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 Fall 2018 print catalog

Play
Core pilot course video

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

Complex Problems

Science and Technology in American Society

Andrew Jewett, History, and Christopher Kenaley, Biology

1 History II + 1 Natural Science

Complex Problems

From #BlackLivesMatter to #MeToo: Violence and Representation in the African Diaspora

Régine Jean-Charles, Romance Languages and Literatures, and Shawn McGuffey, Sociology

1 Social Science + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

When Life Happens: Disability and the Stories We Tell

Clare Dunsford, English

When Life Happens: Psychology Views Disability

Penny Hauser-Cram, Lynch School of Education

1 Literature + 1 Social Science

Enduring Questions

Oppression and Change in the Contemporary United States: Writing as Social Action

Paula Mathieu, English

Oppression and Change in the Contemporary United States: Sociocultural and Psychological Perspectives

Lisa Goodman, Lynch School of Education

1 Writing + 1 Social Science

Enduring Questions

Thinking about Feelings: The Psychology of Emotion

Andrea Heberlein, Psychology

Feeling Like Ourselves: How and Why Literature Moves Us

Andrew Sofer, English

1 Social Science + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

Humans and Other Animals: Changing Perceptions of Humankind’s Place in Nature

Rory Browne, Morrissey College of Arts & Sciences

Humans and Other Animals: The Mental Life of Animals

Jeffrey Lamoureux, Psychology

1 History II + 1 Social Science

Enduring Questions

Life, Money, and Health: The Economics of Health Care

Tracy Regan, Economics

Life, Liberty, and Health: Policy, Politics, and Law

Mary Ann Chirba, Law

1 Social Science + 1 History II

Enduring Questions

St. Petersburg: Dream & Reality

Thomas Epstein, Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures

Rome: Art, Regime & Resistance

Christopher Polt, Classical Studies

1 Literature + 1 History I

Enduring Questions

Finding the Animal: Beasts and Boundaries in Literature

Robert Stanton, English

From Weevils to Wolves: How Animals Made the World

Zachary Matus, History

1 Literature + History I

Enduring Questions

Taking Power/Seeking Justice: On the Causes and Consequences of Social Change Movements

Paul Christensen, Political Science

Seeking Justice/Taking Power: The Philosophy of Radical Social Change

Eileen Sweeney, Philosophy

1 Social Science + 1 Philosophy

Enduring Questions

Love, Gender, and Marriage: Writing & Rewriting the Tradition

Treseanne Ainsworth, English

Love, Gender, and Marriage: The Western Literary Tradition

Franco Mormando, Romance Languages and Literatures

1 Writing + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions

Truth-Telling in Literature     

Allison Adair, English

Truth-Telling in History          

Sylvia Sellers-Garcia, History

1 Literature + 1 History I

 

Enduring Questions

Living on the Water: Coasts, Development, and Sea Level Change from Venice to Boston

Gail Kineke, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Living on the Water: Venetian Art, Architecture, and the Environment

Stephanie Leone, Art History

1 Natural Science + 1 Arts

Enduring Questions

Your Brain on Theatre: On Stage and Off

Daniel Kirschner, Biology

This Is Your Brain on Theatre: Neuroscience and the Actor

Patricia Riggin, Theatre

1 Natural Science + 1 Arts

Enduring Questions

How Democracies Die: A Political Postmortem

Matthew Berry, Political Science

How Democracies Die: A Historical Postmortem

Jesse Tumblin, History

1 Social Science + 1 History II

Enduring Questions

Environmental Crisis: How Past Disasters Shape the Present

Evan Hepler-Smith, History

Environmental Crisis: Sustainability, Resources, and the Future

Jonathan Krones, Environmental Studies

1 History II + 1 Natural Science

Enduring Questions:
Theology Core

In the Beginning: Scientific Explorations of Our Origins

Michelle Meyer, Biology

In the Beginning: Biblical Explorations of Our Origins

Jeffrey Cooley, Theology

1 Natural Science + 1 Theology I 

Enduring Questions:
Theology Core

The Pursuit of Happiness in Theology and Spirituality

Andrew Prevot, Theology

The Pursuit of Happiness in Literature and Film

Laurie Shepard, Romance Languages and Literatures

1 Theology I + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions:
Theology Core

The Good Life

Stephen Pope, Theology

Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov: What is the Good life?

Thomas Epstein, Slavic and Eastern Languages and Literatures

1 Theology I + 1 Literature

Enduring Questions:
Theology Core

Theological Inquiry: Origins and Evolution of the Earth

Natana Delong-Bas, Theology

1 Theology I

Enduring Questions:
Theology Core

Theological Inquiry: Artificial Intelligence

Matthew Petillo, Theology

1 Theology I