The Sophomore Year
In the sophomore year, students pursue the study of world culture. Students continue their foundation courses and advance to Twentieth Century great works. They may pursue advanced electives in writing and topics based courses. In their sophomore seminars, students learn sophisticated methods of cultural analysis and explore issues facing a particular sector of the globe. The seminars are discussion-based, writing intensive, and interdisciplinary, and require the completion of a significant research project. In addition to the seminars, sophomores also complete required science classes, advisor-approved electives, and intensive language courses in preparation for the junior year of international study.
GLS has a language study requirement as well as a language proficiency requirement. Students must both attain proficiency through at least the intermediate level and study in the language of their junior year site during each semester at the site; in addition, students must have proficiency through the beginning level (normally courses I/II in a sequence, which may be taught in a single intensive semester) before studying at an international site. Thus, a student who does not speak the language of the junior year site host country will be expected to take at least one semester of the appropriate intensive language course before the junior year; one year of the language if it is not offered in intensive format. But regardless of the level of prior fluency, study of the site language must continue in each semester of the junior year as well. Students who already have some level of proficiency in the language of the junior year site will take a placement test and either continue language study at a higher level (for example, in an advanced grammar class and one conversation class) or take one higher level language instruction class and one class taught in the language of the host country. Student who already have advanced or near-native proficiency will take two classes during the junior year taught in the language of the host country. Fluency is established by testing out of the intermediate level (normally, level IV) in the language department's placement test.
The Junior Year
Junior Year promotes active engagement with the culture of the study away site;
• training in methods of site-specific cultural observation; and
• an important site-based complement to the spring online Junior Independent Research Seminar (“Junior Seminar”) that prepares students to undertake the senior thesis or project.
These goals will be met holistically in three classes: Experiential Learning I in the fall; and Experiential Learning II and the Junior Seminar in the spring. The experiential learning sequence in toto is expected to meet the same broad objectives for GLS students at all of the global sites. However, each study away site is in some ways unique in its character and, thus, the means by which any particular site will meet the expectations identified for GLS Experiential Learning will differ. Whatever the local instantiation, students will have independent opportunities to pursue community-based participation and their particular research interests, while producing a substantial independent research essay for the Junior Seminar.
The Senior Year
The senior year provides students with both appropriate course work and opportunities for guided independent research and writing as part of the thesis project. The senior year consists of four major elements: the Senior Thesis; Senior Colloquia that emphasize great works related to the thesis topic; Senior Seminars that use a selection of great works drawn from both traditional and modern global canons to provide a coherent overview of the four years of the program; and Electives specially chosen to complement each student’s individual program and career goals. Students will also have the chance to represent their educational achievements in an innovative and reflective electronic format that they can maintain throughout their four years in the Global Liberal Studies program and then take with them when they graduate.
Throughout each student’s academic career, a distinct thread will emerge based largely on where he or she has chosen to study abroad. The senior year thesis requires in-depth exploration of a subject that is related to both international study and to the body of work already completed in the program. Faculty work closely with each student to integrate all the major elements of the senior year, ensuring an educational experience uniquely tailored to the individual student’s needs and interests.