The course work in the Division of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) reveals the cultural, philosophical, ethical, social, political, environmental, international, and global contexts, past and present, which impact the practice and application of science and engineering in today’s world. HASS students will engage in life-long learning and recognize the value of doing so by acquiring the broad education necessary to:
- Understand the impact of engineering solutions in contemporary, global, international, societal, political, and ethical contexts,
- Understand the role of Humanities and Social Sciences in identifying, formulating and solving engineering problems,
- Prepare people to live and work in a complex world
- Understand the meaning and implications of “stewardship of the Earth,”
- Communicate effectively in writing and orally.
Humanities and Social Science Requirements
All Mines students must complete a 19-credit-hour curriculum in the Humanities and Social Sciences, ranging from freshman through senior levels of course work. These courses are offered by the Division of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) and by the Division of Economics and Business (EB).
The 10-credit humanities and social sciences core curriculum consists of
- Nature & Human Values (HASS 100) – 4 credits
- Human Systems (SYGN or HASS 200) – 3 credits
NOTE: Undergraduate Council has approved the proposal to change Human Systems to Global Studies. More information coming soon.
- Principles of Economics (EBGN 201) – 3 credits
The remaining 9 credits, 3 courses, must be chosen from the Humanities and Social Sciences General Education restricted electives, listed in the HASS section of the catalog.
This part of the humanities and social science requirement is often a source of confusion. Part of the problem is that this requirement has had many names over the years and may be called different things by different departments: LAIS credit, Clusters, H&SS, HASS/EBGN electives, Distributed Humanities and Social Sciences. The other source of confusion is that not all EBGN courses may be used to satisfy this requirement.
Here are the rules:
- The three courses must be chosen from the approved courses listed in the LAIS section of the bulletin.
- At least one of the three courses must be taken in HASS.
- Single majors in Economics must take all three courses in HASS.
- At least one of the 3 courses must be an approved 400-level course.
- No 100-level courses may be used for these restricted electives (except foreign language courses).
- AP and/or IB credit may not be applied to the restricted electives (except foreign languages).
Minors / Areas of Special Interest
HASS offers five minor programs. Students who complete an HASS minor usually will automatically satisfy their Humanities & Social Sciences General Education Restricted Electives Requirement. They will also need to use their free elective hours to complete a minor. Minors are a minimum of 18 credit-hours. Students should consult minor advisors for specific requirements.
- No more than half of the credits to be applied towards an HASS minor may be transfer credits. All transfer credits must be approved by the appropriate HASS Undergraduate Advisor.
- Prior to completing the sophomore year, students wishing to declare an HASS Minor fill out an HASS Minor form and obtain approval from their minor advisor.
- Students must also fill out a Minor/Area of Special Interest Declaration and obtain approval from their Mines advisor, from the head/director of their major department/division and from the HASS director.
Culture, Creativity, and Communication (CCC)
Program Educational Objectives
Given the diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary interests of Mines students, the Culture, Creativity, and Communication (CCC) program provides a flexible, interdisciplinary range of options so students can follow particular passions bolstered by distinctive, signature experiences.
The Culture, Creativity, Communication minor elevates student capacity for empathy, contextual understanding, intellectual versatility, creative cognition, and expressive clarity. This minor is designed for students who feel a passion for culture and the arts, and who yearn to explore diverse fields of literary studies, creative writing, and communication studies.
Program Director: Paula Farca
Students in the Culture, Creativity, Communication minor must complete 18 hours of coursework. Students will take courses below as part of a pathway in Literature and Creative Writing, a pathway in Communication Studies, or an intellectually coherent pathway in both. Below, you find some sample courses:
HASS 201 Workshop Foundations: The Art and Crafts of Creative Writing
HASS 300 Creative Writing: Fiction
HASS 301 Creative Writing: Poetry
HASS 305 American Literature: Colonial Period to the Present
HASS 307 Explorations in Comparative Literature
HASS 309 Literature and Society
HASS 323 Introduction to Science Communication
HASS 401 Creative Writing: Poetry II
HASS 404 Women, Literature, and Society
HASS 406 Literature of War and Remembrance
HASS 407 Science in Literature
HASS 408 Life Stories
HASS 409 Shakespearean Drama
HASS 410 20th-Century Literature
HASS 411 Literatures of the African World
HASS 412 Literature and the Environment
HASS 415 Mass Media Studies
HASS 416 Film Studies
Environment and Sustainability Studies (ESS)
Program Educational Objectives
Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines human interactions with the natural environment from the perspective of the humanities and social sciences. The Minor provides political, social, cultural, economic, and historical perspectives on modern environmental challenges, complementing student expertise in science and engineering. This strengthens their capacity for advanced analysis environmental issues, and prepares them for career opportunities in environmental health and safety, policy, design, and consulting.
The Minor in Environment and Sustainability Studies requires 18 hours of course work, including 12 credit hours in HASS electives, 3 credit hours in restricted environmental science and engineering electives, and a required capstone class. No more than 9 of the 18 hours required can apply towards degree requirements other than free electives.
The HASS curriculum of Environment and Sustainability Studies is designed to provide students with an interdisciplinary perspective on human interaction with the environment from the perspective of the humanities and social sciences.
The Environment and Sustainability Studies Minor is designed to strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration across campus, in order to provide students with an enhanced capacity to recognize the connections between technical and non-technical courses. Students completing the Minor are required to take 3 credits in an upper-division course on environmental science and engineering. Faculty involved in the Environment and Sustainability Studies Minor will work with colleagues across campus to identify upper-division electives in environmental science and engineering that can fulfill this requirement.
Program Director: Joseph Horan
Students taking the ESS minor will be required to take a capstone course, HASS448. This course requires students to examine contemporary environmental challenges in a wide array of real world contexts relevant to their majors, and articulate innovative solutions to those challenges through advanced academic research, persuasive written arguments, and innovative public presentations. Although a member of the ESS faculty will serve as primary instructor and coordinator, a significant portion of class time devoted to invited guest lectures and discussions from other HASS faculty, alumni, industry practitioners, and STEM faculty from across campus.
Other requirements to be announced.
Global Politics and Society (GPS)
Program Educational Objectives
The GPS Minor (18 credit hours) prepares engineers and scientists with the knowledge and experience they need to tackle complex global issues and become leaders in their professional and personal lives, within their own countries and in the global community. Drawing primarily from the social sciences, our classes link theories with real-world problems, while enhancing students’ analytical and communication skills. Courses provide the political, social, and historical contexts to better understand world regions, particularly ones with significant natural resource endowments. Topics include war, trade, energy, corruption, and religion. Fitting the Mines’ mission, our courses bring a stronger focus to natural resources and energy issues than similar programs at other universities.
Program Director: Kathleen Hancock
Required Course: 3 credit hours minimum
AT LEAST one of the following courses
- 286 Global Politics & Society
- 340 Geopolitics of Natural Resources
- 344 International Relations
The remaining 6 to 15 credit hours (depending on how many courses you take from the required list) must come from the following courses. AT LEAST one must be a 400-level class. Students may also use Study Abroad Programs to meet some elective requirements; contact the Director for more information.
- 337 Asia: Politics & Society
- 339 Middle East: Politics & Society
- 341 Africa: Politics & Society
- 411 Literatures of the African World
- 437 Asian Development
- 439 Middle East Development
- 441 African Development
- 442 Natural Resources & War in Africa
- 456 Power and Politics in Eurasia
- 307 Explorations in Comparative Literature
- 375 Engineering Cultures (EGGN)
- 431 Religion & Security
- 448 Global Environmental Issues
- 452 Corruption and Development
- 475 Engineering Cultures in the Developing World (EGGN)
- 490 Energy and Society
Politics and Policy Focus
- 486 Science and Technology Policy
- 488 Water Politics and Policy
- 491 Energy Politics
- 492 Energy & Security Policy
HASS offers some foreign language courses that may be substituted for up to two of the electives.
Music, Engineering and Recording Arts
Program Educational Objectives
The Music, Engineering and Recording Arts Minor (MERA) is 18-credit designed for students interested in the crossover field between music and related technical skills. Technical emphasis within this minor creates an opportunity for students to experience and understand the impact of their specific majors upon both music as an art form and music as an industry. Students will explore, study and research the refinements and developments that technology has created in the field of recording, production, performance, sound reinforcement and product design, as well as the interplay between the arts and technology. The discovery of the connections between current music and sound engineering practices is stressed. The final outcome is a skilled and informed studio musician/ technician in present day studio conditions.
Program Director: Robert Klimek
Students desiring a Music Technology Minor (MTM) must complete 18 hours of courses, as follows:
1. Four required music courses (12 credit-hours):
- HASS 324 Audio/Acoustical Engineering and Science
- HASS 327 Music Technology
- HASS 315 Music Traditions of the Western World
- HASS 330 Music Technology Capstone
2. One 400 level required course (3 credit hours):
- HASS 422 – Real World Recording Seminar (Preq. HASS 315, HASS 327 or permission of instructor)
3. Three additional credit-hours:
- HASS 326 Music Theory (3 credit-hours)
- Performance Enhancement (total of 3 credit-hours):
- Participation in 2 semesters of any LIMU ensemble (1 credit each) (Choir/Orchestra/Band/Jazz Band)
- Participation in 1 semester of LIMU 189A – Individual Music Instruction (1 credit hour)
Individualized Undergraduate Minor
Students may pursue a minor custom-tailored to their interests within the confines of resident faculty expertise and availability. Such “designer minors” are ideal preparation for law and medical school.
Students should see the HASS undergraduate advisor, who will recommend a minor advisor in their area of interest. That Advisor will help each student create a coherent program reflecting the specific focus that the student wishes to pursue. The Individualized Undergraduate Minor application form must include a statement of the rationale for the sequence of courses selected.
Following are undergraduate-level opportunities for study in areas that can enhance preparation for students who are considering pursuing professional careers in Law:
- LAIS 220 Introduction to Philosophy
- LAIS 285 Introduction to Law and Legal Systems
- LAIS 286 Introduction to Government and Politics
- LAIS 320 Introduction to Ethics
- LAIS 321 Political Philosophy and Engineering
- LAIS 322 Logic
- LAIS 485 Constitutional Law and Politics
- LAIS 486 Science and Technology Policy
- LAIS 487 Environmental Politics and Policy
- LAIS 488 Water Politics and Policy
Students considering attending medical school after completing their undergraduate degrees should be aware that one of the basic requirements for admission to medical schools includes one year of study in expository writing/composition, literature, and/or English courses. Mid-level and upper division courses in HASS that would satisfy this requirement include:
- LAIS 300 Creative Writing: Fiction
- LAIS 301 Creative Writing: Poetry I
- LAIS 305 American Literature: Colonial Period to the Present
- LAIS 401 Creative Writing: Poetry II
- LAIS 404 Women, Literature and Society
- LAIS 406 Literature of War and Remembrance
- LAIS 409 Shakespearean Drama
Program Director: Sandra Woodson
McBride Honors Program
The McBride Honors Program has the feel of a small liberal arts college—right here, in the heart of one of the foremost science and engineering universities. Nurturing the full potential of Mines students, the program develops core skills in effective communication, problem solving, leadership, and critical thinking—all while exploring the world in all its complexity.
Through McBride, students get a well-rounded education that integrates the world of the liberal arts with that of science and engineering. With its focus on small classes and interactive learning, the program provides highly motivated students with a place to call home and the opportunity to enjoy a truly transformative educational experience.
Learn more about the McBride Honors Program at mcbride.mines.edu.
Music at Mines
Music at Mines adds a layer of creative expression and camaraderie—taking students beyond their study of earth, energy and environment. Offered through the HASS division, students may chose from academic courses in music theory (HASS 326), music composition and music history, or participation in one of Mines’ talented and award-winning performance groups.
Participation in the band or chorus group ( or any LIMU class) can count for up to 3 hours of free elective credit. If a course has the HASS prefix (Such as Music Theory or Music Technology), it can be used for the H&SS graduation credit. Facilities for the music program include rehearsal rooms and a computer lab equipped with Pro Tools, Finale, and similar software for student use.
The Colorado School of Mines Band was established over 50 years ago and has a rich tradition of performing for the school and the community. The traditional Mines Marching Band with red and black plaid shirts, jeans, hiking boots, and hard hats represents a unique image among university bands. Band members play for the annual Mines Little Theatre musicals and in other small ensembles for different occasions during the year. During the spring semester, the band presents two major performances in the concert hall.
Jazz Band and Strings
Both Jazz Band and Strings are offered during fall and spring semesters — providing additional options for aspiring musicians and performers to showcase their skills. Both groups perform at least once a semester.
The Colorado School of Mines Concert Choir presents a variety of music in concerts on and off campus. This 75-voice choir is showcased in two annual on-campus performances.
Our Acappella Singers, an audition-only vocal chamber group, are subdivided into four performing groups that regularly present programs for both the Mines and local communities.
Scholarships and Work-Study
Music Leadership Scholarships are available in band and chorus for talented and qualified freshmen through seniors. Criteria considered in awarding music scholarships are a solid record of academic achievement, prior and current musical experience, performance on an audition tape, and financial need. Scholarships range from $500 to $2,000 for the academic year. Work-study funds are also available in music for qualified students.
- Symphonic Band
- Marching Band
- Pep Band
- Chamber Orchestra
- String Orchestra
- Winter Percussion
- Jazz Band
- Chinese Band
- Concert Choir
- Harmonic Miners
- Melodic Miners
- Madrigal Singers
- Music Theory
- Music Composition / Arranging
- Music Traditions / History
- Music Technology
- Piano / Organ
- Guitar Bass
Although Mines does not offer a full range of foreign language study, HASS does provide a modest array of foreign language courses at the beginning levels (advanced students should see the undergraduate advisor for their options). Incoming students should enroll in the courses which most closely matches their language skill level. Placement tests are also available, but currently, there are no tests-for-credit. Students may not take a “foreign” language in his/her native or second language.
Regularly offered foreign language courses include Arabic, German, French and Spanish.