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The Concentration

At Gallatin, students develop individualized programs of study, the central focus of which is the concentration. Designed by students in consultation with their adviser, a Gallatin concentration is based on a student’s academic and professional goals, and is not simply a substitute for a traditional undergraduate major. Students have a great deal of freedom in constructing their individualized concentrations and can combine disciplines, classes, and other learning experiences, including independent studies, tutorials, internships and private lessons.   

What makes for a strong concentration?

  • Concentrations are organized around a generative idea. This idea, or theme, should be manageable in scope—neither too broad nor too narrow—and should be anchored by a central, substantial, inventive question or series of questions. Students are encouraged to use concrete examples as the basis for their inquiry and analysis.
  • Concentrations are interdisciplinary. Students analyze their themes through different disciplinary, methodological, and epistemological lenses.
  • Concentrations are integrated. Students seek to identify and link texts, questions, experiences, and ideas derived from a major theme.
  • Concentrations are intellectual endeavors. Students identify and engage debates in an academic field or profession, perhaps beginning with a professional focus but moving toward broader, underlying intellectual questions.
  • Concentrations are placed in historical and cultural context. Students identify how central themes and questions are addressed not just in the present but in earlier periods of history, and they consider how these may be understood in different cultural contexts.
  • Concentrations are dynamic. Students develop their concentrations over the course of their program of study, moving beyond introductory courses and concepts to achieve greater depth, complexity, sophistication, and focus on anchoring themes and questions.
  • Concentrations are built on curricular foundations which are developed through a significant body of relevant course work.