabeth Shlala, History

Geographies of Imperialism: Theology of Colonization

Natana DeLong-Bas, Theology

Fulfills 1 History II + 1 Theology (Sacred Texts & Traditions)

Enduring Questions

How Democracies Die: A Historical Postmortem

Jesse Tumblin, History

How Democracies Die: The Politicization of Emotions

Carlos Zúñiga Nieto, History

Fulfills 1 Social Science + 1 History II