Since 1989, the Herbst Program has equipped engineering students with the right tools to gain intelligent and relevant access to the great ongoing conversations of human existence. Our core classes are small (12-14), highly interactive and practical. We emphasize the development of communication and thinking skills that will enhance both your life and your career. As a program of "applied humanities," we wrestle with how a more skillful engagement of literature, philosophy, film, drama, music, and art can enrich, inform, transform and enliven how we choose to engage ourselves, others and our world.
All Herbst classes count toward Humanities and Social Sciences requirements in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.
"Herbst was a breath of fresh air in my engineering education. While traditional engineering classes seem to focus on straightforward "plug and chug," Herbst seminars provided me with an opportunity to analyze situations with many different answers ... Having been in the workforce for several years now, I often find myself in situations of complete uncertainty. Successfully navigating these open-ended challenges requires developing an idea while accepting and adapting to feedback ... It's not just like being in a Herbst seminar; it's like writing a Herbst essay!" - Nick Little (AeroEngr '09)
"I cannot say enough about the Herbst program, and not just because it afforded me my first opportunity to leave the country to spend a Maymester in Italy (though that was an experience of a lifetime!). I would never have been exposed to Greek philosophers, Italian artists, and lesser-known novels of American novelists without Herbst. The intimate classes, engaging discussions, and emphasis on critical thinking outside of a technical area were invaluable." - Heather Doty (BS/MS CivEngr '01)
A directed reading group for engineering faculty and staff during the academic year
Wednesdays, 12:00-12:50 p.m. in ECOT 831
The Herbst Program of Humanities hosts a series of drop-in brown bag seminars for engineering faculty and staff throughout the academic year. Bring your lunch and join us to learn and share your thoughts and insights on a variety of great books. For more information, email
November 6, 13 and 20:
The Order of Things by Michel Foucault
Presented by Scot Douglass
What? Why? How? So what? These are the questions Michel Foucault, one of the most original and influential thinkers of the 20th century, asks of everything. In this short 10-page “Preface,” Foucault challenges us to examine the consequences of ...
Week 3 includes a case study with the Polish film Pryzpadek (Blind Chance).
Future Lunchtime Seminars:
February 2014: The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster (presented by Diane Sieber)
March 2014: Readings on Rome (presented by Wayne Ambler)
April 2014: 200 Years of Brothers Grimm: Fairy Tales not for the Faint-Hearted! (presented by Anja Lange)
Keep up with the latest news about the college by reading the 2013 issue of CUEngineering magazine online.