The VIA program consists of six interdisciplinary courses that cover many areas of study, but focus in particular on the great ideas in history that inform the building of the “Good Life.” Taken together, the courses provide a pathway (“via” in Latin) to graduation and to the best preparation for life in the 21st century.
Working with professors as a team, students in the VIA program take one course together each semester beginning in the fall of the sophomore year and continuing until graduation. Four of the six courses fulfill Core Curriculum requirements.
Students apply for the VIA program in the spring of their freshman year. The deadline to apply is March 15, and up to 25 students are chosen by April 1 as VIA scholars for their remaining three years at the University.
First-year students interested in applying for the VIA program are encouraged to take a VIA section of the Core Curriculum portal course Seeking Wisdom. VIA sections explore the theme of visions - the great explanations of the "Good Life" from various cultural and historical perspectives - which lays the groundwork for the three-year sequence of VIA courses.
The sophomore year looks at the wide variety of interpretations that have been given to visions of the "Good Life." Students need to become responsible for their own interpretations as they shape their lives. Interpretation here means not only the skill to read and think critically, but also the ability to translate historical ideas into some form of personal expression.
- Destructive Interpretations of the Good Life
- Philosophy and Responsibility: Creative Interpretations Leading to the Good Life (Common Core requirement)
The junior year explores reflection and action. Students consider the insights psychology offers regarding contemporary problems and take action to serve those most in need.
- Psychology of Prejudice (Core Complement course in social sciences)
- Thinking Globally, Acting Locally
The senior year is focused on integration, or the unifying of learning and experience into a coherent whole. The two senior-year courses serve as the capstone of the VIA program. Students' writing should be polished and their public speaking should be confident and persuasive.
- Contemporary Christian Spirituality (Core Complement course in religious and theological studies)
- Contemporary Global Literature: Integration in Writing (Core Complement course in literature)