Theme Clusters

You will have the opportunity to select a Theme Cluster: a broad topic that contains a cluster of UNIV 190 courses, each of which has its own theme. The registrar’s office will ask you for your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice of Theme Cluster and will try to accommodate your preference to the best of their ability. Please note: you will not choose an individual professor or course; you will choose a Cluster that has 4 or 5 UNIV 190 courses in it.

Here are the 5 Theme Clusters:


1. We the People(s): How Societies Work

The courses in this cluster examine varied cultures and societies. They ask how social norms, behaviors, and assumptions develop, and how societies shape the views and identities of the people within them. They explore a wide range of questions. For instance, a course in this cluster might explore how states make decisions about national security; or how relationships between social groups take shape; or how societies shape our conceptions of issues central to our well-being, like health and illness.

Sample course themes:


2. Who Am I and What Am I Doing Here: How We Define Ourselves

The courses in this cluster consider the many ways individuals and groups define themselves. This may include what’s important to us and who and what we’re responsible for. It may include what kind of loyalties and commitments shape our behavior. It may include what objects we invent, use, and value, as societies and individuals. For instance, one course in this cluster examines everyday objects central to our lives and what they say about us. Another course analyzes the situations and experiences that shape who we are and who we want to be.

Sample course themes:


3. With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Choices, Power, and Justice

The courses in this cluster explore the choices people make and the implications they can have for rights, justice, and relations of power. They consider who is empowered and disempowered by varied choices. They explore how we respond to injustice and conflict. They invite you into dialogue about the choices, ethics, and behavior that make us who we are.

Sample course themes:


4. We Hold these Truths to be Self-Evident: Interpreting the World

The courses in this cluster explore varied ways of understanding the world we live in. A course in this cluster might analyze methods of evaluating information or consider how to sift truths from lies in the contemporary world. Another course in this cluster might explore how societies develop conceptual frameworks that shape people’s experiences of the world, like the sacred and the profane.

Sample course themes:


5. Surprise Me!

If you can’t decide, pick this option, and you’ll be assigned to the seminar theme that fits your schedule best.