The Intellectual Inquiry Perspectives Courses

Students also take a series of courses that calls upon them to inquire into questions about Western civilization, global perspectives, and the natural world using the knowledge and methods of different ways of knowing: the Humanities and Fine Arts, the Social Sciences, and Mathematics and the Natural Sciences. Each course explores a question from one of the following three content perspectives.

1. Western Perspectives
Courses that address questions from this perspective explore the natural and cultural aspects of the Western world, now and in the past. For example, questions may include the following: How have our ways of life been shaped by events, cultures, and institutions from other times and places, including the civilizations of Europe and the ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern worlds? What characterizes “the American experiment”?
2. Global Perspectives
Courses that address questions from this perspective seek to make connections in the global context in which we live. For example, questions may include: What can we learn about and from the natural and cultural forces that shape societies beyond our familiar world? What do we need to know about the interaction of societies in the world community? What do we need to know about the role and impact of the United States internationally, as seen from other perspectives?
3. The Natural World
Courses that address questions from this perspective examine the world of nature and our place in it. For example, questions may include: What laws govern natural phenomena, and how do we discover them? How do human beings fit into the world of nature? How does the natural world enrich human life, and what impact does human activity have on nature?

There are 7 different Intellectual Inquiry (INQ) Perspectives courses.

Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division
INQ 240 Statistical Reasoning
INQ 241 Mathematical Reasoning
(Mathematics/Statistics/Computer Science)
INQ 250 Scientific Reasoning I
(Natural Science with Lab)
INQ 251 Scientific Reasoning II
(Natural Science with no Lab)

Social Sciences Division
INQ 260 Social Scientific Reasoning

Humanities and Fine Arts Division
INQ 270 Human Heritage I
INQ 271 Human Heritage II

Students must take seven of these courses: three in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics (240, 250, and either 241 or 251), two in the Social Sciences (260) from different disciplines, and two in the Humanities and Fine Arts (270 & 271).

In addition, students must select courses to fulfill the core requirement so that they take at least one course from each of the three perspectives.

At most two substitutions are allowed as follows:

I. A student may substitute one disciplinary course outside of INQ for an INQ requirement in the division of that discipline. In most cases the course will be in the student’s major but need not be. Specifically,
• A one-unit course in Mathematics or Statistics may substitute for INQ 240 or 241.


• A one-unit laboratory course in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics may substitute for INQ 250 or 251.


• A one-unit course in Anthropology (SOCI 102), Criminal Justice, Economics, Geography, International Relations, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology may substitute for INQ 260


• A one-unit course in Art, Art History, English, 300- or 400-level Foreign Languages literature or culture courses (NOT French 300-304, 330, 341; German 301, 335; Spanish 301, 302, 330, 335, 341, 402), History, Music, Philosophy, Religion, or Theatre may substitute for QST 270 or 271. Courses substituting for 270 must primarily cover material that dates from before 1500; courses substituting for 271 must primarily cover material that dates from after 1500.

II. A student with specific mathematical or computational needs may substitute a Mathematics or Computer Science course for INQ 240 or 241. This substitution is designed for students in majors that require specific mathematical or computational skills but may be used by any student. A student may use both of the allowed substitutions for INQ 240 and 241.

The Capstone: Contemporary Issues
Having seen ways in which different disciplines address questions, students complete the INQ courses with a required capstone seminar entitled “Contemporary Issues”. The course asks them to look back on their experiences and their work in the Intellectual Inquiry Curriculum and to synthesize diverse disciplinary approaches in a collaborative investigation of a contemporary issue. In addition to individual written assignments, students will work in small groups to research and develop a proposal concerning a concept, an approach, or a solution to a contemporary problem. They will be encouraged to draw on their previous course work, pool their intellectual resources and skills working with a group, gain additional practice in conducting research and writing clearly and persuasively, and finally, will present the work in a formal oral defense.

Foreign Language
Students are required to complete the study of a foreign language through the first semester of the intermediate level (through the 201-level). For most students who continue a language studied in high school, this will require one or two units at Roanoke College; for students electing to take a new language this will require three units. Students may be exempted from all or part of the requirement by demonstrating competency in a foreign language (see “Competency Standards” described elsewhere in this Catalog).

Health and Human Performance
All Roanoke college students will be required to take Health and Human Performance 160: Fitness for Life (one-quarter unit) to fulfill graduation requirements. In addition, all students will take a course (one-quarter unit in a lifetime sport or activity which is different from the activity taken in Health and Human Performance 160. (All varsity athletes will take Health and Human Performance 160: Fitness for Life but may receive a Health and Human Performance activity competency for satisfactorily completing one season of a varsity sport). Health and Human Performance 160 cannot be repeated for credit and it is a prerequisite for all other HHP activity courses. Once the physical education requirement for graduation has been met, a student may not complete additional Health and Human Performance activity courses for credit.