Core Humanities at the University of Nevada

“The ability to adapt and thrive in a world certain to keep changing is based not on instruction in the specific jobs of today but in the developing of long-term qualities of mind: inquisitiveness, perceptiveness, the ability to put received ideas to a new purpose, and the ability to share and build ideas with a diverse world of others.” — (Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, The Heart of the Matter (2013))


The Core Humanities program is the heart of the Core Curriculum at UNR. Faculty and graduate assistants from five different disciplines (English, History, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Philosophy, and Political Science) participate in teaching the sequence of three humanities courses required of all students at the university:

Collectively, these interdisciplinary courses examine the history, philosophy, cultural values, political systems, literature, and artistic works that have shaped societies in every continent from ancient times to the present. After completing the Core Humanities sequence of courses, students have a solid grounding in the knowledge and skills they need to navigate a complex and fast-changing world, including:
  • an understanding of the historical forces that created modern, diverse human cultures and the ways these cultures are interconnected both within the United States and across nations.
  • the ability to read, understand, summarize, analyze, and synthesize information drawn from a variety of written and cultural sources.
  • the ability to formulate interpretations and arguments, support them with evidence, and present them clearly and persuasively in both written and oral expression.
  • informed perspectives on the major political and ideological debates of our times and the ability to participate in those debates as American and global citizens.


Core Humanities and the Silver Core Curriculum

Under the new Silver Core curriculum scheduled to go into effect in Fall 2016, only two Core Humanities courses will be required, and students will be able to choose any two courses out of CH 201, CH 202, and CH 203. Because CH 203 satisfies the Constitution requirement, students who choose to take CH 201 and CH 202 must satisfy the Constitution requirement with other available alternatives.

Students who plan to graduate before Fall 2016 will still need to take all three CH courses. Students who begin their studies at UNR in Fall 2016 or later will only need to take two CH courses. Students who are currently enrolled at UNR and who plan to graduate in Fall 2016 or later may choose to meet the requirements of either the catalog that was in effect when they began their studies (old core curriculum), or the catalog that is in effect in the semester they graduate (new core curriculum).

Note that although the new core curriculum requires one less CH course, it includes other, additional requirements that students must meet. Depending on the courses you have taken already, you might complete your degree more quickly by taking all three CH courses and graduating under the old core requirements rather than the new ones. Be sure to consult with your major advisor to see what would be the best course of action for your particular case and to make sure you complete the appropriate paperwork for changing catalog years if that is your best option.
Contact Information
Phone: (775) 784-4447
Fax: (775) 784-1658
E-mail: jhelman@unr.edu

Office location:

Mack Social Science Building (MSS), Room 120

Mailing address:
Mail Stop 0151
University of Nevada, Reno NV 89557-0151


Core Humanities News
April 2014: Empire, Immigration, and France
Crowley Distinguished Professor Charles Tshimanga-Kashama will give a public lecture titled “The Empire at Home: The African Market and Neighborhood in Paris” on Wednesday, April 9, at 4:00 pm in AB 106. The lecture is free and all faculty, students, and interested community members are welcome to attend.
March 2014: Saving Walker Lake
Fitzgerald Distinguished Professor Leah Wilds will give a public lecture titled “Saving Walker Lake” on Thursday, March 27, at 4:00 pm in WRB 2003. The lecture is free and all faculty, students, and interested community members are welcome to attend.
March 2014: Student Survey Results
The results of the Fall 2013 Student Survey have been compiled and a summary report is now available in the Assessment section of the website. Thanks again to everyone who participated in the survey!
February 2014: Core Humanities Essay Prize Winner
Connor Farrell has won the 2013 Core Humanities Essay Prize. Congratulations Connor! Connor's essay, "A Comparison of the Philosophies of Maalouf, Hitler, and Goethe," was written in Dr. Charles Tshimanga-Kashama's CH 202 class, with discussion leader Geoff Scott.
January 2014: Student Survey Winner
Congratulations to Cecilia Bustos Duarte, winner of the first ever Core Humanities Student Survey prize! We would like to thank Cecilia and the 571 other students who took the time to participate in the survey. We will survey students every semester, so if you didn't get a chance to complete the survey in Fall 2013, be sure to look out for the survey again at the end of this semester. The results of the survey will be available on the website in the next few weeks.
November 2013: Zombie Apocalypse
Sanford Distinguished Professor Justin Gifford will give a public lecture titled “The Politics of Apocalypse: Why Zombies Matter to the Future of the Humanities” on Tuesday, November 19, at 4:00 pm in JTB 100. The lecture is free and all faculty, students, and interested community members are welcome to attend (if you dare!)
November 2013: Hip Hop Culture in France
Crowley Distinguished Professor Charles Tshimanga-Kashama will give a public lecture titled “Hip Hop Culture and Its Contribution to the Ongoing Conversation on French National Identity” on Thursday, November 7, at 4:00 pm in LLC 141. The lecture is free and all faculty, students, and interested community members are welcome to attend.


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