Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

    Jul 16, 2024  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2018-2019 Undergraduate Bulletin [Archived Bulletin]

Educational Goals: The Hamline Plan

The Hamline Plan is goal-driven, with educational goals tied directly to graduation requirements. General education courses are as important as courses in the major. The Hamline Plan emphasizes the responsibility students have for their own education and the necessity for students to reflect upon and articulate what they have learned to the larger community. Students and faculty advisors approach the Hamline Plan not as a series of requirements, but as a foundation for discovery. For the student who seeks a truly liberal education, the Hamline Plan offers a wide and ever-changing selection of learning opportunities.

All departments offer Hamline Plan courses. Usually specific requirements can be met by more than one course. Many courses fulfill more than one requirement. The Hamline Plan consists of the following ten educational goals. (For specific graduation requirements see the Graduation Requirements: The Hamline Plan  section.)

Understand the Liberal Arts

Students begin their Hamline education by taking one of the many First-Year Seminars, which provide an introduction to college and a sense of community in small classes for first-year students only. The seminar concentrates on developing the skills of careful reading, critical analysis, group discussion, and writing that are basic to all college level study and basic to the success of students after college. Topics are interdisciplinary and vary from year to year.

Communicate Effectively through Writing

First-year English is the beginning of writing at Hamline. Students complete at least one course each year that focuses upon the written communication needs within a discipline (such as biology, history, or art). A writing-intensive course has three objectives: (1) to designate specific written communication objectives appropriate to the course and the discipline; (2) to enable students to practice writing with guidance from the instructor, allowing feedback before the final product and building upon students’ writing strengths; and (3) to focus on the written communication process as well as the final product. Students gain experience writing and receiving feedback from the instructor and/or peers to build strengths in writing.

Communicate Effectively through Speaking

Students complete two courses designated as “speaking-intensive,” which may be offered in any department and involve explicit attention to the speaking process as well as the subject matter of the course. Emphasis is given to discussion and student presentations. A speaking intensive course has three objectives: (1) to designate specific oral communication learning objectives appropriate to the course and the discipline; (2) to enable students to practice and to analyze oral communication behaviors; and (3) to focus upon the oral communication process as well as the final product. Students gain experience in oral communication and discussion dynamics with coaching and response from the instructor or peers.

Reason Logically

The human mind has developed systems of thought that aid understanding and problem solving. Mathematics is the prime example, having been developed and refined for over 2000 years. But there are other systems of structured analysis, including logic and statistics. Every Hamline student takes one or more courses that touch on each of these two areas: formal/logical reasoning and quantitative analysis.

Understand Various Disciplines and How They Interact

The academic disciplines taken together represent the most fundamental and useful bodies of knowledge, methods of investigation, and perspectives of the world ever devised by the human mind. Acquaintance with the major divisions of knowledge gives students a rich background for their specialized learning.

Courses that meet this requirement are essentially introductions to the disciplines. They include active learning as well as lectures, involving exercises in which students learn on their own and in which, with guidance, they are held responsible for drawing their own conclusions from new studies. Examples include discussion, problem solving, application of ideas, and laboratories.

Courses that meet disciplinary breadth criteria introduce students to the methods of learning and the context of interpretation inherent in the discipline. They provide insight into the process of research and ways for students to experience the methods of the discipline. Disciplinary breadth courses also encourage and facilitate lifelong learning by confronting issues or exploring problems or raising value questions.

All students take courses in each of the following four areas of study:

  • Fine arts - The most insightful and powerful expressions of the human spirit-dreams, fears, joys, awe-are produced by artists. Music, painting, sculpture, prints, ceramics, and theatrical productions are age-old ways for men and women to interpret and express their humanity. The Hamline student is aware of the creative and expressive arts, conversant with their forms and structures, and appreciative of their values.
  • Humanities - The humanities encourage students to develop an awareness of the ethical, aesthetic, spiritual, and historical dimensions of experience. They do so in part by heightening students’ ability to understand texts and the relationship between language and culture. The humanities strengthen students’ ability to analyze, to recognize complexity and diversity, and to find creative solutions.
  • Natural sciences - The study of natural science disciplines provides grounding in fundamental principles of science and in methods of observation as well as accentuates the understanding of experimental, analytic, and laboratory methods of gathering and evaluating data. Learning how science works-and also the assumptions of science and scientific methods-teaches students the tremendous impact science and technology have had on human culture.
  • Social sciences - These academic disciplines explore human behavior and social institutions. Social sciences emphasize theories and methods of study. Students learn the extent to which human beings create their social environment, see the range and variability of ways to live, and perhaps gain a degree of control over their own situation.

Understand the Complexities of Living in a Diverse World

The goal of the diversity requirement is to help students demonstrate an understanding of systemic inequalities, power differences, and interdependencies of people in a diverse world. Students will engage in intellectual discourse and reflection about and across differences. They will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of diverse cultures, and reflect upon their own and others’ social identities (gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, dis/ability, class, etc.).

Prepare to Engage with a Global Community

Global citizenship is the understanding of and engagement with complex, interdependent, or overlapping global systems and their legacies (scientific, socio-cultural, economic, political, or others). This requirement is intended to equip students to (1) become informed, open-minded, and socially responsible citizens who seek to understand how their actions affect both local and global communities, and (2) address global issues collectively and equitably.


Collaboration - ­­the ability to work productively with others - is crucial for addressing the most pressing issues of today’s and tomorrow’s world. It is central to Hamline’s mission of service and leadership. Collaborative skills are in high demand by employers, and critical to career success across disciplines. Students will complete at least one course that focuses on developing and strengthening collaborative skills.

Conduct Independent Critical Inquiry and Demonstrate Information Literacy

Beginning in the first year, and building through intermediate course work in the major, students learn to frame a critical inquiry project and to find and evaluate information as part of a process of investigation. They develop the skills to determine which information is appropriate to their discipline and learn how to use information responsibly, integrating multiple perspectives. The developmental arc culminates in an advanced-level learning experience where students identify a meaningful and answerable question, develop appropriate methods of study, and present the results of their investigation.

Practice the Liberal Arts

The purpose of the Liberal Education As Practice (LEAP) requirement is to encourage student development as liberal-arts educated practitioners and global citizens. The LEAP requirement provides a structure in which students can synthesize and integrate their academic skills and their career development through hands-on practice. Also, they can explore connections between their LEAP experience and the mission, vision, and values of Hamline. LEAP courses and experiences have a strong emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning. Many LEAP experiences - including study abroad, service-learning, community-based learning, and internships - are classified as high-impact learning practices. It is strongly encouraged that students’ LEAP experiences take place in their majors, and that students participate in more than one LEAP experience during their Hamline career.

Establish Depth in One Area

A student’s major is an integral part of the Hamline Plan. Having a “major” allows students to understand the subtleties and complexities of a particular field while also exploring both differences and connections between their chosen field of concentration and other disciplines. This understanding creates a sense of competence and confidence and points toward a career or advanced study in graduate or professional school. At Hamline, students may choose from among 35 majors in traditional academic disciplines and interdisciplinary areas. It is also possible for students to design their own major field of study through the Flexible Curriculum Option.