Foundations in Liberal Arts (FILA): General Education Curriculum

At BC, the focus isn’t just on selecting a major. The general education curriculum focuses on tangible skills that will prepare students for their future. The general education program is called “Foundations in Liberal Arts” or FILA. The Latin word fila means threads (or filaments), and it is with these foundational liberal arts courses that a student weaves the fabric of their education.

The initial courses address the fundamental skills of critical inquiry, effective writing, oral communication and quantitative literacy (i.e. the first-year FILA seminar, English, communication and math).

Students also develop the ability to engage in a global society through meeting a modern language requirement, taking a class focused on learning deeply about another culture, and taking a class examining issues related to globalization.

Students engage ideas across the liberal arts areas of study by taking:

  • one course in the social sciences (such as economics, political science, psychology and sociology)
  • four courses in the humanities (one in fine arts, one in literature, one in history and one in philosophy or religion)
  • one natural or physical science with a lab (biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology or physics)

The experience culminates in the integration of community engagement. Students take at least one course designated as experiential, which could be a May Term travel course, a practicum, experiential service-learning or other courses that has the student interact with the community outside the classroom.

FILA is flexible, giving the student a variety of choices to fulfill the requirements. This leaves room for adding an additional major, adding a minor or a concentration, studying abroad or completing an internship. Choosing the elements of a liberal arts education is a creative process, and with the courses (or threads) of FILA, the student will weave the fabric of a personalized education.

FILA-150 or FILA-350EW: FILA Seminar or FILA Integration Seminar

FILA-150 or FILA-350EW is BC’s first-year/transfer student seminar. Students take this class at the very beginning of their time at BC—the fall semester of their first year.

Course topics for FILA-150 are extremely varied and diverse. Transfer students have a unique course topic as well, while Flory Fellows can choose from two honors sections.

Note: Transfer students sign up for FILA-350EW, and honors students in the Flory Fellows program have separate sections of FILA-150.

FILA-450: Personal Development Portfolio

During the senior year, students complete the senior e-portfolio. The final senior e-portfolio includes:

  • A record of the student's academic achievements and community engagement experiences
  • The student's current resume and cover letter
  • A senior reflective essay, which shows the student's growth and development throughout the college experience

FILA Program Requirements

Master Core Skills

(Five courses, 7-13 credits)

Required Courses

Course Code
Title
Credits
Sub-Total Credits
6

Choose One Course from the Following

Choose FILA-350EW if a transfer student.

Course Code
Title
Credits
Sub-Total Credits
3

Choose One Course from the Following

Course Code
Title
Credits
Sub-Total Credits
3

ES Activity

Course Code
Title
Credits
Select any ES Activity course  +
1
Sub-Total Credits
1

Engagement in Global Society

World Culture Through Language 

(Two courses, 0–6 credits) 

One course in world language at the 102, 201, or 202 level; FREN-214 or GER-214 (3 credits)
A placement credit for 202 in World Language course will exempt a student from this requirement.

Degree-seeking international students may petition the provost and executive vice president to request that their native language and proficiency in English as a second language satisfy the world culture through language requirement.

World Cultures and Global Dynamics

(Two courses, 6 credits)

One course in World Cultures (3 credits)

Requires a prerequisite of FILA-150 or FILA-350EW

Course Code
Title
Credits
Sub-Total Credits
3

One course in Global Dynamics (3 credits)

Requires a prerequisite of FILA-150 or FILA-350EW

Course Code
Title
Credits
Sub-Total Credits
3

One course in Literature (3 credits)

Requires a prerequisite or corequisite of a master core skills course

Course Code
Title
Credits
Sub-Total Credits
3

One course in Philosophy or Religion (3 credits)

Requires a prerequisite or corequisite of a master core skills course

Course Code
Title
Credits
Sub-Total Credits
3

The Integration of Skills and Ideas

(Four courses, 1–10 credits)
 

One course in Writing Intensive (0-3 credits)

Requires a prerequisite of FILA-150 or FILA-350EW and ENG-110

Course Code
Title
Credits

One course in Experiential Learning (3 credits)

Requires a prerequisite or corequisite of a master core skills course

These 1-credit courses require that 2 prerequisite credits be earned in the same course:
COMM/PWR-131X  (prerequisite: 2 credits in COMM/PWR-131)
MUS-441X Concert Choir  (prerequisite: 2 credits in MUS-441)
MUS-442X Chorale  (prerequisite: 2 credits in MUS-442)
MUS-449X Marching Band (prerequisite: 2 credits in MUS-449)
 

Course Code
Title
Credits

A course (minimum 3 credits) completed through the College's semester study abroad program.

A course (minimum 3 credits) completed through the College's semester at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institution.

Internship (480X)

Integration of Skills and Ideas (1 credit)

Course Code
Title
Credits
Sub-Total Credits
1