Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts

When talking to people who have never heard of Mudd, I quickly describe it as, “a small tech school right outside of L.A.” Obviously, this doesn’t come close to capturing the sheer awesomeness of Mudd, but it works well in a pinch. Unfortunately, my description isn’t even correct. Though HMC is known for its math, science, and engineering programs, it is actually a liberal arts college.

Mudders take approximately one third of their courses in core (introductory courses in all of the sciences), one third in their major, and the last third in HSA. Here at Mudd, HSA is the department of humanities, social sciences, and the arts. Students commonly refer to these courses as “hums.” Much like there are graduation requirements for completing core and major courses, Mudders must take specific types of hums in order to graduate.

Hum requirements are defined by concentration and distribution. Every student picks a subject in which they will concentrate. This could be anything from art to political science to media studies. They must then take four courses in that area. For example, my concentration is in linguistics, which is not offered at Mudd. I took and introductory linguistics course and a first-year Japanese course last semester, both of which count for my concentration. I am taking “Language and Society” at Pitzer this semester, meaning that I only need one more course in my concentration before it is completed.

The great thing about the hum requirements is that they motivate students to move past the introductory classes and delve deeper into non-technical areas of interest. The other hum requirement is distribution. Each student must take four humanities courses in different subject areas. For example, taking courses in literature, linguistics, psychology, and economics would fulfill the distribution requirement. This can help students explore new departments that they would otherwise never have found.

Also, if students have a concentration in a subject offered at Mudd, they must take at least five hums at Mudd. If they choose to concentrate in a subject only offered on one of the other four colleges in the consortium, they must take at least four hums at Mudd. Since HMC offers such interesting HSA courses as “Monsters in Literature,” “Psychology of Close Relationships,”  “Science in Fiction,” and many more, fulfilling the Mudd hum requirement is fun.

To anyone who thinks that Mudd is just a tech school, look no further than the HSA department. Thanks to all of the incredible professors there, as well as at the other four colleges, Mudders can get a comprehensive liberal arts experience alongside a rigorous STEM education.

If you have questions and/or comments, feel free to post them below!

Until next time,