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Compass Curriculum

More info about Compass Curriculum.

The vision of Millsaps College affirms a dedication to engage students in a “transformative learning and leadership experience that results in personal and intellectual growth, commitment to good citizenship in our global society, and a desire to succeed and make a difference in every community they touch.”

The new Compass Curriculum is a key building block in that experience, and offers all incoming first-year students (beginning fall 2015) a new and exciting tool to find their best path to graduation and beyond!


What will you experience through Millsaps’ Compass Curriculum?


Our Human Heritage

A year-long course taken during the first year, Our Human Heritage is a humanities-based, interdisciplinary exploration of human experience and world cultures throughout history that considers intellectual development, artistic expression, and social and cultural evolution, from pre-history until the present. The course will develop skills for seeking, understanding, and interpreting cultural phenomena across numerous human contexts.

In your first year, you will study under one of two teams of faculty:

  • The Power team examines how power is manifested in society through gender, ownership, the state, conceptions of the divine, war, and the relationship between the individual and the community. The course proceeds topically (not chronologically) and draws on the expertise of faculty in Art History, Classical Studies, English, and Philosophy.
  • The Turning Points team examines significant transformations in society chronologically and draws on the expertise of faculty in History, Classical Studies, Spanish, Music, and Philosophy.

This course provides a strong working model of intellectual connections in the humanities by engaging you in the exploration of a particular theme, question, idea, or concept by means of interdisciplinary humanistic inquiry. The course also allows for an examination of issues in a rich interdisciplinary context and will also build historical consciousness.



Offered in the fall semester, Ventures courses explore a problem or tightly focused set of problems. You will investigate relevant issues from multiple perspectives and propose possibilities for resolution, engaging in project-based work, collaborative learning, creative risk-taking, and adaptive strategies for problem solving. Course topics will be diverse and from a variety of disciplines.

  • This course offers an exciting opportunity for you to engage directly with faculty who will introduce you to a process of learning that leads to the development of problem solving, collaborative, communication, and creativity skills necessary for the development of critical thinkers.
  • You will grapple with issues that have ethical, aesthetic, scientific, economic, or political impact today. You are expected, and will be empowered, to take on a decisive role in the classroom while learning to work with and respect multiple points of evidence and perspectives.

Examples include:

  • Does Religion belong in the Hospital?
  • What does Heritage have to do with History?
  • Can I still eat it? Does the 5-second rule work?
  • Will Zombies Rule the Planet? Problem-solving in Biochemistry
  • How Much is a Job Worth?



In the spring semester, you will focus on development of communications skills through the Connections courses. These courses are complementary to the distinctive goals of Our Human Heritage, which constructs a large-scale historical framework by examining multiple historical contexts and drawing on multiple humanities disciplines. The Connections courses address a specific topic situated within a single humanities discipline and in the topic’s historical context. You will create formal and informal communication products that demonstrate critical listening, reading, and, where appropriate, aural and visual comprehension of course material.

Examples include:

  • Jesus, Kanye, and the Colonial Press: Selling Jesus in America Since the 17th Century
  • Redemption of Reality? The Force of Cinema
  • Mansfield Park and the Trouble of Faithful Adaptation
  • The Pentecostal Explosion: A 20th Century Global Phenomenon
  • Sartre’s No Exit and Camus’ The Misunderstanding: Divine Damnation or Self-Determined Destiny?



Through the Compass Curriculum, you will explore several knowledge domains during your time at Millsaps. The Explorations components of the Compass Curriculum include:

  • Business – You will gain fundamental business knowledge, skills to understand the logic of the marketplace, and the capacities of organizations and organizational leaders to affect human life across the street and around the globe.
  • Fine Arts – You will explore the aesthetic dimension of human life through artistic expression, performance, and/or discernment.
  • Mathematics – You will study and solve pure and applied mathematical problems from both visual and analytic perspectives.
  • The Natural World – You will learn, use, and interpret scientific knowledge of the natural world through experimentation with, and observation of, its processes and relationships.
  • The Social World – You will build an academic and intellectual foundation for understanding and/or engaging in diverse social settings, and for reflecting critically on social and cultural phenomena.
  • Non-native Languages – You will engage language as a vital means to understanding other cultures, literatures, historical perspectives, and human experiences, and will become more aware of your own native language and culture to enhance communication, reasoning and thinking skills.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – You will develop skills to evaluate new situations, new phenomena, and new data.


The Major Experience

The Compass Curriculum is designed to lead you to a specific and common destination, known as The Major Experience. You will complete a capstone learning experience directly connected with Millsaps’ vision of producing transformative leaders who will have positive impacts “across the street and around the globe” through an experience on, or beyond, the Millsaps campus.

This experience will normally be fulfilled as an upper-class student and must comprise the equivalent of 4 credit hours in one or more experiences.

Examples include:

  • Study abroad
  • Field-based course
  • Community-engaged coursework
  • Undergraduate research
  • Honors project
  • Ford Fellowship
  • Internship with reflective component


The Compass Curriculum is your guide to a life-changing education – one that helps you choose your own path, provides you the tools to use along the way, and offers learning opportunities uniquely tailored to your goals!