The College’s graduation requirements constitute the general education component of a student’s liberal arts education at Hiram, known as the Urgent Challenges Curriculum. All first-time Traditional College students entering Hiram College must complete the new Urgent Challenge Curriculum graduation requirements. Courses used to fulfill these categories must encompass at least six different academic disciplines. Each student explores the breadth and diversity of the liberal arts through engaging in a series of six discipline-based courses distributed throughout the college. They will learn about the interrelatedness of knowledge through their interdisciplinary requirement. All students will enroll in one interdisciplinary experience, which focuses on both contemporary and timeless questions of intellectual relevance to humankind.

The Urgent Challenge Curriculum comprises approximately one-third of a student’s course work at Hiram. Each Hiram student, upon completion of the graduation requirements, will have an education in the depth, breadth, and interrelatedness of knowledge that is the liberal arts tradition.

Through the process of completing the Urgent Challenge Curriculum, students acquire a foundation of experience to guide their decision about a major. Students will usually declare a major after exploring the opportunities available and discussions with their advisor, other faculty, and the Career Center. The student’s decision about a major is most often influenced by a genuine enjoyment of the department’s faculty and course work. Hiram’s small classes foster a mentoring relationship between professor and student which is strengthened by the depth of study in a student’s major.

Academic program depth is ensured by requiring students to take 3-4 credit hour courses in at least six different academic disciplines, to be represented across all courses taken (i.e. major(s), minor(s), cores and general electives) with the exception of interdisciplinary(INTD), first-year writing (FYEN/FYUR/INTD 19901), physical education (PHED), honors (HONR) and student development (STDV) courses.

NOTE: Having been counted as fulfilling an interdisciplinary requirement does not preclude a course from being counted as fulfilling core requirements.

Ways of Knowing

Hiram College is committed to a rigorous, creative, and demanding intellectual environment that focuses on methods for acquiring and analyzing knowledge. One course that satisfies each of the relevant sets of goals is required.

Creative Methods (CM)

The expression of human creativity involves the development of practical and evaluative skills. Courses satisfy this requirement by helping students to understand the creative process and by teaching them the intellectual skills necessary for reflection and evaluation of artistic products.

  • Goal: Acquire the vocabulary necessary to talk intelligently about one’s own creative art as well as the creative art of others, and to clearly articulate the aesthetic experience.
  • Goal: Develop the hands-on skills that are necessary for aesthetic expression and reflection, and practical knowledge essential to the implementation of creative techniques and concepts.

Interpretive Methods (IM)

The human experience of meaning involves the application of interpretation to a broad variety of human endeavors, including art, music, literature, and philosophical and religious texts. Courses satisfy the goals for this requirement by teaching the skills necessary to interpret one or more forms of human expression.

  • Goal: Interpret the human experience of meaning as expressed in artistic and intellectual products
  • Goal: Apply the knowledge and perspective gained from interpretive analysis to a broader understanding of the world or to one's own life.

Modeling Methods (MM)

Modeling involves the construction of abstractions that capture and simplify physical, social, biological, and other complex phenomena. The models are then analyzed using deduction and logic, statistics, and/or mathematics in order to better understand and interpret the original. Courses satisfy the goals for this requirement by teaching modeling and methods for analyzing models.

  • Goal: Understand the role of models in explaining the world and universe, including techniques for testing the accuracy and limitations of models.
  • Goal: Use this understanding to solve problems: learn to apply models to understand a variety of real world situations.

Experimental Scientific Methods (SM)

The application of reason to the natural world requires the use of the hypothetical-experimental method. Courses satisfy the goals for this requirement by teaching, in a hands-on laboratory environment, the empirical method in practical data-gathering learning experiences, and reflection on the nature and limits of this methodology.

  • Goal: Develop hands-on skill acquiring reproducible data and interpreting them within a theoretical framework.
  • Goal: Understand the application and limitation of experimental data and theoretical frameworks to the natural world.

Social and Cultural Analysis Methods (CA)

Human behavior is organized by complex systems which differ widely across societies and over time. Human knowledge cannot be understood without considering historical, social, and cultural contexts. Courses satisfy this goal by teaching students the conceptual and analytic tools necessary to make sense of these essential dimensions of our existence.

  • Goal: Examine social life as displayed in history, culture, power structures, norms, or customs.
  • Goal: Acquire the analytical skills and critical sensibilities to understand human society and culture.

Ways of Developing Responsible Citizenship

Hiram College is committed to the goal of developing socially responsible, ethical citizens. One course that satisfies each of the relevant sets of goals is required for each student.

Experiencing the World (EW)

Hiram students must prepare to live as citizens of the world. Courses help students to do this by helping them develop capacities for understanding international issues, other peoples and other cultures, and the nature of responsible, engaged global citizenship.

  • Goal: Demonstrate an informed understanding of the values and attitudes of people in another culture, and the ways in which these influence the contemporary world.
  • Goal: Evaluate critically, and on the basis of explicit criteria, the culture of a foreign society.

Understanding Diversity in the United States (UD)

The United States is richly diverse. Encountering and learning the necessary skills for interaction with this diversity is essential to a liberal arts education at Hiram College. Courses satisfy these goals by introducing students to the diversity of our own country and equipping them with the intellectual skills necessary for conversing in this complex environment.

  • Goal: Demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of U.S. society and the ways in which different groups have experienced and confronted issues of diversity.
  • Goal: Demonstrate as well an informed awareness and understanding of U.S. commonality – those principles and values that are most central to the experience of the United States.
  • Goal: Address matters of diversity in a variety of contexts, including ethical, social, and personal.

Meaning, Ethics, and Social Responsibility (ES)

The ability to formulate and evaluate claims about meaning and value is essential to the tasks of forming identity and being responsible citizens. Courses satisfy this goal by teaching both conceptual tools and practical skills that permit students to reflectively evaluate their own lives and interact responsibly in the lives of others.

  • Goal: Understand the ways in which claims about values are discovered, articulated, and justified.
  • Goal: Apply this understanding, in conjunction with practical skills, to reflective evaluation about one’s own beliefs and those of others and/or engagement with contemporary social, political, and ethical problems.

“Leapfrogging” Core Curriculum Categories

If a student places out of an introductory-level course and then proceeds to take an advanced level class in the same discipline, he or she might be eligible to receive General Education credit attached to the introductory class upon completion of the advanced-level course. This advanced course must be a logical sequel to the introductory-level class: it should apply and build upon the methodology and content learned in the introductory level class. The student should apply to the associate dean for this consideration. He or she should expect to fill out the appropriate Core Curriculum form to document his or her engagement with the learning outcome goals associated with the relevant Core category.


As of the Fall 2019 term, there is no language requirement for any newly matriculated student.

Returning/Continuing Student Language Requirement:

Hiram College requires all returning/continuing students in the traditional college, and those who internally transfer into the traditional college from Center for Adult Studies, to successfully complete a non-native natural language class at the 102 level. Students who place into a language above the 102 level (either by transfer credit or by their score on a placement exam controlled by our Modern Languages and Classics faculty) are exempt from this requirement. International students who score well enough on the TOEFL exam (Test of English as a Foreign Language) to be exempt from ENLA (English Language) 20000 will also be exempt of the Language requirement. International students who must take ENLA 20000 will satisfy the Language requirement by merit of successfully completing this class.

Although students who complete education licensure, the nursing B.S.N degree, or an engineering 3/2 program are exempt from the requirement, all students should be aware that if they fail to complete all requirements for these programs, then they will have to satisfy the foreign language requirement before graduating. Other exemptions from the language requirement must be granted through the Department of Modern Languages and Classics. New international students who are bilingual and proficient in English should work initially through their registration advisor for exemption procedure. 

The foreign language requirement for continuing students has the following goals:

  • Demonstrate an informed understanding of the ways that language interacts with values and culture. Through the tangent language, students will gain basic knowledge of general aspects of the cultures studied.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of word denotations, connotations, and syntax in their native language and the target language and their impact in creating meaning and shaping culture.