A liberal education should include both depth of study in one discipline and breadth of study in several. The required completion of a major fulfills the first requirement. The interdisciplinary concentrations offered at Grinnell provide one way to fulfill the second, for each was conceived as an integral part of a liberal education.
Each recognized concentration includes an organized cluster of courses drawn from several disciplines and related to a common focus of interest. Thus, each provides a structured introduction to a broad area of study while including sufficient flexibility to adapt each program to a student’s particular focus of interest. Each culminates in an interdisciplinary senior seminar in which students and faculty draw upon their work in the several disciplines. In most of the programs, the senior seminar provides time for pursuit of a research topic appropriate to the field and to the student’s level of accomplishment in the relevant disciplines.
Concentrations may be related to a student’s major, but this is not required; when the two are related, up to 8 credits of work included in a student’s major may also be counted toward an interdisciplinary concentration. Completion of a concentration is entered on a student’s permanent record together with the student’s major.
A student who wishes to pursue a concentration is expected to declare his or her intention by the beginning of the third year, but such students should consult with the program chair earlier if possible. A list of courses that fulfill each section of a program, including courses in addition to those shown on the following pages, may be obtained from each program chair.