General Humanities & Social Sciences Requirements

All students working toward a B.S. degree are required to take a selection of Humanities and Social Science courses that is referred to as the H&SS core. It consists of 24 credit hours (Engineering students take two of those credit hours automatically as professional development in their engineering design sequence and take a two-credit H&SS professional development course in their junior year), or six courses distributed in such a way as to afford students a breadth of perspective across the various disciplines as well as a more in-depth experience in at least one area.

Distribution Requirements To ensure that students have breadth in their core courses, students must select at least two courses (8 credit hours) from each of the lists below.

Humanities Prefix
Foreign Languages LANG
Literature LITR
Communication COMM
Writing WRIT
Philosophy PHIL
Science & Technology Studies, Humanities STSH
Interdisciplinary Studies IHSS
Social Sciences Prefix
Economics ECON
Science & Technology Studies, Social Science STSS
Psychology PSYC

H&SS interdisciplinary courses may be substituted for courses in either category.

To ensure that students have some depth in their H&SS core, students must take at least two courses within a single area prefix (STSH and STSS can be counted as a single area), at least one of which is taken at an advanced level (above 1000). No course within the depth sequence may be taken as Pass/No Credit.

No more than three 1000-level H&SS courses may be applied toward the H&SS core requirement, no more than 6 credits may be taken as Pass/No credit and at least one course (4 credits) must be at the 4000 level.

Transferring H&SS Core Credit Students entering Rensselaer in their first year may transfer up to two H&SS courses (up to 8 credit hours) toward satisfying their H&SS core requirement (including Advanced Placement credit). Transfer students from an accredited collegiate program who have completed at least one college year but who come to Rensselaer with first year status may qualify for additional core transfers at the discretion of the H&SS core curriculum adviser.

Transfer students entering Rensselaer at the sophomore level or above are not limited in the number of courses they may transfer for H&SS core credit. All others must take at least 16 credit hours of their H&SS core at Rensselaer.

Students enrolled at Rensselaer who wish to take an H&SS course for core credit at another accredited institution must obtain prior approval for the course from the core curriculum adviser. To apply for approval a student must furnish a catalog description of the proposed course and a filled out copy of Rensselaer’s transfer credit approval form to the core curriculum adviser. A maximum of two courses (up to 8 credit hours) of transfers are allowed (including AP courses).