Writing Your Contract

In drafting the Division II concentration you are expected to (a) describe an intellectually coherent area of study that provides the foundational knowledge for what might become your Division III project, and (2) articulate the goals of your program of study.

This description will ideally include answers to the following questions:

  1. What are the constituent parts of the concentration and how do they fit together to create an intellectually coherent whole?  What are the basic knowledge, theory, and other methodological and analytical tools that you want to master and that will provide you with the appropriate knowledge and skills to undertake a Division III project? Explain the logic that determines why you have chosen particular bodies of knowledge, theories and methodologies as the core of your concentration. To the best of your abilities, articulate the principles, concepts, and questions that connect them. Some of this gets easier in later drafts.
  2. What do you want to know, understand, and be able to do by the end of your concentration? Each discipline has a unique disciplinary perspective or lens through which practitioners of that discipline view the world; this perspective informs the learning goals for students of that discipline. You should attempt to articulate the goals that follow from the field or fields in which you are studying. Of course, as you move through Division II, it is expected that you will continue to make progress on the cumulative skills you began to address in Division I.

The better you are able to articulate these things, the easier it will be for your committee to guide you to the appropriate courses and other evaluated experiences that will help you meet your goals. Download this handout for some other tips.


  1. Division II represents the equivalent of four semesters’ worth of work, or approximately 12-16 courses or course-equivalent learning activities.  These may include independent studies and projects, courses, reading programs, internships, and other forms of field study away from the campus. Of these, it is suggested that least 12 constitute the core of your concentration, with the remainder comprising additional studies outside the area of concentration as appropriate.
  2. The concentration however, should not be a random assortment of loosely related activities but a structured program of study.  Learning activities included in your concentration should (a) build from work at foundational levels to advanced work, as well as (b) ensure sufficient familiarity with core sub-fields in the disciplines upon which you built the concentration.
  3. It is desirable to achieve both depth and breadth in your concentration; conceptual depth typically comes through advanced course work and independent study. You should also work in more distantly related areas that interest you; breadth allows you to engage with other perspectives and with the wider world and to put your specific interests in context.
  4. Thus, you should develop an organizational structure for your concentration that specifies both the level and the content of the learning activities you plan to undertake. To the extent possible, your plan of study should identify, semester-by-semester and year-by-year, all of the course or course-equivalent learning activities you have taken or intend to undertake in fulfillment of your concentration, and understand the goal that each learning activity is intended to fulfill. In addition, you should indicate which evaluated learning activities are considered an essential part of your concentration and which constitute “additional studies outside the area of concentration as appropriate”
  5. Given that unforeseeable factors might prevent you from being able to undertake those specific learning activities in the future, you should try to identify a few possible alternatives for each course or activity to have choice and flexibility in the future.
  6. In Division II, you should develop the research skills that you will need for a Division III project. Thus, as part of the concentration you should take courses in different methodologies as well as undertake independent/project work as a means of ensuring your readiness for Division III.


The Multiple Cultural Perspectives Requirement

The guidelines for fulfilling the MCP are clearly laid out in NSNS

The Community Engagement and Learning Requirement

The guidelines for fulfilling the CEL-2 are already clearly laid out in NSNS