Carnegie Mellon University

Grand Challenge Seminars

The Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences has long infused applied and theoretical research into its curriculum across disciplines, with an emphasis on analyzing real-world problems. Building on this tradition, the Grand Challenge Seminars are co-taught by multiple faculty members from a wide range of disciplines to first-year students on topics that will affect students' lives in the 21st century.

Courses Include:

  • Artificial Intelligence & Humanity
  • Climate Change
  • Feeding the World. Feeding Ourselves.
  • Inequality: Economic, Political and Social
  • Political Rhetoric
  • Racism
  • Shifting a Culture: Gender-Based Violence 
  • Thinking with Evidence: Data, Scientific Discover and Society

Goals of the Seminars

Grand Challenge Seminars
  • Students will learn basic methods and approaches to problem solving with an emphasis on application in real world scenarios.
  • Faculty will teach argumentation techniques in a variety of disciplines through active reading practices.
  • Students will have the opportunity to practice their written and verbal communication skills.
  • Because of low faculty-to-student ratios of 1:16, students will build community with their peers and faculty, regardless of seminar size.
  • Either in person or with technological tools, students will be taught how to use collaborative practices through small group work.
  • Through field trips, events and engaging with guest speakers, students and faculty will develop enriching relationships with CMU’s campus, Pittsburgh and wider communities.