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The Humanities and Sciences Department at Cornish College of the Arts is committed to helping students understand the social, environmental and cultural contexts that shape and inspire artistic response and expression.

Art is a language...
a way of examining, exploring and translating the experience of human life and the
world beyond.

Sergei P. Tschernisch, President, 1994 – 2011

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. Our aim is to help students connect their evolving knowledge and abilities with their artistic identities and their capacity for civic engagement in the world.

Ultimately, 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 to help students develop the kind of confidence and competence that will serve them well both during and after college, whether in their personal or professional lives.

Students in their first year at Cornish participate in the Integrated Studies Program within Humanities and Sciences. In this year-long interdisciplinary program, students from all departments come together to explore selected topics and work on their writing and presentation skills. In addition to the academic focus of the program, Integrated Studies provides an introduction to college life and learning, acquainting students with the support services offered by the Office of Student Affairs, the Writing Center and Library Services.

Classes are seminar style, engaging students in discussion and analysis as much as possible. Students take an active role in shaping the learning environment of the class and are often involved with other sections of students in group activities. These activities include field trips to local museums or communities, panel discussions, collaborative projects, and writing workshops. By working with classmates from departments other than their own, students have the opportunity to experience the larger Cornish community. The connections they make in their Humanities and Sciences classes during the first year open the door for subsequent artistic collaborations.

After the first year, students may select courses from a wide range of topics spanning the humanities and sciences in both disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies. The flexibility and structure of the curriculum allows students to tailor their course of study to their needs and interests while assuring breadth in their learning.