HASS Inquiry

School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) faculty believe that the first-year experience is an exhilarating time when students begin to ask compelling questions about their future and the future of the world. At Rensselaer, we confront complex issues by collaborating across disciplines to address the key challenges and opportunities of our time.

The faculty have developed a suite of courses known as HASS Inquiry. These courses are designed to help you develop cross-cultural empathy and a multiplicity of perspectives that can be brought to bear on the key questions facing society today.  The HASS Inquiry courses are a required component of your HASS Core curriculum.

Why Take a HASS Inquiry Course?

HASS Inquiry courses are designed to give you the opportunity for meaningful interaction with your instructors through seminar-style discussion sections, Community Read discussions, and forums for dialogue and debate. Many HASS Inquiry courses act as introductory courses to the Integrative Pathways

Areas of Focus

Central to our curriculum is a teaching philosophy that utilizes engaged learning strategies to add depth to a student’s awareness about themselves and the world. Our primary areas of pedagogic focus include the following:

  • Critical Thinking and Critical Wisdom
  • Writing and Communications
  • Personal Instructional Attention
  • Teamwork and Group Work
  • Community Building and Awareness
  • A Focus on Diversity
  • Effective Use of Instructional Technology

How Inquiry Courses can apply to Pathways

As students take their HASS Inquiry course and other courses at Rensselaer, their interests may evolve. A student may have taken a HASS Inquiry course intending to follow one Integrative Pathway and then discovered a new pathway of interest. The list of courses in the side navigation include the pathways associated (Associated Pathways) with each Inquiry course.


The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Russell Sage Laboratory (SAGE) 5304, 110 8th Street, Troy, NY 12180
(518) 276-6575

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