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Broad Areas of Human Inquiry

Satisfying the Liberal Learning Breadth Requirement

The Liberal Learning Breadth Requirement provides knowledge in three broad sectors:  Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Quantitative Reasoning.

Each of the three broad sectors of human inquiry is sub-divided into two domains as follows:

Arts and Humanities

  • Literary, Visual and Performing Arts – Domain
  • World Views and Ways of Knowing – Domain

Social Sciences and History

  • Behavioral, Social or Cultural Perspectives – Domain
  • Social Change in Historical Perspective – Domain

Natural Science and Quantitative Reasoning

  • Natural Science – Domain
  • Quantitative Reasoning – Domain

A single course can satisfy only one domain.

There are five ways whereby students can meet the Liberal Learning breadth requirement.  Please consult with your major advisor as to which of these options are available to you.

  1. Menu option (Formerly known as Option C)

Students beginning at TCNJ Fall 2015 or after

Students complete a total of eight courses:  one course in each domain and two additional courses from different broad sectors. First Year Seminar sections do not fulfill any of the six domains, and therefore, do not fulfill any breadth requirement. In satisfying their Natural Science requirement students must take at least one laboratory course.  When two Natural Science courses are taken, they may be in one or two disciplines (unless otherwise specified by major requirements).

Students beginning at TCNJ before Fall 2015

Students complete a total of nine courses:  three courses in each broad sector, with at least one course from each domain. All First Year Seminar sections are designated as meeting one of the six domains, and, therefore, fulfill one breadth requirement. Furthermore, in satisfying their Natural Science requirement students must take at least one laboratory course.  When two Natural Science courses are taken, they may be in one or two disciplines (unless otherwise specified by major requirements).

  1. Interdisciplinary Concentrations (Formerly known as Option A)

Interdisciplinary Concentrations are interconnected sets of at least 6 courses built around a theme or issue.  Interdisciplinary Concentrations will appear on your TCNJ transcript, so it is easy to demonstrate to employers or graduate/professional schools that you have skills and knowledge in the area represented by the concentrations.

Here are some reasons why you might want to consider an Interdisciplinary Concentration:

  • You are interested in one of the themes of the concentrations, but you don’t want to major in that area.
  • You want to acquire skills and knowledge that support your major or career.
  • You want to explore a new area.
  • You like to make connections between different subjects.
  • If your major doesn’t leave you enough room for a minor, an Interdisciplinary Concentrations can function as a minor.
  • If your major does leave you room for a minor, an Interdisciplinary Concentrations can function as a second minor.

To find out what concentrations are available and how to enroll in one, visit the webpage on Interdisciplinary Concentrations.

  1. Dual major (Formerly known as Option A)

Students majoring in education are dual majors, meaning that they complete two majors together. Students must complete at least two courses from each broad sector and one course each in quantitative reasoning and natural science with laboratory.  When two additional courses beyond those included in the two parts of the dual major are required from the same sector, students must select courses with different prefixes. Similarly, if a student needs only one additional course from a sector, its prefix must be different from the other course.

Some education majors must take specific Liberal Learning courses that are required by state licensure requirements.  Please consult your major advisor for guidance on your Liberal Learning requirements.

  1. Double major (Formerly known as Option A)

A double major has a first major and an optional second major.  Students must complete at least two courses from each broad sector and one course each in quantitative reasoning and natural science with laboratory.  When two additional courses beyond those included in the two majors are required from the same sector, students must select courses with different prefixes. Similarly, if a student needs only one additional course from a sector, its prefix must be different from the other course.

  1. Self-designed major or interdisciplinary concentration (Formerly known as Option B)

Students can to create their own second majors or interdisciplinary concentrations.  Students must complete at least two courses from each broad sector and one course each in quantitative reasoning and natural science with laboratory.  When two additional courses beyond those included in the two majors are required from the same sector, students must select courses with different prefixes. Similarly, if a student needs only one additional course from a sector, its prefix must be different from the other course.

To enroll in a self-designed major, a student must secure the sponsorship of at least two faculty members who teach in disciplines included in the proposed concentration.  The student must then submit a formal proposal and plan of studies to Dr. Richard Kamber at rkamber@tcnj.edu, who will meet with the student to work out the details of the proposal.

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