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Western Intellectual Tradition Minor Program

Add some WIT to your degree

The Western Intellectual Tradition minor adds important quantitative and qualitative value to any major across the university. Prospective employers will recognize WIT as a sign of intellectual ability and breadth of knowledge. Courses in the minor trace the development of philosophical and scientific thought, of literary expression and historical understanding from the beginnings of Western civilization up to contemporary times. WIT exposes students to the crucial ideas that shaped the Western Tradition, and promotes debate about the value and role of those ideas in relation to an increasingly diverse cultural world.

—Professor John C. Hampsey, Former WIT Program Director

WIT Minor Program Flowchart

The WIT minor program consists of 28 units (7 courses). Students select courses outside their major from at least two of the following disciplines: english, history, mathematics, modern literatures and languages, philosophy, physics, political science (see below for details). Because many of the courses in the WIT program also satisfy General Education requirements, students from diverse majors can complete the WIT minor by adding only a few units to their program.


  • The second quarter of calculus (MATH 142) or the fourth quarter of a foreign language (FR 121, GER 121, SPAN 121), or equivalent.


Courses used to satisfy the required 12 units in Group A and 16 in Group B must be chosen outside the student's major and from at least two disciplines in each group.

Group A  
Select from the following: 12
Great Books World Literature (C1): 1
Great Books I: Introduction to Classical Literature  
Great Books II: Medieval to Enlightenment Literature  
Great Books III: Romanticism to Modernism Literature  
Western Civilization:
Western Civilization: Ancient to Renaissance  
Western Civilization: Reformation to the Present
Philosophical Classics (C2): 1
Philosophical Classics: Knowledge and Reality  
Philosophical Classics: Ethics and Political Philosophy
Any PHYS 100-level course
Modern Physics I  
Basic Concepts of Political Thought  
Group B  
Select from the following: 16
American Literature (C4): 1
The Literary Sources of the American Character: 1600-1865  
The Literary Sources of the American Character: 1865-1914  
The Literary Sources of the American Character: 1914-1956  
British Literature (C4): 1
British Literature in the Age of Belief: to 1485  
British Literature in the Age of Discovery: 1485-1660  
British Literature in the Age of Enlightenment: 1660-1798  
British Literature in the Age of Romanticism: 1798-1832  
British Literature in the Age of Industrialism: 1832-1914  
British Literature in the Age of Modernism: 1914-Present  
Shakespeare (C4): 1
Introduction to Shakespeare  
European Thought 1800-2000 (D5) 1  
The Scientific Revolution, c. 1500-1800 1  
History of American Thought  
Medieval Europe  
Renaissance and Reformation Europe  
Religious Wars and Absolutism  
The Age of Revolution and Napoleon  
Introduction to the History of Mathematics  
Early Greek Philosophy through Plato  
Aristotle and Hellenistic Philosophy  
Medieval Philosophy (C4) 1  
Early Modern Rationalism (C4) 1  
Early Modern Empiricism (C4) 1  
Kant and 19th Century European Philosophy (C4) 1  
History of Ethics (C4) 1  
Philosophy of Space, Time and Matter  
Special Topics in the History of Philosophy  
Political Thought:
Ancient and Medieval Political Thought  
Modern Political Thought  
Early American Political Thought  
Contemporary American Political Thought (D5) 1  
Language and Literature:
Significant Works in French  
Significant Works in German  
Significant Works in Spanish  
Don Quixote  
Total units 28

Satisfies General Education requirement Units

Faculty Advisers
Faculty advisers for the WIT minor program are from a variety of different disciplines in both the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science & Mathematics. 
Name & Dept Department & specialty Email Office
D. Kenneth Brown
Program Director
Philosophy: History of ancient and modern philosophy 47-34F
Francisco Fernflores Philosophy: Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Science, Analytic Philosophy 47-34R
John C. Hampsey,
Former WIT Program Director
English: Romanticism, 19th C. British Literature, Classical Literature 47-26S
George Lewis,
WIT Program Creator
Mathematics: Undergraduate Mathematics 25-302
Jim Mueller Mathematics: Applied mathematics, asymptotic analysis, singular perturbation theory 25-319
Catherine Waitinas  English: Early through 19th C. American literature and popular culture, including theater and mesmerism; Walt Whitman; 17th C. British literature; women writers; poetry and poetic theory; literature and democracy; and literature and religion 47-25E
John Walker Statistics: Statistical computing, statistical consulting, linear models 25-113

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