Core Curriculum: HEART

The Heart, where tradition and change meet. To set you on a path to success, you'll participate in a rich interdisciplinary first-year experience where you'll begin making connections (both socially and academically). 

HEART (10-11 credits)

  • First-Year Seminar (Fall): You'll select a seminar topic based on a theme connected to Hood's four columns--Hope, Opportunity, Obligation, and Democracy (3 credits)
  • English Composition (Fall) (3-4 credits, depending on placement test)
  • In the spring, you'll stay with your seminar cohort and complete a theme-linked course. The linked course includes service-learning, which means you'll connect what you're doing in the classroom with a meaningful project in the community (3 credits)

HEART Examples with Possible Themes


Hood ColumnExample Theme & CoursesExample Theme & Courses


  • English Composition
  • Seminar: Visual Art and Activism in the United States
  • Linked course: Social Movements and Activism in 20th Century U.S. History

Local Lore and Legends

  • English Composition
  • Seminar: Local Lore and Legends
  • Linked course: Spaces and Places: Frederick's Built Environment

Character Quest

  • English Composition
  • Seminar: Nomads, Pirates, and Outlaws
  • Linked course: Heroes and Monsters

Education for All 

  • English Composition
  • Seminar: Education For All
  • Linked course: Children/Youth with Exceptionalities 

Global Citizenship

  • English Composition
  • Seminar: Global Citizenship
  • Linked course: Intro to Global Studies or International Relations

Water as a Global Resource

  • English Composition
  • Seminar: Water as a Global Resource
  • Linked course: Environmental Science

Human Milestones

  • English Composition
  • Seminar: Global Rites of Passage
  • Linked course: Human Lifespan

Democracy and Disinformation

  • English Composition
  • Seminar: Democracy and Disinformation
  • Linked course: The Art of Skepticism