Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Academics: Courses

Required courses

IDIS 240 Introduction to Archaeology (3). A classroom introduction to archaeology with emphasis on archaeological theory, field work methods, artifact processing, data interpretation, and site conservation. The course is designed to introduce students to the theoretical concepts of archaeology, participation in field work, and the critical reading of archaeological reports in both the old world and new world archaeology. It serves as a prerequisite for Interdisciplinary 340. Offered alternate years. Not offered 2014-15. Bert de Vries

IDIS 340 Field Work in Archaeology (3-6) Offered in conjunction with field work done by Calvin faculty or qualified field schools of other universities. An off-campus, on-site introduction to archaeological field work designed to expose the student to the methodologies involved in stratigraphic excavation, typological and comparative analysis of artifacts, the use of material remains in the writing of cultural history, and the preservation and presentation of sites. Field school enrollment and placement is overseen by the Archaeology Program Coordinator. Prerequisites: Interdisciplinary 240 and permission of the instructor. May/June 2015. Bert de Vries

Archaeological skills group courses

ArtS 250 Introduction to Drawing (3). F and S. An introduction to drawing media. This course teaches the basic understanding and use of drawing materials and techniques through the construction of visual problems and solutions related to pictorial space (line, shape, value, volume, scale, composition, and perspective). Students will be expected to produce visually effective drawings through control and execution of the media. Visual, conceptual, and technical concerns will be reinforced through readings, discussions, demonstrations, and critiques. This course will address the use of drawing, not only as a means of developing observational skills, but also that of practicing critical and visual discernment. Materials fee. Prerequisite: Art 153.

ArtS 256 Introduction to Photography (3). F and S. An introduction to basic photographic techniques and the process of black and white photography including camera operation, film processing, printing, and presentation. Course work emphasizes visual problems and solutions specific to photography, such as flatness, frame, time, and focus. The ability to produce photographic images with visual effectiveness through control and execution of the media is stressed. Visual and technical abilities will be reinforced through readings, discussions, demonstrations, critiques, and lectures. The history of photography and critical approaches to the media will be introduced and inform the context of study. Materials fee. Prerequisite: Art 153.

ArtS 300 Intermediate Drawing (3). F and S. A further exploration of the activity of drawing. This course emphasizes the critical engagement of visual problems and solutions through the development of a drawing portfolio. The primary source material for this course is the human figure, utilized for visual and technical investigation of pictorial space, as well as for contemporary critical issues surrounding the representation of the self and others. Materials fee. Prerequisite: Art Studio 250.

ArtS 356 Advanced Photography (3). S. An emphasis on individual research and conceptual problem solving in the production of a coherent body of analogue and/or digital photographic work. Class time will consist of critiques on the quality of concept and presentation of idea in student images, in addition to discussions of assigned technical and critical readings. Students will be evaluated on a photography portfolio and a class presentation of their work. Materials fee. Prerequisite: Art Studio 306 or 316.

Biology 323 Biotechnology (4). A study of basic and advanced methodologies, current applications, and contemporary Issues In biotechnology. Theoretical and practical aspects of DNA cloning, recombination, transformation, blotting, genomics, and proteomics are taught within the context of medical, agricultural, environmental, legal, and Industrial applications. Reading assignments and discussions explore Christian and secular perspectives of biotechnology regulation, patenting, and other social concerns. Laboratory exercises facilitate development of basic lab skills (maintenance of notebooks, routine calculations, preparation of reagents and materials, and safety). Lectures and laboratories. Prerequisites: Biology 224 (or 141), Chemistry 253 (or 261 and 262).

Biology 346 Plant Taxonomy (4). Identification, nomenclature, and classification of vascular plants. Emphasis will be placed on the practical use of keys to identify plants in a variety of natural environments, including forests, meadows, and wetlands. Relationships among phyla, families, and species will be explored, particularly in relation to their roles within the ecosystem types where they typically are located. Lectures, laboratories, and field trips. Prerequisite: Biology 224 (or 141) and 225.

Computer Science 104 Applied C++ (2). F. An introduction to problem solving and program design for engineers and scientists using the language C++. Coverage includes I/O, types and expressions, libraries, functions and parameter passing, control structures, files, array processing, and classes (including the use of templates). Prerequisite Math 132 or 171, which may be taken concurrently.

Computer Science 108 Introduction to Computing (4). F, S. An introduction to computing as a problem-solving discipline. A primary emphasis is on programming as a methodology for problem solving, including the precise specification of a problem, the design of its solution, the encoding of that solution, and the testing, debugging, and maintence of programs. A secondary emphasis is the discussion of topics from the breadth of computing including historical, theoretical, ethical, and biblical perspectives on computing as a discipline. Laboratory. Meets the information technology core requirement.

Computer Science 112 Introduction to Data Structures (3) F, S. A continuation of Computer Science 108, 106 or 104 using C++ classes to introduce or implement the elementary data structures including lists, stacks, queues, and trees. Advanced programming techniques such as indirection, inheritance, and templates are introduced, along with an emphasis on algorithm analysis, efficiency, and good programing style. Laboratory. Prerequisite: Computer Science 104, 106, 108, or permission of the instructor.

Engineering 101 Introduction to Engineering Design (2). An introduction to the engineering design process and resource design tools by means of projects, lectures, homework, mentor visits, and team meetings. Team projects, including service learning, require application of creativity, engineering analysis, and computational tools. Readings, lectures, and discussions also examine the areas of technology in society, engineering ethics, and library research methods. Various computer software tools are introduced and used. This course fulfills the foundations of information technology core category.

Engineering 106 Engineering Chemistry and Materials Science (4). An introduction to the science of engineering materials. Engineering properties of materials - mechanical, electrical, and chemical - are closely linked to the underlying solid state and molecular structure. Chemistry relating to various aspects of design including phase change, solution theory, acid-base solutions, and chemical equilibrium is presented. This course is team taught by chemists and engineers to facilitate the integration of basic chemical principles and engineering design. Issues of stewardship of resources are addressed. Laboratory. Prerequisites: Chemistry 103, Engineering 101, and Mathematics 170 or 171.

Environmental Studies 210 Human Impacts on the Environment(3). F and S. As population and affluence have increased and technology’s role has grown, human activities have transformed natural environments around the globe. This course surveys and examines how a wide variety of human enterprises such as agriculture, industry, recreation, and urbanization have had and continue to have far-reaching environmental consequences everywhere on earth. These impacts are assessed by standards such as ecological well being and sustainability, human habitability, and quality of life. Not open to first-year students. Also listed as Geography 210.

Environmental Studies 302 Environment and Society (3). F.
The interactions among population, resources, technology, economics, and public policy are studied in order to understand and address the environmental issues and problems of our day. Attention is focused upon energy, material, and food resource issues as well as upon population and resource relationships. Political, economic, and technological policies plus individual lifestyles are considered as part of responsible earth keeping. Not open to first-year students. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 210 or permission of the instructor.

Geography 261 Geographic Information Systems and Cartography (4). F and S. Focus on geographic information systems (GIS) and the art and science of mapping for spatial analysis. Map design techniques and visual communication using GIS vector and raster data forms will be explored, as well as a variety of methods for analyzing spatial relationships. Topics include those of the physical world and landscape, social justice, poverty, and a significant project on atlas creation for developing countries. This course has a lecture and lab component and lab work will give practical experience to students using the ArcGIS suite. Students will complete a GIS project tailored to their disciplinary interest.

Geography 320 Introduction to Cultural Geography (3). An examination of the interactions between culture and nature in pre-agricultural, agricultural, and urban industrial societies. The course explores the origins, character, content, organization, perceptions, and meanings of cultural landscapes, past and present, large and small. Prerequisite: Geography 110 or permission of the instructor.

Geology 151 Introduction to Geology (4). This course is a study of the materials and processes of Earth leading to a responsible Christian appreciation for and stewardship of Earth. Topics include minerals and rocks, Earth’s interior and surface structure; surface processes producing landforms; geological time and principles for interpreting Earth history; mineral resources and fossil fuels; and geological hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, landslides, and groundwater pollution. Laboratory. Not open to students who have completed Geology/Geography 120 or Geology 112.

Geology 152 Historical Geology (4). The first portion of this course traces the development of the study of Earth through the past few centuries, as geology became a true scientific discipline and as its practitioners became convinced of Earth’s antiquity. Attention is given to relating views of Earth’s history to the Genesis record. During the remainder of the course, evidence for the particulars of Earth history, with emphasis on North America, is outlined. Topics include the origin of Earth and its moon; the origin of continents and ocean basins; rock deformation caused by plate motion and the creation of mountain ranges through history; and sedimentary deposits of intracontinental seas. The laboratory builds on rock classification and map techniques introduced in Geology 151. Prerequisite: Geology 151 or equivalent.

Geology 311 Geomorphology (4). The investigation of landforms and the processes which cause them. This course studies the erosional and depositional features resulting from rivers, glaciers, and wind, as well as coastal, gravitational, and weathering processes. Landforms are described and classified from field observations, topographic maps, and aerial photographs. Explanations of the landforms are offered through quantitative modeling of the processes. Laboratory, field trips. Also listed as geography 311. Prerequisites: Geography/ Geology 120 or Geology 151.
Sociology 153, 253

Geology 317 Sedimentation and Stratigraphy (4) This includes the study of the classification and origins of sedimentary rocks with emphasis on the physical, chemical, and biological processes responsible for the origin, deposition, and diagenesis of sediments, with particular attention to modern depositional analogs; an investigation of the use of thin-section petrography in the interpretation of the genesis of sedimentary rocks; and graphical techniques for depicting the geometries of layered sedimentary rocks in outcrop and subsurface. Laboratory; field trip. Prerequisite: Geology 215 or concurrently.

Sociology 153 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (3). F and S. This course involves the study of cultural diversity around the globe, both historically and geographically. The course introduces the foundational elements of cultural anthropology including topics of field work, cultural relativism, ethnocentrism, participant observation, ethnography, ethnology as well as major anthropological theories. The course addresses the diversity, as well as commonality of cultural systems, both in time and space, through studying major components of cultural systems, such as kinship, religion, politics, and economics. Students are exposed to an awareness of their place within a particular cultural context, as well as their culture’s place within a global and historical context.

Sociology 253 Intercultural Communication (3). F and S. An examination of the anthropological principles relating to cross-cultural communication. This examination requires an extensive comparison of the components of cultural systems and the nature of cultural dynamics. The areas of application include government, business, peace corps, development, and mission work, with special emphasis on the last two. Special topics include developing an appropriate attitude regarding indigenous cultures and the management of culture shock. Also cross-listed Communication Arts and Sciences 253.

Museum studies

Art 393 Museum Studies (3). F and S, tutorial. An advanced course providing opportunities for studying the theory and practice of museum education and/or exhibition curatorial development and installation. Prerequisites: five courses in Art History and permission of the instructor.

History 393 Museum Studies (3). F and S, tutorial. Students in this museum internship will engage in 140 hours of interning in a museum with historical or archaeological exhibits, like the Grand Rapids Public (Van Andel) Museum, under the supervision of a curator. Placement will be facilitated by the instructor, and performance evaluation will be based on reviews by the museum staff and the course instructor.

Culture, History, and Linguistics Group Courses

Art 201 Architectural History I (4). A survey of the history of architecture from the Paleolithic era to the Renaissance. Although this course will concentrate primarily on the development of the historical and religious traditions of Europe, the development of non-Western traditions prior to 1500 will also be addressed. Slide lectures and class discussions. Intended for first- and second-year students.

Art History 101 Introduction to the History of Art I (4). This course surveys the history of the visual arts from the Paleolithic era to the Renaissance. Although this course concentrates primarily on the development of the historical and religious traditions of Europe, the artistic traditions of non-Western cultures are also addressed. The course is intended for first- and second-year students.

Art History 241 Asian Art (3). A historical study of the form and function of visual images in Asian Cultures. Special attention will be given to India, China, and Japan. Students will address the relationship between visual images and political, religious, and social developments in Asia, including the spread of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. Slide lectures and class discussions; a research paper is required. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or above.

Art History 243 Art of the Americas (3). A historical study of the form and function of visual images in pre-Columbian and Native American cultures. This course will concentrate on cultural developments before contact with Western civilization, but issues of cultural interaction between Native American and immigrant European cultures will be addressed. Slide lectures and class discussions; a research paper is required. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or above.

Art History 245 African and Oceanic Art (3). A historical study of the form and function of visual images in the African and Oceanic (Polynesian, Melanesian, and Australian Aboriginal) cultures. Special attention will be given to the relationship between religious commitments and artistic practices within these cultures. Slide lectures and class discussions; a research paper is required. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or above.

Art History 393 Museum Studies (3). S, tutorial. An advanced course providing opportunities for studying the theory and practice of museum education and/or exhibition curatorial development and installation. Prerequisites: five courses in Art History and permission of the instructor.

Classics 221 Classical Art and Architecture (3). This is a study of the major arts of ancient Greek and Roman civilization from the Bronze Age to the late Empire. Primary attention is devoted to the origins and development of Greek sculpture, painting, and architecture, and to their transformation in the arts of Rome. Ancient literary sources supplement the study of physical remains in this investigation of Greek and Roman culture.

Geology 313/Biology 313 Paleontology (4). A study of the organisms that once lived on the Earth. Includes an examination of the processes of fossilization and methods of discovering the structure, habitat, and relationship of those organisms, and a review of their distribution and life history. A broad spectrum of organisms is studied with emphasis on invertebrate animals. Lectures, laboratories, field trip. Also listed as Biology 313. Prerequisite: Geology 152 or Biology 224 and 225.

History 231 Ancient Near East (3). F. A cultural history of the ancient Near East from prehistory to Alexander (350 B.C.), based on evidence from archaeology, cultural anthropology, ancient texts in translation, biblical accounts, and contemporary historical records. Special consideration is given to artistic and linguistic traditions, literatures of origin and identity, and the impact of the recovery of these ancient cultures on modern civilization.

History 232 Hellenistic and Late Antique Near East (3). A study of Near Eastern civilization from the conquests of Alexander to the early Islamic Caliphates, that is, from 350 B.C. to A.D. 900. Particular emphasis is placed on the cultural syncretism of the age, which saw the development of Judaism and the emergence of Christianity and Islam. Scientific, technical, artistic, social, religious, and political developments will all receive attention. Not offered 2012-2013.

History 235 India and Its World (3). A cultural history of South Asia from the earliest times to the twentieth century. Primary emphasis will be placed on the civilization of Hindustan and the interplay of Hindu and Islamic religious and cultural forces there. Themes include the rise of the major Indian religions; the cultural synthesis of the Mughal Empire; the impact of British rule; and the rise of the modern nations of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Economic, social, political, religious, and intellectual themes receive consideration. Not offered 2012-2013.

History 238 Latin American History (4). S. A study of continuity and change in Latin America from pre-Columbian times to the present. Topics covered include the mingling of races and cultures in the conquest era, the long-term influence of colonial institutions, the paradox of economic development and continued poverty, the Cold War struggle between forces of the Left and the Right, and the growth of Protestantism in a traditional Catholic society.

History 242 Africa and Its World (3). A wide-ranging survey of prominent themes encompassing several centuries of African history. The principal aim is to introduce students to some of the main currents of African history and to provide insights into its society and culture. Themes include pre-colonial culture, commerce, and state building; the trans-Saharan and Atlantic trade; Islam and the sociopolitical changes it brought; and the Atlantic slave trade. Not offered 2012-2013.

History 245 East Asia to 1800 (3). F. This course is a history of East Asian civilizations from early times until the early modern period. Emphasis is on the history of China and Japan, but the history of Korea is also included. Primary objectives are for students to grasp the essential patterns of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean social structures, political systems, cultural values, and religious and ethical norms as they developed from the late traditional period through to 1800, and also to appreciate the similarities and differences among these civilizations.

History 261 Ancient Greece and Rome (3). F. A study of the ancient Mediterranean world with a focus on the history of ancient Greece and Rome, chronologically from late Bronze Age Greece to the beginning of Late Antiquity. This course will examine in depth the political, social, and economic developments of Greece and Rome, which in turn gave rise to shifts in intellectual, artistic, and religious thought and practice. Particular problems studied in depth include: the rise of the Greek polis, radical democracy in Athens, the effects of Alexander’s conquests, the Roman Republic, the transition to the Roman empire, and the impact of Christianity.

History 338 Mexico and the Americas (3). This course examines the history of Mexico from its pre-Columbian and Iberian origins through its recent embrace of neoliberal economics and democratic politics. Topics that receive substantial emphasis include the fusion of Old and New World cultures during the colonial era, struggles between conservatives and liberals in the 19th century, the 1910 Revolution and its aftermath, and the search for a path to modernity in the 20th century. Attention is paid to the role of religion—pre-Columbian, Catholic, and Protestant-Pentecostal—in each of these episodes. The course concludes with an examination of the experience of Mexican-Americans. Not offered 2012-2013.

Religion 311 History and Archaeology of Ancient Israel (3). Alternate years. A study of the history of ancient Israel from the patriarchs through Ezra in the context of recent research on this topic. This course will consider the sources for reconstructing the history of Israel, including the Old Testament, Ancient Near Eastern literary remains, and archaeological evidence, as well as appropriate methods for interpreting these sources. Prerequisite: 121 or an intermediate biblical studies course.

Religion 321 Intertestamental Judaism (3). Alternate years. A study of Jewish history, literature, and thought from 400 B.C. to A.D. 100, as a background for understanding the New Testament. Literature studied includes the Apocrypha and Dead Sea Scrolls. Prerequisite: 121 or an intermediate biblical studies course.