The innovative, interdisciplinary curriculum of the Guided Studies program is designed for talented first-year students who seek demanding academic and intellectual challenges. The program, which has enrolled over 700 students since it began in 1979, focuses on the origins and development of Western cultures from ancient times to the 20th century. Those enrolled in the program take a specified sequence of courses that is characterized by both breadth and coherence.
The Guided Studies Program does not exalt Western civilization above other contemporaneous cultures. Rather, by furnishing students with greater knowledge of European cultural traditions, the program emphasizes habits of critical inquiry and self-awareness that make possible the comprehension of other cultures. What is more, by examining European cultures in their historical setting, the program provides a context within which students may make informed judgments about contemporary dilemmas and conflicting values.