Undergraduate Programs

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 (LAIS 100) – 4 credits
  • Human Systems (SYGN or LAIS 200) – 3 credits
  • 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, LAIS/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.
Humanitarian Engineering

Introductory Course (3 credits)

  • LAIS 377 Engineering and Sustainable Community Development

Area I: Community Culture and Social Justice (6 credits – 50% delivered by HASS)

  • LAIS 374 Service Learning
  • LAIS 325 Cultural Anthropology (or HNRS Explorations of the Modern World)
  • LAIS 430 Corporate Social Responsibility
  • LAIS 475 Engineering Cultures in the Developing World
  • LAIS 478 Engineering and Social Justice
  • LAIS 490 Energy and Society

Area II: Engineering by Doing (EbD) (6 credits – 50% delivered by Engineering)

  • EGGN 301 Human-Centered Problem Definition
  • EGGN 401 Human-Centered Design

Capstone Course (3 credits)

  • CECS students: EGGN 492 Senior Design II (Community Development or Assistive Technologies for People with Disabilities)
  • Non-CECS students: CEEN 477 Sustainable Engineering Design

For more information, visit humanitarian.mines.edu.

International Political Economy

The International Political Economy minor emphasizes the interplay between economic and political forces that shape and affect relations among the world’s developed and developing areas. It deeply explores the dynamic interactions between politics and economics, both within countries and on a global scale.

Students select a concentration in one of these developing regions—Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Russia and Eurasia, or Sub-Saharan Africa.

Students may also consider applying some of the courses from their IPE minor toward a master’s degree in IPE of resources.

“When working for a global corporation, having the tools to analyze and understand international markets and economies along with their individual political and cultural environments is an invaluable asset. The IPE degree program at CSM has given me the tools to find and analyze data that I use every day whether in the course of my duties at work or just reading the headlines in the paper.”

Camron Azadan (USA),
Energy Manager,
Air Liquide Corp.,
Houston, Texas

Literature, Society and the Environment

The Literature, Society, and the Environment Minor (LSE) is designed for students with a passion for literature, and an interest in exploring relationships between literary traditions and the broader social and environmental processes that have helped inspire and shape them.

The minor’s interdisciplinary emphasis creates unique opportunities for students to forge connections between literary studies and diverse fields of inquiry spanning the humanities and qualitative and quantitative sciences. In the process of acquiring the minor, students will develop forms of intellectual creativity and sensitivity to social and environmental dynamics increasingly expected of twenty-first century scientists and engineers.

The minor requires 15 credit hours of HASS courses and 3 credit hours from a technical elective for a total of 18 credit hours, as follows:

  1. Two required literature courses (six credit-hours): LAIS 309 Literature & Society  and LAIS 412 Literature & the Environment.
  2. Two additional literature courses with at least one of these at the 400-level (six credit-hours).
  3. One history, philosophy, or social science course stressing connections between society and the environment (three credit-hours).

For further details on requirements and eligible courses, please contact a minor advisor: Jay Straker, Tina Gianquitto or Toni Lefton.

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 Requirements

Students desiring a Music Technology Minor (MTM) must complete 18 hours of courses, as follows:

1.  Four required music courses (12 credit-hours):

  • LAIS 324 Audio/Acoustical Engineering and Science
  • LAIS 327 Music Technology
  • LAIS 315 Music Traditions of the Western World
  • LAIS 330 Music Technology Capstone

2.  One 400 level required course (3 credit hours):

  • LAIS 422 – Real World Recording Seminar (Preq.  LAIS 315, LAIS 327 or permission of instructor)

3.  Three additional credit-hours:

  1. LAIS 326 Music Theory (3 credit-hours)
  2. Performance Enhancement (total of 3 credit-hours):
    1. Participation in 2 semesters of any LIMU ensemble (1 credit each) (Choir/Orchestra/Band/Jazz Band)
    2. Participation in 1 semester of LIMU 189A – Individual Music Instruction (1 credit hour)
Science, Technology, Engineering and Policy

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Policy (STEP) Minor and ASI from HASS explore the social, political, and policy context for science, technology, and engineering.

Our lives are affected by public policies – whether they are about deep-water petroleum extraction, stem-cell research, nuclear power, or genetically modified organisms. These policies have economic, environmental, ethical, political, and personal outcomes ranging from how we consume products and services to how society sustains human health.

STEP takes you beyond Earth, Energy and Environment by demystifying policy making processes and their interactions with science, technology and engineering. Today more than ever, we need technically-trained engineers and scientists who can understand, navigate, and shape these policy making processes.


In addition to the required capstone course, students will work with the STEP Advisor to choose from a mix of foundational and elective courses appropriate to their background and interests.

Minor = 18 credits (6 courses)
Area of Special Interest (ASI) = 12 credits (4 courses)

Foundational Courses (choose one or two)

  • LAIS 286 Introduction to Government and Politics
  • LAIS 323 Introduction to Science Communication
  • LAIS 370 History of Science
  • LAIS 371 History of Technology

Elective Courses

  • LAIS 375 Engineering Cultures
  • LAIS 407 Science in Literature
  • LAIS 412 Literature and the Environment
  • LAIS 415 Mass Media Studies
  • LAIS 419 Media and the Environment
  • LAIS 421 Environmental Philosophy and Police
  • LAIS 423 Advanced Science Communication
  • LAIS 450 Political Risk Assessment
  • LAIS 475 Engineering Cultures in the Developing World
  • LAIS 477 Engineering and Sustainable Community Development
  • LAIS 478 Engineering and Social Justice
  • LAIS 488 Water Politics and Policy
  • LAIS 489 Nuclear Power and Public Policy
  • LAIS 490 Energy and Society
  • LAIS 498 Rhetoric, Energy and Public Policy
  • LAIS 498 Science and Culture
  • EBGN 398 Energy and Environmental Policy
  • ENGY 200 Introduction to Energy

Capstone Course (required)

  • LAIS 486 Science and Technology Policy
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

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 (LAIS 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 LAIS 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.

Acappella Singers

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.


Robert Klimek
Program Director


  • Symphonic Band
  • Marching Band
  • Pep Band
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • String Orchestra
  • Winter Percussion
  • Jazz Band
  • Chinese Band
  • Concert Choir
  • Harmonic Miners
  • Melodic Miners
  • Madrigal Singers

Available Courses

  • Music Theory
  • Music Composition / Arranging
  • Music Traditions / History
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Music Technology

Individual Instruction

  • Voice
  • Strings
  • Winds
  • Piano / Organ
  • Harpsichord
  • Percussion
  • Guitar Bass
  • Improvisation

Foreign Languages

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.