Even as students at Yale-NUS College pursue personal goals and develop specific knowledge and skills, they all share in one powerful intellectual experience at the heart of their education: they complete an ambitious program of coursework known as the Common Curriculum.
This linked set of courses aims to create a community of learning centered on the most fundamental questions in the liberal arts and science. All individuals benefit from some understanding of the natural world, of the human psyche and social life, literature, the arts and history, and philosophical and mathematical thought. Studying these topics together in a structured fashion, students build a common foundation of knowledge that covers many disciplines. They study issues of abiding human interest and of immediate contemporary importance in a deep and sustained manner, and they emerge with a shared set of references, allowing them to fall easily into serious conversation with one another about agenda-setting books they have read and new scientific research programs to which they have contributed. In this way the Common Curriculum creates a lively campus environment full of well-informed discussion and debate, which in turn deepens the intellectual development of each student.
Creativity and a sense of wonder are highly prized at Yale-NUS, as are sharp analytic skills and the ability to craft persuasive arguments. In each part of the Common Curriculum, students are asked to engage in research and articulate and defend their positions, beliefs, and assumptions. Through such education, they gain an unusually broad understanding of many fields and a robust confidence in their ability to deploy different modes of thought and analysis. The habits of mind and the intellectual abilities gained through this intense form of education will serve them well as they confront the complex challenges of the 21st century world.
In addition to the practical benefits that this course of study provides, students often find that a liberal arts and science education offers other rewards too. It can enrich their inner lives, lead them into friendships different from the ones that they might find elsewhere, and foster their ability to step outside the assumptions of their own time and place. The Common Curriculum is part of a larger collegiate environment that helps individuals to cultivate their talents, consider their social responsibilities, and appreciate the humanizing influence of intellectual inquiry.
“We believe the liberal arts education the new college will offer is indispensable for preparing students to help lead our global society to its fullest potential.”