Minor in Civics

Minor in Civics*

The minor in Civics gives students of any major resources to live well and lead well. In this interdisciplinary program, students learn to think by wrestling with the great questions of the Western tradition and the American constitutional tradition.

Four courses in the Intellectual Foundations of Civics introduce students to the important questions of civic life. These courses address Perennial Problems in Civic Thought, Origins of American Institutions, Democracy and Capitalism, and Excellence of Character: The Virtues. In addition, students deepen their study through two upper- division courses in Constitutionalism, Western Civilization, or Civic Leadership.

*Approval is pending for the proposed minor in Civics. We anticipate the the minor will have final approval prior to the 2025-2026 academic year.

Minor Requirements

The minor in Civics requires a minimum of 18 semester credit hours. The Intellectual Foundations of Civics sequence makes up 12 of those hours. Students also take any two 3-credit-hour, upper-division CIV courses (320 or above) from the three areas of Civics study: Constitutionalism, Western Civilization, or Civic Leadership.

Intellectual Foundations

  • CIV 301 Perennial Problems in Civic Thought
  • CIV 303J Origins of American Institutions
  • CIV 303K Democracy and Capitalism
  • CIV 305 Excellence of Character: The Virtues

Two Upper-Division CIV Courses

  • Upper-division course in Constitutionalism, Western Civilization, or Civic
  • Upper-division course in Constitutionalism, Western Civilization, or Civic

Political decisions arise when members of a community need to choose a course of action. Citizens deliberate on questions of policy, but also on broader questions that frame our common life, such as what it takes to live well. Students need an education that prepares them for life and for responsibility in their communities. The B.A. in Civics fosters intellectual habits and resources that enable students to deliberate on questions such as technology, education, diplomacy and war, the environment, arts and culture, and the general welfare.

The American project is fragile. The effort to secure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness depends on citizens who can think and act for the common good. The SCL equips students to participate in our shared institutions and to meet innovation with prudence. Students develop the ability to engage enduring texts of the ancient world, modernity, and the American story. These texts—and the promise and challenge they convey—become resources for students as they prepare to take responsibility in their communities.

The B.A. in Civics introduces students to the intellectual inheritance of Western Civilization and to the American story. From the first intellectual foundations through a capstone thesis and internship, students gain experience that informs a life of service.

Students take up a sequence of Intellectual Foundations of Civics courses that address Perennial Problems in Civic Thought, Origins of American Institutions, Democracy and Capitalism, and Excellence of Character: The Virtues.

Students develop competency across three major areas of coursework: Constitutionalism, Western Civilization, and Civic Leadership.

Constitutionalism courses introduce students to the history of rights, freedoms, and the rule of law. Central questions include: What are rights? Who bears them? What is law? What makes government legitimate? What do I owe to others? How have thinkers in the American tradition answered these questions?

Western Civilization courses introduce students to the quest for wisdom about how to live well and how to achieve liberty and order in community. Important questions include: What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be an individual or a member of a community? What’s a good life? What, if anything, is sacred? What is friendship?

Civic Leadership courses give students practice resolving questions through ethical analysis, economic analysis, and strategy and statecraft. Important questions include: How should I live and lead? How do I resolve ethical questions? What are the factors and metrics of economic dynamism? How can nations relate to one another? What are the possible courses of action when those relationships break down?

In dedicated Skills courses and throughout the program, students mature their capacity for understanding, rhetoric, inquiry, and textual analysis.

All students complete a thesis, an internship, and electives.

  • Thoughtful, responsible—thrive in life and service
  • Kinds of work
    • Business, nonprofit, public service, humane prep for medicine, arts, journalism
    • Sense of responsibility
    • Intellectual humility with confidence
    • Oriented toward fulfilling one’s potential
    • Competent communicator
    • Literate in principles and practices of Western and American civic life
    • Literate in ethical and moral traditions

You can expect faculty members who:

  • Respect students and wish to see them thrive in life and in service
  • Hold students to high standards of thinking and communicating
  • Provide the support students need to excel
  • Delight in teaching and research
  • Offer purposeful work and honest evaluation
  • The School of Civic Leadership Scholars Program offers scholarships of $10,000.

    • Criteria?
      • Essay
      • Interview [committee’s option]

Starting August 1, 2024, the SCL will accept applications for its inaugural cohort of 50 students.  Pending approval of its curriculum proposal, the SCL will offer a B.A. in Civics starting in August 2025.  Students who apply in fall 2024 will enter as undeclared majors.  >>>

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Ready to thrive in life and in service? Fall 2025 admissions open August 1, 2024