Intellectual Heritage (GY & GZ)

Requirement: Intellectual Heritage I: The Good Life (3 credits) and Intellectual Heritage II: The Common Good (3 credits). Students normally complete their Intellectual Heritage requirements soon after completing Analytical Reading & Writing. Students may take Intellectual Heritage I and Intellectual Heritage II in any order.

The Intellectual Heritage (IH) curriculum introduces students to intellectually and artistically influential works, both ancient and modern, from cultures around the world. In small seminars, students read and discuss books that have shaped the ways people think and act, working together to interpret their historical significance, their relation to one another, and their relevance today. IH asks students to discover and debate timeless questions of human experience, to face different values and viewpoints fairly, and to examine the present in relation to the past. The attitudes cultivated in IH — thoroughness, open-mindedness, intellectual courage, and vision — prepare today's students, tomorrow's citizens, for lasting learning and engaged lives.

Upon completion of the Intellectual Heritage sequence, students will be able to:

  • Read in its entirety an unfamiliar and problematic written text (theoretically, historically, or culturally challenging); 
  • Recognize abstractions, large ideas, and implications associated with difficult written texts; 
  • Make connections across disciplines, history and cultural boundaries; 
  • Construct positions, arguments, and interpretations through textual analysis and evaluation; and 
  • Produce thoughtful writing that reflects persuasive position and the conventions of academic discourse.  

Intellectual Heritage Courses

  • Intellectual Heritage I: The Good Life
  • Intellectual Heritage II: The Common Good
  • Honors Intellectual Heritage I: The Good Life
  • Honors Intellectual Heritage II: The Common Good

Find out more about Intellectual Heritage at