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2015-2016 Academic Catalog: Humanities and Social Sciences Department

Ronald R. Bernier, Chair

Beatty Hall, Room 404


The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences plays a crucial role in the Wentworth undergraduate experience. Students are engaged in their major fields of study in disciplines whose goal is to utilize design, engineering, and technology to make life “better.” The purpose of Humanities and Social Sciences is to help students define “better,” by identifying a set of values which will help them exercise integrity, vision, community involvement, and knowledge of self and other. Students must understand the application of their discipline to contemporary issues, they must acquire strong communication, interdisciplinary and team-building skills, and they must understand the definitions of leadership, personal responsibility, creativity, and professionalism.

The Humanities and Social Sciences curriculum provides students the opportunity to explore and master critical thinking skills, essential for the basis of lifelong learning. Innovative problem-solving skills develop when students engage in a wide variety of learning opportunities and challenges, such as are offered by this department.

To ensure consistency of academic rigor across the curriculum all Humanities and Social Science electives will require students to write an average of twenty (20) pages during the course of the semester and read an average of forty (40) pages per week.

The curriculum typically begins with a two-course English sequence, the purpose of which is to instill in our students the skills necessary to communicate, both orally and in writing, in their classes, in the workplace, and in their communities. Subsequent courses consist of a wide variety of humanities and social science electives that introduce students to the concepts of community, society, and self.

Students are required to complete a minimum 28 credits from department offerings, comprised of the English sequence and five electives in humanities and social science courses, with at least one course from the humanities and one course from the social sciences.


Students must successfully complete an English sequence in order to enroll in humanities and social science electives. What sequence a student must complete is determined by the results of the English Placement Exam (administered online before New Student Orientation) and other standardized testing (such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL). The sequences are:

  • English I (ENGL1100) and English II (ENGL2200)
  • English Language Skills (ENGL0900), English I (ENGL1100) and English II (ENGL2200)
  • English as a Second Language I (ENGL0700), English as a Second Language II (ENGL0800) and ENGL1100 (ENGL1100)
  • Honors English I (ENGL1110), and Honors English II (ENGL2220)


The satisfactory completion of an English sequence is prerequisite to all other courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences department. All day program students must complete 20 credits of elective coursework in these two areas. Because the Humanities and Social Sciences department believes there should be a balance in the student’s program, day program students must take at least:

  • One course in Humanities (prefixes HIST, HUMN, LITR, and PHIL)
  • One course in the Social Sciences (prefixes COMM, ECON, POLS, PSYC and SOCL)

The remaining courses may be from either category.

To complete the Humanities and Social Science graduation requirement, the entire 20 elective credits may not be taken exclusively in Humanities or exclusively Social Sciences. Students whose English sequence requires 3 English courses may use the third English course to satisfy a Humanities Elective requirement.


Communications (PCC)
Leading to a Professional Certificate

The Professional Certificate in Communications (PCC) is designed to further develop communications skills and enhance a student’s value and employability to business, industry, and government. Wentworth undergraduates with at least junior status and an overall GPA of 3.0 may petition the Department Chair for admission to the PCC certificate program. Students accepted for the program must then complete a readmission/change of major form, with the department chair’s signature, and submit it to the Student Service Center.

Required Courses

COMM4102, Introduction to Mass Communication
COMM4112, Social Perspectives of Journalism
COMM4262, Public Relations Writing
COMM4382, Society and Visual Media OR
COMMXXXX, Communication Courses Determined by Humanities and Social Sciences Department

Total credits for certificate 16

Minor – Media, Culture and Communication Studies

The minor in Media, Culture, and Communication Studies (MCCS) provides a focus for students who, while completing their humanities and social sciences elective requirements, are interested in exploring the role of digital technologies in the study of contemporary culture.

To earn the minor, the student must complete two core courses and three elective courses, all with a grade of C or higher.

Electives other than those listed below will be offered as they are developed. MCCS courses will be identified during the registration period.

Core Courses

HUMN4051, Media, Culture, and Communication Studies
HUMN4053, Media, Culture, and Communication Studies Studio

Sample MCCS Elective Courses
(Please note that this list is not inclusive. Available MCCS electives will be noted at registration.)

COMM4112, Social Perspectives of Journalism
COMM4262, Public Relations Writing
COMM4382, Society and Visual Media
HUMN4373, Shakespeare on Film
HUMN4345, History of American Folk Music
HUMN4235, Technical Theater
HUMN4301, History of Motion Pictures
HUMN4241, Graphic Novel to Film
HUMN4221, American Cinema & Culture
HUMN4225, Television Studies
HUMN4243, Contemporary Art & Theory
HUMN4275, Myth America: From Colonies to Culture War
HUMN4231, Film and Literature: Art of Adaptation
LITR4601, Science Fiction & Fantasy
SOCL4212, Art and Technology PLUS
Special Topics Courses Determined by HSS Department

Total credits for minor 20

Minor – Performing Arts

The minor in performing arts is offered through the Colleges of the Fenway, and allows students to explore the performing arts in both academic and performance settings.

To earn the minor, students must complete the following:

1. Five courses, including:
a. Introduction to Performing Arts, offered at Emmanuel College in the spring semester.

b. One course each in music, dance, and theater, for three total courses. The Colleges of the Fenway will provide a list of appropriate courses on their website ( prior to each semester.

c. One upper-level elective course, with appropriate courses also provided via the COF website.

2. Three semesters of participation in an approved performing arts ensemble. The ensembles include but are not limited to: COF Orchestra, COF Chorus, COF Dance Project, COF Theater Project, COF Jazz Band, Emmanuel College Theater Productions, Emmanuel College Perf. Tech. for the Singing Actor, Simmons Concert Choir, and the Wheelock Family Theater.

More information on the Colleges of the Fenway and the performing arts can be found at