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Signature Curriculum

In the core curriculum, students will find great opportunities to follow their interests, as well as discover new ideas and ways of viewing the world.  The Signature Curriculum offers opportunities at the beginning, middle, and end of a student’s Augsburg education to engage in learning, dialogue, and reflection across the liberal arts and professional studies.

The Augsburg First Year

In making the transition to college and a new community, first-year weekday program students take the Augsburg Seminar and Engaging Minneapolis.

New students, check out your New Student Starter Pack!

Augsburg Seminar

The Augsburg Seminar (or “AugSem” for short) provides first-year students, peer leaders, professors, and campus staff an opportunity to get to know each other by forming a learning community around an introductory seminar and linked companion course(s). The goals of the Augsburg Seminar may be summed up as “transition, connection, and reflection”:

  • to facilitate your transition to college life
  • to introduce and connect you to the larger Augsburg learning community
  • to help you become a more self-reflective learner

Augsem (AUG 101) engages students in a variety of activities: a walk in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, a library orientation, diversity discussions, health and wellness reflections, field trips, and other activities aimed at preparing students for a successful and rich college experience.

In addition to AugSem, students typically take four other courses in their first semester, at least one of which is linked to AUG 101. In the AugSem companion courses, you may explore your academic interests as you fulfill requirements in the Augsburg Core and/or a major. At the same time, you may develop friendships with other students as you study together and discover what it means to be part of a learning community.

Engaging Minneapolis

Each Augsburg seminar is designed to help students “engage Minneapolis.”  Augsburg is situated at the heart of a vibrant city. Within walking distance of the college, you can find scenic walking and bicycling paths along the Mississippi; the culturally rich and diverse Cedar/Riverside neighborhood; the Vikings and the Twins; the historic Milwaukee Avenue neighborhood; the locks and dams on the Mississippi River that help barges navigate from Minneapolis to the Gulf of Mexico and the world beyond; a global cuisine that includes African, Vietnamese, Chinese, Mexican, and Mediterranean restaurants, as well as the Chicago hotdog, pizza, and the classic hamburger.

Take the bus — or the Hiawatha light rail line — a few miles west and you will find the heart of the downtown: its centers of finance and business, historic churches, art museums and the sculpture garden, a world-class orchestra and theater. Cross the river and you will find another city, St. Paul, equally rich in a diverse cultural heritage, business and the arts.  St. Paul is now easily accessible with the Green light rail line that runs just a few blocks north of campus.

Through specially designed Engaging Minneapolis experiences, Augsburg welcomes you to the Cities in which you will be studying, living, and working during your college years. Depending on which course you take, you might work in Campus Kitchens (engaging in service learning); test water samples in a chemistry class or turn the Mississippi River into a political science classroom (developing your skills of civic engagement); or explore the local arts scene (engaging with the cities’ cultural resources). Whatever you choose, your course will link experience with reflective learning as you connect the classroom and the Twin Cities.

Search for Meaning

Inspired by Viktor Frankl’s 1946 book Man’s Search for Meaning, which emphasizes the value of identifying a purpose in life, the Search for Meaning two-course sequence invites students to reflect on the University’s Lutheran heritage, explore the Christian tradition within a global context, gain literacy in the world’s major religious traditions, and articulate their own faith and values.

In REL 100, students explore Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious texts and traditions and develop an understanding of vocation and its meaning for their lives.  This course is usually taken during a student’s first or second year.

After completing REL 100, students can choose REL 200 or another Religion course to fulfill their second Search for Meaning requirement.  The options are exciting.

Adult undergraduate (AU) and transfer students entering with more than 52 semester credits complete only one Search for Meaning course: REL 100 (“Religion, Vocation and the Search for Meaning.”)


Senior Keystone

The Senior Keystone course provides a final opportunity to explore the central themes of an Augsburg education — vocation and the search for meaning in a diverse and challenging world.  In Keystone courses, which are often interdisciplinary and paired across the liberal arts and professional studies majors, students will reflect upon the meaning of their educational experiences, explore their emerging understanding of vocation, and prepare for their lives after Augsburg.