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2017-2018 Academic Catalog: Department of Humanities & Social Sciences

Ronald R. Bernier, Chair
Beatty Hall, Room 404

Department Vision & Mission Statement

The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences plays a crucial role in the Wentworth undergraduate experience. The goal of the disciplines that our students study is to use 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 that 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 20 pages during the course of the semester and read an average of 40 pages per week.

The curriculum begins with the student’s placement into an 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 of 28 credits from the 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.

English Requirement

Students must successfully complete an English sequence in order to enroll in humanities and social science electives. Which English sequence a student must complete is determined by the results of the English placement process.  Based on the student’s English placement, day students will be required to complete one of the following English sequences:

  • 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, English I (ENGL1100)

Humanities and Social Sciences Elective Requirement

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 a minimum of 28 credits, including English courses, from the Humanities and Social Sciences department. Because the Humanities and Social Sciences department believes there should be a balance of electives in the student’s program, day program students are required to complete: 

  • At least one course in Humanities  
  • At least one course in the Social Sciences  
  • The remaining courses from either the Humanities or Social Sciences 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 three English courses may use the third English course to satisfy a Humanities Elective requirement.

Students in programs with Directed HSS Electives may use the directed elective course(s) to satisfy the Humanities or Social Science as determined by that HSS course.

A minimum of 28 credits total, including English, Humanities, and Social Science credit, is required to complete the Humanities and Social Sciences graduation requirement. 

Minor – Media, and Communication Studies

The Media, and Communication Studies (MCS) minor is aimed at providing a focus for students who, while completing their Humanities and Social Sciences electives, are interested in exploring the role of the digital technologies in the study of contemporary culture. 

MCS Learning Outcomes and Objectives:

  • Project-based experiential learning
  • Facility with interactive digital learning tools and media
  • Familiarity with current and emerging technologies in media and culture
  • Media literacy from written, production, and analytical perspectives
  • Close reading and textual analysis
  • Presentation skills
  • Critical thinking and persuasive writing
Minor Requirements 

To earn the Minor in Media and Communications Studies, students must select from the following courses, as listed below, earning a grade of "C" or better.

2 Required Courses:

  • HUMN4051 – Media and Communications Studies
  • HUMN4053 - MCS Studio

Choose 3 Minor Elective courses when offered. 

  • COMM4102 - Introduction to Mass Communications
  • COMM4112 - Social Perspectives of Journalism
  • COMM4122 - Oral Communication
  • COMM4262 - Public Relations Writing
  • HUMN4373 - Shakespeare on Film
  • HUMN4345 - History of American Folk Music
  • HUMN4235 - Technical Theater
  • HUMN4241 - Graphic Novel to Film
  • HUMN4221 - American Cinema & Culture
  • HUMN4225 - Television Studies
  • HUMN4243 - Contemporary Art & Theory
  • HUMN4275 - Myth America: From Colonies to Culture Wars
  • HUMN4231 - Film and Literature: Art of Adaptation
  • LITR4601 - Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • SOCL4212 - Art & Technology
  • Plus, designated Humanities and Social Science Special Topics (3800) courses when offered for minor

Total credits for MCS Minor 20

Please note that the above minor elective list is not inclusive.  Additional options will be added as new courses are developed in the Media and Communications Study minor.  

Depending upon courses selected for the minor, student will still be required to complete the Social Science and Humanities distribution requirement.

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:
    1. Introduction to Performing Arts, offered at Emmanuel College in the spring semester.
    2. One course each in music, dance, and theater, for three total courses. The Colleges of the Fenway provides a list of appropriate courses on their website ( prior to each semester.
    3. 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