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Experiential Learning

At Carthage, our immersive academic and professional experiences will equip you with the tools you need. Unique programs like J-Term, Intellectual Foundations, and the required senior thesis will arm you with specific, distinctive skills sets vital to any future career.


Honduras J-Term


J-Term is famous at Carthage. It’s one page of the calendar devoted entirely to whatever you’re wild about. Travel. Volunteer. Perform. Inspire. There are over 60 courses you can take on campus, or go on a study tour led by a faculty member to such destinations as Cuba, China, Ireland, Nicaragua, or the Caribbean. All Carthage students must enroll in a J-Term course during their freshman year, and successfully complete at least two J-Term courses to graduate.


Study Abroad

Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. That’s mostly thanks to our J-Term, when professors lead month-long study tours in 15-25 different countries. But many students choose to study abroad for a full semester or year. To truly become a global citizen, it’s not enough to read and talk about the world. You need to experience living, learning, and working in other countries.



Internships are key to bridging the gap between “college kid” and full-time employed adult. Our internship director can help you line up the perfect internship to jumpstart your career. Maybe you want to find an internship at nearby companies like SC Johnson, Jockey, or Abbott Laboratories. You may even get paid for an unpaid internship.


Undergraduate Research

You, your professor, and 10 weeks of one-on-one mentoring. That’s what makes up the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, or SURE. SURE pairs selected students with faculty members for paid summer research positions, including a research budget to help you get the job done right. It’s just one example of how Carthage emphasizes original research at the undergraduate level.


Prof. Sara Jensen teaches calculus to her students.

The Carthage Symposium

One big goal of the Carthage curriculum is for students to make connections between disciplines. A Carthage Symposium is a single course team-taught by two instructors from different fields. You will explore one topic through two completely different lenses, enriching your understanding and better preparing you for your future career. All students must complete one Carthage Symposium.


Honors Program

The Carthage Honors Program is rigorous and demanding, but incredibly rewarding for the College’s highest academic achievers. Students who join the program take specially designed courses during their first six semesters, participate in active Student Learning Communities, and complete an Honors Portfolio their senior year. Students who complete the program will be recognized as Carthage Honors Scholars.


Intellectual Foundations

Students must complete two seminar courses called Intellectual Foundations (formerly known as Western Heritage), typically taken during the fall and spring semesters of freshman year. Intellectual Foundations will expose you to literature from the greatest thinkers, authors, artists, and leaders of all time — not so you can “ooh” and “ahh” at their genius, but so you can build upon it. You will imagine what could be possible, learn to think independently, and discover what you’re capable of achieving through intense discussions and complex writing assignments.


Writing Across the Curriculum

Writing well is a powerful life skill, and Carthage is committed to teaching you to write well — no matter what your discipline. Carthage’s intensive Writing Across the Curriculum program requires all students to take four courses that are designated Writing Intensive (“WI” in the catalog). The first two of these courses are Intellectual Foundations I and II. Of the remaining two courses, one must be in your academic major; the other can be any WI course in the curriculum. If you are completing more than one major, you need only one WI in one of the majors that you are completing.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …