2014-2015 Academic Catalog 
    May 27, 2024  
2014-2015 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Undergraduate Academics and Special Programs

Clark’s undergraduate academic program is at the core of Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP). LEEP consists of three components: 1) an agreed upon set of learning outcomes that focus on tradition liberal learning goals as well as capacities of effective practice; 2) an integrated set of educational experiences that span across academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, and 3) a developmental arc of learning that sees student development in terms of three phases: orientation, exploration, and enactment. For more details, please visit the LEEP webpages.

These three components interact: the five LEEP learning outcomes are encountered 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 they progress toward graduation.


I.  First-Year Intensives

All students participate in a common foundational experience called a First Year Intensive (FYI) course. These FYIs orient the student to the standards and practices of the university community. The professor who teaches each First Year Intensive also serves as academic adviser to the students until a major is declared. 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. 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: (VE) Verbal Expression courses place special emphasis on the relationship between writing and critical thinking within a particular discipline.
  • Formal Analysis: (FA) 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: (AP) 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: (GP) 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: (HP) 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: (LP) 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: (SP) 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: (VP) 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

While most Clark students can and do fulfill their academic goals through regularly established departments and interdisciplinary programs, the University recognizes that some students may have special interests and goals that cannot be met through normal channels. The student-designed major program is intended to provide flexibility for these students while ensuring rigorous academic standards. Students are normally expected to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher to pursue the student-designed major. Student-designed majors are coordinated by the senior associate dean of the college and developed with the guidance of three faculty advisers. They must be approved by the senior associate dean prior to the beginning of junior year. Guidelines for student-designed majors are available Student-Designed Major  .

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 master’s program prerequisites and receive a Clark bachelor’s degree within five years of initial entry into Clark; earn an overall 3.40 grade-point average during the second and third years of undergraduate study 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 .40 grade-point average for courses taken at Clark; maintain a 3.40 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 administration.

For further information and application procedures, visit www.clarku.edu/accelerate or contact the Graduate School at (508) 793-7676.

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 and a bachelor of science in engineering degree 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.

Preprofessional Programs

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.

Leep Project

The LEEP Project is an opportunity for Clark students-typically juniors but also sophomores and 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 (HECCMA)

Clark is part of The Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts (HECCMA). Clark’s membership in this organization allows you to supplement your program with courses offered at the twelve other schools in the Consortium. All full-time students, except first year students and first semester transfer students, may enroll in one course per semester (fall or spring ) 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 can be found online. More information, including a course search engine, cross registration policies, and ride sharing opportunities is available on the HECCMA web site.

Internship Database
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.