Clark’s undergraduate academic program is at the core of Clark’s new model of education called Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP). The LEEP framework views the academic program as part of a unified arc of student development and consists of three components: an agreed upon set of learning outcomes, an integrated set of educational experiences that span across both academic and co-curricular activities, and a developmental arc of learning that understands student development in terms of three phases. The learning outcomes focus on tradition liberal learning goals, as well as capacities of effective practice. The three phases include: 1) Orientation: Introducing the student to the practices and mores of university culture; 2) Exploration: encouraging students to stretch their learning in new ways, and 3) Enactment: demonstrating mastery and evidence of the five learning outcomes. For more information, please visit the LEEP Center’s webpage.
The academic curriculum consists of requirements and opportunities that support LEEP’s three developmental phases. Each phase comes with high expectations for rigorous work and environments designed to support these expectations. The five LEEP learning outcomes are sequenced iteratively across the three developmental phases with each successive phase demanding greater foundational knowledge and demonstration of a student’s increasing ability to use habits of mind and tools of investigation associated with multiple ways of knowing. The LEEP learning model also expects students to assume increasing responsibility for organizing their own learning, and provides opportunities for students to integrate and apply knowledge across diverse contexts. Through emerging membership in communities of scholarship and practice, the LEEP framework provides opportunities for students to sharpen their capacities of effective practice as each student progresses toward graduation.
THREE REQUIRED FOUNDATIONAL ELEMENTS
I. First-Year Intensives
All students participate in a common foundational experience called a First Year Intensive (FYI) seminar. First Year Intensives orient the student to the standards and mores of the university community. Exploring in depth a topic or issue in a seminar setting, these courses are designed to help students develop core academic abilities such as critical thinking and analysis—that will underwrite their success in later Clark courses. First Year Intensives are stimulating and challenging, and typically are limited to just 16 students. The professor who teaches each First Year Intensive seminar also serves as academic adviser to the students in the seminar until they declare a major. First Year Intensives initiate a student’s Clark career with a set of close relationships with both a professor and a small group of students who share at least one intellectual interest. All First Year Intensives fulfill a Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) requirement. The experience lays the groundwork for subsequent phases of development as a student moves toward graduation.
II. Program of Liberal Studies
Students are also required to complete Clark’s Program of Liberal Studies (PLS). Through this program, students acquire the intellectual habits, skills and perspectives that are essential to liberal education while simultaneously providing opportunities for students to experience the ways of thinking and tools of investigation used by scholars and practitioners. Students are given a framework within which they can select a program of study and receive a broad introduction to liberal and lifelong learning. Despite the different skills and perspectives offered in PLS courses, all have been designed to help students meet the LEEP learning outcomes.
The Program of Liberal Studies has two components:
1. Critical Thinking Courses: While every course at the University involves work in critical thinking, two types of courses place special emphasis on the cultivation of these skills. Students take one course in each of these areas:
- Verbal Expression: Verbal Expression courses place special emphasis on the relationship between writing and critical thinking within a particular discipline.
- Formal Analysis: Formal Analysis courses include the use of a formal, symbolic language as appropriate for a specific discipline, rules of logic for that language, and the use of that language in modeling the subject matter of the discipline.
2. Perspectives Courses: Perspectives courses offer breadth and introduce students to the different ways in which various disciplines or fields define thinking, learning and knowing. Students must successfully complete one course in each of the following six perspectives categories. Each course must be taken in a different department:
- Aesthetic: Aesthetic Perspective courses emphasize artistic expression and the perception, analysis and evaluation of aesthetic form. These courses are designed to enhance students’ appreciation and understanding of the arts.
- Global Comparative: Global Comparative Perspective courses introduce students to comparative analysis by exploring the cultural, political or economic aspects of human diversity around the world. They provide students with tools for analyzing human experience by examining similarities and differences in a global or international context.
- Historical: Historical Perspective courses develop a student’s capacity to understand the contemporary world in the larger framework of tradition and history. Courses focus on the problems of interpreting the past and can also deal with the relationship between past and present. All courses are broad in scope and introduce students to the ways scholars think critically about the past, present and future.
- Language and Culture: Language and Culture Perspective courses foster the study of language as an expression of culture. Students may study foreign languages, which highlight the relationship between language and culture, or English-language courses that deal with the same issue.
- Natural Scientific: Scientific Perspective courses teach the principal methods and results of the study of the natural world. Courses focus on the knowledge and theoretical bases of science. They also include laboratories or similar components that introduce students to the observation of natural phenomena and the nature of scientific study.
- Values: Values Perspective courses examine the moral dimension of human life as reflected in personal behavior, institutional structures and public policy in local and global communities. Courses taught from the values perspective focus not only on the systematic formulation and analysis of moral and ethical claims, but also on how moral decisions affect both the individual and society.
III. Departmental, Interdisciplinary and Student-Designed Majors
Sometime before the end of the sophomore year, each student must choose a major—the area in which they will pursue a course of study in depth. Students may choose a traditional disciplinary major or an interdisciplinary major. In some cases, a student may design a major tailored to his or her particular academic interests. While anchored in one area, the undergraduate major is structured to include courses in related disciplines. This ensures that breadth of knowledge is gained along with specialization. A major consists of 12 to 19 courses designated by a department or program. Majors must be declared prior to the beginning of the junior year. All majors are designed to assist students in meeting the LEEP learning outcomes along the LEEP learning continuum. View departments web page.
Accelerated B.A./Master’s Degree Programs
Clark offers several programs that allow students to complete the requirements for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in an accelerated, five-year period. Students may obtain a master of arts (M.A.), master of business administration (M.B.A.), master of public administration (M.P.A.), master of science in finance (M.S.F.), master of science in professional communication (M.S.P.C.), and master of arts in teaching (M.A.T.). Students apply to the accelerated B.A./Master’s degree programs in their junior year, begin meeting requirements in their senior year, and complete those requirements in the fifth year. Bachelor’s degrees are granted en route to the master’s degree.
For students meeting eligibility requirements, the fifth year is tuition free. To qualify for free tuition in the fifth year, a student must: be a full-time undergraduate for four years at Clark; meet bachelor’s/master’s course prerequisites and receive a Clark bachelor’s degree within five years of initial entry into Clark; earn an overall 3.25* grade-point average during the second and third years and again in the fourth year.
Undergraduates who transfer to Clark are eligible for a 50 percent tuition fellowship during the fifth year of study. To qualify, a transfer student must begin full-time study at Clark no later than the end of the sophomore year; earn at least a 3.25** grade-point average for courses taken at Clark; maintain a 3.25 grade-point average during the fourth year; and meet program course requirements.
The University has approved accelerated programs in biology; biochemistry and molecular biology; business administration; chemistry; community development and planning; education; environmental science and policy; finance; geographic information science; history; international development and social change; physics; professional communications; and public adminstration.
For further information and application procedures, visit www.clarku.edu/accelerate or contact the Graduate School at (508) 793-7676.
*Members of the Class of 2016 who enter Clark as first-year students in the fall of 2012 will be required to maintain a GPA of 3.40 in the second and third years of study in aggregate and in the fourth year of study to be eligible for the fifth-year free program.
**Students who transfer to Clark in the fall 2012 semester must maintain a GPA of 3.40 courses taken at Clark and maintain a 3.40 grade-point average during the fourth (or senior year).
Additional Academic Opportunities
The Henry J. Leir Luxembourg Program (LLP-CU)
The LLP-CU offers students and faculty additional opportunities for study and research abroad. In addition to the May Term, which offers students a nearly four-week course in Luxembourg, the LLP-CU offers students internships with key Luxembourg institutions, such as the Musée national d’histoire et d’art Luxembourg and the nations leading scientific institution in environmental science, Centre de Recherche Public - Gabriel Lippmann. For further information, please contact Uwe Gertz at UGertz@clarku.edu or (508)793-7634.
Study Abroad and Study Away
The Study Abroad and Away Programs office advises students about the opportunities to study abroad or away for academic credit. Students explore how studying abroad or away can complement and enhance their academic and personal growth experience at Clark and beyond. They are provided with support throughout the selection and application process, during the time they are abroad, and upon their return. The University offers a wide variety of semester and year-long opportunities for students to participate in research, foreign language study, cross-cultural immersion, experiential learning, and community engagement. It is important to begin learning about study abroad/away opportunities during your first year at Clark, as early planning and research is key to maximizing the benefits of your experience. You should attend a Study Abroad 101 information session as soon as you decide you want to study abroad. Requirements for application include that students be in good academic and social standing prior to departure, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (some programs require a higher GPA), and have been in residence at Clark for at least one year prior to studying abroad/away for a semester or year. Before you arrange an interview with a Study Abroad/Study Away staff adviser you should have decided upon a major and have a faculty advisor within that major. This will allow you to successfully integrate your program abroad with your graduation requirements. The Study Abroad and Study Away Programs staff will also help students wishing to participate in study abroad through other institutions on non-affiliated programs, both during the summer and during the academic year.
3/2 Engineering Program
The 3/2 engineering program consists of three years of studies at Clark followed by two years at an affiliated engineering school. The program leads to a bachelor of arts degree from Clark after four years and, after the fifth year, a bachelor of science in engineering from the engineering school. Clark offers the 3/2 engineering program with Columbia University. For more information, contact program coordinator Professor Charles Agosta in the physics department.
Clark University recognizes that preparation for a professional career is fully compatible with a liberal-arts education. If you are thinking about a career in law, or would like to combine a background in law with your major, the Prelaw program might interest you. For more information, contact Mark Miller, University Pre-Law Advisor. There are many health-related careers and the path to any of these careers can be very different. Clark values the importance of educating future physicians and other members of the health care professions. More detailed information about medical careers and how to pursue them is available by visiting the Prehealth webpage or by contacting David Thurlow, Chair, Prehealth Advisory Committee.
The LEEP Project is an opportunity for Clark students—typically juniors and rising seniors—to take what they’ve learned at Clark and explore it further, frequently in relationship with an external organization. In most cases, students engaged in a LEEP Project work closely with a faculty mentor, and often with Clark alumni and/or organizational partners. Projects can take many forms, such as creating a product for a local business, assisting families in a developing country, providing research to an external organization, or in some instances engaging in further research on the Clark campus. A culminating experience, the LEEP Project enables students to demonstrate their mastery of the five LEEP Learning Outcomes, and prepares them to make positive contributions to the world through their careers and personal lives.
Colleges of Worcester Consortium
Clark is a member of the Colleges of Worcester Consortium, which means that Clark sophomores, juniors and seniors can enroll for one course a semester at any of the following schools:
This arrangement among all Consortium member institutions allows full-time, undergraduate day students at these institutions to take courses at other campuses at no additional charge. Cross-registration forms with instructions on registration procedures are available in the registrar’s office at each Consortium institution. More information, including a master course list, is available on our web site.
Internships provide unique opportunities to experience career fields and industries before officially entering the workforce. Use this Consortium-wide database to explore the opportunities that exist in our area and consult with your professors and/or Career Services office to find the right match for you.
A free Consortium shuttle service is provided Monday through Friday, 7am to 7pm. The route connects six member campuses (WPI, Becker, Assumption, Clark, Worcester State, and Holy Cross) with each other and the Worcester Public Library, Union Station, Worcester Art Museum, and the downtown area.