Why minor in MARS?


Florence from Basilica di San Miniato al Monte 

Many undergraduates choose a major and minor because it is practical. While this is not entirely unreasonable, it is worth noting that we value knowledge for different reasons. These reasons generally fall into two broad categories: either we value knowledge for its consequences, or because knowledge is its own reward.

On the surface of things, MARS may appear impractical and have little to do with an undergraduate’s career aspirations after graduation. However, there is both an extrinsic and intrinsic value to MARS.  The extrinsic value is not hard to find: as a student in this program you will be challenged to think and develop your critical reasoning skills; you will write research papers, and analyze texts and timeless works of art;  finally, you will learn a language. All of these skills are necessary to your success in any chosen vocation. 

This leaves us with the intrinsic value to MARS. The study of medieval and Renaissance periods in all their glory is its own reward.  It provides us with a privileged insight into a period that, in many ways, is different from our own, and in this way represents an “untimely meditation” upon the present. Finally, the works of literature, art, philosophy, and music of this period represent some of the greatest human achievements.