Caltech's core curriculum is designed to prepare students for the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary research in science and technology. As might be expected, it requires that students become well versed in mathematics and the sciences. What might come as a surprise to some is that Caltech's underclassmen are also required to complete what amounts to a class each quarter in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS)—and have been since the 1920s.
Last week, the Los Angeles Times turned the spotlight on this aspect of the Caltech experience, featuring several of the division's students, including Christina Kondos—the only member of this year's graduating class who majored in the humanities or social sciences without double-majoring in science, math, or engineering.
HSS division chair Jonathan Katz told the L.A. Times about the role the humanities and social sciences play in developing well-rounded scientists and engineers. "The goal is to produce science and engineering leaders," he said. "How can you lead if you can't communicate and don't understand the world? Students have to know how to write, how to communicate and be able to deal with the bigger populations."
The complete L.A. Times article, "Humanities have a place, even at Caltech," can be read online.
Written by Kimm Fesenmaier