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FILA: General Education Curriculum

Photo of Students Studying

At BC, the focus isn’t just on selecting a major. Our general education curriculum focuses on tangible skills that will prepare you for your future. We call our general education program “Foundations in Liberal Arts” or FILA. The Latin word fila means threads (or filaments), and it is with these foundational liberal arts courses that you will weave the fabric of your education.

Your initial courses address the fundamental skills of critical inquiry, effective writing, oral communication and quantitative literacy (i.e. the first-year FILA seminar, English, communication and math).

You’ll also develop the ability to engage in a global society through meeting a modern language requirement, taking a class focused on learning deeply about another culture, and taking a class examining issues related to globalization.

You’ll engage ideas across the liberal arts areas of study by taking:

  • one course in the social sciences (such as economics, political science, psychology and sociology)
  • four courses in the humanities (one in fine arts, one in literature, one in history and one in philosophy or religion)
  • one natural or physical science with a lab (biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology or physics)

The experience culminates in the integration of community engagement. You’ll take at least one course designated as experiential, which could be a May Term travel course, a practicum, experiential service-learning or other courses that have you interact with the community outside the classroom.

FILA is flexible, giving you a variety of choices to fulfill the requirements. This leaves room for adding an additional major, adding a minor or a concentration, studying abroad or completing an internship. Choosing the elements of your liberal arts education is a creative process, and with the courses (or threads) of FILA you will weave the fabric of your own personalized education.

FILA: Foundations in Liberal Arts (Introduction and Capstone Courses)

View the FILA Requirements

Reflect on what you’ve learned. Become who you want to be.

Bridgewater’s  Foundations in  Liberal Arts program is a way to bring together everything you do in college – your courses, experiential learning and activities outside the classroom. As you explore, you discover who you are. You develop your own view of the world. And, most importantly, you grow into the person you want to be.

As a first year student, you’ll learn how to critically reflect on your development as a whole person – intellectual, emotional, physical, ethical and spiritual – and as a citizen and responsible member of a community.

The program culminates in a senior e-portfolio in which you’ll look back on the personal growth you achieved as a result of your college experience.


FILA-150 or FILA-350: Critical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts is BC’s first-year/trasnfer student seminar. You’ll take this class at the very beginning of your time at BC—the fall semester of your first year.

Course topics for FILA-150 are extremely varied and diverse. From sustainability to music. From American gangsters to pet ownership. Dr. Jamie Frueh covers “Leadership and the Art of Decision,” while Dr. Karie Barbour takes you through “Brawlers in the Holler: The Coal Wars of Appalachia.” Transfer students have a unique course topic as well, while Flory Fellows can choose from two honors sections.

Note: Transfer students sign up for FILA-350, and honors students in the Flory Fellows program have separate sections of FILA-150.

FILA-450: THE Foundation in Liberal Art SENIOR E-PORTFOLIO

Beyond your first semester, you’ll keep a record of your academic life, your involvement in campus activities and your engagement in the community.

Finally, during your senior year, you’ll complete the senior e-portfolio. The final senior e-portfolio includes:

  • A record of your academic achievements and community engagement experiences
  • Your current resume and cover letter
  • Your senior reflective essay, which shows your growth and development throughout your college experience

Completing FILA-450 is not only a graduation requirement, but also a capstone for your entire four-year experience at BC.