Frames of Reference

The Frames of Reference showcase everything that is compelling and even exciting about studying the liberal arts.

New Perspectives

The idea of a “frame of reference” means that these courses show you the different ways that human beings understand and explore their world. They offer different starting points for exploring human knowledge and different ways of knowing ourselves in society. You should sample from these different disciplines, choosing areas of study that are familiar to you or ones that you always wanted to try. Be encouraged to select courses that you have never even heard about before. These courses might push you to step beyond your comfort zone to see your world through new and totally different perspectives.

Courses in the Frames of Reference should enrich your educational experience at Castleton and help you to be a more well-rounded student and citizen. They will give you important perspectives and new ideas that will enrich 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 General Education Program will prepare you not only for a rewarding and fulfilling profession but for finding the good life beyond college.

Exploring the Frames

All students are encouraged to explore the Frames of Reference during their first years at Castleton. For each of the four Frames of Reference, students should select two courses, each from a different discipline. The exception is the Scientific and Mathematical Understanding Frame; for this Frame, students select three courses, including one 4-credit course in one of the sciences, and two courses may be from the same discipline. Every term there is a wide assortment of courses offered in each Frame of Reference. The four Frames of Reference are described below:

Aesthetic Understanding and Activities

This area of study is concerned with the forms of human expression, the value, and contributions of the arts and language to human life and culture. Subjects include Art and Art History, Communication, English, Foreign Language and Literature, Music, Philosophy, Spanish and Theater Arts. For a complete list of courses in this frame, consult the catalog.

Scientific and Mathematical Understanding

This area of study is concerned with mathematical and empirical ways of knowing, pertaining to such things as nature, the universe, the human body, mathematics, logic, and critical thinking. Subjects include Biology, Chemistry, Computer Information Systems, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Music, Physical Education, Physics, Philosophy, and Science. For a complete list of courses in this frame, consult the catalog.

Social and Behavioral Understanding

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 Communication, Economics, Environmental Studies, Music, Physical Education, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Social Sciences, Social Work, and Women and Gender Studies. For a complete list of courses in this frame, consult the catalog.

World Views: Cultural, Historical, and Philosophical

This area of study is concerned with understanding oneself in the larger contexts of one’s own and other cultures. Subjects include Anthropology, Art History, Business, Communication, Economics, English, Foreign Language and Literature, French, Geography, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Spanish, Theater, and Women's and Gender Studies. For a complete list of courses in this frame, consult the catalog.