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Humanities Minor

About The Program

The humanities minor explores connections among the literature, art, architecture, philosophy, music, and popular culture of a given era or topic.

The program supports majors in many disciplines by honing critical thinking skills and providing educational breadth or opportunities for personal enrichment.

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Humanities Minor now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Humanities Minor

Courses and Requirements


Requirements for the Humanities Minor (20 credits)

Choose any five humanities courses:

This course examines the idea of the monster in art and literature as used by authorities in Western civilizations to instruct their societies in communal values, regulation of behaviors, and how to conceptualize enemies. The course focuses on depictions of monsters in Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and medieval Europe as symbols and as representations of outsiders (such as ¿barbarians,¿ Jews, Muslims, pagans, heretics, racial others), and as subordinates or inferiors who may threaten social order (the disabled, women, homosexuals, the poor).

Full course description for Ancient and Medieval Monsters

The cultural foundations of the West stand on the bedrock of the ancient Near East: writing, literature, art, architecture, science, mathematics and religion reach back past Rome and Greece to Mesopotamia, Egypt and Anatolia. This course provides an introduction to the literature, history and culture of that period, c. 3100-600 B.C.

Full course description for The First Civilizations

In this course, students study achievements in thought, art, architecture, religion, science and politics during the Middle Ages, the period between the collapse of Roman civilization (c. 500 A.D.) and its "rebirth" in the Renaissance about a thousand years later. Students read a selection of medieval texts in translation and examine a range of medieval arts and ideas.

Full course description for Medieval Civilization

This course explores the art, literature, philosophy, religion, and science of the European Renaissance (c. 1350-1650 A.D.), placing them in the context of political and social movements of the time. In this era, increased attention to ancient Greek and Roman ideas energized all of the arts and sciences. This period also saw the beginnings of the centrally administered nation state and the rise of colonialism in the New World, as well as the Protestant Reformation, a many-sided and far-reaching religious revolution that reshaped Christianity. Readings, slide/lectures, and class discussions explore the many ways that art, ideas, and events from this era still live in contemporary European and American civilizations.

Full course description for The Renaissance

The scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries led to eighteenth-century doubts about Christianity and optimism about progress based on "enlightenment" or reason. If science could penetrate the secrets of nature, perhaps the same methods could be used in economics and politics? The resulting conflict between new ideas and ancient inequities led to political revolutions in America and France, and to cultural revolutions in industry, literature, philosophy and the arts. Students in this course study significant works by seventeenth and eighteenth century writers, thinkers and artists.

Full course description for The Enlightenment

The romantic revolution occurred in Europe and America toward the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries. Literature, art, music and philosophy turned away from the forms, concepts and assumptions about art and society that had lasted for centuries. At the same time, the social, political and economic life of that time was being transformed by the new energies and new hatreds released by the industrial and French revolutions. Students examine some of the classics of romantic fiction, art and poetry produced during this period.

Full course description for Romanticism

In the late nineteenth century, the romantic figure of the artist as an outsider who criticized society, yet helped rejuvenate mankind, evolved into the figure of the artist as a revolutionary adversary of society. Artists in the twentieth century questioned older social, philosophical and artistic forms and sought to create radically new, "modern" forms. To understand this development and how it has influenced the contemporary world, this course examines several influential modern(ist) texts, in connection with other developments in modern art, music, politics and thought.

Full course description for Modernism

Post-WWII Western societies pushed the Modernists' radical rejection of traditional aesthetics to the extreme limit, developing a new theoretical and aesthetic movement called Postmodernism. From the blurring of high and low culture, through the use of pastiche, collage, and bricolage, to the status of the object in an era of simulacra, the period is characterized by a number of distinct techniques and critical theories which we'll explore in a wide variety of art, film, new media, literature, architecture, and music.

Full course description for Postmodernism

Myths and myth cycles have had a deep and pervasive influence on literature and culture, and thus on everyday life. This course examines the nature of myth and the modes of belief that have sustained it within various traditions, the myths themselves, their expression in literature from ancient to modern times, and theories of interpretation. The selection varies among Greek, Roman, Mesopotamian, Celtic and Germanic myth traditions, along with comparative material from other world traditions.

Full course description for Myth

Folklore was and is part of everyone's everyday experience. This course examines the nature of folklore; the study, analysis and interpretation of folklore; various folk traditions; and real-life examples and uses of folk-lore. While emphasizing traditions of the United States, the course also presents aspects of folklore of other selected regions.

Full course description for Folklore

This course explores the time period in medieval Spain when the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) coexisted somewhat peacefully and created together a rich, vibrant culture from 700-1492. "Convivencia" means "living together." We will examine the poetry, architecture, art, music, governance, and religious practices during this period: how a culture flourished, and how it fell apart. We'll also study how persecutions (including those against pagans), and the diasporas of Jews and Muslims out of Spain influenced these texts, structures, and practices.

Full course description for Convivencia: Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Arts in Medieval Spain

This course introduces students to visual culture theory with an emphasis on the photographic image. The course examines how photography has shaped Western culture's understanding of how to "read" images of people and their spaces for their status, meaning and utility within a community. Contemporary theories debate the place of the photo in distinguishing and contesting our representations of people in terms of race, ability, class, gender, sexuality and size. Students will learn how modern views of photography as both an art and a science create an often contradictory set of beliefs about what a photo shows that is "real" or "true."

Full course description for The Photo and the Other

Student-designed independent studies give Metropolitan State students the opportunity to plan their own study. This type of independent learning strategy can be useful because it allows students: to study a subject in more depth, at a more advanced level; to pursue a unique project that requires specialized study; to draw together several knowledge areas or interests into a specialized study; to test independent learning capabilities and skills; or to use special learning resources in the community, taking advantage of community education opportunities which, in themselves, would not yield a full college competence. Students should contact their academic advisor for more information.

Full course description for Humanities Student Designed Independent Studies

This course will study the Harlem Renaissance, a period of incredible productivity and creativity among black artists and intellectuals between 1920-1940, centered in Harlem, New York. The course considers how concepts -- such as race; the New Negro movement; Jim Crow, segregation, and racism; so-called racial uplift and the Talented Tenth; the Great Migration; the Roaring Twenties, and Modernism were manifested in the works of art, literature, philosophy, film, and music of Harlem's artists and thinkers. In addition to learning the specialized vocabulary and skills involved in the analysis of works from a variety of artistic genres, students will learn how Harlem's leading black intellectuals tied aesthetic theories to social and racialized principles of artistic production, inspiring some artists while prompting others to openly rebel. Given that the Harlem Renaissance is not characterized by any one style, technique, or manifesto, well pay special attention to connections among…

Full course description for The Harlem Renaissance

Every semester it is offered, this course selects a different constellation of authors/artists, topic, genre, period, or issues and explores it/them through the study of texts and artistic works in the humanities. The course provides an opportunity for upper division students from across the university to explore authors and topics of particular interest to them, or to supplement earlier, survey-level work with more detailed and more advanced study of particular subjects. Outcomes from each iteration of the course include familiarity with course texts, understanding of key concepts and issues in the topic under consideration, and development of intermediate-level skills at the analysis and interpretation of literature.

Full course description for Special Topics in Humanities

This rich, interdisciplinary course studies how popular and classical artistic genres (such as painting, sculpture, installations, music, literature, dance, film, digital media, photography, happenings, cartoons, criticism, theories, etc.) shape our understanding of and discussions about environmental issues. We examine how artists have sought to use, recreate, idealize, manipulate, mar, intervene in, and affect the environment and public attitudes toward the environment. Key critical theories informing environmental art will be covered (e.g., ecocriticism, environmental racism, indigenous activism, animal rights, radical plant studies, ecofeminism, green screen, the Anthropocene, apocalypse, poverty, religion, etc.). This course has a community engagement element.

Full course description for Environmental Humanities