Students in Hum 1 and 2

Why should you take Humanities 1 and 2 in your first two terms at Dartmouth College?


  • Because of the challenge.
    You love to read, listen to, and look at things perceptively. You love to think deeply. You love to discuss important ideas that have puzzled or inspired people for millennia. These are the things we do in Humanities 1 and 2.

    The course is organized with a double focus. A third of the class hours are in lecture format. The rest are devoted to intensive discussions in small groups led by each professor.

  • Because of the texts.
    These are books and plays and poems and paintings and musical compositions and films that have deeply influenced our culture. They have intrigued, inspired, and sometimes antagonized generations of readers, viewers, and listeners. You’ll find yourself returning to them throughout your life. Previous Humanities students have said that these were exactly the kinds of texts they hoped to study in college.

  • Because of the professors.
    This is a chance to get to know a few professors well at the beginning of your Dartmouth career, within an intellectually exciting but supportive small-class environment. Humanities 1 and 2 are among the oldest interdisciplinary courses at Dartmouth College.

  • Because of your graduation requirements.
    When taken together, Humanities 1 and 2 fulfill both the First-Year Writing requirement (Humanities 1 stands in for Writing 5) and the First-Year Seminar requirement.

  • Because you want to learn to write better.
    In each section, the professor carefully reads, comments upon, and suggests ways of improving your essays. You will receive help with both the intellectual content of your work and the craft of writing.

  • Because Humanities 1 and 2 are open only to first-year students.
    The courses give first-year students a chance to explore the humanities on a “level playing field,” without feeling overshadowed by more experienced Dartmouth students. Don’t miss the opportunity to take these courses during your first year!

  • Because you want to grow now.
    The course is deliberately structured to engage you. Its philosophy is that the purpose of an education is to expand cultural and intellectual horizons and promote the kinds of intellectual and personal self-discipline that are important to the life of the mind and to life in society. The demands it will make on your time are reasonable, though it is not an “easy” way to satisfy the College’s distributive requirement in Literature.

  • Because you want to invest in your future.
    Humanities 1 and 2 are a foundation for study in many departments and programs in the Social Sciences as well as the Arts & Humanities, and the texts you’ll explore in Humanities 1 and 2 will stay with you for a lifetime.