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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.

The Science of Stress and Well-Being

Explore how psychologists, biologists, and behavioral economists apply experimental work to recommend how behavioral changes in our daily lives can lower stress and increase happiness. Critique and implement research-based methods in their own lives, with the end goal of lowering stress and measuring a change in well-being.
Instructor: Professor Nora Nickels, Psychological Science Department

Real Estate Analysis

Nearly everyone will own real estate in their lifetime. Whether you wish to learn how to buy and value a house or duplex, develop a commercial property, or be able to develop a commercial lending real estate proposal, this course will help by examining real estate found in the surrounding community through multiple lenses.
Instructor: Professor Catherine Lau, Accounting and Finance Department

South Asia Through Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Examines book reflecting stories, characters, and cultures from South Asia for grades pre-K through high school. Selection guidelines, evaluation of literary quality as well as cultural authenticity, and teaching applications will be explored.
Instructor: Professor Marilyn Ward, Education Department

History of the British Isles According to Hollywood

Study through film the history of the British Isles and the identity of the people that inhabit them, focusing on both the value and hazards of history as presented in movies.
Instructor: Professor John Leazer, History Department

Managing and Leading in a Complex World

Integrate elements of psychology organizational behavior and organizational theory to illustrate the complexity of individual effectiveness in organizations. Explore unconscious bias in decision-making, understand contemporary leadership and motivation theories, and research in the area of followership. In addition to gaining an advanced understanding of these areas, students will consider their own experiences as well as engage in case study analysis for a deeper understanding of the material in an environment to engage in critical thought, scholarly discourse, and philosophical debate about behaviors required to be successful in a rapidly changing world.
Instructor: Professor Colleen O’Brien, Management and Marketing Department

Applied Contemporary Mathematics

This is an entry-level course appropriate for most college students that emphasizes mathematical reasoning in everyday experiences. The geometry unit deals with form, growth, size, and patterns found in living populations and created art. The mathematics of social choice studies techniques of decision-making, voting, and optimizing alternatives. Operations research discusses algorithms for scheduling, planning, and creating networks. Standard statistical measures also are studied and interpreted. This course is designed for any student who does not need the technical vocabulary of trigonometry or analytic geometry.
Instructor: Professor Aaron Trautwein, Mathematics Department

Physics for Future Presidents

This course introduces the key principles and concepts of physics in the context of world events and natural phenomena that confront world leaders and that require informed decisions and responses: Energy, health, counterterrorism, remote sensing, space programs, nuclear proliferation, and a host of other modern challenges have technological and scientific dimensions, the understanding of which is essential to avoiding disastrous policy decisions. This course considers the application of physics to these societal challenges. The material is covered at a level and pace that a future world leader should be able to handle; the emphasis is on the development of physical reasoning skills, and not on detailed, mathematical problem-solving.
Instructor: Professor Daniel Steiner, Physics Department

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

Jazz History

Jazz History and Styles will survey the development of jazz through a written and recorded anthology of the genre. The course begins with a study of the influences in African, American, African-American, and European quarters, and ends with a review of contemporary artists. Student assessment will include written tests, listening logs, and research papers.
Instructor: Professor James Ripley, Music Department

The Influence and Expressions of Modern Art and Theatre

The course explores the development of the “Modern” movements in art and theatre at the end of the nineteenth century, and the impact and influences of the movement into the 21st century. Explore the disciplines of theatre and art, and examine how each form uses different lenses within which to view and comment on society. Analyze and review different periods within or influenced by the modern movement. Read representative plays from the period and associate one or more prominent artists of the period with the dramatist. A final project will be presented at the end of the course that assimilates and demonstrates the principles of the course.
Instructor: Maureen Kruger, Theatre Department


  • 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 $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 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 …