The University requires all undergraduates to take a minimum of 3 credits, approved by the appropriate school or college, that focus on the sociocultural, political, and/or economic diversity of the human experience at local, regional, or global levels.

  • This requirement is intended to help you develop an understanding of the complexities of living in increasingly diverse and interconnected societies.
  • Courses that fulfill the diversity requirement focus on cross-cultural analysis and communication; and historical and contemporary inequities such as those associated with race, ethnicity, class, sex and gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ability, religion, creed, age, and socioeconomic status.
  • Course activities should encourage thinking critically about topics such as power, inequality, marginality, and social movements, and support effective cross-cultural communication skills.

These three credits will simultaneously satisfy other Area of Inquiry requirements and do not add to the total number of credits you need to graduate. Only students entering the University in Autumn of 2014 (or later) must meet the requirement.

Diversity majors and minors

Majors in American Ethnic Studies, American Indian Studies, International Studies, and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies provide opportunities for in-depth study of race, ethnicity, gender, class in areas such as Anthropology, Geography, and Law, Societies & Justice also include significant attention to culture, power and difference in society. In addition, students may choose a minor in Human Rights or Disability Studies to further their knowledge and understanding of relevant diversity issues. Speak with your adviser and investigate the many ways that you can incorporate the study of diversity into your education. Your adviser can help you plan your studies around areas that interest and excite you as you imagine entering a diverse world.

The Diversity minor is a 25-credit, interdisciplinary program that strengthens students’ knowledge and understandings of critical aspects of diversity. Areas of emphasis include foundations of diversity; arts and culture; historical, global, and contemporary perspectives; and an applied experience, such as service learning or an internship.

Example Topics

Histories, cultures, & experiences of people of diverse backgrounds in the US

Learning about different cultural traditions within the U.S.; how people of diverse backgrounds have shaped their communities and have used political movements, art, and literature, to express their views and visions for change.

The study of race, class, gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexuality, nationality, and religion

Learning how race, class, gender and other categories of difference are socially constructed, flexible, and overlapping; how identities and their representations change over time; how different identities intersect with one another and are shaped by power and privilege.

The study of peoples in other countries, their histories, cultures, politics, economic status, and religions

Understanding how historical legacies such as colonialism have shaped contemporary global realities; the ways migration, immigration, and citizenship affect different populations; definitions of diversity and priorities for change that differ from country to country.

Critical thinking and analytical skills

Analyzing the impact of decisions on different groups of people; exploring controversial issues related to diversity; solving complex problems and creating innovative solutions.

Study of the effects of institutions—government, education, science, politics—on diverse individuals and groups

Analyzing and critiquing public policies that affect various groups of people in different ways; understanding how social trends affect institutions and the lives of individuals; developing conceptual tools for analyzing bias, prejudice, and discrimination in society.

Communicating and working collaboratively across differences

Listening to others, especially to those whose ideas and beliefs challenge your own; analyzing situations to understand the ways in which individual or group differences affect interactions; identifying sources of tension and negotiating conflicts effectively.