University and College Seminars
Every student at Notre Dame is required to take a University Seminar, typically in the first year. These seminars are designed to give students an introduction to the animating questions and methods of a particular discipline and to begin learning the craft of writing in that particular discipline. The Program of Liberal Studies regularly offers four different University Seminars, each of which fulfills various university, college, and PLS requirements. These seminars are a great way to get an introduction to the major, while still making progress toward completing core requirements. They will also allow you to get ahead in the major so that it is easier to study abroad or to fit in a second major or minor.
PLS 13183 Theology University Seminar: The Bible and Its Interpretation
This is a close study of selected books of the Bible and their later interpretations as both great works of literature and sacred texts of the Jewish and Christian traditions. This course fulfills the first university core theology requirement, and it serves as an introduction to the seminar-style approach to learning of the Program of Liberal Studies, in which students develop and test interpretations through careful reading and active discussion.
PLS 13185 Philosophy University Seminar: Philosophical Inquiry
This course introduces philosophical inquiry, both as distinct from and as it relates to other disciplines, through the exploration of primary texts representative of its different methods and questions, and within the context of an integrated liberal education. It fulfills the first university core philosophy requirement, and it serves as an introduction to the “Great Books” approach of the Program of Liberal Studies, in which students develop and test interpretations of classic texts through careful reading and active discussion.
PLS 13186 Literature University Seminar: Poetry, Theater, and Philosophy of Ancient Greece
Find out why some books are so enthralling that they have captivated readers for two and a half millennia. We will read, discuss, and write about great works from ancient Greece, including Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Sappho’s fragmentary poetry, tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, Aristotle’s Poetics, and some of Plato’s most beautiful and thought-provoking dialogues. Besides offering an opportunity to consider some of the foundational texts of Western culture, the class will also serve as an introduction to the “Great Books” approach of the Program of Liberal Studies, in which students develop and test interpretations of classic texts through careful reading and active discussion. This seminar counts as the first in the required seminar sequence for students who go on to major in PLS, and it fulfills the university literature requirement.
Every student in the College of Arts and Letters is required to take a College Seminar, typically in the sophomore year. These seminars are designed to offer an interdisciplinary exploration of some major topic in contemporary society or a perennial "big" question in the history of human thought, while developing students' skills in oral communication and public speaking. PLS currently offers one of these seminars, which serves as an excellent introduction to the major.
CSEM 23102 Liberal Arts as Liberation
From their origins, the liberal arts have been associated with the freedom that their name implies. These are the arts practiced by free persons, who are not forced to serve any ends but those chosen by themselves, and they are the arts that ultimately create free individuals and societies. Nearly co-original with the liberal arts, however, is the critique that only a privileged few, limited by perceived ability or circumstance, can access this liberation. Engaging material from the social sciences, humanities, and fine arts, this course will consider whether and how the liberal arts can be truly liberating for all people. This class serves as an introduction to the “Great Books” approach of the Program of Liberal Studies, in which students develop and test interpretations of classic texts through careful reading and active discussion.