Foundations Curriculum

At the core of the Rhodes academic experience is our Foundations Curriculum, which gives students greater freedom to follow their academic interests and aspirations as they develop critical-thinking skills that are fundamental to the Rhodes experience, the study of the liberal arts and sciences, and lifelong learning. More than 400 different courses are offered to fulfill the Foundations course requirements.

Upon completion of the Foundations coursework, students will be able to:

  • Critically examine questions of meaning and value
  • Develop excellence in written communication
  • Understand how historical forces have shaped human cultures
  • Read and interpret literary texts
  • Participate in the analysis of artistic expression or in the performance or production of art
  • Gain facility with mathematical reasoning and expression
  • Explore and understand scientific approaches to the natural world
  • Explore and understand the systematic analysis of human interaction and contemporary institutions
  • View the world from more than one cultural perspective
  • Develop intermediate proficiency in a second language
  • Participate in activities that broaden connections between the classroom and the world
  • Develop skills to become an informed, active and engaged student-citizen.

Search or Life
Within the Foundations framework, students are required to choose one of two signature course sequences: The Search for Values in the Light of Western History and Religion or Life: Then and Now, both of which comprise three courses (12 credit hours) spread over three semesters.

“Search” is an interdisciplinary study of the ideas, beliefs, and cultural developments that have formed Western culture. Created by the Rhodes faculty in 1945, “Search” draws professors from 10 departments and includes courses from various disciplines that are organized chronologically from the earliest origins to the modern period. In addition to studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, students will also explore texts from the ancient Near East, Greece, Rome, and the early Christian church.

Taught by members of our Religious Studies Department, the first two semesters of the “Life” course sequence focus primarily on how Christianity and other religions have shaped the world. Specifically, students are introduced to the academic study of the Bible, from the earliest text sources to modern interpretations, as well as the origins and beliefs of other religions. For the third “Life” course, students can continue their path within the Religious Studies framework or branch out into Philosophy or Ancient Mediterranean Studies.