Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

At Olin, we believe the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences provide the core of students’ education, adding insight, purpose, and direction to the larger Olin experience. Our whole curriculum is based on the idea that engineering starts with people and ends with people. AHS (pronounced “Oz” and meant to connote the Wonderful Land of Oz) provides students a vehicle for understanding people, both as users of and as practitioners of engineering. We offer both stand-alone AHS courses and courses that integrate AHS with science or engineering. These courses are meant to foster students’ development as critical and contextual thinkers, broad-thinking creators, persuasive communicators, ethical practitioners, and as self-reflective individuals.

AHS Foundation

All students select an AHS Foundation course in their first semester at Olin. These courses introduce students to big ideas such as the evolution of technology over modern history, the impact of the global supply chain on the products we buy, and the nature of identity. These small seminar courses also get students used to engaged class discussions, college-level written communication, and cross-disciplinary thinking. The AHS Foundation helps students understand and experience some of the ways that AHS enriches and connects with their broader education and career.

AHS Electives and AHS Concentration

All students will take higher-level AHS elective courses of their choosing during their time at Olin. These courses might be taken at Olin or at one of our partner institutions, Wellesley College and Babson College.  Olin students have full freedom to choose the AHS area or areas they wish to explore. Students develop an AHS Concentration, a subset of courses that collectively provide depth in a content area, discipline, or approach to asking questions. These concentrations may be as content-specific as “Arabic Language,” as field-specific as “Theater Studies,” or as integrative as “Science Fiction in Historical Context.”

AHS Capstone Project

Students may opt to pursue an individually-designed AHS Capstone project which builds on their AHS Concentration. These semester-long projects build upon prior coursework and allow students to produce a polished piece of original work, e.g., a paper suitable for publication, an art installation, a creatively integrative product, a music composition and/or concert performance, under the mentorship of an Olin instructor and possibly other experts as well.