Undergraduate Programs Art School

The Core Program for B.E. and B.S. degree students outside of the College of Arts & Letters

The College of Arts & Letters (CAL) offers a broad education in the liberal arts for every Stevens student. It provides a wide range of introductory and advanced courses in classical disciplines, such as Literature, History, Philosophy, the Social Sciences, Visual Arts, and Music, as well as in interdisciplinary fields such as Science, Technology, and Society and Science Communication. As befits the history and mission of Stevens, the College of Arts & Letters seeks to encounter the traditional humanities, social sciences, and fine arts with questions emerging from science and technology. Interdisciplinary work both across the programs at CAL and other programs at Stevens lets faculty and students realize the potential of traditional and innovative disciplines in the various areas of our knowledge-driven world. Study of the liberal and fine arts is aimed at the development of an open and inquiring mind, and to prepare the Stevens student to confront the world both in a critical way and with empathy and imagination in respect to human concerns. Such preparation requires cultural and historical literacy, a knowledge and appreciation of the rich intellectual, social and artistic heritage of humanity, and a thoughtful examination of its ethical and aesthetic values. A liberal education of this nature also demands the ability to reason clearly and analytically, and to write and communicate effectively. Therefore, the program emphasizes the practical exercise and development of writing and communication skills.

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The Freshman Experience

All incoming freshmen and transfer students are required to take CAL 103, Writing and Communications Colloquium, and CAL 105, CAL Colloquium: Knowledge, Nature, Culture, during their first two terms. Students begin with one of these classes and take the other in the following semester, as placed by the Registrar.

No transfer or Advanced Placement credit is given for either CAL 103 or CAL 105. Such credit may be applied to other CAL courses.

Students who earn a C-, D+ or D in CAL 103 must take CAL 90 - Writing Tutorial in the following semester in order to improve their writing skills; meeting twice weekly for one hour each session, this non-credit bearing course will be graded on a Pass-Fail basis.

All international freshmen are automatically enrolled in CAL 101, English Skills, during their first semester. A language diagnostic is administered on the first day of classes. Students who meet the requirements of the diagnostic transfer immediately to CAL 103 and do not take CAL 101. Students who complete the CAL 101/CAL 103 sequence will take CAL 105 during the first semester of their sophomore year. CAL 101 is a three-credit course, applicable to free elective credits (not CAL/Humanities credits).

Sophomore year and after

After completion of the Freshman Experience, students continue to complete the requirements in the College of Arts and Letters as designated by their school or program. All Stevens undergraduates must complete or receive transfer credit for additional courses on the freshman/sophomore (100/200) and upper-division levels (300/400-level) for their respective B.E. or B.S. degrees.

The number of required additional courses beyond CAL 103/CAL 105 by discipline is:

  • Engineering: 4
  • Sciences/Math: 6
  • Computer Science: 5
  • Technology Management: 3

Beyond CAL 103/CAL 105, students may choose any humanities/social science course that qualifies for humanities credit (the former A/B distinction has been eliminated for students who enroll in or after fall 2011). The following distribution requirements apply: At least one course must be at the 100/200-level and at least one course at the 300/400-level. Courses must cover at least two different disciplines within CAL. These courses may be taken in almost any order, but some upper-division classes in CAL have pre-requisites on the 100/200-level, and some programs strongly encourage students to take a 100/200-level class before undertaking upper-division classes. Students should discuss their study plans with their CAL advisor regularly.

Note: Not all courses offered at the College of Arts and Letters fulfill general humanities requirements. Among these are Art and Music courses, such as studio or lab classes, musical performance groups, internships, and English skills courses. These courses may be taken as free electives in various programs.

Conversely, only classes taught at the College of Arts and Letters or classes approvable for transfer qualify for humanities credits. CAL classes in the humanities and social sciences, and analogous classes in art, music, and theater, typically are designated as writing-intensive and include significant composition and oral communication requirements. CAL classes also may be taken as general education electives in all disciplines as approved by advisors in students' areas of concentration.

The Minor Program at the College of Arts and Letters

Students can obtain a minor at the College of Arts and Letters. They must submit a study plan to their CAL advisor or another faculty member at CAL. Those completing the minor receive a certificate upon graduation. Students have to achieve a C or better in each course of the minor.

CAL minors may be earned in the following disciplines:

  • History
  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • Science Communication
  • Visual Arts and Technology
  • Music and Technology
  • Theater and Technology
  • Gender and Culture Studies
  • Pre-law and Public Policy
  • Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies

The minor requires a total of 9 humanities courses including the Freshman Experience (CAL 103 and CAL 105). Beyond these courses, a minimum of six courses in the minor discipline has to be taken. Depending on the discipline and with the approval of the advisor, these can be

  • one 100/200-level course and five upper-division (300/400-level) courses - OR
  • two 100/200-level courses and four upper-division (300/400-level) courses.

In addition, students must take one upper-division course in a CAL discipline outside the minor field. For a minor in the humanities and social sciences, all courses must qualify for humanities credit. For specific requirements in Science and Technology Studies, Visual Arts, and Music, refer to the respective website or the advisors.

Summary of requirements for CAL minor:

  1. Freshman Experience: CAL 103 and CAL 105
  2. Six classes in the discipline of the minor: one (or two) 100/200-level plus five (or four) 300/400-level courses
  3. One upper division (300/400-level) class outside the minor discipline in another CAL discipline

Writing and Communications

The College of Arts and Letters offers the resources of a Writing and Communications Center (WCC) to help students with their written and oral assignments in all disciplines. The WCC provides tutoring both in groups and on an individual basis. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the various activities of the WCC as much as possible especially when encountering difficulties with writing and communication assignments. Instructors in CAL can make it mandatory for students to have their assignments checked at the WCC before they are submitted for a grade. 

Advanced Placement and Transfer Credit

Working with CAL faculty, the Office of Admissions evaluates AP and transfer credit for incoming students. After that, Stevens students are allowed to transfer credits for two lower- or upper-level humanities courses (a higher number of courses might be transferred from study abroad programs). Courses for transfer credit must be the equivalent of courses at Stevens, including notably requirements for written and oral communication. Credits for courses taken at community colleges will only be given for specific 100/200-level survey courses. Students should get approval from a CAL advisor before taking a course elsewhere in hopes of transfer credit. There is no transfer credit given for on-line courses of any kind. Also, no transfer credit can be given for elementary foreign language courses; however, such language courses may be approved as general electives.

The Single B.A. Degree Program

The College of Arts and Letters at Stevens offers distinctive B.A. and B.S. degree programs in a variety of humanistic and arts disciplines. Successful completion of a degree requires a secondary concentration in another discipline including but not limited to engineering, management, physics, chemistry, computer science, or even another humanistic discipline. This breadth of experience provides students with an opportunity to achieve significant competence in a scientific, technological, or professional field, and prepares them for a variety of careers. Moreover, the comprehensive and rigorous curricula of CAL provide the foundations and expertise necessary for graduate level work in the chosen field of study, or for professional programs in law, medicine, or management.

Students can earn a degree by majoring in one of the following fields of study:

Bachelor of Arts degrees:

  • History
  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences
  • Science Communication
  • Visual Arts and Technology
  • Music and Technology

Bachelor of Science degree:

  • Science, Technology, and Society

Alternatively, an individualized inter-disciplinary B.A. program may be chosen upon approval of the CAL Curriculum Committee.

In the first two years, CAL majors study a common core, starting with the two-course sequence of the Freshman Experience which offers a broad introduction to the humanistic disciplines studied at the College of Arts and Letters, as well as an introduction to academic writing. In addition, CAL majors take a sequence of four classes which cover the traditional humanistic disciplines as they pertain to problems and topics in science and technology. The common core for the first two years consists of the following classes:

  1. CAL Colloquium: Knowledge, Nature, Culture" (Freshman Experience, CAL 105)
  2. Writing and Communications Colloquium (Freshman Experience, CAL 103)
  3. History of Science and Technology (HHS 130)
  4. Introduction to Science and Technology Studies (HST 120)
  5. Images of Science in Literature (HLI 220)
  6. Science and Metaphysics (HPL 112)

In the spring of their junior year, CAL major students take an additional class to complete the common core: CAL Seminar: The Legacy of the Two Culture (CAL 405), a class which reflects both on the division and the similarities that exist between science and the humanities.

Students then take 10 additional classes in their major discipline. The number of classes on the 100/200-level can vary according to the discipline (see distribution requirements). In addition, students have to take two upper-division classes in another CAL discipline outside of their major field.

During their second term, the two areas of concentration have to be identified. The major concentration must be in one of the humanistic fields. For a secondary concentration students may build on the basic courses in computing, mathematics, and science, and draw on the resources and courses available in other departments at Stevens. Secondary concentration programs are available in all the disciplines of the Institute. Alternatively, students may complete a minor in a second field within CAL. Although a limited number of electives is designated for the second concentration, the open electives can be used if greater depth is desired in the field.

In addition, students have to take CAL 301, Seminar in Writing and Research Methods. The class is taken in the first semester of the junior year. It provides the necessary preparation for serious academic work in the last two years, as well as for the senior thesis which is required as a culmination of the major concentration. Alternatively, students can take a research methods class in their disciplines, such as HHS 301, Introduction to Historical Methods. Other discipline-specific classes may be available as well. Students also can take any other upper-division class in their major discipline and use it to fulfill special requirements in research and research writing. The advisor has discretion on which course may be used as a research methods class. A class taken as research methods class must be identified separately on the study plan and may not be declared after the fact. In addition to regular classes, research method classes can be taken either as a class by application or as tutorial.

In addition, students have to take the following classes:

  • CAL 498, Thesis Research (first semester of senior year),
  • CAL 499, Senior Thesis (second semester of senior year, 4 credits)

Both classes require formal registration. Midterm and final grades (P/F) will be given. Students must pass CAL 498 in order to register for CAL 499. If CAL 498 has to be retaken, the completion of the thesis will be postponed for one semester. The sequence of classes is necessary to insure adequate preparation for thesis writing. All graduating CAL majors participate in CAL Senior Design Day and the Stevens Innovation Exhibition (posters or other forms of display).

Overview of required classes for single B.A. or B.S. degree:

  • CAL 103 and CAL 105
  • 5 classes in the common core (HHS 130, HST 120, HLI 220, HPL 112, CAL 405)
  • 10 classes in the major discipline (at least one on the 100/200 level)
  • 2 additional upper-division CAL classes outside of the discipline
  • CAL 301
  • CAL 498 and CAL 499

Students pursue their CAL degrees while also enrolled in courses in computing, mathematics, and the sciences. CAL major students have specific requirements with respect to classes in mathematics, science, and computing. Four mandatory classes have to be distributed in the following way:

  • Mathematics, two classes.
  • Science, one class.
  • Computer Science, one class.

In addition, major students take one Environmental Studies Course and one Global Studies Course. These classes can be chosen from all areas taught at Stevens, including not only the humanities but also engineering, science, technology management, etc. The choice of classes has to be approved by the advisor.

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Science, Technology, and Society additional requirements apply pertaining to classes in mathematics and science. Besides the four classes mentioned above (mathematics, science, computer science), two additional classes from the fields of mathematics, science, computer science or engineering have to be taken. The choice of classes also has to be approved by the advisor.

There are various distribution requirements for the different major classes besides the common core, depending on the discipline. They are as follows (note that classes from the common core are not listed again below):

  • History. Required: one year of a freshman/sophomore history sequence: History of European Society and Culture I & II (HHS 123, 124), United States History until 1865 (HHS 125) and United States History since 1865 (HHS 126); and electives from among the history concentration (American, European, History of Science, and World), selected in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students also have to take the Introduction to Historical Methods (HHS 301).
  • Literature. Required: one year of the freshman/sophomore literature sequence: Western Literature: Classical Literature (HLI 113), Western Literature: Middle Ages to the Present (HLI 114); one class on a major person; one class in American literature; one class in classical-medieval or Renaissance-modern literature; one class in 19th or 20th century literature; one class in non-Western literature. Remaining courses are selected in consultation with your advisor.
  • Philosophy. Required: Theories of Human Nature (HPL 111); Ethics (HPL 339), Social and Political Philosophy (HPL 340), or Aesthetics (HPL 348); Philosophy of Science (HPL 368) or Logic (HPL 442); Theories of Knowledge and Reality (HPL 347), Philosophy of Language (HPL 443), or Philosophy of Mind (HPL 444).
  • Social Sciences. Social Sciences major students choose a concentration in Political Science, Sociology, or Psychology. At least five classes should be taken in the chosen concentration. Remaining courses are selected in consultation with the advisor. At least two of the introductory classes have to be taken: Political Science I: National Government (HSS 127), Introduction to Sociology (HSS 141), Fundamentals of Psychology (HSS 175).
  • Science, Technology, and Society. Required: Introduction to Science and Technology Studies (HST 120), Research and Innovation Policy (HST 360). Remaining courses are selected in consultation with the advisor.
  • Science Communication. Required: Introduction to Science Communication (HST 160), Science and the Media (HST 320), Seminar in Science Writing (HST 401). Remaining courses are selected in consultation with the advisor.
  • Visual Arts and Technology - See web page for details.
  • Music and Technology - See web page for details.

The Double Degree Program

In the double degree program, students can earn a degree while also obtaining another B.A. or a B.S. degree. Students may earn the double degree in four years at no additional cost by maintaining a 2.80 GPA and taking at least two CAL courses each semester, for a total of sixteen courses. See the section entitled "Academic Procedures" in this catalog for more information.

Students may also complete the additional requirements within four years by taking summer or transfer courses. They must complete the sequence and major concentration requirements for the single degree B.A. program, which also include CAL 301, Seminar in Writing and Research Methods; CAL 498, Thesis Research, and CAL 499, Senior Thesis.

The Double Major Program

One degree will be conferred on each student who earns a double major, combining two disciplines in the College of Arts and Letters. Transcripts will designate the two major areas. Possible disciplines include all majors listed above. If the double major contains a major in Science, Technology, and Society students can choose whether the overall degree is a B.A. or B.S., by fulfilling the requirements pertaining to each type of degree.

The seven classes of the common core are counted for both majors. Students then have to take eight additional classes in each major area. No upper-division course may be counted towards both majors. For example: if the first major is in philosophy and the second in history, the two additional upper-division (300/400-level) classes that count toward the major in philosophy must be in a third discipline. The same requirement holds for the combination with interdisciplinary majors, and all other requirements for the single major apply. CAL 301, Seminar in Writing and Research Methods, only has to be taken in one of the major areas.

Students choose in which major to write the B.A. thesis. The second major requires an extra tutorial course in addition to all the other requirements of the major with one of the following options in place of a second thesis:

  • research paper
  • creative project
  • portfolio
  • musical composition or curated exhibit
  • performance
  • other similar project approved and monitored by the student's faculty advisor in consultation with the student

Students may also opt for one thesis that incorporates both majors. This work must be more extensive in length and scope than the single degree thesis, and is subject to the approval of both advisors.