Academic programs at Furman University prepare qualified students to enter graduate and professional schools or to go directly into such fields as business, teaching and public service.
Courses are offered leading to the award of the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Master of Arts, and Master of Science degrees. See the Academic Regulations section of this catalog for specific requirements leading to the award of each degree.
The Bachelor of Arts degree is awarded in the following major subjects: accounting, art, Asian studies, biology, business administration, classics, communication studies, earth and environmental sciences, economics, education, English, French, German, Greek, information technology, health sciences, history, Latin, mathematics, mathematics-economics, music, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, sociology, Spanish, theatre arts and urban studies.
The Bachelor of Music degree is available to students who wish a greater specialization in music than the Bachelor of Arts provides. It is awarded with majors in composition, performance, church music, music education and music theory.
The Bachelor of Science degree is awarded to students who desire a greater concentration in science or mathematics than the Bachelor of Arts affords. It is conferred in the following major subjects: biology, chemistry, computer science, computing and applied mathematics, earth and environmental sciences, health sciences, information technology, mathematics, mathematics-economics, neuroscience, physics, pre-engineering, psychology and sustainability science.
The Bachelor of Liberal Arts, designed for students in the Division of Continuing Education, offers majors in accounting, business administration and information technology.
The Master of Arts and Education Specialist degrees are awarded in education, while the Master of Science degree is awarded in chemistry.
Every student is assigned an academic advisor with whom the student meets regularly to plan a program based on interests, aptitudes, and educational goals. The student has the final responsibility for making decisions about his or her academic program and for ensuring that degree requirements are satisfied.
The role of the advisor is to offer informed advice about course selections, provide information about co-curricular and extracurricular educational opportunities such as study away, internships, and undergraduate research, and refer the student to campus support services as appropriate.
First Year Seminars
The centerpiece of recent curricular reform at Furman, first year seminars are intended to ignite the interests and passions of students. Most seminars require little prior knowledge about a given academic discipline. Seminars encourage students to think, write, and speak with rigor and with passion about topics that matter. They treat the undergraduate classroom as an introduction to a set of problems-problems considered in a content-rich environment. Under these conditions, classroom activity can become a model for critical thought, controversy, and the posing of, and grappling with, hard questions. The seminars model a way of teaching and learning significantly different from the ordinary high school experience. They clearly expect a new level of responsibility for learning for every student.
Stimulating the mind for the pursuit of knowledge is the real heart of liberal education. The seminars should be understood as a chance to press into intellectual areas not easily accommodated in “introductory” courses. While these seminars certainly use the professional expertise of the faculty teaching them, their point is not to create a new generation of specialists. Their point is to encourage clear, precise, informed, imaginative, engaged, and ethically sensitive thinking.
To acquire the breadth in educational experience which characterizes liberal education, develop intellectual discipline, discover their interests and build a foundation for specialization, students must successfully complete courses fulfilling a prescribed set of general education requirements. General education courses include a pair of first year seminars; core requirements in empirical studies, human cultures, mathematical and formal reasoning, foreign language, ultimate questions, and body and mind; and global awareness offerings focusing on humans and their natural environment and world cultures. See the Academic Regulations section of this catalog for more information.
Cultural Life Program
The Cultural Life Program is designed to supplement the educational experience offered at Furman. The program includes a broad selection of cultural events throughout the year - plays, lectures and concerts. See the Academic Regulations section of this catalog for more information.
Major Field of Study
All students select a major subject in which they normally complete at least eight courses.
Individualized Curriculum Program
Students who have educational goals outside of majors offered at Furman may propose an individualized curriculum program. Students approved for the program select courses under the supervision of a faculty committee and the student’s advisor. Individualized programs should be consistent with the broad purposes of Furman’s liberal arts philosophy. See the Academic Regulations section of this catalog for more information.
While Furman does not offer traditional minors housed in a single academic discipline, students may choose to supplement their major field of study by studying a specific topic from the perspective of different academic disciplines. To assist this effort, the university has identified certain groups of existing courses, the focus of each group being a specific area deemed appropriate for an interdisciplinary minor.
A minor typically consists of four to six courses (16 to 24 credits) of related course work. Furman offers interdisciplinary minors in African American and Diaspora Studies, Ancient Greek and Roman Studies, English for Speakers of Other Languages, Environmental Studies, Film Studies, Latin American Studies, Middle East and Islamic Studies, Poverty Studies, Science Education, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. A listing of courses and requirements for each minor is included in the Interdisciplinary Studies section of this catalog.
African-American and Diaspora Cultures
The minor provides students with critical, theoretically informed engagements with the complex, ever-changing cultures, histories, politics, and status of the diverse peoples of African descent who live in and help shape the various societies outside of Africa. More specifically, it enables students to explore the complexity of the lives of people of African descent and the ways in which race, gender, social class and sexual identities are constituted not in isolation but by and through each other, the larger “mainstream,” and other immigrant formations.
Ancient Greek and Roman Studies
Ancient Greek and Roman Studies refers to those disciplines which study the culture, civilization and heritage of Greece and Rome from roughly the Bronze Age (3000-1000 B.C.) to the fifth century A.D., and those parts of the Mediterranean basin, Europe, Africa and Asia where these ancient civilizations either originated or spread.
The minor includes disciplines that critically engage ideas and themes that originated in the classical world and which profoundly influenced later thinkers and institutions.
English for Speakers of Other Languages
English is the “lingua franca” of the twenty-first century. It has become the international language of business, science, technology, and travel and is the most widely learned second language in the world today. The minor in English for Speakers of Other Languages will provide students with the opportunity to gain essential background knowledge, expertise and experience relevant not only for working with and assisting foreign nationals and immigrants both personally and professionally, but also for adult literacy development in the United States, teaching English overseas as a foreign language or in America as a second language.
Many of the problems that will face humanity in the 21st century will be environmental. The expanding human population and dwindling supplies of oil, water and arable land could de-stabilize economic, political and social institutions.
The minor in Environmental Studies offers a program of study that teaches participating students how the Earth functions as a system and supports life; how the growing human population is transforming this Earth system; the complex relationships between culture (social, political, religious, and economic systems) and the environment; and that solutions are constructed in this social context. The minor also provides a course experience in which students discover the interdisciplinary nature of environmental problem solving and work in teams to address environmental issues.
Focusing primarily on the study of the specificities of film language, its formal codes and conventions, the history of film and the established canon of theories and scholarly methods, the minor in Film Studies seeks to acknowledge and advance the critical understanding that emerges when film is studied within an interdisciplinary, liberal arts perspective. Students will encounter a wide range of methods and approaches, cinemas (national and international), forms (fiction, documentary, animation), and styles (Hollywood, independent, avant-garde and experimental) and will be challenged to look beyond the “visual” field to think about and critically engage the significance of the broader visual culture and the world.
The minor in the Humanities seeks to develop an intellectual culture where we better understand how texts, historical events, and human experience interact across disciplinary boundaries. Students will be challenged to consider a higher-level view of their subject matter and their educational activities. The minor will offer opportunities to integrate thinking and hone analytical abilities as students examine the development and application of intellectual concepts and the ways we define human experiences across the spectrum of those experiences (e.g., the idea of the Baroque, class conflict, social justice, human control over nature).
Latin American Studies
Latin American Studies offers students a minor that complements their major and provides a broad perspective on Latin America. Topics of study include, but are not limited to literature, politics, history, society, ecology and the environment. Some courses are grounded in problem solving; others are oriented toward critical thinking.
Medicine, Health and Culture
The minor explores and critiques traditional, historical and contemporary paradigms of medical care, and explore the intricacies of health and healing. Because health and disease impact the whole person –body, mind and spirit– particular attention is paid to the notions of care from social, psychological, cultural, religious, historical, economic, legal and philosophical perspectives, among others. Offering students a way to acquaint themselves with the resources of a variety of disciplines, ideological perspectives, methodologies and cultural traditions to foster growth in the knowledge, wisdom, sensitivity and compassion necessary to promote responsible and humane health care and to lend insight into the difficulties and complexities of illness, health and the body.
Middle East and Islamic Studies
Middle East and Islamic Studies at Furman is rooted in the disciplinary methodologies of distinct fields of political science, history and religion. Students completing the minor will be equipped with interdisciplinary tools of analysis through an introduction to an increasingly complex and diverse part of the world. The courses contributing to the minor will help students recognize the connections between peoples and cultures of the region, and attempts to locate the significance of the Middle East and Islam in a global context.
Poverty is among the oldest and most intractable problems faced by humankind. Well over half the world lives in serious poverty, including tens of millions in wealthy countries. The minor in Poverty Studies brings students face-to-face with this reality. Students will study poverty locally, nationally and globally from a variety of academic disciplines, and they will engage poverty directly through a summer internship. The minor invites informed, critical conversations about what it means to live in poverty, causes of poverty, and how poverty might be addressed and alleviated through individual and institutional actions.
The ability to communicate and respond to the general public is a vital skill for scientists. The goal of the Science Education minor is to explore the interactive link between the natural sciences and society and to prepare students to be able to help make science accessible to the general public. Students will complete field experiences in various local settings including undergraduate laboratories, state parks, schools, camps or science museums. The minor will prepare the students for a future that may include graduate school, preparation for teaching in the public or private sector, and/or employment as resource consultants in museums, state parks, or businesses.
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
The minor provides a methodology for exploring the ways gender shapes knowledge throughout the academy and society. As such, it is an important branch of interdisciplinary knowledge often ignored in conventional curricula. Courses in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies examine not only women in specific contexts from multiple disciplinary perspectives, but also the various ways in which gender and sexuality shape human experience.
Study Away Programs
Furman offers qualified students a wide variety of opportunities to study internationally or participate in a number of thematic programs in locations throughout the United States either in Furman sponsored travel programs or through affiliate programs with other colleges and universities. Study away programs are competitive and range from short-term study during the May Experience to full semester programs during the fall and spring.
Travel study programs involve continuous study based at one location or in some instances travel across several countries. Participants in these programs are accompanied by Furman faculty members who coordinate and direct the programs. Directors ensure that field trips, experiential learning, and interaction with local experts are integrated into the curriculum for each program.
Fall semester programs are sponsored in the British Isles, with resident study in London and Stratford-upon-Avon; extensive language and literature study offered in Madrid, Paris and Berlin; while other fall term possibilities typically include Asian Studies offerings in China; a music program in Italy, and an internship experience associated with a European Union institution in Brussels, Belgium. Spring term study abroad opportunities have included travel study to the Mediterranean, the Baltic, Africa, Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Chile and India. Internship based travel study programs are also available in Washington, D.C., and in Edinburgh, Scotland. Qualified students may also spend a term or more studying through affiliate programs. Students may arrange to spend a semester as an exchange student at Kansai Gaidai, Seinan Gakuin or Waseda Universities in Japan, Groningen University in The Netherlands, or Rhodes University in South Africa. Students interested in any of these study away opportunities should consult the Study Away and International Education website at www.furman.edu/international for more information. Application deadlines for most programs are typically at least as much as a year prior to the program start date.
Participation in study away programs is voluntary on the part of the student. Such releases as the university might promulgate must be signed in order to participate.
An integral part of the educational program at Furman is the opportunity for independent study. Independent study courses allow students, with faculty assistance, to develop their own goals and their own learning activities to study subject matter and topics that may not be part of regular course offerings. Independent study opportunities are offered in every academic department.
Research and Internships
Furman strongly supports programs which allow students to apply their in-class learning to a research or internship experience. Research projects offer students an opportunity to engage in original scholarship activity, usually in collaboration with a faculty member. These projects can take place either during the academic year or the summer. Students regularly engage in off-campus research. In the past, students have conducted off-campus projects at such places as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, University of Cambridge, Harvard University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Reedy and Saluda River basins.
An active internship program provides opportunities throughout the academic year and during the summer for students to integrate theory with practice and to explore future career possibilities. Internships may be developed through academic departments or with the Internship Program Director. Positions will be directly related to majors and may be either part-time or full-time. Recent internships have included positions at museums, government offices, business and financial institutions, hospitals and clinics, social service agencies and media companies.
Various fellowship and grant programs support a select group of students who undertake full-time research projects, creative activity, or internships each summer.
Teacher Education Program
The Education department offers a major in education with preparation for teaching in elementary grades 2-6 and a non-teaching major for those who wish to work with children or youth in settings other than schools. Students seeking certification on the secondary level or in grades PK-12 (languages) major in the academic discipline related to the teaching field and complete a sequence of pre-professional courses in education. The elementary, secondary and language programs of certification are completed on the graduate level during the fall of the fifth year. Graduate credits accrued during the post-baccalaureate year may be applied toward a master’s degree. The certification program in music education may be completed in four years. Additional areas of certification, completed on the graduate level, are offered in curriculum and instruction, early childhood, special education, literacy, school leadership, and teaching English to speakers of other languages.
Furman offers programs which prepare students for professional studies in law, theology, engineering and industrial management as well as health professions such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, and physician assistant, among others. Of course, Furman prepares students to enter any professional program that is based on a liberal arts education as well.
Furman provides opportunities for students who wish to prepare for the various aspects of Christian ministry. No particular major is required, although students interested in church related vocations frequently major in religion. Various courses, internships and engaged learning experiences help students explore their interest in and fitness for religious vocations. Counseling and guidance are offered through the Chaplains Office.
Pre-medical and pre-dental students may pursue either of two programs. They may complete all requirements for a bachelor’s degree at Furman, or they may enter a medical or dental school after they have completed at least 96 credits at Furman.
Students in both programs, however, are advised to take a fairly standard group of courses: two in biology, four in chemistry, two in mathematics, two in physics and two in English. Pre-dental students may need to complete additional coursework.
Those who complete all their degree requirements at Furman may major in any subject they wish, as long as they complete the courses listed above. Those interested in a career in veterinary medicine, optometry, osteopathy or podiatry generally complete the same courses as pre-medical and pre-dental students. Students interested in these programs should contact the health professions advisor.
The Association of Law Schools, to which most law schools belong, lists two objectives of undergraduate education for law students: first, the student should learn to reason logically; second, the student should learn to express thoughts clearly and concisely both orally and in writing. Both objectives are consistent with the liberal arts education Furman seeks to provide all students. Consult with the pre-law advisor for more information.
Furman cooperates with Auburn University, Clemson University, Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, the University of South Carolina and the University of Georgia in dual-degree programs in engineering, in which a student can qualify for a degree from both institutions after three years at Furman and two to three years at the second institution. Students in this program may major in either pre-engineering or physics. Students interested in this program should confer with the Dual Degree coordinator in Physics as early as possible to plan the Furman portion of their curriculum.
Forestry and Environmental Management
A student may obtain a dual degree in five years from Furman and Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. Students interested in this program should consult a faculty member in Biology.
Other Professional Programs
Graduates of Furman’s programs in music and business administration are prepared to begin entry level professional positions. Graduates who are prepared to do so may wish to continue their studies in graduate school. Students in the Bachelor of Music program may prepare to be music educators, performers or church musicians. Students in business administration may prepare for careers in such areas as accounting, marketing and banking.
Furman maintains a general military science program of the Senior Division, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. The first two years of ROTC comprise the basic course; the last two years, including a five-week summer camp, comprise the advanced course. All students may take military science courses for elective credit. The ROTC program is open to both women and men, and scholarships are available. Successful completion of the basic and advanced programs leads to a commission in the U.S. Army, Active or Reserve forces.
The academic year is comprised of two fifteen week semesters in the fall (August through December) and the spring (January through May). The May Experience provides students an opportunity to explore a specific area of intellectual interest during a three week period each May. Courses may also be offered in shorter time frames in addition to and overlapping the traditional academic calendar.
An optional three-week term following commencement exercises in the spring semester, offerings during the May Experience include an assortment of engaging academic experiences that allow faculty and students to explore topics of mutual interest through both on-campus instruction and in faculty-led study away programs. Courses are unique in content, class activities, and scheduling from courses offered during the fall or spring semesters.
May Experience courses yield two credits and may not fulfill a general education requirement, nor can they be required for a major.
Furman operates a summer session with courses meeting in a variety of patterns between three and ten weeks. Undergraduates may enroll in up to 12 credits during this term. Summer study enables students to accelerate their degree program, enrich their program, or substitute for courses not completed during the academic year. For more information about summer at Furman, consult the web site: www.furman.edu/summer.
Continuing Education offers a program that leads to the Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree. The program consists of general education courses, elective courses and major courses. Majors are available in accounting, business administration and information technology. For further information, consult the Director of Continuing Education or visit on the web at www.furman.edu/conted.
Furman University offers three graduate degrees. The Master of Science degree is offered in chemistry, while the Master of Arts and Education Specialist degree programs, offered through Education, include concentrations in a variety of areas.
For further information, contact the Director of Graduate Studies or visit on the web at www.furman.edu/gradstudies.