Skip to main content

J-Term at Carthage

On-Campus Courses

If you had a month to study anything you wanted to, what would you choose to learn? Would you lose yourself in literature from the mid-1800s? Could you learn how to build a telescope, fly a plane, or curate a museum exhibit? Maybe you’d stage an opera in 30 days, or investigate the biology behind life-saving cancer treatments. Your J-Term, your choice.

Carthage’s January Term offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in course topics not always available during the Spring and Fall terms. While many students choose to study abroad during J-Term, most students remain on campus, where they take a single course in a subject of their choosing.

J-Term courses meet for three hours every day, either from 9 a.m. to noon, or from 1 to 4 p.m. This format allows students to dive deep into their course material, and then spend the other half of the day studying, hanging out with friends, or enjoying the Wisconsin winter.

Here’s a look at some of the courses offered on campus during J-Term.

Financial Crime

The economic downturn and recent corporate scandals have drawn renewed attention to financial fraud in public and private organizations, but financial sleight of hand has been part of the economy for centuries. In this course, students gain an appreciation of the magnitude and impact of financial fraud, study current fraud schedules, and learn how auditors prevent/detect fraud.
Julie Dawson, Business Administration
Catherine Lau, Economics and Business Administration

Introduction to Aviation

Are you fascinated with aviation? Are you considering obtaining a private pilot license? This J-Term course covers the aerodynamics of flight, function of flight instruments, airplane weight and balance, meteorology, airspace regulations, navigation, and physiology of flight. Professor Smith is a certificated FAA flight instructor. He will provide an endorsement to take the FAA Private Pilot written exam to any student who passes the course final exam with the FAA-designated minimum score.
Walter Smith, Chemistry 

Bioenergetics & Strength

How does the human body create and use energy to build strength? How are nutrients metabolized to create energy? How do major organ systems contribute to physical movement and muscle anabolism? Do common sports supplements do anything to help build strength? In this J-Term course, students will study the above concepts, but also create, conduct, and participate in a hypothesis-driven strength-training investigation of the effects of creatine monohydrate, whey protein, or electrolyte/carbohydrate replacement drinks.
Paul Martino, Biology

Cancer Biology

Thirty years ago, cancer was a poorly understood and usually deadly disease. This is no longer the case. Today, we know that a cell becomes malignant as a result of changes to its genetic material, and that accompanying biological characteristics of the cell change over a progression of steps that can take years to develop into a tumor. The hope to cure cancer relies on a better knowledge of cancer biology and on developing targeted cancer therapies such as nanotechnology.
Amareshwar Singh, Biology

Beauty Will Save the World

Explore the historical, aesthetic, moral, and spiritual aspects of beauty. Students will read extensively from a variety of disciplines to assess Dostoyevsky’s assertion that beauty will save the world. While a good deal of reading and writing is required, part of the course is also experiential. Students will practice loving kindness meditation, create works of aesthetic beauty, and engage in a spiritual retreat at the Dekoven Center.
Stephanie Mitchell, History

History of the British Isles According to Hollywood

Use film to study the history of the British Isles and the identity of the people who inhabit them. This course focuses on both the value and hazards of history as presented in movies.
John Leazer, History

Heroes, Dreamers and Scoundrels of Spain

El Cid, Don Quijote and El burlador de Sevilla (Trickster of Seville) have earned their place as some of the most important works that have come out of Spain. Through critical readings of the translated works and careful observation through films related to the works, students will be introduced to the figures of the hero, the dreamer, and the scoundrel that appear in Spanish literature. Discover and construct these figures through a range of genre (poetry, fiction and theater), and investigate political and religious issues of the time in Spain that make their way into the works.
Sarah Cyganiak, Modern Languages

Introduction to Electronic Music

Examine the history of electro-acoustic music in the 20th and 21st centuries, and then emulate examples of various genres of electronic music composition through extensive lab activities.
Mark Petering, Music

Good Vibrations: Science of Music

Why do some people like to sing in the shower? Which rock group really has the loudest concerts? How does a stereo sound system work, and why are DVDs the best in high-fidelity audio? In this class, you will make and play many musical instruments (winds, strings, percussion); study the basic elements of music and explore their physical groundwork; record your voice and make use of microphones and speakers; look into the workings of the human ear and examine hearing loss; test and configure a stereo sound system and sound room; attend a live concert and determine decibel sound levels; and visit a professional radio studio.
Jean Quashnock, Physics

Goths, Vandals and the Origins of European Identity

Many modern European nations trace their origins back to the early medieval period and the various states that emerged following the dissolution of the Roman Empire. Yet the creation of these very same successor states is a major phase of the transition from ancient to medieval Europe, a transition traditionally associated with social, cultural, and political decline because of the triumph of barbarian tribes over the classical civilization of Rome. So who were these so-called barbarians? What happened when they gained control over the former western Roman Empire? To what extent did their succession constitute the “Fall of Rome,” and what do we mean by that term? What is the significance of this historical period for modern European identity?

Crime and the Media

Analyze images of crime and the criminal justice system that are presented through the major mass media in America. Students will study crime movies, television crime dramas, and TV and newspaper crime coverage to uncover how the media portrays the society’s struggle with the crime problem. Popular music, video games, the print media, and other sources of cultural messages regarding crime in America will also be explored.

Environmental Science at the Cinema

Explore the role of cinema in defining societal awareness and knowledge of environmental issues. Evaluate the underlying concepts and factual basis of environmental issues as depicted in mainstream movies and documentaries, exploring topics including global climate change, toxicology, sustainable agriculture, and conservation.
Tracy Gartner, Environmental Science

Pursuit of Happiness

The pursuit of happiness is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence as an inalienable right. Most people say that they want to be happy. What exactly is happiness and how do we get it? How are suffering and sadness related to happiness? This course will examine various theories on what brings happiness and meaning to life. Students will read several books about attaining happiness, write their thoughts on the readings and class discussions, and try various activities described by others as leading to happiness. Possible activities include meditation, improvisational theater, and community service.
Ellen Hauser, Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies

Life After Carthage

This special J-Term course equips Carthage students with skills and behaviors necessary for professional and personal success upon entering the professional world. Topics include all aspects of a professional job search, skills and strategies necessary for success as an employee, and knowledge bases necessary to create a healthy lifestyle. Emphasis will be place upon designing individualized models of professional and personal success and creating plans to achieve them.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2020), 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 $22,000 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 No. 3 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 …