Areas of Understanding
All students must complete a specified number of credits in each of the five Areas of Understanding. These five areas are an introduction to the variety of ways that human beings understand and explore their world and themselves. The requirements provide a starting point for further exploration of the category of human knowledge and ways of knowing represented by the area and may be satisfied by courses in a number of different fields of study. Students are encouraged to experiment by taking courses in academic disciplines with which they are unfamiliar.
Taken together, the Areas of Understanding provide a balance to the concentrated focus of the major by placing the student's university experience within the wider context of an intellectual heritage shared by all human beings. In addition, the areas make students aware that many academic disciplines, both within and across areas, share common concerns and themes, and that the apparent diversity of disciplines is not a cacophony of voices, but a chorus.
All students are encouraged to explore the Areas of Understanding during their first years at Castleton. For each of the five Areas, students will select a specified number of courses. Every term, there is a wide assortment of courses offered in each area.
Arts and Aesthetics
This area of study is concerned with the forms of human expression, the value of aesthetic activities, artifacts, and experiences, and the contributions of the arts and language to human life and culture. Subjects may include Art and Art History, Communications, English, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Theater Arts, and more.
This area of study is concerned with the understanding of the self in the larger contexts of the individual's own and other cultures as presented by the study of history, geography, language, philosophy, ethics, and anthropology. Additional subjects may include Art History, Business, English, Sociology, Women’s and Gender Studies, and more.
This area of study is concerned with numerical ways of knowing, including such disciplines as mathematics, logic, and critical thinking. Subjects can include Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Information Systems, and more.
This area of study is concerned with empirical ways of knowing, pertaining to such topics as nature, the universe, and the human body. Subjects in this area include Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics, and more.
This area of study is concerned with the issues and principles involved in understanding human behavior and personality, social life and institutions, economics, and politics. Subjects include Communications, Economics, Environmental Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Women's and Gender Studies, and more.
Explore the Areas of Understanding
All students must complete a specified number of courses in each of the five Areas of Understanding. To encourage a wide breadth of disciplinary experiences, students may not take more than one course with the same prefix for credit throughout the entire Areas of Understanding.
Courses included in the Areas of Understanding present a unique opportunity to share insights into the many ways that human beings understand and explore our world. They offer different starting points for exploring human knowledge and different ways of knowing ourselves in society.
Courses in the Areas of Understanding should enrich your educational experience at Castleton and help you be a more well-rounded student and citizen. They will give you important perspectives and new ideas to supplement your specialized studies and your future career. You might even discover a whole area of study that is just right for you but that you hadn’t even imagined before! To make the most of your education at Castleton, you will need to be open to exploring new ideas and then making connections with the things that matter to you. If you can do this, Castleton’s Connections general education program will prepare you not only for a rewarding and fulfilling profession but also for finding the good life beyond college.