Humanities and Sciences


The Humanities and Sciences Department provides a curriculum that engages Cornish students in an exploration of the social, environmental and cultural contexts in which artistic production takes place. The aim of the department is to inspire curiosity about the world, cultivate civic awareness and foster the habits necessary for life-long learning.

Letter from the Chair:

Becoming an educated artist means more than developing deep knowledge and practice in one’s artistic discipline and craft. It means becoming conscious about how that discipline connects with the world at large.  College should not be a departure from but an engagement with the “real world,” the skills, methods and knowledge supplied providing strategies for living and acting in that world. The humanities and sciences provide different frameworks for inquiry and problem-solving, broadening our perspectives and developing our capacities for critical and creative thinking.

At Cornish, we want our students to become artists who are able to negotiate their way in the world, having successfully acquired the communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to do so. Our aim is to inspire the habits necessary for life-long learning and for students to develop the kind of confidence and competence that will serve them well both during and after college, whether in their personal or professional lives.

In order to achieve these aims, our classes are small and seminar style, engaging students in discussion and analysis as much as possible.  Students take an active role in helping to shape the classroom experience, learning to contribute as much as they receive.  Courses are primarily theme based and explore a variety of subjects drawing on time-honored and contemporary topics.

We invite you to explore our curriculum to find out more about our program and offerings.  Feel free to contact the department with any further questions you may have about our classes or instructors.

Chris Kellett
Chair of Humanities and Sciences


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:

  • 12 credits -- Integrated Studies (first year) 
  • 3 credits – Humanities 
  • 3 credits – Social Sciences 
  • 3 credits – Sciences 
  • 9 credits – Humanities and Sciences Electives

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.

Once matriculated into a degree program at Cornish, Humanities and Sciences requirements may not be completed at another institution. The Humanities and Sciences Program does not award credit for prior learning experience.

Humanities & Sciences Course Descriptions

Course descriptions are updated at the beginning of each academic year. This PDF contains the current year’s course descriptions for this program. For previous years, please refer to the online archive of catalogs



All incoming (FALL 2014) Art/Design Foundation students will need to purchase a laptop and software before the start of classes. Provided below is a checklist for you to make sure you have everything you will need.


15” 2.0 GHz Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display and AppleCare extended warranty.

Current retail: $2,348 / Education Discount: $2,138

In order to redeem the education discount you can either take your Cornish Student I.D. with you to an Apple store, or you can purchase directly through the Apple online store, by going to

If you already have invested in a different system or have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Alistair McMeekin (Art Dept) or Eric Holden (Design Dept)


External Hard Drive: G-Tech G-Drive mini, 500 GB portable Hard Drive.
Current retail: $79.09


Adobe Creative Cloud Student and Teacher Edition subscription The price is currently $19.99 a month. Adobe Font folio student/teacher edition - $149.00


Humanities & Sciences Learning Outcomes

Becoming an educated artist means more than developing deep knowledge and practice in one’s artistic discipline and craft. It means becoming conscious about how that discipline connects with the world at large. Working within a liberal studies framework, we expose students to the kinds of questions and exploratory processes that will help them better comprehend the world in which we live.


Faculty & Staff

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. The department is headed by Chris Kellett, Ph.D., who has a background in literature and writing and has worked in higher education for over thirty years. Core faculty include Lauren Basson, Amanda Hill, Erica Howard, Kim Mackay, Tanya Matthews and Raymond Maxwell.


Ranked Adjunct & Adjunct Faculty:

Interim Faculty:

Core Faculty: