Columbia Engineering students must complete two semesters of a Core Humanities sequence. Students may choose between:
- Masterpieces of Western Literature and Philosophy, HUMA C1001-C1002. Popularly known as “Lit Hum,” this course offers students the opportunity to engage in intensive study and discussion of some of the most significant texts of Western culture. An interdepartmental staff of professorial and preceptorial faculty meets with groups of approximately twenty-two students four hours a week to discuss texts by, among others, Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Vergil, Augustine, Dante, Boccaccio, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Austen, Dostoyevsky, and Woolf, as well as Hebrew scripture and New Testament writings. The objective of the course is to consider particular conceptions of what it means to be human and to consider the place of such conceptions in the development of critical thought.
- Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West, COCI C1101-C1102. CC is taught in sections of about twenty-two students by an interdepartmental staff, and emphasizes critical inquiry and active participation in discussion and argument. The central purpose of the course is to introduce students to a range of issues concerning all kinds of communities—political, social, moral, and religious—that human beings construct for themselves and the values that inform and define such communities. Among the readings currently required are the Bible, the Koran, and works by Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Machiavelli, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Smith, Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, DuBois, Freud, and Woolf.
- The Global Core option consists of two courses from the Global Core List of Approved Courses (also available in the CSA and 208 Hamilton) that examine areas not the primary focus of Literature Humanities and Contemporary Civilization which are broadly introductory, interdisciplinary, and temporally or spatially expansive. Courses in the Global Core are organized around a set of primary texts or artifacts, which may range from texts of literate traditions to media (e.g. film), ritual performances or oral sources, produced in the regions of the world in question. Global Core courses fall into two categories: those that focus on a specific culture or civilization, tracing its appearance and/or existence across a significant span of time and sometimes across more than one present-day country or region; and those that address several world settings or cultures comparatively (and may include Europe and the West), in terms of a common theme, a set of analytic questions, or interactions between different world regions.