Friday, April 16, 2010


As promised, I'm here now to talk about a lesser-known part of the Macalester curriculum: concentrations.

Unlike majors or minors, concentrations are very interdisciplinary. Classes from all kinds of different departments will be included in the course list for concentrations, and the requirements are usually less stringent when fulfilling them. Usually a concentration has so many options for classes, or the chair is so open to adding different classes, that concentrations become very malleable. Thus, they can be made for you.

Here's a list of concentrations:
-African Studies
-Community and Global Health
-Global Citizenship
-Human Rights and Humanitarianism
-Urban Studies

What a concentrations can do for you is help to focus some of your studies. I'm an Anthropology major, and I've always been interested in addressing human rights issues. Therefore, the Human Rights and Humanitarianism concentration, which incorporates some Anthropology classes, allows me to orient some of my studies towards the topic of human rights from an anthropological perspective.

Another advantage is that a concentration has many different areas of study all wrapped up in one. Therefore a student who is involved in a concentration is very likely to get a wider breadth of knowledge than simply staying in their own department. Additionally, those different academic perspectives are applied to a subject they enjoy. It's win-win!

What's the first step to finding out if you really like a concentration? Declare it. Yes, declare it. If you find you don't like it, it's very easy to change the concentration. But if you've declared it, you're automatically put on their lists and will receive e-mails about events and such for the concentration. So heck, that could be the first thing you do when you get here. Otherwise talk to the steering committee for the concentration(s) you're interested in.

Well, that's it for now.