What is the classics major like at Notre Dame? “If you like history or poetry or art history or literature, you can find your own path in classics. I wouldn't want to have been anywhere else,” said student Nicholas Mungan. Classics majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as critical thinking, analysis, writing, and problem solving, then go on to top graduate and professional schools and work in a variety of professions and industries.
Learning a second, or third, language is transformative for Notre Dame students. Developing the ability to read, speak, and comprehend Arabic, Chinese, or any of the other 15+ languages that Notre Dame offers, improves memory and problem-solving skills. It also deepens appreciation of cultures, enhances travel experiences, boosts confidence, and expands understanding of the world.
What is the international economics major like at Notre Dame? "International economics brings that global perspective into economics, and it gives you the opportunity to study a language while you go through it," said student Antonio Villegas Jimenez. International economics majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as language proficiency, empathy, critical thinking, and problem solving. “I could combine this interest in economics and the way that helps you see the world with the opportunity to study Arabic in an advanced way," said major Anastasia Reisinger. "We really get a holistic vision of economics."
What is the economics major like at Notre Dame? "Econ is everywhere. We're taking real world problems and looking at them through an economic lens," said student MyKayla Geary. Economics majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as critical thinking, analysis, writing, and problem solving. “If you understand the why, you can actually start pulling on these strings that underlie everyone's decision making process," said major Mac Ryan. "Honestly, it's been it's been life-changing for me. I've loved every second of it."
Ying (Alison) Cheng is a professor of psychology, a fellow of the Institute for Educational Initiatives, and associate director of the Lucy Family Institute for Data and Society at the University of Notre Dame. In this interview, she discusses her research on psychological and educational measurement, and how she and her team use statistical models to improve academic testing, making them more efficient, informative, and fair for students and educators.
Congratulations to the Class of 2022! This video, screened at the Arts and Letters Diploma Ceremony, features several seniors reflecting on their time at Notre Dame and in the College of Arts and Letters. “Your peers, your professors, everybody wants you to be the best version of yourself that you can be,” said political science and Latino studies major Matheo Vidal. “There is no place like Notre Dame, and I'm just so thankful that I was blessed to be able to experience it.”
Tobias Boes is an associate professor of German and a Fellow of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses on cultural relationships between Germany and the world at large, especially during the first half of the 20th century. In this interview, he discusses his book on Thomas Mann, his research on cultural dimensions of nationalism, and why he's developed an interest in the environmental humanities.
French majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as language proficiency, intercultural competence, critical thinking, and analysis. “Learning a language really expands your understanding of the world and the way that the world works together, but also gives you a skill that you'll be able to use in the future in almost any context," said Maria Teel. "French is such a beautiful language and so I really love learning it."
Arabic majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as language proficiency, intercultural competence, critical thinking, and analysis. "In addition to just the language requirement, you're also getting a feel for the culture, the literature classes on the modern Middle East, and Middle Eastern politics," said Natalie Armbruster. "You will be amazed how quickly you really do learn this."
Whether you are a performer, a creative person, or just a fan, Notre Dame’s musical theatre minor gives students the opportunity to perform, direct, compose, and create theatrical works in a collaborative, hands-on program. While many undergraduates come to the minor wanting to pursue a career in theatre, most of the students have other career plans. The program will help them grow in a variety of ways, Hawkins said, including in risk-taking, developing an aggressive curiosity, and “just walking a little bit taller when you walk out of class.”
Italian majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as language proficiency, intercultural competence, critical thinking, and analysis. "You realize that you're not only speaking a different language, but you're thinking in a completely different way, and it teaches you to really be able to express yourself really well," said Italian major Erik Verhey.
German majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as language proficiency, cultural empathy, communication, and analysis. "The really cool thing about the German major is how variable the classes are and how customizable they are, too," said Andrew Fulwider, a German major at Notre Dame. "You can take history classes, literature classes, arts classes, and current events classes."
Spanish majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as language proficiency, intercultural competence, critical thinking, and analysis. “By the end, I feel 100 times more competent in Spanish than when I came into college," said Spanish major Natalie Reysa. "The Spanish program really enhanced and enriched my experience at Notre Dame, and I would have never had it any other way."
Russian majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as language proficiency, cultural empathy, communication, and analysis. "Being in the classroom, getting to interact with friends and colleagues in Russian, making jokes in Russian, is something I really enjoy," said Russian major Patrick Brady. "The professors do a great job of making the classes really fun and engaging."
Theodore Beauchaine, the William K. Warren Foundation Professor of Psychology at Notre Dame, is co-director of the Suicide Prevention Initiative—Research, Intervention, & Training (SPIRIT), located off campus at the Department of Psychology Clinical Studies Building. Along with co-director Brooke Ammerman, Beauchaine is helping to teach children and adolescents in the South Bend community to better regulate their emotions, with the goal of reducing risk factors for suicide. One promising tool he is researching is a pocket-sized music player with earbuds that stimulate the vagus nerve with a low amplitude electrical current. “If one has heart disease, you don't wait until they have a first heart attack to intervene. It turns out that suicide prevention is similar to that,” he said.
Art history majors at Notre Dame pursue their passions while developing skills such as visual literacy, analysis, communication, and information synthesis. "Art history helps us gain a better understanding of the world in today's visual culture," said Cruz Martinez. After graduation, students go on to top graduate and professional schools and work in a variety of professions and industries. “It's very much about storytelling," said art history major Meg Burns. “That's really what drew me to art history and continues to really excite me about coming back to the subject every day.”
Chinese majors take classes like Literary Dreams, An Asia of Global Affairs, and The Chinese Economy while developing skills such as language proficiency, critical thinking, communication, and empathy. After graduation, students go on to top graduate and professional schools and work in a variety of professions and industries. “I'm just certain Chinese is going to help regardless of what I do," said Chinese major Nick Abouchedid. "Whether I go into business, academia, journalism, teaching, or medicine, these four years are going to be well spent."
What is the studio art major like at Notre Dame? "It's so supportive," Mallory Spiess said. “There's a whole different environment when you're surrounded by a lot of other creators and artists and designers." In studio art, you'll begin with required courses in drawing, 2D and 3D foundations, and art history, and then choose one of five concentrations. Majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as creativity, comfort with ambiguity, empathy, and communication.
What is the anthropology major like at Notre Dame? “You study human biology, human evolution, human behavior, language and culture — so many different aspects of what it means to be a human,” said anthropology major Noemi Toroczkai. Anthropology majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as critical engagement, data analysis, empathy, and a holistic perspective, then go on to top graduate and professional schools and work in a variety of professions and industries.
Housed in the Department of Economics, the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economics Opportuniites partners with organizations across the United States, turning research into action to lift people out of poverty. Interns work side-by-side with leading economists throughout the year, and some are able to travel to partner organizations over the summer to work on-site. “I chose LEO because this was an opportunity that I wouldn't really be able to get anywhere else,” said Josie Donlon, an international economics and Spanish major who spent a summer creating a real-time poverty tracker during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is an associate professor in the Department of English, director of the Creative Writing Program, and the author of the novel Call Me Zebra, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. In this interview, she discusses how her writing examines how patterns of migration have shaped literature, how history imprints itself on physical landscapes, and her new novel, Savage Tongues, which looks at questions of nationhood, identity, memory.
“We have to give up the principle that no statement about the world can be both true and false. We have to allow that there are such things,” said Jc Beall, the O'Neill Family Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Beall specializes in non-classical logic, an area of philosophy that considers alternative logical rules that can explain phenomena that don’t fit traditional logic. His book, The Contradictory Christ, uses non-standard logic to examine Christian doctrines such as the Incarnation, which states that Christ was both fully human and fully divine.
“Music just really speaks to me. I feel like I'm at my happiest when I'm making music or thinking about music,” said Kola Owolabi, professor of organ at the University of Notre Dame. Owolabi is interested in a broad range of musical repertoire and enjoys finding works by less well-known composers. Recent recording projects include pieces by 20th-century African-English composer Samuel Coleridge Taylor, as well as a composition by 17th-century French composer Georg Muffat.
La Donna L. Forsgren is an associate professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre; concurrent faculty in the Gender Studies Program; and affiliated faculty in the Department of Africana Studies. Her latest book, Sistuhs in the Struggle: An Oral History of Black Arts Movement Theater and Performance, is the first oral history to fully explore the contributions of Black women intellectuals to the Black Arts Movement.
“There's no escaping metaphysics, but why would we want to? It's so interesting and so fun to pursue,” said Kris McDaniel, a Notre Dame professor of philosophy. His research focuses on existence and value — in particular, exploring the idea that there are different kinds of existence, a position that is contrary to most contemporary philosophical scholarship.
Dana Moss is an assistant professor of sociology at Notre Dame whose research interests include collective behavior and social movements, global and transnational sociology, international migration, and political sociology. She's currently working on a book project on the "Arab Spring abroad" — how Libyan, Yemeni, and Syrian communities, spread from as far away as Los Angeles to London, mobilized to support the Arab Spring revolutions that were happening in their home countries. She also developed a theory of transnational repression on how regimes constrain and pressure their diasporas.
Ulrich Lehner is the William K. Warren Professor of Theology at Notre Dame. Lehner’s work focuses on Christianity during the early modern period, around 1500 to 1800 A.D. He is currently exploring the daily life and culture of Catholics during this period, including how they worshipped and what they believed. He is particularly interested in questions that also apply to the Church today.
“I think being a lifelong learner is important, both in a career and in life,” said Chris Wilson ’85, senior partner at Stonehill Capital Management in New York. Wilson started at Notre Dame as an engineering major, but realized early on that it wasn’t a good fit for him. “I thought, ‘Somebody really needs to know the forces acting on that bridge and somebody really needs to know that really well, but it doesn't have to be me,” he said. Fortunately, he loved the elective courses he had been taking in government, so he switched majors.
Adriana Pratt ’12, head writer and a senior producer for Good Morning America on ABC, majored in political science and minored in the Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy. Multiple newspaper, magazine, and broadcast internships helped her land an assistant position at ABC News when she graduated, and she has been at that network ever since. Internships are the primary qualification she looks for when hiring — for the skills students gain from those experiences and the insight it gives them into working in broadcast TV.
Ian Ona Johnson is the P.J. Moran Family Assistant Professor of Military History at the University of Notre Dame. His research themes include military, politics, science, technology, and medicine. In this video, he discusses his book project examining secret military cooperation between Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1920s and '30s, how the peace established after World War I fell apart, and how the peace after World War II resulted in modern institutions.