Department Learning Outcomes


Interdisciplinary study at Gettysburg College is active and intentional! The College’s Integrative Thinking goal challenges students to integrate what they have learned to solve open-ended problems by seeing relevant implications, developing new ideas, and seeking solutions in a rapidly changing environment.

All courses with an IDS designator engage Gettysburg College’s Integrative Thinking goal which states:
By nature of their objectives and content, interdisciplinary studies courses cross the lines of departments and specialized disciplines. For example, some of these courses attempt to provide the common body of knowledge traditionally associated with a liberal education; others attempt to integrate the understanding of different kinds of subject matter; and still others combine methodologies from diverse departments and disciplines. A student successfully engaging an interdisciplinary course should be able to articulate the “connections and tensions among approaches to common issues, texts, and phenomena.”


The self-designed major exemplifies Interdisciplinary Study, embodying the hallmarks of a liberal arts education at Gettysburg College. In addition to the above Integrative Thinking goals, students designing their own major also embody the College’s overarching goals. Thus, IDS majors 1.) “make connections in what they are learning; to see relevant implications across courses, to achieve an education that is more than a transcript of self-contained courses” and 2.) are self-reflective and able “to write and think in ways that express a growing self-awareness about the progress and impact of their education.”


Middle East and Islamic Studies (MEIS) is a minor that enables students from any discipline to gain an understanding of a most critical part of the world: home to our oldest civilizations, cradle to three great monotheistic religions, and a most vital and dynamic focus of current events. The minor reflects the need to understand more about this region, the peoples who live there, and the ways that Islam has shaped societies around the world.

The study of Arabic language is a centerpiece of the MEIS program and demonstrated proficiency in Arabic or another Middle Eastern/Islamic World language is a requirement. The program emphasizes the study of languages and cultures, histories, identities, and the world views of the people who live in the greater Middle East, contributing to a broader understanding of multiple expressions of Islam and how the peoples of the Middle East have shaped human experience in the past and present.

Middle East and Islamic Studies is an exciting and important field of study, now more than ever. With the United States heavily involved militarily, economically, and politically in the Middle East, we have a duty to understand more about this region and the peoples who live there. Middle East Studies allows us to interrogate our assumptions about those who live in the greater Middle East region, their cultures and languages, their histories, their identities, how they experience the world in which they live, and a host of other topics. Islamic Studies is also of crucial importance because Islam seems to be a poorly-understood and vilified religion throughout the world. The U.S. is an important Muslim country, with a population of some 5 million Muslims and a great number of important scholarly and reformist analyses of Islamic texts and practices being published here. An American liberal arts education therefore cannot be complete without the inclusion of MEIS. On a more personal level, I find MEIS fascinating and fun. Since beginning to learn about Islam and the Arab world almost 20 years ago, I have been captivated by the larger Islamic world: its rich history, beautiful literature and art, gorgeous and varied climates and landscapes, and the most hospitable peoples in the world.

Course Goals for ARB 101 & 102, Elementary Arabic
This level aims at developing and advancing four language skills: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. The Objectives of each skill are as follows:
By the end of this level, students will be able to:

  1. Recognize and produce sounds accurately.
  2. Understand the recorded listening exercises and drills on connecting letters, dictation, reading and writing in the text book Ahlan Wa Sahlan 
  3. Talk about simple daily life situations; e.g. students will be able to introduce themselves and others, talk about their families, use short conventions of ordering food and drinks, etc.
  4. Respond to simple instructions as part of pair work or group work etc. 
  5. Read and understand basic words, phrases, sentences, simple paragraphs and advertisements. 
  6. Write short notes, memos and fill out applications (e.g. arrival and departure forms at the airport, job and university applications, etc.) 


Course Goals for ARB 201 & 202, Intermediate Arabic

The goal of this level is to increase the student's knowledge of the Arabic language and culture via a communicative-based approach, meaning that though the students will be expected to learn grammatical structures emphasis will be placed on the functional usage of the language and on communication in context.

By the end of this level, students will be able to:

  1. Talk about simple daily life situations; e.g. students will be able to describe people, places, and common objects, tell time and indicate location, and talk about daily activities and your likes and dislikes, respond to instructions as part of pair work or group work, etc. 
  2. Comprehend audio and video conversations by native speakers in which greetings, common phrases, and basic vocabulary corresponding to aspects of Arabic culture are used. 
  3. Perform intensive listening for the purpose of understanding details.
  4. Read and fully comprehend the texts the text book Ahlan Wa Sahlan. 

Guess the meaning of new words from the context.
Write in detail on familiar topics such as personal information, likes and dislikes, daily routine, etc.


Gettysburg College offers a variety of courses analyzing American life and thought, which provide students with many opportunities for creating individual majors in American studies. Such majors may emphasize behavioral analyses, historical perspectives, literary and artistic dimensions, or coherent combinations of such approaches as they are reflected in courses from several departments. For example, individual majors could be designed in the areas of early-American culture, modern American social stratification, ethnicity, or the religious and economic values of the American people.

Students interested in pursuing secondary teacher certification in social studies may choose to combine coursework in the Education Department with courses taken in other departments on campus. As students choose electives, they will be encouraged to meet two interrelated goals. The first will be that their planned program establishes a clear sense of coherence and that the courses they choose help them build the content knowledge needed to be effective teachers of secondary social studies. The second goal will be for students to develop and articulate a coherent understanding of the nature of the American experience, and to express that understanding through an intentional selection of courses organized around a relevant theme.

With the breadth of courses available, along with a wealth of opportunities in both study abroad and intern/externships, many students have been able to create law-related individual majors. Students pursuing such majors have focused on comparative police psychology; crime and redemption; the criminal mind; law, ethics, and society; migrant workers and the law; the law in literature; and many other topics. So while Gettysburg College does not have a specific prelaw curriculum, the individual major allows students to incorporate the law as a tool for integrative thinking in their chosen discipline(s), looking at law not by itself, but in relation to its historical, philosophical, scientific, sociological, or other context. This interdisciplinary focus gives students the kind of skill set in research, integrative thinking, and expanding beyond academic borders that will help them not only if they choose to go to law school, but in any field or profession they wish to pursue. Students interested in prelaw advising should contact the prelaw advisor, Thomas F. Jurney.