Q: What is a Border House?

A: A Border House is an academic learning community in which students take four Core classes, spread across two semesters, that are linked by both a common theme (such as “Humans and Nature”) and a geographic focus (such as “East Africa”). Typically, students take two courses in the Border House per semester; some Border Houses also require that a foreign language class be taken each semester. In addition, Border House students may elect to join an optional short term faculty led study abroad trip to the geographical region studied in the border house, a 2-3 week trip typically offered in the summer immediately after the Border House courses are taken.


Q:  Who can sign up for a Border House?

A:  Any student who has not yet taken the classes that comprise the Border House.  In general this means nearly all incoming first year students.  You will need to talk to your academic advisor to discuss your eligibility.

Q: Why join a Border House academic learning community?

A:  Border Houses provide both academic and social benefits. Students participating in these programs will find that learning communities help them…

  • meet other students and make friends more quickly
  • gain in-depth knowledge about a pressing social issue by exploring it from different academic perspectives
  • experience foreign cultures and languages
  • cultivate effective study habits
  • appreciate how different courses and disciplines relate to each another
  • develop a helpful network of peers and faculty, and form lasting relationships with some of the College’s best teachers


Q:  Do Border Houses offer any career advantages?

A:  Unquestionably. More than ever before, knowing about global issues and trends is critically important in almost every occupation, even if you plan to live and work in the United States.

One  unique advantage of participating in the Border House program is that it allows students to easily complete the International Studies Minor. This minor adds value to any major program of study by demonstrating a student’s capacity to apply the knowledge and skills developed within the major program of study to issues of global importance. The International Studies minor is a great resume-builder too, because it gives you a way to document your global expertise to future employers.

Border House students can earn the International Studies minor simply by completing the border house coursework with the study-abroad component, and then adding a single capstone course – that’s it! 

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Q:  I’m convinced! How do I sign up?

A:  Talk to your academic advisor. Since the Border House curriculum consists of Core courses, most majors will be able to fit one into their schedule

Q:  What border houses are typically offered?

A:  In the 2010-11 school year, we offer one border house titled “What is the West?”(see below). Starting in Fall of 2011, we will offer 2-4 border houses per year on a variety of topics, including “Global Ethics,” “Inequality,” and “China in a Globalized World.”

2010-11: What is the West?

This Border House investigates the border between “the West” – typically understood to be Western Europe and North America –  and the rest of the world. What does it mean to be “Western,” and what are the consequences of not being considered “Western?” Does “the West” hold  a favored place in the history we learn, the literature we read, and the politics we practice?

Fall 2010 courses
Core 100: What is the West?
Core 191:  20th Century Global History    

Spring 2011 courses:
Core 131: Western Civilization
Core 164: Contemporary Global Literature

Summer 2011 study abroad (optional): 
Sofia, Bulgaria to Istanbul, Turkey – 18 days

Students are required to enroll in a Foreign Language course each semester.

For more information

Border House Coordinators:
Dr. Cristofer Scarboro
      (570) 208-5900 ext. 5637

Dr. Margarita Rose
      (570) 208-5900 ext. 5778

International Studies Minor Coordinator:
Dr. Bridget Costello
      (570) 208-5900 ext. 5745