Integrated Studies

The Integrated Studies Program introduces methods of interdisciplinary analysis and interpretation and encourages students to use these methods to explore important questions about varied aspects of human experience. The goal is to enable students to “connect the dots”—to see connections and relationships that other people miss in order to achieve a deep understanding of central elements of the human experience. Taken together, integrated studies courses provide a strong foundation in the liberal arts, on which students can build during their four years at Colby. The program is supported by grants from the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation of New York.

Each year the program organizes several offerings of two or three linked courses that focus on a single topic or brief historical period. Students must sign up for all courses in the integrated study. All of the component courses have been designed to complement one another; each brings a distinct, disciplinary focus to the complex phenomena that the integrated study, as a whole, aims to explore.

This intensive experience fosters the growth of an intellectual community among the students and faculty and cultivates multiple intellectual capacities, including both disciplinary and interdisciplinary critical thinking and problem solving, critical writing, and meaningful participation in small-group discussions. Most integrated studies also fulfill several all-College area distribution requirements, providing a broad, interdisciplinary liberal arts foundation for students’ subsequent work at Colby.

The individual courses, which have no prerequisites, are described in the list of courses and are cross-listed in their respective departmental sections of this catalogue. Each course is offered for four credit hours. Enrollment in first-year integrated studies is limited to 16 students.


Coordinator, Professor Joseph Reisert