An ancient Greek fresco depicting people standing in a grand building talking together, dressed in togas.

The School of Athens by Raphael is one of the artist’s most famous frescoes. It was completed in 1511 as part of Raphael’s commission to decorate rooms in the Vatican. This fresco is one of a group of a four that depict distinct branches of knowledge; philosophy, poetry, theology, and law. (This image is in the public domain.)

What is the best life for human beings, both as individuals and as members of a community? Can the study of modern science shed light on this question? Can reflection on the question of the best life deepen our understanding of science? Concourse offers an opportunity to engage these questions in a profound, sustained and integrated way. Here you will encounter the greatest philosophic, scientific, literary and political minds from Plato to Einstein.

Concourse is a community of students and faculty dedicated to exploring these and other fundamental questions. We offer small classes with rigorous instruction in the science and math General Institute Requirements (GIRs). But we broaden this education by offering an equally rigorous humanities curriculum that examines such matters as the meaning of human nature, the necessary conditions for genuine liberty, the proper role of science, and the possibility of finding true happiness. We strive not only to know, but to know how we know. Ours is an empirical and epistemological enterprise. Our view is that an education of this sort will cultivate individuals who are thoughtful, truly free, and prepared to be the leaders of tomorrow.

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Some prior versions of courses listed above have been archived in OCW's DSpace@MIT repository for long-term access and preservation. Links to archived prior versions of a course may be found on that course's "Other Versions" tab.

Additionally, the Archived Concourse Courses page has links to every archived course from this department.