Complex Problems & Enduring Questions

As a member of the class of 2022, you are invited to enroll in one of Boston College’s innovative, team-taught Core courses. Open only to first-year students, Complex Problems and Enduring Questions courses explore compelling issues and subjects crucial to the human experience. They extend inquiry beyond the class­room to labs, reflection sessions, conversations with outside speakers, and off-cam­pus field visits, creating an intensive shared learning experience for both teachers and students.

Complex Problems and Enduring Questions courses exemplify Boston College’s innovative approach to Core education by establishing a foundation for students’ intellectual development and preparing them to become engaged, effective world citizens.

Complex Problems Courses

A six-credit course, team-taught by professors from different disciplines, that satisfies two Core requirements. It consists of three 50-minute lectures and one 75-minute lab session each week, along with a weekly meeting during the evening for reflection and integration.

Enduring Questions Courses

Two linked courses taught by professors from different disciplines who collaborate in choosing shared readings and other class materials. The same group of 19 students takes each class, which meets for 150 minutes per week. Four evening meetings for reflection and integration take place in the semester. Taken together, the courses are worth six credits and fulfill two Core requirements.

View the Spring 2019 print catalog

Play
Core pilot course video

Students and faculty discuss the benefits of Complex Problems and Enduring Questions courses.

Complex Problems

Powering America: Energy, Tech, Environment

John Ebel, Earth and Environmental Science and Conevery Valencius, History

1 History II + 1 Natural Science

Complex Problems

Performing Politics

Luke Jorgensen, Theatre, and Jennie Purnell, Political Science

1 Arts + 1 Social Science

Enduring Questions

God and Politics

Alice Behnegar, Political Science

God and Love

Christopher Constas, Honors Program

1 Social Science + 1 Philosophy

Enduring Questions

Human Disease: Plagues, Pathogens, and Chronic Disorder

Mary Kathleen Dunn, Biology

Human Disease: Health, the Economy, and Society

Samuel Richardson, Economics

1 Natural Science + 1 Social Science

Enduring Questions

Metamorphosis: Evolution and the Genetics of Change

Welkin Johnson, Biology

Metamorphosis: Story-Telling

Dayton Haskin, English

1 Natural Science + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

Living in the Material World

Elizabeth Kowalski-Wallace, English

Living in the Material World

Dunwei Wang, Chemistry

1 Literature + 1 Natural Science

Enduring Questions

Building a Habitable Planet, Geoscience Perspectives

Ethan Baxter, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Building a Habitable Planet, Theological Perspectives

Natana Delong-Bas, Theology

1 Natural Science + 1 Theology

Enduring Questions

Social Norms and Values: Disney

Rita Rosenthal, Communication

Narrative and Myth in American Culture: Disney

Bonnie Rudner, English

1 Social Science + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

Nature and Power: Reading the American Place

Suzanne Matson, English

Nature and Power: Making the Modern World

Ling Zhang, History

1 Literature + History II

Enduring Questions

Art of Creativity: Buzzword to Artwork

Sheila Gallagher, Studio Art

Art of Creativity: Crisis and Transformation

Richard Kearney, Philosophy

1 Arts + 1 Philosophy

Enduring Questions

Modern Science and Ancient Faith: Neuroscientific

Jessica Black, Social Work

Modern Science and Ancient Faith: Philosophical

Daniel McKaughan, Philosophy

1 Social Science + 1 Philosophy

Enduring Questions

Coming of Age: Film     

John Michalczyk, Art

Coming of Age: Literature          

Susan Michalczyk, Honors

1 Arts + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

Inspiration in Imagination

Michael Naughton, Physics

Reading the Impossible Universe

Joseph Nugent, English

1 Natural Science + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

Human Rights in International Politics

Ali Banuazizi, Political Science

Human Rights in History

Devin Pendas, History

1 Social Science + 1 History II

Enduring Questions

Being Human: Secular-Humanist Perspective

Marcus Breen, Communication

Being Human: Theological Perspective

Louis Petillo, Theology

1 Social Science + 1 Theology

Enduring Questions

Social Inequality in America

Eve Spangler, Sociology

Rhetoric of Social Inequality in America

Celeste Wells, Communication

1 Social Science + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

Constructing Deviance: Madmen, Hysterics, Criminals

Daniel Bowles, German

Constructing Deviance: Power, Control, Resistance

Stephen Pfohl, Sociology

1 Literature + 1 Social Science

Enduring Questions

Narrating Black Intimacies

Rhonda Frederick, English

Black Intimacy and Intersectionality

Shawn McGuffey, Sociology

1 Literature + 1 Social Science

Enduring Questions

Sic Semper Tyrannis: Politics of Empire and War

Matthew Berry, Political Science

Sic Semper Tyrannis: History of Empire and War

Jesse Tumblin, History

1 Social Science + 1 History II

Enduring Questions

What Can Machines Do? Automation in Society

William Attwood-Charles, Sociology

Can Machines Think? A.I. in Historical Perspective

Evan Hepler-Smith, History

1 Social Science + 1 History II