Dietrich College Interdisciplinary Courses

Note on Course Numbers

Each Carnegie Mellon course number begins with a two-digit prefix which designates the department offering the course (76-xxx courses are offered by the Department of English, etc.). Although each department maintains its own course numbering practices, typically the first digit after the prefix indicates the class level: xx-1xx courses are freshmen-level, xx-2xx courses are sophomore level, etc. xx-6xx courses may be either undergraduate senior-level or graduate-level, depending on the department. xx-7xx courses and higher are graduate-level. Please consult the Schedule of Classes each semester for course offerings and for any necessary pre-requisites or co-requisites.

Dietrich College Interdisciplinary Courses

66-102 DC Freshman Seminar: Issues in American Environmental History
Fall: 9 units
This seminar will focus on major issues in the evolution of the American environment. Much of America's past environmental history has been beset with controversy, as scientists and engineers, health officials, politicians and the public debated about the cause and solution for various environmental problems. This seminar will examine some of the major environmental issues that have evolved over time through a combination of reading, discussion, and short papers. Where ever possible, comparisons will be made with conditions in other parts of the world.
66-103 DC Freshman Seminar: The Social Impact of War
Fall: 9 units
Wars and their effects are a continuing aspect of the human condition. This course will introduce students to the manner in which war is conceptualized in modern western societies, using readings from philosophy, literature, history and the social sciences to examine how warriors, belligerent societies and cultures describe the benefits and costs of war. The course will primarily focus on the American experience of war in the twentieth and twentieth-first century, from the Great War to the War on Terror, while also examining the Cold War and the antecedents to contemporary conflict. This course is open only to HSP students. This class fulfills the Freshman Seminar requirement for General Education requirements.
66-104 DC Freshman Seminar: Philosophy and Argument
Fall: 9 units
What makes me "me"? What is real? Is there a God? What is the mind, and how does it interact with the body? Can computers think? Are humans ultimately free? What makes our lives valuable? Should we try to make ourselves immortal? What should we do about climate change? These are some of the toughest, most pressing questions in philosophy today. Philosophers have addressed these questions by producing subtle, intricate, and often beautiful arguments. In this seminar, you will assess those arguments and produce your own. You will learn to think like a philosopher - to strip an argument presented in prose to its bare essentials and produce a visual representation that displays its structure plainly. Learning to visualize arguments in this way will improve the clarity and rigor of your own thinking and writing. It will put you in a position to make progress on hard questions such as those above. And it will improve your ability to crisply convey your ideas - an ability that will serve you well not just in your Carnegie Mellon classes, but also in the political, professional, and civic reasoning you employ for the rest of your life.
66-105 DC Freshman Seminar: Scientific Thinking: in Children, in Adults, in Scientists
Fall: 9 units
The aim of this course for you to learn how to provide a coherent answer to the question: "What does it mean to 'do' science"? You will discover that the answer depends on being able to define "the scientific method" and "scientific knowledge." We will sample - a very tiny part of — the vast literature on Science. This will involve reading selected papers about scientific reasoning, creativity, invention, and discovery. You will learn something about what philosophers, historians, sociologists have written about how science is done, and you will also see what scientists themselves have to say about the matter. In one part of the course, we will read selected topics from a standard textbook on thinking and problem solving. You will have a chance to do some psychology research of your own that reveals how people go about forming hypotheses and designing experiments to test them. In addition, we will look at studies and research papers about the cognitive psychology of science, and you will read several "primary sources": articles from journals in cognitive psychology that deal with the psychology of scientific reasoning. Finally, we will spend some time learning about research on teaching science in the early grades, and examine some of the current controversies about science.
66-106 DC Freshman Seminar: Applied Quantitative Social Science I
Fall: 9 units
The QSSS Freshman Seminar provides a fast-paced introduction to a range of methods in the quantitative social sciences. Organized around a set of case studies, the course introduces students to concepts from each of the six QSSS concentration areas: statistics and regression, econometrics, choice modeling, quantitative policy analysis, computational modeling, and psychometrics. This course is open to QSSS students only.
66-107 DC Freshman Seminar: Modeling Complex Systems
Fall: 9 units
Most of the major issues confronting humanity—-such as climate change, financial collapse, ecosystem survival, terrorism, and disease epidemics—-are the result of complex systems where the interactions of the pieces of the system create a whole that is rather different thanany of its parts. Unfortunately, traditional scientific methods that focus on reducing systems to their parts and then analyzing each part provide little insight into such systems. This seminar explores the behavior of complex systems as well as how to model and understand them using both traditional tools and computer-based approaches.
66-108 DC Freshman Seminar: Statistical Paradoxes: When You Can't Trust Your Own Eyes
Fall: 9 units
Humans are notoriously bad at probabilistic thinking. We're crushed if our hometown team loses when it's the favorite, and ecstatic when we go on a lucky streak playing craps: we constantly see patterns in randomness. Even Paul Erdos, one of the greatest mathematicians of the last few centuries, was famously wrong about a deceptively simple probability puzzle. When it comes to statistics, we often run into trouble when we rely on intuition - we can't trust our own eyes. In this class we will tease apart some entertaining but important statistical paradoxes and biases. For example: Why are better health outcomes reported when only medical screening improves? How could David Justice have a better batting average than Derek Jeter in both 1995 and 1996 separately, but not in 1995-1996 combined? Could most published research findings actually be false? Why should attorneys be forced to learn Bayes' Theorem? Can we really know that smoking causes lung cancer? This course will help you answer these questions, teach you to think critically about research and news reports, or at least give you some entertaining anecdotes to tell at parties. We will also use the statistical software R for hands-on exploration
66-109 DC Freshman Seminar: Climate Change
Fall and Spring: 9 units
Climate change is considered by many the most serious social, political, and environmental issue of the 21st century. As human activities increase the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, scientists have established the reality of climate change and have estimated its impacts on human society and the natural world. Despite the scientific consensus on its existence, causes, and consequences, a substantial number of Americans and citizens of other countries still question these conclusions and a small but vocal group of doubters continue to challenge the science and scientific consensus on climate change. In spite of some social division over these issues, governments at local, national, and international levels have made concerted efforts to craft policies to address climate change. These policies have shifted over time as the information, attitudes, and technology associated with climate change have evolved. In this course, we will explore the challenges and complexities of climate change by investigating the subject from a variety of angles: scientific, political, rhetorical, cultural, economic, technological, and ethical. Over the course of the semester, we'll inquire: What is climate change? How do scientists know it is happening? Why is there public debate over it? What solutions are available? And what are the pros and cons of the different solutions?
66-110 DC Grand Challenge Freshman Seminar: Inequality
Intermittent: 9 units
This Grand Challenge freshman seminar on inequality is inspired in part by the specter of global income inequality. Income inequality has reached such a peak that eight men own as much wealth as half the world's population, the world's poorest 3.6 billion people. Inequality may be a feature of all societies across history to some degree. But inequality strikes us an especially timely topic because of the current demands for greater political, social, and economic equality. The four of us will use the disciplines we come from - economics, anthropology, history, psychology, and literary/cultural studies - to introduce you to the concept of inequality in the age of capitalism. We will consider how inequality emerged as a social and political problem in the 18th and 19th centuries, and how it has re-emerged as a key concept for socio-political movements in our current moment. We will conclude with an inquiry into what the future of inequality might look like, especially with the coming of increased automation and the elimination of at least 50% of the jobs currently being done by human beings.
66-111 DC Freshman Seminar: Understanding Gender-Based Violence
Spring: 9 units
Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a global heath & human rights crisis in which, according the World Health Organization, one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused. Discourse surrounding GBV enters into the sacred space of the home, the strategies of advertisers, the halls of the Senate, college campuses, and the galleries of the world's most well known museums. It is, literally, everywhere. Although it is everywhere, wide spread, and catastrophic, GBV is often minimized, concealed, and dismissed. This course will explore the many manifestations of GBV, from stalking to human trafficking, removing it from the shadows and bringing it into the open so that we can do something about it. Toward that end, we'll simultaneously explore the many creative ways people are combating this global epidemic. Throughout our work, we'll explore how gender based violence intersects with multiple, overlapping systems of oppression, from race to heteronormativity. Finally, you'll imaginatively develop your own resistance strategies through a culminating, group project.
66-112 DC Freshman Seminar: Mathematical Thought from Euclid to Cantor
Spring: 9 units
Mathematics and philosophy have been intertwined since ancient times, and philosophers have long been engaged in the project of explaining what it is that makes mathematical knowledge special. In this seminar, we will consider three important periods in the development of mathematics, and associated philosophical reflection. Specifically, we will study Euclid's theory of geometry, and its impact on Plato and Aristotle; Newton's invention of the calculus, and its impact on early modern philosophers; and Cantor's theory of the infinite, and its impact on early analytic philosophy.
66-113 DC Freshman Seminar: The Neuroscience and Psychology of Everyday Life
Spring: 9 units
A lot goes on "behind the scenes" in everyday activities like listening to music, studying for an exam, or recognizing a friend across campus. In this course, we will go behind the scenes to examine the neuroscience and psychology of the behaviors of everyday life. You will become acquainted with research and theory at the intersection of psychology and neuroscience, at levels from molecular to cognitive. Along the way, you will learn to separate fact from fiction and to evaluate media claims about the mind and brain. You will learn what cognitive and neural sciences have to say about practical matters like making good work habits and studying efficiently. Throughout the course, there will be an emphasis on critical thinking and application of what you are learning. You can expect connections to pop culture, media and current events as we connect cutting-edge research with topics relevant to everyday life. The course is open to all freshman, both science and non-science majors.
66-114 DC Grand Challenge Freshman Seminar: Racism
Intermittent: 9 units
Racism is everywhere in the twenty-first century. In August 2009, the renowned Indian actor, Sharukh Khan, was detained at Newark International Airport. According to Khan, his Muslim surname led American immigration officials to question him about the nature of his visit for over two hours. Was his treatment racist? In 2011, Luis Suarez a Uruguayan soccer player was punished for allegedly calling French footballer Patrice Evra "negro" in England. But was the word "negro," said in Spanish, racist? Racism is a complex phenomenon that refers to historically hierarchical power differences between groups (e.g. Native populations and Europeans during the conquest), ideas about how humans can be classified into groups by "race," and also discriminatory practices against non-dominant groups. This system of social relations and ideology serves to justify social inequality and differential treatment. If we are to end racism, we must strive to understand it. What are the historical origins of racism? How is racism reproduced? How does race influence identity formation? Can racism produce positive identities? Why has the struggle against racism shifted from a demand for human rights to a search for diversity and inclusion? This course will examine racism in Pittsburgh, in the United States, and in several other countries and regions throughout the world. We will approach racism from multiple academic perspectives with a team of three faculty from the departments of History, English and Modern Languages. This team-based interdisciplinary approach to Freshman Seminars draws on several departments and guest speakers.
66-115 DC Freshman Seminar: Introduction to Thinking Strategically
Intermittent: 9 units
We rarely make decisions in a vacuum. The optimal course of action often depends on what others will do. Game theory is the formal study of strategic interaction and aims to help us understand situations where rational decision makers interact. In this course we will use equilibrium analysis to study topics including competition, credible threats, commitment problems, and the strategic use of information with an emphasis on business, economic, and public policy applications
66-116 DC Freshman Seminar: Networks: Where do they Come From? What do they Tell Us?
Intermittent: 9 units
Thirty years ago, the word "network" was mostly used in reference to computers or television broadcasting channels. Now we have networks of friends, enemies, phones, stars, tweets, international governments, terrorists, etc. Where do these networks come from? How are they built? What do they represent? As we learn more about how everything is connected, we also face challenges in trying to understand the data that a network can generate. In this course, you'll learn about networks from a New England monastery facing a political crisis to social groups of friends (is obesity contagious? what about divorce?) to 15th century marriages among prominent Italian families to international political disputes and skirmishes (is the enemy of my enemy my friend?) to the spread of HIV among intravenous drug users. Along the way, we'll explore how to describe, visualize, analyze, and even break down the networks that surround us.
66-161 DC Freshman Seminar: Artificial Intelligence and Humanity
Fall and Spring: 9 units
In 1965 British mathematician I.J. Good wrote, "An ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an 'intelligence explosion,' and the intelligence of man would be left far behind." As we enter an age where companies like Uber are testing driverless cars in Pittsburgh and innovative interfaces like IBM's Watson can play jeopardy and learn techniques for medical diagnoses, how are we to negotiate an "intelligence explosion" that for many individuals might threaten the very notions of what it means to be human? The future of human-to-machine relationships will likely define our historical epoch and yet, many young technologists and humanists underestimate the downstream impact of technological innovations on human society. Presently, we have little choice but to attend to this rapidly anxiety-ridden question. This seminar will attend to the challenge of present existential questions on what it means to be human (read not machine) in the context of a rapidly advancing technological age. We will consider human narratives throughout history that exam how governments and individual citizens defined humanity in the context of slavery and colonialism as a framework for exploring and projecting what it means to be human in the age of rapidly advancing "intelligent" machines. We will trace the technological advancements of the recent five decades and identify historical precedents and speculative narratives that help us to consider issues like labor, economic disparity, negotiations of power, human dignity and ethical responsibility within the context of human relations with advancing technological tools that are now coined, artificial intelligence.
66-198 Dietrich College Interdisciplinary Research Training
Intermittent: 9 units
This course is part of a set of 100-level courses offered by H&SS departments as independent studies for second-semester freshmen, and first- or second-semester sophomores, in the College. In general, these courses are designed to give students some real research experience through work on a faculty project or lab in ways that might stimulate and nurture subsequent interest in research participation. Faculty and students devise a personal and regularized meeting and task schedule. Each Research Training course is worth 9 units, which generally means a minimum for students of about 9 work-hours per week. These courses are offered only as electives; i.e., they cannot be applied toward a college or major requirement, although the units do count toward graduation as elective units. Additional details (including a roster and descriptions of Research Training Courses available in any given semester) are available in the H&SS Academic Advisory Center. For H&SS students only; only for second-semester freshmen, or first- or second-semester sophomores; minimum cumulative QPA of 3.0 (at the time of registration) required for approved entry; additional prerequisites (e.g., language proficiency) may arise out of the particular demands of the research project in question.
66-202 Pathways: Dietrich College Career Exploration Seminar
Intermittent: 5 units
Are you a Dietrich College sophomore or junior? Do you study something that you love but you are not quite sure how it might translate to a career path? Are you interested in using internships as a way to explore career options? Would you be interested in learning how Dietrich College alumni have translated their studies in the humanities and social sciences into dynamic professional paths? In Pathways: Dietrich College Career Exploration Seminar [Mini-II] you will meet and speak with alumni from Dietrich College who have developed careers in a variety of sectors. You will refine your professional documents and practice articulating your specific skills and talents. You will hear a variety of narratives that illustrate career exploration and learn to articulate and practice telling your own developing professional story. The mini will include a weekend networking event with alumni from throughout the country, in addition to weekly seminars with guest speakers from the Department of English Professional Writing Program; the Career and Professional Development Center; and a variety of alumni and employers from the Pittsburgh area and beyond.
66-204 Film Festival
Spring
Students will take on the project of planning and managing a film festival that draws a college- and city-wide audience. Students will collaborate on all aspects of the festival: selecting films, generating and distributing marketing materials, designing and scheduling events, arranging facilities and general logistics, coordinating internal and external public relations, organizing fundraisers, rallying the local communities - in short, all the aspects involved in making the event a spectacular/sensational success! A unique feature of this course-cum-festival will be several directors' participation as guest speakers on the festival theme and other issues informing their films. Previous Film Festivals have covered such topics as: Democracy, Mechanization, Realism, Globalization, Migration, Media and Work. This course is also designed to supplement the study of film with the historical, political and sociological background that students need for critically analyzing the images and ideologies they see on the screen and understand how those images effect our views of the past and present time.
66-221 Topics of Law: Introduction to Intellectual Property Law
Intermittent: 9 units
Topics for this course vary, to include such foci as intellectual property, introduction to U.S. law, great American trials, and the U.S. Constitution. Topics and courses are designed to be broadly relevant and interesting for university undergraduates, and not narrowly tailored for students interested in law school.
66-307 Independent Study
All Semesters
This course is intended for students with a special interest in an interdisciplinary area in the humanities and/or social sciences not covered by a normal course. Readings and other works are developed by the student and an individual faculty member. The number of units will be assigned at the time of registration based on the number of hours to be completed (decided in advance with the sponsoring faculty member).
66-320 Internship
All Semesters
Internships-for-credit allow students to apply course-based knowledge in a non-classroom setting, under joint supervision and evaluation by an on-site supervisor and a faculty sponsor. Approved internships must conform to college guidelines for internships-for-credit, and are available by permission only arranged through the Associate Dean's Office in Baker Hall 154.
66-501 Dietrich College Senior Honors Thesis I
Fall and Spring: 9 units
This is the first semester of a two-semester sequence that culminates in an original, year-long independent research or creative project. The course is open only to students who have been approved for entry into the Dietrich College Senior Honors Program. Thesis topics are selected by faculty and students, and reviewed and approved through the senior honors program application process. Dietrich College senior honors students are also required to participate in the annual Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Symposium, offering either an oral presentation or poster session based on their senior honors thesis

Course Website: http://www.cmu.edu/dietrich/undergraduate/programs/shp/index.html
66-502 Dietrich College Senior Honors Thesis II
Fall and Spring: 9 units
This is the second semester of a two-semester sequence that is the culmination of an original, year-long independent research or creative project. The course is open only to students who have been approved for entry into the Dietrich College Senior Honors Program. Thesis topics are selected by faculty and students, and reviewed and approved through the senior honors program application process. Dietrich College senior honors students are also required to participate in the annual Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Symposium, offering either an oral presentation or poster session based on their senior honors thesis
Prerequisite: 66-501
Course Website: http://www.cmu.edu/dietrich/undergraduate/programs/shp/index.html
66-503 Dietrich College Senior Honors Thesis
All Semesters: 18 units
This course is a one-semester alternative to the two-semester Dietrich College Senior Honors Thesis sequence 66-501/66-502. The course is open only to students who have been approved for entry into the Dietrich College Senior Honors Program, and whose senior honors thesis project has been approved as a one-semester undertaking. Thesis topics are selected by faculty and students, and reviewed and approved through the senior honors program application process. The thesis culminates in an original independent research or creative project. Dietrich College senior honors students are also required to participate in the annual Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Symposium, offering either an oral presentation or poster session based on their senior honors thesis.
66-504 Senior Capstone I
All Semesters
TBA
66-505 Senior Capstone II
All Semesters
TBA
66-506 Senior Capstone
All Semesters
TBA

General Dietrich College Courses

65-201 Humanities Scholars III
Fall: 9 units
FALL 2017 Course Description: Black Death: A Global History of the Plague Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes bubonic plague, ushered in the first documented global pandemic in the mid-14th century. This course explores the Black Death from its earliest documentation in Central Asia, through the Mediterranean world, and into Europe, as it spread across Eurasia claiming tens of millions of lives. Treating the Black Death as both a human and a biological event, students will explore the diverse cultural reactions to this devastating disease, its effects on labor and economic evolution, its impacts on art and literature, its influences on public health policies and medical science, and its connections to epidemiology and climate change. The course concludes with an examination of contemporary outbreaks of the plague, as recent as 2016, and explores the profound implications of pandemics in today's highly interconnected world.
Prerequisite: 65-102

Course Website: http://www.hss.cmu.edu/hsp/
65-203 Applied Quantitative Social Science II
Spring: 9 units
Applied Quantitative Social Science II is the second course in the QSSS core sequence. Conducted in a seminar format, the course will feature guest lectures from a series of faculty at CMU. Students will discuss ongoing research across the social sciences, and over the course of the semester will develop a research project proposal. Seminar participation is limited to QSSS students.