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About GTMDs

Academics: Sustain the incredible education that is one of the cornerstones of Macalester’s mission, including student-faculty research, curricular development, and the flexibility to pilot new projects and academic initiatives. Choose Academics when you make your gift or choose to support a specific department or concentration. Click "Give Now" and select from the Designations dropdown menu.

African Studies: Area studies, such as African Studies, complement disciplinary inquiry by promoting multi-perspective investigations of focused regions. Students with both disciplinary and regional expertise are better prepared to thoughtfully engage global issues. For internationally focused Macalester, recognition of the importance of area studies dates back to the 1950s, and is currently embodied in our African, Latin American, Asian, and Russian-Central-East European studies programs.

American Studies: The Department of American Studies at Macalester College serves as the academic focal point for the study of race and ethnicity in a national and transnational frame. The Department provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of racial categories and racialized experiences in the United States by encouraging close and systematic examination of a wide range of cultural and political narratives, and by creating structured opportunities to apply theoretical concepts in concrete settings of civic engagement.

Anthropology: The Anthropology Department emphasizes the holistic study of the human condition. Our interests range from world cultures and global challenges, to human rights and human origins. Our topical specialties include ethno-ornithology, violence and human rights, environmental and political movements, issues of development and sustainability, human biological variation, human health, and human evolution. Students develop theoretical tools for the critical analysis of human issues.

Art and Art History: We believe in the power of art to ignite curiosity and wonder. Our dynamic Art and Art History department is a vibrant community of artists and scholars dedicated to exploring the multiple pasts and presents of artistic expression. Inhabiting the intersection of the liberal arts, the diverse cultural and artistic traditions of our metropolitan location, and the lands and waters of the Midwestern landscape, we foster interdisciplinary exploration, critical thinking, and hands-on making. Through collaborative teaching and learning, we engage with visual culture to interpret and contribute to the evolution of our multicultural, global society. Guided by a belief in the transformative power of art, we aim to spark enthusiasm and inquiry while serving and connecting with students, staff, faculty, and the broader community

Asian Languages and Cultures: The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures (ALC) serves as a home for the study of Asia, both for broad comparative and cultural studies of the history, literature, film, art, music, and society in Asia, and for the more focused study of Japanese or Chinese language and culture. In the ALC, Asia is not so much an object of study as a perspective from which to view the world.

Asian Studies: Our interdisciplinary program weaves together the social sciences, the humanities, and the fine arts to introduce you to this dynamic region of the world. We bring multiple perspectives to bear on the challenges of understanding this vast continent and the cultural, political, economic, and historical forces that have shaped it. Asian Studies is an ideal major for students planning a career in Asia in any field but is also highly recommended for students seeking to understand a region that is among the most significant for our common future.

Biochemistry: Biochemistry students at Macalester receive a broad, robust grounding in the molecular structures and chemical reactions of life by adding a Biochemistry Emphasis to a major in Biology or Chemistry. The Biochemistry Emphasis allows students to tailor their coursework to focus on a unique, cross-disciplinary perspective.

Biology: The Biology Department is committed to providing intellectually rich and challenging learning experiences for majors and non-majors alike. These experiences are intended to communicate the foundations and frontiers of the life sciences (from molecules to ecosystems), the methods of biological inquiry, and the relevance of biology to society.

Chemistry: Chemistry Department provides opportunities for students to learn chemistry and biochemistry through challenging classroom, laboratory, and research experiences. Students participating in our program will master chemical content and laboratory skills, and develop critical thinking and communication skills that will prepare them well as scientists, health professionals, and scientifically literate citizens. The Chemistry Department fosters the professional growth of faculty and staff through participation in research and other scholarly activities that contribute to the field of chemistry.

Classical Mediterranean and Middle East: The Classical Mediterranean and Middle East department at Macalester offers an interdisciplinary approach to studying the ancient and modern world, with a focus on languages, archaeology, and cultural analysis. Students gain deep knowledge of the region's historical context and develop critical analysis skills, exploring how ancient cultures have shaped the modern world. The program also emphasizes understanding diverse worldviews, enhancing writing and critical reading skills, and examining the reception of ancient cultures in contemporary contexts.

Cognitive Science: Cognitive science explores how knowledge is acquired, stored, and used by intelligent systems, encompassing fields like computer science, linguistics, and psychology. The interdisciplinary nature of cognitive science, rooted in philosophy and psychology, extends to neuroscience and behavioral economics. At Macalester, the Cognitive Science concentration provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the mind and intelligent systems through coursework in philosophy, psychology, computer science, linguistics, and economics.

Community and Global Health: Global health issues, ranging from HIV/AIDS and global warming's health impact to pandemic threats, are prominent in public discourse, fueling policy debates. The Community and Global Health concentration at Macalester equips students with analytical frameworks to understand the complexities of population health, integrating these concepts into coursework, civic engagement, and independent research. Rooted in the liberal arts, this multidisciplinary concentration explores public health issues at both local and global levels, fostering critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and integrative learning.

Critical Theory: The critical theory concentration delves into the theoretical and historical foundations of critical theory, examining its diverse applications across the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Originating with the Frankfurt School in Germany, critical theory emerged as a response to dissatisfaction with traditional disciplinary divisions. Key figures in its history include Frankfurt School theorists, French Literary and Critical theorists, and scholars in postcolonial theory, feminism, gender studies, and race and ethnicity studies, drawing on a theoretical background rooted in continental philosophy, formalism, structuralism, psychoanalysis, and non-positivist social theories.

Economics: The Economics Department at our campus equips students with analytical and quantitative skills to address societal issues, fostering the ability to "think like an economist." As one of the largest departments, we offer a comprehensive curriculum, covering areas such as accounting, behavioral economics, development economics, finance, and public policy. Our innovative courses and diverse opportunities prepare students for various career paths, exemplified by the achievements of recent graduates in fields like investment banking, environmental economics, and public policy.

Educational Studies: Educational Studies is about understanding how education functions. We explore educational contexts from the micro elements of individual cognition and psychology to the macro aspects of policies, structures, and the governance of mass schooling. Educational Studies equips students to understand how formal (e.g., schools, colleges) and non-formal (e.g. community center, religious institutions) environments facilitate learning and socialization. We explore how culture, language, power, and ideation mediate educational contexts. Our students leave equipped with the skills to design dynamic learning environments, create powerful curriculum, and analyze how power flows within and across educational environments.

English: In the Macalester English Department, we seek to understand the world through literary inquiry. We are acutely aware of the intertwined nature of thinking and writing, of literary criticism and creative production. By paying close attention to language, interrogating our own ideas, and studying and producing creative works, our students not only become more self-aware, but also gain a deeper understanding of the world around them.

Environmental Studies: Environmental Studies at Macalester is an interdisciplinary department focused on understanding environmental issues globally. Through a holistic approach, students develop the ability to think systematically about complex problems, communicate with specialists from various fields, and appreciate diverse disciplines and perspectives. Aligned with Macalester’s internationalism mission, students are encouraged to engage in off-campus national and international programs to address the global nature of environmental challenges.

Food, Agriculture, and Society: The interdepartmental program in Food, Agriculture and Society offers a six-course, interdisciplinary concentration involving core and supporting courses as well as an internship. The program exposes students to the social and biophysical aspects of complex food and agricultural questions. It aims to produce graduates who: 1) understand the fundamentals of food and agricultural systems; 2) have broad interdisciplinary training on the theme of food, agriculture and society; and 3) are able to connect their interdisciplinary training on food, agriculture and society to real word experiences and application.

French and Francophone Studies: The Department of French and Francophone Studies at Macalester College aligns with the institution's commitment to internationalism and multiculturalism. It prepares students in French language, cultures, literatures, visual representations, and critical thinking, providing language competencies for non-French majors and offering courses in diverse disciplinary areas related to France and the francophone world. Actively collaborating with various programs, the department enhances interdisciplinary perspectives, contributing to fields such as Media and Cultural Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and International Studies.

Geography: By studying issues like food, poverty, housing, migration, health, and urbanization, geographers examine how people interact with one another and their environments. We study how processes shape places (and vice versa), and how places are linked together, often sharing our findings through carefully crafted reports, illustrations, and infographics. Our work is part policy and data analysis, part history, and part empirical observation, served up with sides of storytelling and graphic design.

Geology: The Geology program at Macalester focuses on all aspects of the Earth. Students who take our courses explore the origin of the Earth and solar system, the formation of continents and oceans, the evolution and extinction of life, the distribution and availability of natural resources, and the impact of humans on the environment. Our majors typically conduct independent research, and their projects take them to exotic geologic locales, such as Italy, Madagascar, Tanzania, and British Columbia. The post-graduation trajectories of our students vary widely – some continue their geological education in top-tier graduate schools – others work for environmental firms or museums, pursue law and medical degrees, or work for NGO’s.

German Studies: The department offers in-depth training in the German language and culture as well as a major and a minor in German Studies. Majors can focus on one of the following tracks: Language and Culture; Art History; Critical Theory; Environmental Humanities; Film, Media, and Theater; History; Literature; or a student designed track in a cognate field such as music, linguistics, international studies, religious studies, political science, or sociology.

History: Macalester’s History Department explores events and cultures of the past, emphasizing interpretive challenges rather than a strict chronological or geographic focus. The department aims to cultivate an interdisciplinary approach, fostering analysis, writing, and speaking skills for both majors and non-majors. With a flexible curriculum, students from any academic major can engage in exploring various historical eras, global regions, or specific historical issues as part of their undergraduate education.

Human Rights and Humanitarianism: This concentration offers students an interdisciplinary study of human rights and humanitarianism, fostering familiarity with historical developments, institutional frameworks, and theoretical debates in these fields. Emphasizing practical evaluation and a broad understanding of global human rights issues, the program allows students to pursue the concentration alongside various majors. The interdisciplinary nature encourages students to explore multiple departments, promoting a comprehensive approach to the study of human rights and humanitarianism.

international Development: Development studies at Macalester examines long-term transitions in social, economic, and cultural institutions accompanying industrialization, with a focus on the Global South. Faculty provide a multidimensional perspective, incorporating diverse disciplinary viewpoints to enhance students' understanding of contemporary debates and perspectives in international development. Emphasizing a multi-methodological approach, the program combines statistical studies, comparative analysis, historical institutional investigations, and fieldwork for detailed case studies, preparing graduates to be effective and responsible participants in the evolving field of development.

Latin American Studies: Macalester's Latin American Studies (LAS) program offers an interdisciplinary approach at the intersections of social science, humanities, and the arts. With faculty expertise spanning various disciplines, LAS emphasizes language mastery, providing opportunities for fluency in Spanish and proficiency in Portuguese or another third language. The program stands out for its deep commitment to original field research, as students engage in extensive preparation, fieldwork in Latin America, and share their findings through various outlets, contributing to an engaged scholarly community.

Legal Studies: The Legal Studies program allows students to explore “law,” in all its meanings, through a variety of liberal arts perspectives. Instead of teaching law as a set of rules to learn, we look at the possibilities and limits of law in concept, in practice, in history, and around the world. The program features many challenging courses that draw students who simply find law a fascinating subject to explore, as well providing advising for those considering careers related to law.

Linguistics: Linguistics offers students tools for the learning, teaching and appreciation of all languages. Currently, the students in the department are working on original research projects on topics such as queer speech, language and music, manga translation, and language revitalization. The money we raise will support our student scholars in these and other similar pursuits.

Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science: The Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science (MSCS) Department offers majors, minors, and a broad array of courses in Mathematics (applied and theoretical), Statistics, Computer Science, and Data Science. Our faculty make connections with a broad range of fields across the liberal arts, so our courses connect different disciplinary perspectives. Our forward-looking, innovative curriculum is project-based, so you’ll collaborate on real, fun, projects on small teams, gaining critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that apply to any career.

Media and Cultural Studies: The major in Media and Cultural Studies provides a practical understanding of historical and critical methods, allowing students to analyze culture and media comprehensively. It also fosters appreciation for various media forms and encourages the production of original work. The minor focuses on media studies, offering opportunities for critical research and pre-professional experience in media production, leading graduates to diverse opportunities in the media industry, government, cultural institutions, and further study in doctoral programs or professional schools.

Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Civilization: The Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Civilization concentration offers students an interdisciplinary exploration of the Middle East and the broader Islamic world. It provides a foundational understanding of various aspects, including culture, politics, religion, philosophy, literature, economy, and geography. The program accommodates diverse majors, fostering both breadth and depth through required courses across departments and a capstone project focused on a relevant topic.

Music: The music curriculum at Macalester emphasizes accessibility, allowing students considerable freedom to pursue their musical interests within the broader contexts of the liberal arts. The program aims to deepen understanding of music's social and political implications while teaching theory, analysis, and composition. Students engage in applied music-making through lessons and ensembles spanning various traditions, fostering community-building and providing valuable opportunities for recital participation, master classes, and interactions with guest artists.

Neuroscience: At Macalester, neuroscience is integrated into a comprehensive liberal arts education, enriched by the vibrant scientific community in the Twin Cities. Students frequently engage in research at institutions like the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic, HealthPartners Neuroscience Institute, and local biotech companies. Faculty members, active researchers in areas like neuropharmacology and addiction, provide students with ample opportunities to conduct research, utilizing resources such as the confocal microscope for projects like brain imaging.

Philosophy: The Philosophy Department at Macalester aims to cultivate rigorous and creative philosophical thinking, focusing on core issues such as reason, knowledge, ethics, and societal origins. Emphasizing critical thinking, open dialogue, and ethical awareness, the department encourages both focused study and interdisciplinary inquiry. Philosophy students develop strong analytical and argumentative skills, moral sensitivity, and an appreciation for the historical and ongoing diversity of philosophical practices, providing a solid foundation for various careers and lifelong intellectual growth.

Physics & Astronomy: The Physics and Astronomy Department at Macalester fosters a vibrant community, with an average of 12 students graduating annually with majors in physics or physics with astronomy emphasis. The five dedicated faculty members conduct active research at the frontier of physics and astronomy, involving students in projects that emphasize collaborative student-faculty research. With successful external research funding, students gain valuable practical experience through well-equipped facilities and opportunities for summer research projects, supported by stipends and housing subsidies.

Political Science: The Political Science Department emphasizes connecting theoretical concepts to real-world political scenarios, addressing philosophical issues of power, justice, and freedom, along with practical concerns like policy-making and public problem-solving. Students are offered courses in American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory, supplemented with opportunities such as guest lectures, research programs, community service projects, field trips and internships at local, national, and international levels.

Psychology: The Psychology Major advances students’ understanding of the scientific study of behavior and experience. Through activities both in and outside of the classroom, as well as continual and incremental immersion in empirical research, the curriculum a) introduces students to the methods of investigation, theoretical and statistical analysis, and application most characteristic of a wide range of subdisciplines in psychology; b) develops students’ mastery of the specific theories and methodologies in one or more subdisciplines; and c) cultivates an appreciation for the context of psychological science by examining its cultural, social, and/or political dimensions.

Religious Studies: Religious Studies at Macalester is an interdisciplinary exploration within the humanities and social sciences, preparing majors for diverse career paths such as graduate work in religious studies or roles in fields like journalism, law, medicine, and community activism. The department accommodates students interested in academic study of religion as well as those seeking courses to enhance their understanding of issues in other academic areas. With broad introductory courses and focused seminars, the curriculum spans various religious traditions, emphasizing historical, literary, and social contexts, while offering opportunities for independent study, research, and engagement with faculty.

Russian Studies: The Russian Studies major at Macalester offers students linguistic and cultural proficiency, opening doors to diverse professional opportunities. Graduates gain a profound understanding of a geopolitically significant region covering one-sixth of the world's landmass; they leave Macalester equipped with transferable skills in critical thinking, analysis, writing, public speaking, and research applicable to various fields. Whether leaning toward literature and culture or the social sciences, Russian Studies majors complete a language sequence, including study abroad, and engage in a capstone senior seminar, preparing them for careers in international relations, law, journalism, business, education, and more.

Sociology: The sociology curriculum at Macalester emphasizes student engagement and research. Each spring a majority of our seniors travel to the Midwest Sociological Society to present their independent research projects that they have completed during the academic year. Their participation in the conference consistently garners attention for the high quality of their work, demonstrates that they have built research and communication skills, and instills confidence in their abilities to formulate questions, develop answers, and solve problems. With a commitment to public sociology, the curriculum addresses contemporary social problems, historical transformations of social policies, and the foundations of a vibrant democracy, preparing graduates for diverse careers in public service, the nonprofit sector, and business.

Spanish & Portuguese: The Department of Spanish & Portuguese at Macalester focuses on fostering confident language proficiency, critical thinking, and collaborative learning. Courses encourage students to engage with a range of cultural and literary texts, promoting strong oratory skills and argumentative writing in Spanish or Portuguese. The department also emphasizes global responsibility, offering civic learning opportunities, internships, and study away experiences to develop students as responsible and participatory members of a global society.

Theater and Dance: The Theater and Dance Department supports student internships in the Twin Cities and workshops with guest artists. Taking advantage of these opportunities has transformed our students’ professional paths. In recent years, Theater and Dance majors and minors have been accepted to prestigious graduate programs such as the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University and Columbia University; received fellowships from nationally-recognized organizations such as Berkeley Repertory Theater, Jerome Foundation, The Miranda Family Foundation, Playwrights’ Center. They are working actors, designers, technical staff, assistant directors and designers, and stage and production managers at Arena Stage, Children’s Theater Company, Penumbra Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Mixed Blood, MN Opera, Theater Latte Da, Theater MU, Threads Dance Project, and more.

Urban Studies: The Urban Studies interdepartmental concentration at Macalester leverages its location in a diverse metropolitan area, providing students with an interdisciplinary perspective on urbanization globally and in the United States. The program integrates theoretical knowledge with hands-on experience through research on specific aspects of city life, fostering technical competencies and skills for effective contributions to urban studies research or vocations. Courses in the concentration often include action research or service learning components, enhancing the experiential learning aspect.

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: In the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department (WGSS) at Macalester College, students investigate key questions raised within feminist and queer theories and the fields of women’s and LGBTQ studies. We examine our core topics in contexts of interlocking systems of cultural and political difference based on race, nation, class, sexuality, ethnicity, and ability, including comparative national and transnational perspectives. Students in WGSS develop practical and theoretical skills for understanding and engaging the social, cultural, economic, and political contexts shaping our world.

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