Do something BIG with your education

We are committed to engaged learning, helping you make the most of your college years. Our innovative classroom and co-curricular activities enhance learning. For example, in the classroom, you discuss the formation of stars and planets to then move outside to experience your own "accretion" activity. In class, you study the evolution of hominids and their habitats to then get hands-on experience examining and identifying different hominid skulls.  

Semester 1

FYE 1001 Big History: Big Bang to the Present (3 units)
In Big History, we take an immense voyage through time. We witness the first moments of our universe, the birth of stars and planets; we watch as life forms on earth, grows, and develops in complexity until human consciousness dawns. We then trace the evolution of human cultures through geography, migration patterns, and social structures until we finally peer over the threshold of the present into possible futures for us and for our planet.

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Honors FYE 2000 Big History: Big Bang to the Present (3 units)                                                     
This course describes the first moments of our universe, the birth of stars and planets, the formation and evolution of life on earth, the origins of humanity, the evolution of human culture to the present, and theorizes potential futures for us and for our planet. Class discussions will be enriched by including the works of notable scholars from a diverse array of humanities and scientific disciplines.

Semester 2

FYE 1100 Visual Arts through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
This course offers a lively introduction to the visual arts through their fundamental importance in representing and communicating the Big History narrative. It studies the significant and creative roles the artistic expression plays in humanity's ongoing attempt to find meaning within an ever-changing world and examines images, monuments, ruins, and artifacts as evidence of our collective journey.

FYE 1210 Human Cultures through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
This course will trace the development of human cultures from the beginning of time to the near future, including factors that influence the development of human cultures, such as evolutionary biology, diverse geographical regions, natural environments, migration patterns, human economies and technologies, and the diversity of human social values and lifestyles. Additionally, this course will examine the impact of culture on human behavior, including the creation of symbolic consciousness evident in various origin stories, myths, rituals, language, and writing.

Course pg-Swimme 1

 FYE 1250 Dogs through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
To fully understand dogs, we explore the conditions in the early universe that permitted life to emerge, the evolutionary paths to canines and humans, the phenomena of symbiosis and domestication, and how all this has led to the unique relationships between dogs and humans, both in prehistoric societies and in the modern world.

Course pg-Skull 2        


FYE 1310 Mythology through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
Comparative readings of selections from world mythologies are used to re-examine the Big History narrative as told in traditional myths, looking both at the content of the myths themselves, and at the anthropological and historical sources of the myths. Questions considered include how and why myths widely separated by time and geography can be so similar to each other, what value myths still retain in the modern world, and how mythology can both shape and express our world view.


FYE 1320 Big Literature through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
Are we hurtling toward apocalypse or utopia? Many of the scientific discoveries of the Big History narrative unfolded in the last century, and literary authors were there to predict or respond to the news with dread or optimism. How do the uniquely human arts of reading and writing contribute to our ability to interpret the primordial soup of our origins, and understand our individual role in the cosmos? Revisit key concepts within the thresholds of Big History through engagement with the literature of meaning and despair. Consider how great works of literature support us in our desire to make meaning in a complex universe.

FYE 1330 Myth and Ritual through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
What are the stories that shape us?  The reading, discussion, and performance of myths and rituals from diverse cultures of the world— from early human to contemporary mythologies—shed light on the implications of the Big History narrative as humankind imagines the origins of the universe, seeks understanding of the present, and attempts to shape the future.


FYE 1400 Business and Trade through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
Today, people live in a world of multinational corporations shaping global consumer culture through international trade. This course will examine the history of how this happened through the lens of trade. Beginning with hunter/gatherers and continuing to the present, this course takes an interdisciplinary look at issues like wealth creation, what societies do with excess wealth, the organization of labor, environmental impacts of business activity, marketing, the increasing complexity of business forms and trade relationships, and the role of the consumer.

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FYE 1510 Philosophy through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
This course explores the developments in human cognitive and cultural evolution that led to the dawn of philosophy in the first millennium BCE. Students will study global wisdom traditions, from pre-agrarian endeavors to explain the cosmos to contemporary responses to increasing complexity and future challenges.

FYE 1520 Religion through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
Throughout the history of humankind, Homo sapiens have developed a variety of religions responses to the human experience: complex systems of beliefs, doctrines, and theologies; rituals and liturgical practices; and religious institutions based on cultural, ethnic, and regional worldviews. This course delves more deeply into four time periods—the Paleolithic Era, the Agrarian Era, the Industrial Era, and the near future—to explore how religious responses to each of these epochs has consistently and continuously enabled individuals to ponder their place in the universe.

Lucko & Student       


FYE 1700 Music through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
How does music represent and interpret the Big History narrative? This is the fundamental question that we will consider during our study. We will explore the physical nature of sound and consider the dialects of music occurring within history and cultures. We will hone our listening skills, study forms of music and musical instruments (including the voice), and at least to a small degree, create and make music.

FYE 1800 Health and Healing through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
In this course, we will explore the concepts of health and healing through the eight thresholds of Big History with topics including death and life; the changing health and healing of the earth, organisms, and communities; the role of health and healing in evolution; disease in humankind; and cultural diversity related to health and healing through time. Ultimately, we will look to the future of a healthy universe.

FYE 1900 Visualizing Big History (3 units) 
The wealth of narratives, innovations, and theories unfolding from the eight thresholds in Big History become points of departure for a series of visual art projects. In each project, students illuminate connections between methods and contexts of creating art and the key concepts in the creation of the universe to inspire new inquiries about our and our planet's future. The craft and thought of art making in the context of Big History will be cultivated in a variety of media and processes, including poster design, collage, painting, bookmaking, and sculpture.


FYE 1910 Creative Writing and Big History (3 units)
Write an epic poem about the dawn of time! Create a play
starring the first hominid to stand upright! Craft a short story
about a love affair between two supernovae! Let the universe
be your inspiration—explore Big History through creative writing.
Learn to use the tools of fiction, poetry, drama, and creative
nonfiction to make sense of the world and tell your version of the
big story. Generative writing exercises and writing workshops will
inform writing assignments that consider the key thresholds of
Big History, as leaps in complexity become points of departure
for major creative work. What part of the story do you want to tell?

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Honors FYE 2100 Visualizing the Sacred through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
Following and expanding upon the first-semester course in Big History, this seminar addresses how humans have perceived the universe from Paleolithic times to the present day with specific attention to the art and architectural forms devoted to visualizing the sacred. The wonders of the cosmos, the position of Earth within this, and the role of humans in creating meaning through diverse religious beliefs are addressed.

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Honors FYE 2200 Beauty through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
Why is something—an idea, a building, a protozoan cell—beautiful? This seminar uses aesthetics, the scholarship of beauty, to examine the ways humanity has defined beauty and to ask questions. What in the universe—the past and the present of the Big History narrative—conforms to formal ideals of beauty? Who defines beauty? Is the re-engineering of natural beauty a good idea? Will our great grandchildren be beautiful beings in a beautiful universe? We will define our own ideas about beauty and then speculate on how our ideals of beauty might impact the future.

Honors FYE 2300 Innovation through the Lens of Big History (3 units) 
This course explores how technological evolution is a process that emerges from and mimics biological evolution. We will examine the instrumental role innovation has played in the development of human culture and explore where it may take us in the future. What further advances are possible, and what are the potential impacts on the individual and on society.