Courses in the Humanities and Sciences at Cornish provide avenues for students to deepen their knowledge in current areas of interest, as well as sparking new and as-yet-undiscovered questions. Immersed as they are in the innovative and culturally-diverse hub of Seattle, our students craft visual and performing art that explores wide-ranging and current questions spanning fields of study. Our course topics are comparably diverse from environmental science and genealogy, game theory, world traditions of myth, literature, and storytelling, to the legacies of colonialism.
Seminar-style courses are taught by faculty who are accomplished in their fields of academic study as researchers, writers, educators, and artists. They are equally dedicated to fostering students’ intellectual curiosity in the classroom and helping them develop the skill sets necessary for future success. Study in the liberal arts and sciences not only prepares students to be informed and engaged citizens, but helps them develop tools in collaboration, critical thinking, inclusive and cross-cultural problem-solving, and entrepreneurial communication skills.
When students select a Humanities and Sciences course, they’re not just selecting a course of study, but a perspective on the world from which to explore and enrich their artistic practice.
All baccalaureate degree candidates must complete thirty credits in the Humanities and Sciences.
For students in the Visual Arts departments (Art,Design, Film & Media), the Humanities and Sciences are one component of an integrated learning experience. The curriculum is intertwined with studio work and critical/contextual studies via shared program themes and shared learning outcomes. In the first two years, students do directed coursework that introduces them to academic writing and to topics from three different disciplinary domains: the Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences. As students move into their third and fourth years of Humanities and Sciences, they have the opportunity to continue with directed coursework as well as guided inquiry projects.
For students in the Performing Arts departments (Dance, Music, Theater and Performance Production), the Humanities and Sciences program is organized around a first-year Integrated Studies experience, after which students select additional HS coursework from a wide range of disciplines and a variety of interdisciplinary themes and topics. HS elective coursework affords students with the opportunity to focus more closely on specific areas of interest within the HS curriculum. Credits for performing arts students are distributed in the following way:
All performing arts students are required to have at least six credits of college writing in their program and that requirement is either satisfied by successful completion of Integrated Studies in the first year or by completion of coursework in expository writing and research writing or their equivalent.
The Humanities and Sciences Program does not award credit for prior learning experience.
Course descriptions for the current academic year may be found in the catalog
Textbooks for Humanities and Sciences Department classes are available at the following locations.
Individuals are free to purchase new or used books as long as the specific edition guidelines are adhered to. If information for a specific course does not appear, a textbook is either not required or information will be distributed by individual instructors.
Note: It is expected that required texts for individual courses should be purchased prior to the start of each first class meeting. Information regarding additional textbooks, reading material or supplies may be provided at the first class meeting at which time a deadline will be provided (usually within the first two weeks of the semester).
Students will investigate the nature of the physical world through studies in one or more of the following scientific disciplines: environmental science/ecology; human biology and health; physics of light, sound and motion; materials sciences. As a result of their studies, students will be able to:
Students will investigate perspectives from one or more of the following social science disciplines: anthropology, linguistics, sociology, political science, psychology, economics, geography. As a result of their studies, students will be able to:
Students will investigate the nature and meaning of human experience as reflected in one or more of the following humanities disciplines: literary studies, history, philosophy, religious studies. As a result of their studies, students will be able to:
Students will learn to communicate effectively to diverse audiences and for diverse purposes using written, oral, visual, and/or electronic means appropriate to a given context. As a result of their studies, students will be able to:
Students will learn to reason about and solve quantitative problems. As a result of their studies, they will be able to:
Students will learn about the significance of cultural context in relation to artifacts or texts, and in relation to interpersonal, social and political interactions. As a result of their studies, they will be able to:
The Humanities & Sciences Department offers a limited selection of courses during summer term each year. Courses vary annually and may also include 100% online or hybrid/blended courses. Each year, in April, the department posts the summer offerings here and in the college's Schedule of Courses online. Please contact HSdept@cornish.edu for details about current tuition prices, course descriptions, or procedures for registering.
IN-PERSON COURSE: JUNE 19TH-JULY 21ST (5-WEEK SESSION), TWR 9:00-11:50 AM
HS 360 01 LE H
Instructor: Raymond Maxwell
Why do so many people take the trouble to lie? Not just big lies, but little lies as well, that seemingly sprout up throughout the day, like mushrooms in a forest. Do all these lies work to our advantage? Why are we tempted away from being truthful? This course looks at the world of deceits and honesty through authors (Plato, Nietzsche, Confucius, etc), films, professionals (police officers, lawyers, etc), and discussions. We will focus on three basic questions: What is a lie? Is it morally permissible to lie? and What is the value of truthfulness?
ONLINE COURSES: JUNE 19TH-AUGUST 11TH (8-WEEK SESSION)
HS 360 02 DL H
Instructor: Ariel Wetzel
Mutants, zombies, werewolves, vampires, demons, and witches occupy many of the stories in mythology and entertainment. But what can we learn from studying monster narratives as more than mere entertainment? The monster is a pervasive, cross-cultural metaphor to understand the “freaks” who lie outside of our social boundaries. We will critically interpret monstrous figures found in literature and popular culture from Shelley’s Frankenstein to the X-Men.
HS 382 01 DL W
Instructor: Ariel Wetzel
Students will complete two projects designed to develop their skills and confidence as writers. First, students will practice writing in relevant professional genres, such as cover letters, press releases, or social media. For the second project, students will develop their own topic for a claim-based academic paper. A final writing portfolio will showcase writers’ ability to write persuasively for different audiences.
The Humanities and Sciences Department at Cornish College of the Arts is staffed by liberal studies faculty representing a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds. All faculty are deeply committed to teaching, and to helping you develop as a learner while exploring the connections between the arts and the world at large. Our aim is to inspire the habits necessary for life-long learning and to help you develop the kind of confidence and competence that will serve you well both during and after college, whether in your personal or professional life.