The College of Liberal Arts’ Intellectual Heritage curriculum comprises two complementary courses taken by all Temple University undergraduates. As a student, you’ll have the option to take your Intellectual Heritage courses online or as ESL courses.

The Intellectual Heritage Program

IH 3 Now in its fifth decade, Intellectual Heritage (IH) is the pair of core humanities courses all Temple undergraduates take. The curriculum introduces students to intellectually and artistically influential works, both ancient and modern, from cultures around the world. In small seminars, students read and discuss books that have shaped the ways people think and act, working together to interpret their historical significance, their relation to one another, and their relevance today. IH asks students to discover and debate timeless questions of human experience, to face different values and viewpoints fairly, and to examine the present in relation to the past. The attitudes cultivated in IH—thoroughness, open-mindedness, intellectual courage, and vision — prepare today’s students, tomorrow’s citizens, for lasting learning and engaged lives.

Students in all IH courses will:

  • Read in its entirety an unfamiliar and problematic written text (theoretically, historically, or culturally challenging);
  • Recognize abstractions, large ideas, and implications associated with difficult written texts;
  • Make connections across disciplines, history and cultural boundaries;
  • Construct positions, arguments, and interpretations through textual analysis and evaluation; and
  • Produce thoughtful writing that reflects persuasive position and the conventions of academic discourse.

The Intellectual Heritage Curriculum

IH 4 Our two courses are complementary, not sequential. IH 851 is not a prerequisite for IH 852. Students may take IH 851 and IH 852 in any order.

IH 851—Intellectual Heritage I: The Good Life

Students will read important works of world literature, philosophy, and religion, from ancient epics to graphic novels, with a focus on individual well-being. We will ask questions like: What do we value, and why? What makes for happiness? What’s right and wrong? How is what’s good for me defined by my relation to others? What is the purpose of life?

IH 852—Intellectual Heritage II: The Common Good

Students will read important works of social, political, and scientific thought, with a focus on well-being for societies. We will ask questions like: Where does society come from? How do we balance individual liberty and the public good? What behaviors and practices perpetuate injustice? Can we create a better society? How do power and privilege define our capacity to make change? How do we find truth? Can facts be detached from cultural contexts?

IH Online

The Intellectual Heritage Program runs several online sections of Intellectual Heritage I and II each semester. These sections meet asynchronously, only online, and may benefit students whose schedule or location makes it difficult to attend class in-person. The curriculum and workload are the same as all other sections of IH I and II (same texts, same expectations of critical reading and writing). Intensive participation in online discussion forums takes the place of traditional seminar discussion.


The Intellectual Heritage Program runs several sections of IH I and II each semester that are reserved for students for whom English is a Second Language. Only ESL/Bilingual students may register for these sections. These smaller sections provide opportunities for extra practice to students in speaking and listening and in reading closely and analyzing the IH texts. The curriculum is the same as all other sections of IH, and completion of the courses fulfills the Intellectual Heritage requirement in General Education. Eligible students can register for these sections via Self-Service Banner. If your registration is blocked but you believe you are eligible, please contact Jessie Iwata or Douglas Greenfield and include:

  • Your name
  • TUID
  • CRN of the course for which you wish to register

Please contact Jessie Iwata, ESL Coordinator, with any further questions about our ESL sections.

Dustin Kidd
218 Gladfelter Hall

Senior Associate Director:
Douglas Greenfield
219 Anderson Hall
(215) 629-6773

Associate Director:
Sheryl Sawin
516 Anderson Hall

Emily Carlin
214 Anderson Hall
(215) 204-3177

ESL Coordinator:
Jessie Iwata
215B Anderson Hall

Study Abroad Coordinator:
Naomi Taback
213B Anderson Hall