Simmons School of Education and Human Development - Department of Lifelong Learning
David Chard, Dean and Chair
Michele Mrak, Director
Liberal Studies Academic Council, 2009–2010 Associate Professors:
Melissa Barden-Dowling (history), William G. Barnard (religious studies), John Lewis (English), Dennis Simon (political science). Assistant Professors:
Robert Rasberry (management and organizations), Sara Romersberger (theater). Adjunct Professor:
Rick Halperin (history).
Philosophically, the Master of Liberal Studies degree is tied to the earliest ideas of education. In 1852, John Henry Cardinal Newman wrote, in The Idea of a University,
that the liberal education “is simply the cultivation of the intellect, and as such, its object is nothing more or less than intellectual excellence.” Yet in today’s educational milieu, in which most learning is characterized by a rapid ascent on a specialized path that helps individuals achieve professional success, the MLS’s broad-based, interdisciplinary curriculum goes against current trends and returns to earlier concepts of intellectual enrichment. The MLS program offers a multidisciplinary education to college graduates who wish to broaden their understanding of the world and examine new perspectives on issues of cultural, political, scientific and social significance. Students are allowed up to six years to complete the required 36 graduate credit hours through part-time evening study. The curriculum includes courses in the behavioral sciences, fine arts, humanities, science and culture, and social sciences. If there has been a single precept that has most significantly shaped the MLS curriculum, it is that each course must present an idea that is both timeless in nature and socially or culturally relevant.
Behavioral sciences courses examine the individual and his or her behavior in various environmental settings such as family and the workplace. Courses blend psychology, sociology, organizational behavior and anthropology to introduce students to issues in human behavior as it is influenced by cultural values and expectations.
Fine arts courses offer a variety of perspectives on artistic expression throughout history and across cultures. The variety of courses encourages students to study Western and non-Western visual arts, dramatic arts and music within a broad socio-historical context.
Humanities courses offer the broadest possible treatments of literature, philosophy, religion and communications. By connecting the history of human ideas as presented and disseminated through poetry and imaginative literature and the development of religious and philosophical thought, humanities courses provide insight into the nature and development of humankind.
Science and Culture.
Science and culture courses present issues pertaining to health, the environment, the understanding of the natural world and the implications of technological advancement as approached by professors of chemistry, geology, physics and biology. Students find the historical and philosophical approach to these subjects accessible and challenging.
Social science courses provide a blend of history, economics and political science in the study of wealth, power and status. These courses enable the student to step away from the headlines and slogans of the day and take a long look at what it means – and has meant – to be a thoughtful citizen of the world.
The Master of Liberal Studies degree seeks to enroll motivated and enthusiastic students prepared and interested in graduate-level study. All applicants must have a Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an accredited college or university. An official transcript from the school that awarded the degree is required along with a completed application form, application fee, critical analysis essay and two letters of recommendation (preferably one academic and one professional). Personal interviews and resumes are recommended but not required.
Applications will be considered for the fall, summer and spring terms. Applications for MLS admission must be completed and on file in the MLS office at least two weeks before the beginning of the term. A student must receive official acceptance into the program before enrolling in classes. In some cases, a provisional acceptance may be tendered for one term while awaiting the arrival of an official transcript or in other situations in which it is deemed appropriate by the director of the program and/or the dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.
The GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) test is not required for admission. However, admission to the program, based solely on the previous completion of a Bachelor’s degree, is not guaranteed. Admission decisions are made by the dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development based on the applicant’s previous academic record, the level of writing ability demonstrated in the essay and, upon request, an interview with the MLS director and/or the dean regarding the applicant’s academic goals and expectations.
Thirty-six credit hours of approved graduate study normally are completed within six years after beginning the program.
- Students must take two foundational courses within the first 12 hours of their coursework: HUMN 6316/The Human Experience: An Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies (three credits) and a designated three-credit writing-intensive course. It is highly recommended that students take these as their initial courses in the program. These courses may not be waived.
- Students must complete their coursework with at least a B (3.0 GPA) average. All courses attempted for credit on a student’s graduate program must average B (3.0) or better, with no grade less than C (2.0) applying toward the degree.
- Within the 36 hours, students may include up to six hours of transfer graduate credit from another accredited institution or another academic department at SMU. (See below.)
- Within the 36 hours, students may also include up to six hours of independent study. (See below.)
- Students may not take more than three one-credit-hour classes unless special permission is given by the director/dean.
- Students must conclude their degree program with a capstone course or thesis during the last year of the program.
- Students may elect to specialize or concentrate in a particular curricular area through the course of the degree. If a student elects to concentrate or specialize in a specific curricular area, she or he must complete the following requirements: (a) three credit hours for the required introductory course (HUMN 6316: the Human Experience), (b) three credit hours for a designated writing-intensive course, (c) 18 credit hours of approved courses from chosen area of concentration (See director for academic advisement.), (d) three credit hours for the required capstone course/experience and (e) nine elective credit hours. Once the student satisfies the requirements for a given concentration, the concentration area will appear on the student's final transcripts.
In addition to a "self-designed" concentration, the curricular concentrations available in fall 2009 are: the humanities, the arts and cultural traditions, global studies, peace and social justice, and gender studies. Curricular
concentrations that will be available beginning in fall 2011 are: organizational dynamics; communication, media and technology; and environmental sustainability.
The student must file a Petition for Transfer Credit, accompanied by a course description and official transcript, with the MLS office. Transfer credit will be accepted by the dean under the following regulations:
- The course must be compatible with the overall curriculum of liberal studies.
- The course must be graduate level (6000 or above).
- The course must have earned a grade of A or B.
- The course may not have been used in attaining a previous degree.
The course must have been taken within the past six years.
Courses taken prior to matriculation must be approved within one year of beginning the MLS program.
Transfer credit will be considered for study by correspondence or online study on a case-by-case basis.
Students may earn up to six credit hours through independent study in a subject area relevant to the MLS curriculum. Students must first complete the two required courses and must be in good academic standing to be eligible to undertake an independent study. To enroll in an independent study, students must work with an MLS faculty member to define specific course requirements and complete an Independent Study Contract subject to the approval of the director and/or dean. Independent study courses may be taken for one, two or three credit hours. The deadline to submit proposals to the MLS office is at least two weeks before the beginning of the term for which the study is requested. The form is available online in the MLS Forms Library.
Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study
The purpose of the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study is to provide adults the opportunity to pursue advanced studies in the liberal arts in a focused and disciplined manner. The CAGS program encourages in-depth study of a core topic, while drawing upon various disciplines to provide a broad understanding of the subject.
The certificate program is an 18-hour course of study beyond the Master’s degree. With the guidance of a faculty mentor, students select a topic and design a program of study consisting of courses from the Master of Liberal Studies curriculum, departmentally based graduate courses and independent study under the guidance of the faculty mentor. A student’s course of study will conclude with a research paper or creative project.
The course of study as detailed in this catalog must be completed within four years, and students must maintain a 3.5 GPA throughout the program.
A core curriculum of 15 credit hours drawn from:
- The MLS course offerings.
- A maximum of six credit hours in approved departmentally based graduate courses.
- Three credit hours of independent study.
- A capstone seminar (three credit hours) in which students will complete and present their final paper, project or creative work.
This program is designed primarily for MLS graduates who wish to pursue advanced graduate work. Other applicants must have a Master’s degree in the arts/fine arts, humanities or social sciences, with a GPA of 3.5. The completed application for admission must be accompanied by:
- A 750-word draft proposal that identifies the student’s interest area, purposes for advanced study, previous study or background knowledge of the topic and a tentative course of study. This document will be used by the dean to determine whether the student’s study proposal is appropriate for the program and, upon acceptance, will be used as a working proposal for the introductory seminar.
- Official transcripts from SMU’s Master of Liberal Studies program or another graduate program.
- $75 nonrefundable application fee.
Liberal Studies Courses
BHSC 6110. The Articulate Voice.
This short course is designed to help the student understand and practice the vocal skills that contribute to an effective and pleasant speaking voice, focusing on the processes underlying speech production: projection, articulation and resonance. The emphasis in this class is not on what is said, but on how it is said. This is a skills course. Students are graded on individual performances, development, class participation and improvement. Students present two oral presentations along with some written work. (one credit hour)
BHSC 6115. Classic Texts in the Behavioral Sciences.
This one-hour course focuses the student's attention on a single, seminal text in the behavioral sciences through close, directed reading, seminar discussion and a final paper. Texts and topics change each term. Topics include, but are not limited to, Five Lectures in Psycho-Analysis
by Sigmund Freud and The Prehistory of Egypt
BHSC 6301. Sexual Minorities: Issues in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Communities.
This course focuses on understanding the health and psychosocial factors associated with sexual minorities, primarily in the United States. It explores the construct of the sexual minority and its development primarily in the West and surveys ethnic diversity issues within gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities as well. Students will identify and discuss health-related behaviors and psychosocial issues that GLBT community members must learn to navigate to achieve wellness in the 21st century.
BHSC 6314. Native American Heritage of North America.
This course provides an anthropological consideration of the historical and cultural background of the native peoples of North America. It gives emphases to the nine major native culture areas of the continent and the role their heritage plays in their participation in modern American life.
BHSC 6315. The Lively Mind: Creative and Critical Thinking.
This course explores ways to develop intellectual powers through a twofold approach: 1) an examination of the biological and historical evolution of the human mind and 2) the development of perception, memory, imagination and judgment.
BHSC 6319. Professional Ethics and Organizational Responsibility.
Students study ethical issues connected with organizational management. This course is designed to develop the student's capacity to recognize and reason through such issues. The cases and readings integrate ethical reflection and decision-making. The materials are selected because of their topical relevance to contemporary managers, curricular relevance to liberal studies and conceptual relevance to applied ethics.
BHSC 6320. Organizational Leadership.
Describing and analyzing a wide variety of different theoretical approaches to leadership, this course gives special attention to how each theory can be, or has been, employed in real-world situations. Special application is made through the readings of contemporary leadership books, classic cases and great films.
BHSC 6322.Psychology of Mind, Body and Health.
This course explores the relationship between emotions and illness and the role of psychological factors in health and illness. As an introduction to major concepts and issues in the field of health psychology, methods of coping with and treating illness are discussed.
BHSC 6324. Language, Culture and Beliefs.
All humans have an innate, biological ability to acquire language, and they usually take that ability for granted and overlook its true power. The course examines assumptions about the relationship between language, culture and belief. It seeks to illustrate how language is manipulated to maintain and manufacture status. It explores disparities regarding gender, class and race and studies power and ideology in the information age.
BHSC 6325. Anthropology of Speech and Body Language.
This course examines in depth the two major systems of communication upon which human interaction is based – language and nonverbal communication – and explores their use in daily life.
BHSC 6326. Communication and Persuasion.
This course analyzes nonverbal communication's role in structuring experiences and in shaping interactions with and understanding of others. Topics include the effects of space, time, body movements, environment, objects and voice quality on human communication. Persuasive communication ideas and issues are discussed – including modern mass media, classical foundations of persuasive communication theories and the ethics of persuasion.
BHSC 6363. The Immigrant Experience.
This course provides an interdisciplinary approach to immigration in the United States. It explores the historical, ethical, social, cultural, legal and political dimensions of the immigrant experience as well as America's ambivalent and changing attitudes toward the immigrant. It begins with an examination of the peopling of America before the Civil War and concludes with discussion and analysis of current waves of immigration. Questions addressed include the causes of migration, the growth of ethnic communities, the role of women, bilingual education, illegal immigration and America as a multicultural society.
BHSC 6371. Cognition: How We Think and Learn From Infancy to Aging.
This exploration of the mind is divided into three parts: cognitive development, memory and aging. The course examines the evolution of thought, knowledge and memory, from infancy until death. Lecture and discussion address what processes transform the brain and mind of a newborn into that of an adult, what infants and children know, where children's ideas come from, and how intellectual functioning changes with age.
BHSC 6372. Psychology of Aging.
This course provides a balanced overview of health and aging, distinguishes aging facts from myths and explores the physiological and psychological processes of aging from middle age through old age.
BHSC 6398. The Child in Contemporary Society.
Normal child development stages, both psychological and physiological, are the focus. The course includes discussion of the impact of societal changes, such as family disharmony, divorce and remarriage, drug and alcohol abuse, and the influence of media. Special emphasis is given to the changing role of the school and public policy in the life of the child.
FNAR 6115. Classic Works.
This course focuses on a single, seminal text or work of art in music, drama or the visual arts through close, directed reading and seminar discussion. Topics can vary each term. One study begins with the premise that there are more ways than one to "read" a painting by considering a variety of different scholarly interpretations of Manet's major painting, Bar at the Folies-Bergere
. Critical readings are supplemented by background lectures on Manet's significant place in the movements of realism and impressionism.
FNAR 6201, 6101. Art and Architecture in Hispanic New Mexico.
(held on SMU's campus near Taos, NM
) Students are given a unique opportunity to study the artistic and cultural legacies of colonial New Mexico: pueblo life and architecture, Spanish town planning and church design; retablos, santos and their role in traditional religious experience; and art in the secular life of towns and haciendas of colonial and republican New Mexico. Students take field trips to galleries, collections and historical sites of northern New Mexico. They become familiar with the important architectural monuments and museum collections of the area, such as the Taos and Santa Fe area museums, the plaza and the church of Taos pueblo, and the churches of Chimayo and Santa Cruz de la Canada. They also sharpen their ability to "see" and "read" visual objects and built spaces as artworks and works of architecture. Note: FNAR 6101 is the writing component of FNAR 6201, which involves a paper that is submitted after the trip. Students enrolling in this course for credit must enroll in both FNAR 6201 and FNAR 6101 for a total of three credit hours.
FNAR 6301. Action! The Practice of Dramatic Writing.
Students participate in a hands-on writing course that focuses on basic requirements for dramatic writing (film, theater and solo performance): action, dialogue and narrative. Geared for both beginners and people already writing screenplays or plays, students will learn through a series of in-class exercises and homework writing assignments how to both "start from scratch" or rewrite a work in progress. Scenes from classic plays will be studied and emulated.
FNAR 6302. Black Aesthetic in the Visual Arts.
This course explores the tenets of the black aesthetic as defined by the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and how this movement influenced African-American contemporary and post-modern visual art. It contextualizes the development of the black visual arts aesthetic within the black cultural revolution throughout the United States from 1966 through 1979. Students discover the roots of the Black Arts Movement through the visual art of the Harlem Renaissance/New Negro period and delineate the ideological differences held by artists working during these two eras. They also investigate the role that artists from other creative disciplines, such as literature, music and theater, played in shaping the development of a black aesthetic in the visual arts.
FNAR 6309. Art of the Renaissance in Italy.
This course explores painting, architecture and sculpture during the Italian renaissance from its beginning in the early 14th century through the high renaissance in the 16th century. Major artists and their works are discussed within their cultural contexts, and focus is given to technique, stylistic influence and iconographical developments.
FNAR 6311. Etruscan Art and Archaeology.
) This course surveys the art and society of the Etruscans and other peoples of ancient Italy from the beginning of the Iron Age to the Roman conquest. Topics, which are studied in their geographical and cultural context, include Etruscan cities and cemeteries, architecture, tomb painting, sculpture and metalworking.
FNAR 6312. Art and Architecture of Ancient Pompeii.
This course surveys the history, monuments and society of ancient Rome from about 300 B.C.E. to A.D. 79, as reconstructed from the excavations of Pompeii, Herculaneum and other cities and sites of ancient Camoania.
FNAR 6314. Arthur Miller: Art, Activism and Life.
Arthur Miller was, arguably, one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th century. In addition, he was a prolific essayist, often addressing political and social issues, as he did in his collection On Politics and the Art of Acting.
The course examines Miller's art through a variety of plays, including All My Sons
, Death of a Salesman
and The Crucible;
and it examines his activism and social conscience through his writing on the subject and his life experiences, such as his stand against the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1957.
FNAR 6315. The Owl and the Nightingale: Sacred and Secular Music in Medieval France.
This course considers sacred and secular modes of music making in medieval France within appropriate social and political context. Plainchant is considered as an outgrowth of liturgical and artistic life within monasteries and cathedrals; secular music, such as that of the troubadours and writers of motets, is considered within the ambiance of French courts and cities.
FNAR 6316. On Being Funny: Physical Comedy and Beyond.
This class explores the roots of comedy and asks what it is – historically as well as currently – that makes people laugh. Using Commedia dell'Arte and the European clown as a basis, the class researches and recreates physical comedy from its classical expressions to modern versions in film and television. Individual performance assignments complement the research and scholarship of the course.
FNAR 6318. Women in American Theatre: Actresses, Playwrights and Directors.
Throughout the history of American theater, women have made significant contributions as actresses, playwrights, directors and managers. Despite this, most of this history has been invisible or defined as "exceptional." This course examines the influence and impact of women artists in the development of American theater as aesthetic, cultural and economic phenomena. Students attend live productions and view filmed plays from female theater artists as available; in-class visits from local or national female artists are arranged when possible.
FNAR 6319. Theater Live and Local: A Performance Seminar.
This course provides a study of contemporary and traditional theater performance that strives to enhance students' understanding and appreciation of theater performance, their critical judgment and vocabulary, and their ability to place a performance in a historical/cultural context. Seminar work is based on attendance of live, local theater productions as assigned by the instructor.
FNAR 6320. Mummies, Myths and Monuments: Egypt of the Pharaohs.
This course provides an overview of Egyptian art against its cultural background from the formation of Pharonic Egypt through the height of the New Kingdom. Aspects of applied technology, social and religious issues, and political matters of ancient Egypt are considered, concentrating on the vibrancy and meaning of art as a reflection of social and religious practice.
FNAR 6321. Great Books of Art History.
This course provides an introduction to the profound, humane and entertaining scholarship of art history through the principal movements, methods and writings of the 20th century. Emphasis falls on theory and practice of the discipline, but the course is tailored for students who love to read and showcases a selection of influential, topical and elegantly written books and articles. Through such topics as the biography of the artist, philosophies of art, connoisseurship and historicism, and modernist, feminist and other current critical modes, the student is encouraged to formulate his or her individual place and voice in this evolving humanistic discipline.
FNAR 6322. Modern Movements in European and American Painting.
Beginning with realism and impressionism, this course traces the development of the avant-garde through such "modern" styles as expressionism, cubism, futurism, Dadaism, surrealism, abstract expressionism, pop and op art, and photo realism. Readings about the works of representative artists and critics are stressed.
FNAR 6323. Modern Painting in France.
) This course takes students on an art history tour to France. The tour explores modern French painting and the significant contributions of realism, impressionism, post-impressionism, fauvism, cubism and the nonobjective. All lectures are delivered on site, explaining the works of Courbet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Pissarro, Cezanne, Ganguin, van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Kandinsky, Mondrian and other artists. Highlights include special visits to artists' studios and residences. A research paper is required to receive credit for the course.
FNAR 6330. Social and Musical History of the Symphony Orchestra.
This non-theoretical course investigates the historical background of the modern symphony. Students are introduced to important orchestral works and movements from the 17th century to present. The course also examines the construction of the symphony orchestra as a cultural institution.
FNAR 6337. Imagining Reality: History and Aesthetics of Nonfiction Film.
This course explores the issues and concepts of nonfiction film, using work from a variety of cultures and styles, and including issues of sponsorship and distribution. The course presents an historical overview of the genre from the silent film era to the new social documentaries. Students gain an increased understanding of the filmmaker's decisions concerning style, camera angle and other techniques, as well as increased awareness of social, ethical and legal issues surrounding documentary films.
FNAR 6339. Mortals, Myths and Monuments: Art and Culture of Ancient Greece.
This course is designed to familiarize the student with the primary concepts inherent in ancient Greek art and literature as seen through their cultural contexts. Delving into the works of Greek philosophers, painters and architects, the course is designed to establish, to a large extent, the foundations of Western civilization.
FNAR 6340. Greek Odyssey.
This course provides students with a visual analysis of the rich tapestry of ancient Greek culture, while visiting museums and archaeological sites, with an emphasis on the mythological, archaeological and historical settings in which the art and architecture were created. The course touches on various aspects of ancient Greek life, including religion, Olympic contests, theatrical performances, political developments and artistic expression.
FNAR 6342. Conservation and Preservation: Etruscan Archaeology in Italy.
) Students get first-hand experience in excavating an important Etruscan site, Poggio Colla, just northeast of Florence. MLS participants join other faculty and students at this ongoing dig and are housed on site in a converted farmhouse. Archaeologists, art historians, conservators and other professionals instruct participants in the cultural heritage of Tuscany, the archaeological process, and conservation and preservation techniques. Side trips to Rome and Florence introduce students to local museums of Etruscan art.
FNAR 6380. Music, Society and Politics in 19th Century Paris.
This course examines the roles played by music in Parisian society between the years of 1789 and the first World War. In 19th century France, music was both a passive and an aggressive force in the unfolding of political agendas, social stratification, religious empowerment and the struggle for national identity. Selected musical works that were performed in Paris and their performers, performance spaces and audiences are considered. Neither previous musical knowledge nor the ability to read music notation is necessary.
HUMN 6106. Reading Darwin: His Major Works.
What was the uproar about? When Darwin published On the Origin of Species
in 1859, his book was greeted with a mixture of shock, consternation and delight by various sectors of the reading public. This Classic Texts course assumes that before students react to Darwin's arguments, it's a good idea to have read the essential portions of On the Origin of Species
and its sequel, The Descent of Man
(1871). Students will examine the care with which Darwin builds his case for speciation through natural selection and also respond to his profound and moving vision of the world of living beings.
HUMN 6115. Classic Texts in the Humanities.
This one-hour course focuses the student's attention on a single, seminal text in the humanities through close, directed reading, seminar discussion and a final paper. Texts and topics change each term. Topics include, but are not limited to: Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
; Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamozov
; Whitman, Leaves of Grass
; Melville, Billy Budd
; Proust, Swann's Way
; Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
; Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
; Poe, The Short Fiction of Edgar Allen Poe
; andWelty, The Short Fiction of Eudora Welty
HUMN 6115. Classic Text: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Twain's fiction marks a watershed in American literature, breaking with the past influence of British and European literature and creating distinctly American writing. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
reflects many of the forces at work in American society: clashes of races and financial classes, questions about humanness, conflicts between what is right and what is legal, and the nature of "goodness." It establishes features that were rapidly becoming characteristic of American literature: journey as the basis of plot, vernacular and dialect, ruse and frontier humor, and initiation as a dominant theme. Rereading Huckleberry Finn
as an adult offers unique insights into how a literary work changes as readers mature.
HUMN 6115. Classic Text: Edgar Allan Poe.
Edgar Allan Poe defined the short story as fiction that conveys a single impression and can be read in one sitting. In his poetry, essays and fiction, he demonstrates a mastery of focus and detail that intrigues readers and instructs writers. His model of detective fiction and his depiction of psychological states foreshadowed the works of Conan Doyle, Sigmund Freud and Stephen King. Poe's tragic life and the dramatic content of his fiction often overshadow the artistry of his work that close reading reveals. This seminar focuses on his fiction techniques for insights into creating plot, economy of narration and reader impact.
HUMN 6204, 6104. Sacred Places and Spiritual Practices.
(held on SMU's campus near Taos, NM
) Students get a first-hand glimpse into several aesthetically beautiful, and spiritually potent, sacred places in the area around Taos– places where the spiritual disciplines of numerous religious traditions flourish. They will travel to, and participate in, the religious/spiritual life of the following: the Monastery of Christ in the desert in Abiquiu, the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram in Taos, the Hacienda de Guru Ram Das in Espanola, the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram in Crestone and the Crestone Mountain Zen Center. They will also have the opportunity to participate in an authentic sweat lodge ceremony, led by Herman Quinones, a traditional native American healer, in a stunningly beautiful and remote location. They can take advantage of a experiential and interactive learning style with many opportunities for small group discussions with representatives of each of the spiritual centers. At each site (and while traveling to these sites), there will be prolonged periods of personal engagement with the practices that are central to each tradition (such as chanting, group recitation of sacred texts, selfless service, prayer, yoga, meditation and silent contemplation). They will also read and discuss The Power of Now
by Eckart Tolle and a handout of short readings on the role of various pertinent spiritual practices. In addition, they will have time to reflect and journal on a daily basis about their experiences. Note: HUMN 6104 is the writing component of HUMN 6204. A 15–20 page research paper is submitted after the trip. Students enrolling in this course for credit must enroll in both HUMN 6204 and HUMN 6104 for a total of three credit hours.
HUMN 6205, 6105. Women and the Southwest.
(held on SMU's campus near Taos, NM
) When female artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe and writers such as Mabel Dodge Luhan, Willa Cather and Mary Austen arrived in the Taos area, they declared that this was the place where they as women, the intellectual artistic community and even civilization could begin again. The environment will be the classroom as students explore what, for example, inspired Mabel Dodge Luhan to lure the New York intellectual community including such notables as D.H. Lawrence and Ansel Adams to New Mexico. They will tour the Taos pueblo and the house Mabel Dodge Luhan constructed with Tony Luhan, a Pueblo Indian, with whom she made a scandalous marriage, which she dreamed would be the uniting of two civilizations. They will explore Indian ruins that resemble those in which Willa Cather claims to have been reborn. They will go to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and explore the country that so enthralled O'Keeffe. They will read, look, imbibe and soar. Students enrolling in this course for credit must enroll in both HUMN 6205 and HUMN 6105 for a total of three credit hours.
HUMN 6306. Major Philosophers of the 19th Century.
This course studies the life, thought and significance of major philosophers of the 19th century, including: Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Marx in Europe; Bentham and Mill in Britain; and Peirce and James in America. The course aims to develop the student's critical assessment of these philosophers' arguments and influence.
HUMN 6307. Etruscan Art and Archaeology.
This course surveys the art and society of the Etruscans and other peoples of ancient Italy from the beginning of the Iron Age to the Roman conquest. Students study topics in their geographical and cultural context, including Etruscan cities and cemeteries, architecture, tomb painting, sculpture and metalworking.
HUMN 6308. Women's Lives and Women's Literary Tradition.
This course examines classic texts in the American and British women's literary tradition. Students focus on how texts reflect the ideals and conflicts in the portrayal of women's lives, and the course is organized in stages from childhood to old age. Students are introduced to selected modes of literary theory as a context for reading women's literature. Authors include Alcott, Morrison, Austen, Charlotte Bronte and Eliot.
HUMN 6310. "Tell About the South": Voices in Faulkner's Novels.
William Faulkner's novels belong to the tradition of "Southern Gothic," but their material is typically presented through the multiple voices of conflicting narrators. This course confronts Faulkner's modernist "difficulty" through the exploration of several novels, focusing on their value for students as readers and citizens. Works include: The Unvanquished
, As I Lay Dying
, The Sound and the Fury
, and Light in August
HUMN 6313. Shakespeare, From Page to Stage.
It takes imagination to invest an armchair reading of a play with immediacy. Conversely, "live" Shakespeare can baffle those unfamiliar with the text. This course examines the dynamic relationship between text and stage. Students view and read examples of the major Shakespearean genres, including comedy, tragedy, history and romance. Readings are based to some extent on live productions available in the Dallas area.
HUMN 6316. The Human Experience: An Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies.
Students examine issues of human existence using interdisciplinary perspectives, primary readings, large group presentations and discussion groups. They learn the various disciplines of human thought and problems, and they contribute to the overall knowledge of the many ways in which humans try to understand themselves and the world around them. They study what it means to be human including a consideration of the nature of products of human activity and the world in which humans find themselves. They also take a close look at the human condition and human creations such as social institutions, art and literature, and science.
HUMN 6317. Heroes and Heroism.
The hero (either male or female) is a mythical construct through which a society embodies its values, transmits them to the young and celebrates what it wishes to believe about itself. The course begins with the classical or Greek conception of the hero and the Hebraic-Christian ideal. It then examines how these traditional views of the hero were modified in the Middle Ages by the writers of the tales of chivalry and romance. Shakespeare's Hamlet
is read as the embodiment of the Renaissance idea of the hero. Works by Shaw, Woolf and Camus grapple with the modern and contemporary question of heroism.
HUMN 6318. Americans in Paris: The Lives and Literature of the "Lost" Generation.
After World War I, American artists and writers poured into Paris, and the friction between the two cultures sparked some of the great arts and letters of the 20th century. This course examines works by these expatriate, their influential precursors and their European contemporaries. In the process, the course examines modernism and its major works in painting, science, philosophy and music.
HUMN 6319. Ethics and Literature.
Because of their complexity and density, literary works are fruitful texts for the study of moral philosophy. The works studied in this course evoke questions about individual responsibility, free will, the nature of evil and the resolution of conflicting moral claims. The course examines a variety of literary works in the context of such traditional philosophies as utilitarianism and Kantianism.
HUMN 6320. Jewish American Literature.
From the Yiddish literature of the European shtetl
through Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg and the greatness of such writers as Bellow, Malamud and Roth, this course is an exploration of the themes, issues and development of Jewish American literature. Course units include immigrant literature from the turn of the century, American Jewish responses to the Holocaust and modern interpretations of ancient themes. The course also addresses the particular issues that arise in studying any distinctive cultural/ethnic literature.
HUMN 6321. Marcel Proust and the Modern Tradition.
This interdisciplinary course examines modernism through the lens of Proust's In Search of Lost Time
. By reading carefully chosen excerpts from this monumental literary work, the course traces the arc of modernism, pairing Proust's literary evocations with major modernist movements in painting, science, music and contemporaneous literature.
HUMN 6322. Making Sense of the American Spiritual Landscape.
The American spiritual landscape is quickly changing, shaped by trends, both old and new, that have left their marks on the way in which people understand and practice their faith. This course is designed to provide an understanding of the most significant trends affecting American spirituality today, as well as a theological, conceptual and historical framework in which to consider them. Among the topics are: separation of spirituality from theology and religion, diversity and fragmentation in the spiritual communities, and changing attitudes toward authority and individualism in religion.
HUMN 6323. Psychological and Religious Significance of Dreams.
Do dreams contain important insights, and even messages, about human life and destiny? Or, are they merely accidental byproducts of brain activity, of no real importance to the psyche and to human development? This course explores the meaning of dreams in human experience, with particular attention to the integration of psychological and religious understanding of dream material. This study includes a close look at what several orientations in psychology, and one ancient religious tradition, have to say about the significance of dreams in human experience. Opportunities are provided for students to learn basic principles of dream interpretation, which they can apply to their own dreams.
HUMN 6324. Evil and the Concept of God.
This course provides an in-depth scrutiny of both classic and contemporary discussions of evil, a problem judged to be a central issue in philosophy of religion and in theology. Attention also is paid to thinkers who sought to deny or evade the problems of evil.
HUMN 6325. Women in Modern Literature and Film.
The course examines the representation of women in modern literature and film from the turn of the century to the present. The course begins with late 19th century works by Chekhov and Ibsen and discusses how these works present a crisis in the cultural context of woman's traditional role. It also examines how women writers from Europe and the United States have struggled against narrow gender definitions in their writings and have tried to define women as active, autonomous and intelligent beings. The course also looks at how women are represented in more recent European films that deal with the legacy of national socialism and that pose the question of women's historical agency.
HUMN 6328. The Muse in Arms: War and the Literary Imagination.
A survey of writing about war from Homer to O'Brien, this course examines changing attitudes toward war as a human activity and confronts the perennial problem of rendering "extreme" experience in accessible terms. The course encourages critical thinking about the cost of war and the moral dimensions of conduct in wartime.
HUMN 6330. Wit and Humor in African-American Literature.
The goals of this course are to reach a better understanding of the aesthetics, cultural/historical experiences and literary conventions of African-American writers. The focus is on traditional wit and humor in the selected works. Authors include traditional writers such as Hurston and Hughes, and contemporary writers such as Toni Morrison, J. California Cooper and Ishmael Reed. Since African-American literature is based on oral tradition, students are expected to present individual readings/performances.
HUMN 6335. The Bible and Literary Creation.
This study approaches the Bible from the standpoint that it is, among other things, a literary anthology, providing its readers with a cosmic vision and models of literary forms. In that sense, it is both a product of, and a means of stimulating, the imagination. The course aims to raise biblical literacy and awareness of the presence of the Bible in English and other Western literatures.
HUMN 6336. Searching for Humanity: Aliens, Humans and Machines in Science Fiction.
This course examines science fiction works that go beyond entertainment to provide a vital "literature of ideas" through which students may consider a variety of practical and ethical questions facing the post-industrial world. Through a variety of novels, films and short stories, the course focuses on the question of what it means to be human in relation to the alien/other and the alien/machine. Authors include Lem, Heinlein, Le Guin, Dick, Gibson and others.
HUMN 6338. The Fire of Transformation: Exploring the Mystical Life.
In this course students explore how certain individuals throughout the world and during different periods of history came to have powerful and transformative spiritual experiences. Students carefully examine the ways in which different religious traditions understand mysticism. They investigate a variety of spiritual techniques designed to catalyze, deepen and stabilize these alternate levels of consciousness. Students delve into philosophical and social-scientific analyses of the dynamics of mystical states of awareness, and they probe the metaphysical, ethical and psychological implications of mysticism in the modern world.
HUMN 6340. Psychoanalysis and Religious Belief.
This course is an exploration of the origins and development of individuals' religious beliefs about the ultimate source(s) of power, meaning and value in and beyond the cosmos. Particular attention will be given to the appraisal of several classical and contemporary psychological interpretations of the functions that such beliefs serve in human beings' quest for mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. The course will focus especially on psychoanalytic thought, both Freudian and post-Freudian.
HUMN 6341. Ethical Implications of Children's Literature.
The course examines a wide range of children's literature, both historical and current, with an emphasis on building an adult understanding of the moral and cultural themes in these works. Issues of colonialism, race, ethnicity, gender and class are confronted, and students become acquainted with different approaches to children's literature by using a variety of literary criticism.
HUMN 6342. The Spiritual Vision of Jesus
. This course attempts to define the spiritual vision of Jesus as it can be reconstructed from New Testament texts. Attention is given to methodological challenges, the shape of Second Temple Judaism and other issues of relevance, including the attitude of Jesus toward the temple, law and prayer. The course considers recent scholarship from the Jesus Seminar and the search for the historical Jesus, as well as how these considerations impact the contemporary view of Jesus and spirituality.
HUMN 6344. The Kabbalah and Jewish Mystical Tradition.
This is a historical overview of the Jewish mystical tradition, commonly known as the Kabbalah, from its inception in the biblical times (or, more precisely, in the period when the Bible was written) until the end of the 18th century. By reading and discussing the primary texts that have been most influential in shaping this tradition, the course examines how the esoteric experiences and otherworldly journeys of the mystics reflected the condition and needs of the Jewish community, helping it to sustain its identity and to affirm, develop and hone its beliefs and practices. Unraveling the highly symbolic, metaphoric and allusive language of the mystical literature, students plumb its sometimes outlandish, but invariably fascinating, ideas about the structure of the godhead and the human soul, about creation and end-time, good and evil, sin and repentance, suffering and redemption, angels and demons, and much more.
HUMN 6346. Shakespeare's Cultural Productions.
In this course. students study a number of the sonnets and plays of Shakespeare in relation to the contexts of their production – that is, to the political, social and economic conditions of their times. Initial reading of selected sonnets leads to analysis of a number of major plays, a study involving issues of political, social, racial, familial and sexual identity. In pursuit of an understanding of how staging and performance inflect these issues, students view selected films and read a variety of cultural texts, ranging from contemporary history to city of London statutes to travel narratives, in order to engage with the idea of the theater as an important institution of cultural production.
HUMN 6349. King Arthur's Britain: Landscapes, Legends and Literature.
This course explores the physical and cultural world surrounding the legend of King Arthur. Beginning with the basic themes and motifs of the Arthur story as recorded in literature, the course considers social and cultural geography in which these stories are set to reach a better understanding of what King Arthur has meant to the land he was supposed to save.
HUMN 6350. The Art of African-American Storytelling.
The course is designed to establish the traditional roots of African-American storytelling. In tracing the roots of African-American storytelling from Africa through the diaspora, students examine the survival, uses and importance of verbal arts in the African-American culture. The course also allows examination of cultural clashes between descendents whose experiences are disparate: one group dominated by respect for oralities and the other dominated by reliance on authorized written texts.
HUMN 6351. Interpretation and Performance of African-American Poetry.
The course is designed to extend the student's knowledge and awareness of the African-American literary, aesthetic and folk traditions. Historical, political and sociological factors are strong influences in African-American poetry. Therefore, selected poets are chosen from early to contemporary periods.
HUMN 6352. Interpretation of Folklore in African-American Fiction.
This course examines selected African-American novelists whose works are strongly influenced by the legacy of the African oral tradition. Students are required to engage in lively discourse and acquire basic performance skills from selected readings.
HUMN 6354. Remembering the Sixties: Culture and Change.
Was it the decade that America came unraveled, or was it the dawning of the Age of Aquarius? This course examines eyewitness accounts, participants' recollections, and fictional and film representations of the nation's most controversial decade in order to discover how mass media influence cultural perceptions and how later commentators on this era have constructed nostalgic or demonized versions as ammunition in continuing contests over values.
HUMN 6356. Oral Interpretation of Literature.
This course introduces the student to the study of literature through performance. Based on the assumption that performance is a method of understanding and enjoying literature, the student participates in performance readings of prose, poetry and dramatic literature. Written work is assigned, but the focus of this course is on the discovery and exploration of literature through the medium of vocal and physical performance.
HUMN 6358. Trances and Dances: Investigations Into Aboriginal Religious Life.
This course is designed to introduce students to the religious beliefs and practices of several non-Western (or pre-Western) cultures, such as the Australian aboriginals, African tribal peoples and native North and South Americans. Through readings, videos, lectures, classroom discussion and in-class activities, students examine such phenomena as spirit possession, sacrifice, masks, shamanism, out-of-body experiences, spiritual healing, visions and pilgrimage; they delve into the psychological and social functions of trance, exorcism and magic; they explore the problems and possibilities of cross-cultural religious contact; and they search out the hidden meanings of myths and dreams.
HUMN 6359. Etruscan Art and Archaeology in Italy.
) Students learn about art, conservation, archaeology and cultural history in one of the most beautiful regions of Tuscany. They spend two weeks with archaeologists, art historians, conservators and other professionals at an ongoing archaeological research project in Italy, the largest of its kind in the Mediterranean.
HUMN 6360. Philosophers Examine Religion I.
From antiquity to the present, philosophers have studied religion seriously. Doing so has produced a significant literature worthy of careful reading and reflection. This two-part course studies the thought of notable philosophers about religion and its claims. Part I begins with the in-depth study of the four classical arguments for the existence of God. The remainder of Part I is devoted to careful consideration of such key topics in philosophy of religion as religious experience, revelation, miracle and faith.
HUMN 6361. The Literature of Religious Expression.
This course examines primarily the expressions of belief (or human values) in literary forms (poetry, fiction and prose) – that is, the attempts of artists who believe strongly in sharing the intensity of their religious feelings. Selections are drawn from the writings of Donne, Herbert, Bunyan, Defoe, The Book of Common Prayer, the Bible, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Arnold, Tennyson, Browning and contemporary poets.
HUMN 6363. Philosophers Examine Religion II.
This course continues study of notable philosophers about religion and its claims. (See HUMN 6360.) The second part focuses on problems of evil and human destiny. It is not necessary to take the courses in sequence; Part I is not a prerequisite for Part II.
HUMN 6366. Reading St. John's Revelations.
The course reviews what is undoubtedly the most controversial and troubling book in the New Testament. Students review the history of St. John's book, with attention to morality and other elements of the book's socio-historical setting, including the larger context of Jewish apocalyptic literature. They also examine various approaches to interpretation of the text and ways of both reading and appropriating the book's message. Topics include literary and theological study of the book's imagery and the theological implications of various interpretations.
HUMN 6370. The Literate Mind at Work.
(required course) This course is designed to ensure that beginning Master of Liberal Studies students have mastered the critical academic skills – reading, discussion and writing the researched argumentative essay – required to succeed in graduate liberal arts studies. The course is writing intensive and includes drafting, rewriting and editing as part of the writing process. Students are also responsible for learning basic research techniques and styles of annotation, as well as a review of academic integrity and issues of plagiarism. NOTE: This course must be taken within the first 12 hours the MLS curriculum; it is highly recommended that the course be taken in the first term and that it be taken in conjunction with HUMN 7104/Research Methods.
HUMN 6373. American Regional Literature.
This course explores the regional literary voices that form the roots of American literature. Out of the unique development of each region comes the diversity and richness of ethnic influence, literary genres and thematic focus that constitute the foundations of American literature. Texts and topics vary from term to term. Topics include, but are not limited to: literature of the Southwest, Southern literature and New England literature.
HUMN 6374. Writing and the Search for Self.
What are the defining moments of people's lives, and how do they incorporate the insights gained from these critical experiences into the stories they tell about themselves? Examining memoirs and autobiographies, and offering practical advice on journal keeping and overcoming writer's block, this course is for students interested in developing a strong individual voice, one that can address issues of personal concern with the authority that comes from experience.
HUMN 6376. Our Stories, Ourselves.
How people see themselves, how others see them: these are not just a matter of looking in the mirror. For better or for worse, self-image is embedded in the stories people tell about themselves, both in their own heads and in the course of their dealings with others. Students use journal writing as a means of bringing their life stories into focus, making them more tools for change, growth and understanding and, it is hoped, enabling them to live more effective and happier lives.
HUMN 6375. History of the Freedom of Expression.
Since the invention of the printing press, there have been conflicts over the limits, if any, there should be to freedom of expression. Heavily influenced by the turn this debate took in England, guarantees of freedom of expression in America came with the Bill of Rights. But these rights have been the subject of constant controversy; many of the most important national issues reflect them. This course traces the history of these conflicts.
HUMN 6377. Gutenberg and the Rise of Printing.
This course examines both the earliest development and the enduring impact of the printing press, which began with the typographic experiments of Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany, more than 550 years ago. The scope of the course traces the rise of the first "mass medium" from the earliest printed fragments to the much larger editions of following centuries, which accelerated the spread of learning, religious reform and social change – all of which profoundly shaped the world students live in today. Examples from the Bridwell Library's Special Collections, works printed in first decades of European typography, are accessible to the class.
HUMN 6378. Literature of the Great Plains.
Authors from Capote to Cather have been fascinated by the Great Plains as a place. Indeed, one could argue that the Plains almost rise to the level of a character for some authors, a character complicated by the realities of a harsh and forbidding environment, on the one hand, and the multi-layered ambiguities of the region's myths, on the other. To help students explore the environment-myth nexus, they will examine major authors from (or who have written about) the Great Plains through two lenses: environmental history and mythology.
HUMN 6380. The News Media in Contemporary Society.
The course examines the influence of the news media on policymaking and electoral politics and includes a consideration of news ethics. This course is designed to help the student become a more sophisticated news consumer, better able to apply rigorous standards to the products delivered by print and electronic news organizations.
HUMN 6383. Poetese and the Shape of Meaning.
Students familiarize themselves with the types of devices that poets can use to make their work transcend the usual bounds of language – that can give it a huge heave-ho towards the eternal. In any literate culture, poetry is placed language. Poets decide where on the page to put questions, long words, light or dark vowels. This course aims at explaining the basic elements and processes of "poetese" (such as rhyme and metaphor) and also showing how corridors – lines of similar elements – can add visual harmony to poetic impact.
HUMN 6385. American Society Through Film: The 20th Century.
This course takes a look at American history and the nation's shifting social values through most of the 20th century, using commercial film as a mirror. Issues under consideration include: changes in social mores, race relations, attitudes towards war, political idealism, the emergence of the youth culture, social adjustments and alienation, and personal responsibility in a changing world.
HUMN 6387. Story: Fact, Fiction and Truth.
Narratives may be a way of giving flesh to people's desire to know more about what it means to be human. They are a means to express, to celebrate and to instruct others about that which people wish to be true about themselves, but stories can explore the margins of humanity as well. This course sets out to explore the ways stories work, how students read and appropriate what they read, and the importance of narratives to their lives. Authors include Ovid, Chekhov, Welty, Joyce, Tolstoy, O'Connor, Faulkner and Hemingway.
HUMN 6389. Voices Riding the Waves.
Students get a close-up, in-depth view into living writers' influences, methods and habits of working through contextual readings and anecdotes that illuminate the authors' source material. They will read several books by past, present and future Writers Studio authors who have appeared or will appear in Dallas.
HUMN 6390. Law and Literature: Parallel Interpretive Strategies.
This course begins with the assumption that both law and literature require interpretation. From that point, students move to an examination of methods of interpretation – both legal and literary. Ultimately participants should develop a sense of the law as a text requiring constant mediation and evaluation. Readings juxtapose case law with literary texts by such authors as Browning, Camus, Melville and Glaspell.
HUMN 6391. Classic Texts Seminar (3).
Students explore three classic texts in one course. This course focuses on close readings of Madame Bovary
, All the King's Men
and The Brothers Karamazov
. Students reap benefits from three great authors and a fabulous team of instructors – all in one course.
HUMN 6393. Poetry Writing Workshop.
This course is a studio/seminar course in the craft of poetry writing, offering constructive criticism and discussion of student poetry along with technical, theoretical and aesthetic issues concerning contemporary poetry writing and the creative process.
HUMN 6394. The Craft of Poetry.
This course is a poetry writing workshop that is designed to familiarize students, through close reading and imitation exercises, with a wide variety of 20th century American poetry techniques, movements and theories, and with the origins and evolution of the particular character of American poetry.
HUMN 6395. Consuming News in the Digital Age: From Traditional Media to Citizen Media.
Students examine the impact of digital technology on news and the free flow of information in a democratic society today. They learn about the varied historical evolution of American journalism from its founding to its current-day forms. The standards and practices of journalism for traditional media (print, radio and television) and new media (online reporting, blogging, video/audio podcasts, live streaming and Web feed formats like RSS feeds) will be closely reviewed. They discover how the different technological methods of news distribution affect who does the coverage, what gets covered, who is reached and why this is important.
HUMN 6396. Literature and the Culture of Disability.
Students examine issues of disability from literary, cultural and philosophical perspectives. They grapple with current debates in disability studies within a variety of contexts.
HUMN 6397. Troubled Youth: Educating the Young in America.
Through fiction, nonfiction and film, this course examines the paired "problems" of adolescence and education from historical and contemporary American perspectives. Students expand their understanding of contemporary issues in adolescent development and education by grounding current concerns in historical perspective.
HUMN 7104. Research Methods.
(required course) This course is designed to familiarize students with the research strategies and resources central to the liberal arts. Students explore all aspects of modern computer searches and online access to library resources. NOTE: This course must be taken within the first 12 hours of the Master of Liberal Studies curriculum; it is highly recommended that the course be taken in the first term and that it be taken in conjunction with HUMN 6370/The Literate Mind at Work.
HUMN 7212. Monastic Spirituality at St. Gregory's Abbey.
) For five days students experience the life of the Benedictine Order and consider ways in which that experience might inform their own spiritual practice. The schedule consists of meditation and prayer five times daily, following the practice of the monastery, and includes lectures and guidance provided by monastery brothers and a member of the faculty of SMU's Perkins School of Theology. The purpose of the course is to experience disciplined thought and personal contemplation by placing oneself outside the daily routine of the secular world.
HUMN 7309. Medieval Pilgrimage: The Road to Santiago de Compostela.
The phenomenon of pilgrimage, historical and contemporary, is examined through direct experience in France and Spain along the road to Santiago de Compostela. Students read literature from the medieval pilgrimage road, study firsthand the magnificent art and architecture of medieval France and Spain, and listen to the extraordinary music created at every major stop along the way. Although this pilgrimage is a product of Western European Christian culture, it is presented within the framework of sustained reference to Eastern European and Mediterranean (or Byzantine), Jewish and especially Muslim pilgrimages.
Science and Culture
SCCL 6101. Matters of Life and Death.
Developments in science present the community with issues that require re-examination of certain ethical concepts. These lectures focus on beginning of life and end of life concerns. Topics include assisted reproduction, abortion, the prenatal diagnosis of inherited disorders, new definitions of life and death, the right to die, preserving life versus prolonging dying and case histories to evaluate the ethics of the decisions that were made.
SCCL 6202, 6201. Challenges for Sustainable and Secure Water
(held on SMU's campus near Taos, NM
With water a vital resource for humans and ecosystems, humankind is poised to engage in numerous struggles, given future uncertainties with changing climate, increasing incidence of widespread drought, population growth and large-scale landscape alteration as a consequence of that growth. Countless popular media articles and scientific analyses have raised the alarm regarding this emerging situation of conflict over scarce water resources. On a global level, the situation is considered so serious, with an estimate that one half of the world's human population will reside in countries considered water scarce by 2025, that the United Nations Millennium Declaration and World Summit on Sustainable Development, in 2000, established 2005–2015 as the Water for Life Decade. This international decade of action has aimed to ensure safe drinking water and sanitation for the world while achieving sustainable water use for biodiversity. This course explores how various human activities within watersheds impact the aquatic ecology of rivers and streams and compromise the safety of the water supply. It examines surface waters within the watershed boundaries of the American Southwest, and specifically the Rio Grande watershed, along with case studies from other regions around the world. Note: SCCL 6102 is the writing component of SCCL 6202 and requires that a paper be submitted after the class trip. Students enrolling in this course for credit must enroll in both SCCL 6202 and SCCL 6102 for a total of three credit hours.
SCCL 6305. Genetics and Ethics.
The curriculum provides sufficient knowledge of genetics, biology and medical ethics so that students can intelligently engage in issues that permeate the headlines and present profound moral quandaries for everyone. Students explore issues such as stem cell research, genetic engineering, cloning and prenatal genetic diagnosis.
SCCL 6308. Ecology in Balance: People and Planet.
This class studies the impact of population growth on the demand and availability of resources, energy and food. Interrelated effects of people and environment are considered, along with constructive solutions to problems arising from growth.
SCCL 6335. Biological Man in a Technological World.
Students study the dangers of new technology to men and women. This course examines critical problems confronting humanity in an age of rapidly advancing technology, including overpopulation, malnutrition, pollution and major diseases.
SCCL 6349. Biology of Nutrition.
Nutrition can be defined as the study of foods and how foodstuffs affect health and biological function. This course focuses on the composition and function of nutrients – that is, carbohydrates, fats (lipids), proteins, vitamins and minerals, and water (the "forgotten" nutrient). The course includes consideration of the chemistry of nutrients and their biological function; however, a prior background in chemistry is not required. Definition of terms is a key to understanding the facts and concepts that are presented, including terms often seen in the press or on food labels: low carb, unsaturated fats, saturated fats, high protein and vitamin enriched. A diet analysis for the individual student is a term project for this course.
SCCL 6359. Frontiers in Astronomy and Cosmology.
Students study current information and theories concerning the earth, moon, sun, planets, stars, pulsars, quasars, black holes, galaxies and the structure of the universe. The course is designed for the beginner and does not require a math or science background, even though the results of National Aeronautics and Space Administration space research and current astronomical and physics research are presented and discussed.
SCCL 6389. The Origins and Evolution of Life.
Students study the biological aspects of the origin of life on earth, the history of the subsequent evolution of animal and plant life, and the environmental and geological setting throughout the ages. The mechanisms of evolution and man as an evolving biological species are discussed.
SCCL 7205, 7105. Flowering Plants of the Southern Rockies.
(held on SMU's campus near Taos, NM
) This course provides an intense introduction to plant identification and collections using field collected or observed specimens from the SMU-in-Taos campus and from surrounding areas. Students will learn the botanical language, plant names and classification. Students are required to learn 24 families and collect plants from 20 plant families and press them. Students enrolling in this course for credit must enroll in both SCCL 7205 and SCCL 7105 for a total of three credit hours.
SCCL 7206, 7106. Biotic Communities and Environments of the Southwest.
(held on SMU's campus near Taos, NM
) Each student brings his or her hiking shoes, hat, water container, backpack, rain gear and sunscreen and explores the major life zones of the Southern Rocky Mountains of north central New Mexico. In an area 7,000 feet in elevation, this course provides outstanding field experience. Field trips will include the Fort Burgwin campus on the first day and a trip to the Taos Pueblo followed by trips to Bandelier National Monument, Ghost Ranch, the La Junta clear-cut forest, trail 69, Italionalis canyon and finally a longer trip to Williams Lake in the Ski Valley. Students begin with easier drives and hikes, and finish with a more moderate hike to 11,000 feet at Williams Lake. The Fort Burgwin campus in Taos, New Mexico, is a fabulous place to examine the major life zones through lectures and field trips during this week-long course. Students will enjoy the annual firework celebration in Taos as well as a concluding dinner at the Stakeout Restaurant in Taos. Note: SCCL 7106 is the writing component of SCCL 7206 and requires that each student submit a paper after the trip. Students enrolling in this course for credit must enroll in both SCCL 7206 and SCCL 7106 for a total of three credit hours
SOSC 6115. Classic Texts in the Social Sciences.
This one-hour course focuses the student's attention on a single, seminal text in the social sciences through close, directed reading, seminar discussion and a final paper. Texts and topics change each term. Topics include, but are not limited to: The Federalist Papers
; Walter Prescott Webb, The Great Plains
; Josiah Gregg, The Commerce of the Prairies
; Andy Adams, The Log of a Cowboy
; Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto
; and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
SOSC 6201, 6101. The Inca Empire: Rise and Fall of a Native Andean Civilization (held on SMU's campus near Taos, NM).
In 1532, the Inca empire was the largest native civilization ever to develop in the Americas, with a population numbering in the millions and territory stretching from southern Colombia to central Chile. Students use historical documents and the latest archeological evidence to consider the rise of Inca civilization, the growth of empire and the conditions that left this powerful society vulnerable to rapid conquest by a small expedition of European explorers. They take advantage of the in-depth intellectual atmosphere provided at the Taos campus, as they explore the cultural and environmental diversity of the Inca world. They discuss the intellectual history of Inca studies and identify current research trends that are yielding exciting new interpretations of this powerful empire. Note: SOSC 6101 is the writing component of SOSC 6201 and requires that each student submit a paper after the trip. Students enrolling in this course for credit must enroll in both SOSC 6201 and SOSC 6101 for a total of three credit hours.
SOSC 6300. Human Rights Pilgrimage to Argentina.
This pilgrimage will explore Argentina's varied struggles for human rights. It will also expose the rich heritage and cultural diversity in Argentina. Students will hear lectures from local human rights activists and religious leaders. Many historical sites such as Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo will be visited to gain a deeper understanding of human rights issues from the past to the present. There will also be several cultural tours in addition to trips to cosmopolitan areas.
SOSC 6302. Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.
Central to this course is the question of whether Nazism is a uniquely German phenomenon or a potential danger in any country. Students examine the formation of Hitler's personality and ideology, the conditions that permitted his rise to power, and the nature and purposes of his dictatorship.
SOSC 6305. The History of Time.
The passing of time is a universal human experience, but the control, measure and politics of time differ among cultures. This reading seminar addresses changing perceptions of time from the rise of astronomy and astrology in the ancient Near East to Medieval and Renaissance ideas of time and the development of clocks and other modern ideas and scientific theories. The course concludes with an examination of the social and political consciousness of and control over time in American society. Readings incorporate the works of historians, archaeologists, scientists, novelists and poets, from the classical Greeks to H.G. Wells.
SOSC 6307. History of Consumer Culture in the United States.
This course considers the business, cultural and political history of the rise of consumer culture in the United States. between the colonial period and the present. It focuses on the development of institutions including advertising, desire and luxury, and "charging it."
SOSC 6309. The Struggle for Human Rights: America's Dilemma.
The course examines certain violations of human rights within their historical context. Attention also is given to the evolution of both civil and human rights as entities within global political thought and practice. Students learn to recognize the use of propaganda to justify or deny violations of human rights, from torture to terrorism and from slavery to genocide.
SOSC 6310. Dignitas and Decadence: The Society and Culture of Imperial Rome.
This course examines the main currents and ideas of Roman imperial society from the establishment of monarchical rule by the first emperor, Augustus, to the fall of the empire in the fifth century A.D. Students examine the profound social changes experienced by Roman society as a result of its military expansion, the incorporation of new peoples, developments in polytheistic and monotheistic religion, the spread of Stoic philosophy and changes in the definition of Romanitas
and Roman citizenship, including developments in gender- and class-based rights.
SOSC 6311. Seminar in Dallas History.
Some people have asserted that Dallas is a place devoid of an interesting or even significant past. This course is based on the opposite view, a conviction that important and fascinating events have occurred in Dallas and that an understanding of how one of the nation's largest cities came about is worthy of anyone's careful attention.
SOSC 6312. Julius Caesar and the Fall of the Roman Republic.
The course considers important historiographical questions concerning the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the monarchical Roman Empire as a direct consequence of the life and death of Julius Caesar.
SOSC 6313. Iroquois Indians in History and Culture.
Students study the history and culture of the Iroquois nations from pre-European contact to Colonial and Revolutionary America to the present.
SOSC 6314. Living Through the American Revolution.
This course explores the social history of the American Revolution and what the revolution meant for the many different people who experienced it. Focusing on one stage in the historical process of becoming American, the course shows how these people took part in a set of large-scale transforming events that changed both the course of history and the people themselves.
SOSC 6315. From Hannibal to the Fall of Rome: Empire at War.
This course provides an introduction to Roman warfare and diplomacy, with special attention to Roman theories of imperialism and the just war. These scholarly problems are particularly familiar to modern Americans. Focus is on primary texts, monuments and artifacts that illustrate Roman expansionism and military life.
SOSC 6316. Farms, Plantations and Towns: Diversity in the New World.
This course explores the interaction of native, British and African cultures in the early period of settlement. Special attention is focused on the daily life of small communities, including native villages, Southern plantations and New England towns and the interaction between them. The course shows how America was a "new world" for all three groups, though in different ways for each.
SOSC 6323. History of Schools and Education in American Society.
This course focuses on the evolution of schools in American society. Students use an interdisciplinary approach to explore schools from colonial America to the present. The focus is on the study of relationships and tensions between children, families and schools and between social and political ideals and the realities of mass education.
SOSC 6327. American Citizenship.
This seminar weaves together the disciplines of history, law and political science to confront the problems of American citizenship in the past, present and future. It is a lecture course.
SOSC 6329. The American Presidency.
The course examines issues concerning the "modern" or post-war presidency, an institution at the center of the political system that is fascinating, perplexing and in many senses paradoxical. This study exposes students to a variety of perspectives and methods that can be employed to analyze the institution, the decisions of its occupants and the effectiveness of specific presidential administrations.
SOSC 6330. Politics and Film.
Designed to use film as a vehicle for enhancing students' understanding of real-world politics and culture in the United States, the course considers political ambition, electoral politics, the nature of political leadership, theories of decision-making and the role of the media in politics. Additionally, the course examines the "two faces of film": as a portrayal (accurate or not) of politics, but also as a political act in itself. From the 1940s to the present, films have had the potential to deepen people's understanding of political change, but have also raised questions as to the political agenda of their makers, the use or misuse of history and the extent to which filmmaking is motivated by the profit incentive and the cultural norms that govern the industry.
SOSC 6331. Presidential Elections and American Politics.
This course will study presidential elections in the United States in two tracks. In the first, the modern history of presidential elections, the methods used to study these contests and the conclusions produced by the research community that analyzes these elections will be examined. Both the nomination phase and the general election campaign will be covered. This will provide the intellectual background necessary to follow and to understand modern presidential election campaigns and American politics generally. The second track will look specifically at "Campaign 2008."
SOSC 6332. Ideas Shaping the American Character I: 1607 to 1876.
Through the biographies and writings of key early Americans, this course explores the political, economic, religious, social, intellectual and artistic ideas that have shaped the American character. Specific attention is given to the free enterprise system and democracy as twin pillars upholding the edifice of the republic. Discussion begins with key figures including John Winthrop, Anne Hutchinson and John Edwards; moves through the founding members of the republic; continues through the 18th century figures such as Tecumseh, Emerson, Thoreau, Frederick Douglass and feminists Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth and Susan B. Anthony; and concludes with Civil War figures Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln.
SOSC 6333. Ideas Shaping the American Character II: 1877 to the Present.
Through the biographies and writings of key Americans since the Civil War, the course explores the political, economic, religious, social, intellectual and artistic ideas that have shaped the American character. Specific attention is given to the free enterprise system and democracy as twin pillars upholding the edifice of the republic. Key figures include Frederick Jackson Turner, Willa Cather, Eugene Debs, W.E.B. DuBois, Carrie Chapman Carr, Frank Lloyd Wright, Bob Dylan, Ronald Reagan and Madeleine Albright. Note: This course constitutes the second half of Ideas Shaping the American Character, but is self-contained; the first half is not a prerequisite.
SOSC 6334. From Pews to Bleachers: American Cultural Institutions.
This course explores the institutionalization of culture in the United States between the American Revolution and the Great Depression, focusing on churches (religious culture), theatrical venues (performance culture), museums (artistic culture), libraries (print culture) and sports (physical culture). The course covers the emergence of an infrastructure devoted to the cultural life of Americans and takes a broad view of culture, in that it includes sports and religion in addition to the usual cultural venues of the arts.
SOSC 6336. History of the Ancient Near East and Egypt.
This course examines the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia and Egypt from the origins of writing in the fourth millennium B.C.E. to the time of Alexander the Great. Students examine the histories, literature and archaeological remains, reading original sources in translation and viewing original artifacts. Topics include: The Epic of Gilgamesh,
the law code of Hammurabi, Assyrian imperialism and warfare, the rise of the Egyptian empire, Egyptian myths and poetry, Egyptian religion and beliefs in the afterlife, and Egyptian medicine.
SOSC 6337. Texas and Tejanos: Seminar on Mexican-American History.
This seminar examines the growing historiography on Mexican Americans, focusing on the relationship between Texas and their regional ethnic identity as Tejanos. Prior to 1980, few books specifically on Tejano history were written. However, the field has expanded rapidly in the last 25 years. Since social history has predominated during this period, the emphasis is on that branch of historiography, but other genres are included as well.
SOSC 6342. America's Defining Moment: The American Civil War and Reconstruction.
The modern South has yet to shake the tragedy of the War Between the States. This course examines the origins of this struggle, the battles, the reasons for Northern victory, the effect upon today's South and the reason for its continued fascination to the American mind.
SOSC 6343. America: Conflicting Values in a Capitalist Democracy.
This course examines the special relationship between American democratic politics and the free market economy, as well as the rationale of free enterprise. Individuals interested in the political and philosophical questions raised by this country's system of democratic capitalism finds the course particularly relevant. Current issues, problems, values and criticisms of the free enterprise system are discussed.
SOSC 6346. Queen Victoria's England.
Queen Victoria's long reign – 63 years, from 1837 to her death in 1901 – encompassed a time of remarkable change for Britain, moving from an early stage in which the polarizations of the class system came to the forefront to a middle stage of relative peace and prosperity based on the economic and technological progress symbolized by the Crystal Palace to, finally, a decline in the influence of the aristocracy and the rise of the political significance of the working classes. This, along with the erosion of confidence in the institutions of church and state, the challenges to Victorian patriarchy and the problems of empire and Ireland, made Great Britain at the end of Victoria's life a nation that would have been hardly recognizable to her at the beginning of her reign.
SOSC 6347. Placers, Placitas and Pachyderms.
The 50 years that marked the heyday of America's great overland trails of commerce and migration were punctuated by some of the most defining moments in 19th century of America's age of western expansion. In the vernacular of those who experienced overland trail travel, someone who survived the trip was said to have "seen the elephant." This course examines the three most legendary elephantine haunts: the Oregon, California and Santa Fe trails.
SOSC 6348. The Changing Landscape of Political Thought.
Political theory gives people ways of seeing, describing and altering the political world. This course is an introduction to the way political thinkers do these things in the process of creating political theory. There is no single, agreed-upon definition of politics, no privileged methodology for examining politics and no universal agreement as to the values that should shape politics. It is important to understand why this is so. The course addresses this situation and examines the questions raised by theorists such as Emma Goldman, Ayn Rand, John Locke and John Stuart Mill.
SOSC 6350. First Person American Lives.
Since the 17th century, Americans have been telling their stories. Two of the most famous instances are Benjamin Franklin and Malcolm X. Students will read a wide range of first-person American stories, telling about specific lives but also about the times in which the authors lived, about the problems each faced and about how they dealt with their difficulties. This course explores not only what made each of these people unique, but also what they held in common.
SOSC 6353. Women in U.S. History.
Students survey the history of women in the United States from the Colonial era to the present. They explore the diverse experiences of women in the past, including those of Native-American women, African-American women, female immigrants, women workers, girls, wives, mothers, reformers and feminists. They examine the changes and continuities over time in women's roles, status, private and public experiences, and sense of self and identity. They pay careful attention to the ways in which gender – as a conceptual category and a system of power relations – shaped and was shaped by larger currents of social, economic, cultural, intellectual and political change during the course of U.S. history.
SOSC 6355. America Enraged: From Integration to Watergate.
The 20-year era spanning 1954 to 1974 was tumultuous, exalting and foreboding – and bewildering as well. A nation that had prided itself on political stability found its political system no longer equal to meeting the demands for change. A nation that had taken for granted a collective commitment to public order suddenly was stunned by the fragility of its institutions and the assault upon the values professed by the society. In this era Americans for the first time took to the streets by the thousands, sometimes by the tens of thousands, to resolve disputes once left to the established governmental processes.
SOSC 6356. Civil Rights: The Unfinished Revolution.
This course that involves a week off-campus will focus upon the history and politics of the movement that destroyed the system of racial segregation, dissolved barriers to political participation by African Americans and influenced the culture and politics of the United States. The course combines readings and classroom discussion with an extended trip over spring break to historical civil rights venues.
SOSC 6359. The Use (and Misuse) of Power in Politics.
This course examines the historical use of political power with a specific focus as it pertains to the modern Texas governor. It was said of a recent governor that there were "no benefits for being his friend, nor consequences of being his enemy." Effective leadership strikes a balance between the two. Beyond an examination of legislative and gubernatorial power in Texas, this course will explore leadership characteristics and styles of key historical political leaders.
SOSC 6367. Comparative Revolutions: A Historical Perspective.
What is the nature of modern political revolutions? What are the conditions that tend to produce a revolutionary explosion? What are the characteristics of revolutionary leaders? Why do people follow them? By considering answers to these and other related questions, this course attempts to provide interdisciplinary perspectives on a topic of special interest in this age of monumental upheaval and rapid societal change. Drawing especially on the American, French, Russian and Chinese revolutions as case studies, a comparative analysis underscores the common denominators of the revolutionary experience.
SOSC 6376. Cultural and Intellectual History of Modern Europe: Renaissance to Enlightenment.
This course analyzes predominant themes in the literature, philosophy, art and music of European civilization, from the Italian Renaissance through the French Enlightenment. It emphasizes those aspects of the European heritage that have been of primary importance in shaping Western culture in the 20th century. This course is Part I of a two-part series, but the two courses need not be taken sequentially.
SOSC 6377. Cultural and Intellectual History of Modern Europe: Romanticism to the Present.
This course explores major trends in the development of European literature, philosophy, art and music in the 19th and 20th centuries. Primary attention is devoted to the role of arts and ideas in the shaping of the contemporary world. Part II of a two-part series; Part I is not a prerequisite.
SOSC 7302. Studies at Oxford University: War and Diplomacy in Europe, 1815–Present.
The course provides a study of the dynamics of nationalism that arose in Europe after 1815 and how those dynamics led to the 20th century's two cataclysmic global wars. On the campus of University College, one of Oxford’s oldest institutions, students are housed in college rooms and attend lectures by faculty of the SMU-in-Oxford program and by guest lecturers from Oxford. The study of war and diplomacy continues with a visit to London and a tour of famous World War I and II sites in Belgium and France, including the American cemetery and memorial at Normandy Beach.
SOSC 7303. In the Camps: Historical Field Trip to Poland.
In the West, the Holocaust plays a significant role in the memory and conscience of civilizations. This journey to sites in Poland, including the Warsaw Ghetto and several death camps, including Treblinka, Auschwitz/Berkinau, Belzec and Chelmno, is designed to give students a deeper understanding of the Holocaust and both its victims and its perpetrators.
Master of Liberal Studies
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Dallas TX 75275-0253
The Office of Nondegree Credit Studies provides access to courses throughout the various SMU curricula for students who do not want to work toward a degree but do want to take undergraduate or graduate credit courses for personal enrichment or for transfer to another institution. The admission policies and procedures reflect the special needs and circumstances of part-time students.
Nondegree Credit Studies
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Dallas TX 75275-0382
Informal Courses for Adults
Informal Courses for Adults provides rich intellectual experiences that can broaden perspectives of the world. Participants can explore the globe, study other cultures, learn new languages, write beautiful prose or learn to meditate – all without ever leaving the classroom. Noncredit courses are offered in the areas of history, creative writing, the fine arts, literature, communication, philosophy, religion, personal finance, food and travel, and international languages. Classes are taught by professional educators and experts but held informally, which means attendance records are not kept, grades are not assessed and transcripts are not provided.
Informal Courses for Adults
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Graduate Test Preparation:
Structured test preparation classes for the Graduate Management Admission Test, GRE, Law School Admission Test and Certified Financial Planner® test focus on reviewing test content and presenting test-taking strategies.
Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program:
Together with the Center for Nonprofit Management, SMU offers a Nonprofit Leadership Certificate. Uniquely defined for nonprofit executive directors and chief executive officers, the SMU Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership draws from the best of current theories and practices in leadership, SMU and the Center for Nonprofit Management’s seasoned faculty and expert resources steeped in nonprofit culture. The series provides the insights and skills needed to practice the art of leadership with greater deliberation, grace and impact.
Financial Planning Certificate:
Students learn how to provide comprehensive financial planning services with an emphasis on high-quality client service. They also acquire the educational requirements needed to sit for the Certified Financial Planner® certification examination and earn a certificate in financial planning from SMU.
Professional Development (general, noncredit)
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Dallas TX 75275-0275
Graduate School Admissions Exam Preparation
PO Box 750275
Dallas TX 75275-0275
Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program
PO Box 750275
Dallas TX 75275-0275
Financial Planning Certificate
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Dallas TX 75275-0275
Summer Youth Program
The Summer Youth Program, for students ages 5 through 18, offers one- and two-week enrichment workshops throughout the summer in the areas of technology, computers, multimedia, writing, art, math, science, literature, gaming, the Internet, study skills and social skills. The Summer Youth Program includes workshops developed by the University‘s Learning Therapy program to address issues of academic performance – including reading comprehension, reading difficulties, vocabulary, writing, math and test taking.
Summer Youth Program
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Dallas TX 75275-0382