Minerva Project
Our Approach
Transdisciplinary Curriculum Design

All Minerva® curricula are designed to support both our partners’ objectives and their learner populations. We construct customized academic and experiential learning journeys that introduce and consistently reinforce a defined set of practical, transdisciplinary skills. These Skills Taxonomies are first mapped to program objectives, then interwoven throughout the course sequences, including lesson plans, in-class activities, and experiential project-based programming.

By emphasizing skills instead of content, Minerva embraces the subject-matter expertise of our partners, while focusing on competencies that cut across specific disciplines. We intentionally structure curricula to foster knowledge transfer, so learners gain practical abilities that can be applied in numerous contexts.

Structured Practice for Reinforcement and Transfer

A key tenet from the learning sciences is deliberate practice, spaced out over time. The more that learners are prompted to recall and practice what they’ve learned, with time to process and reflect, the deeper their learning. Minerva curricula are built to allow for this, with increasing complexity and layering of concepts as learning progresses.

In addition to curricula being scaffolded in this way, Minerva incorporates frequent opportunities, from in-class prompts and activities to larger assignments and projects, for learners to apply their lessons in unfamiliar situations and entirely new contexts. This allows learners to transfer their knowledge in ways that will allow them to develop creative solutions to complex challenges.

This deliberate, spaced practice leads to both mastery of skills and mental agility. Over time, learners in Minerva programs become highly adept at unconventional problem-solving, informed analysis and decision-making, and the ability to navigate and manage rapid change.

Custom Design and Modular Courses

Minerva offers entirely custom curriculum design, as well as an array of pre-designed curriculum modules. These modular courses, which are derived from the undergraduate and graduate curricula at Minerva University, enable the rapid creation of new programs and institutions.

The modules can be delivered in short or long sequences, and can be configured to suit learners at various stages and in diverse educational settings. They can be integrated into existing programs, supplemented by non-Minerva courses, or offered as a complete set. As with our custom designs, the modular courses can also accommodate partner-specific content, including readings, assignments, and experiential programming.

Whether totally custom or constructed from course modules, the Minerva team works closely with partners to tailor curricula to their objectives, ensuring the skills are appropriate, the content is relevant, and the outcomes are exceptional.

Collegiate Foundations™
Curriculum Modules

Minerva’s Collegiate Foundations are a set of general education courses designed to teach transdisciplinary skills and knowledge. These courses focus on cultivating four Core Competencies, which are key factors for educational and professional success: Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Effective Communication, and Effective Interaction.

Depending on the specific student or institutional needs, different sequences of these courses can be offered to complement other coursework being offered. Each semester-length course runs for approximately thirteen weeks (excluding holidays) and typically provides four units of credit, depending on institutional accreditation policies. Courses can also be modified to fit a ten-week schedule, with three units of credit.

Prerequisite Courses
CF01 Strategic Learning and Leadership
This course introduces tools and techniques to succeed as a college student and in real-world professional settings. A central focus of the course is on using research from psychological science to develop habits of success both as an individual and as part of diverse social groups. Examples include identifying the best ways of learning new material, managing long-term goals and projects, and working effectively in teams as a leader and collaborator.
CF02 Expressive Clarity
This course focuses on clarity and style in communication. Students develop an understanding of why great writing and speaking matter and learn how to use effective word choice, phrasing, sentence structure, and tone across a variety of mediums.
CF03 Applied Algorithmic Thinking
The purpose of this course is to learn how to apply fundamental concepts in computer science to solve real-world problems and how to implement basic algorithmic strategies in Python. We’ll learn how thinking like a computer scientist can improve our own lives and how we can apply concepts from computer science to solve difficult problems.
Core Courses
CF04 Applied Critical Thinking
This course focuses on different types of reasoning and the rules that govern them, as well as common errors of reasoning that people are prone to make. Students learn to develop, evaluate, and justify claims with logical argumentation, to evaluate empirical evidence, and to mitigate common biases and fallacies that pervade human thinking. Students apply these skills to real world cases and problems, in particular those of social importance.
CF05 Evaluating Evidence
Students in this course learn to combine creative and critical thinking to quantitatively apply methods used in the natural and social sciences. Students learn to frame problems effectively, develop and test hypotheses, and derive insights from empirical evidence. Students will dig deeply into different types of data; comparing cases in which direct manipulation of the phenomena being studied is not possible (such as observational studies, case studies, and surveys), and cases in which variables are manipulated to different degrees (such as randomized controlled medical trials and quasi-experiments). We emphasize the tenets of good research design, strengths and limitations of different design types, quantitative methods to validate data, and the generalizability of inferences drawn from distinct study designs.
CF06 Creative and Decisive Thinking
Problem solving and iterative design are among the most fundamental skills that facilitate effective work in any area. In this course, we systematically practice these skills, learning to apply them to concrete problems across domains. Students will gain a foundation in problem solving and creative thinking upon which they can build expertise in disciplinary knowledge.
CF07 Statistical Intuitions & Applications
In this course, students learn how to use probability and statistics to extract useful information from data, including identifying the correct tool to be used for a given application and set of assumptions, along with interpreting the results. Students learn how to represent a problem formally by identifying the variables and parameters and then creating a model that uses relevant data to address the problem. Students investigate the use of descriptive statistics to describe data and consider the uses and misuses of correlation models. This is followed by an examination of probability and probability distributions, focusing on how to use them to make inferences about populations from samples. We conclude by studying Bayesian statistics and inference as a framework for thinking about problems and prediction probabilistically.
CF08 Systems and Society
This course focuses on effective engagement in social systems. Students will examine social interaction through the lens of complex systems theory, which provides a powerful framework for understanding human behavior and group dynamics. Students learn to recognize that they are embedded within many different complex social systems, and they apply their understanding of these systems to analyzing and improving social interactions.
CF09 Critique and Communication
From the languages we speak to the images we see, our world is layered with information. To communicate effectively, we need to learn how to analyze these layers, see how they are organized, and understand how they will be perceived by different audiences. Learning to take critical perspectives improves our ability to weigh evidence, evaluate decisions, and craft persuasive, well-supported arguments. In this course, students learn to extend the principles of close reading and careful writing to a wide range of written and multimedia communications.
Teaching Durable Skills: How Universities Can Intentionally Build Critical Competencies

Durable skills like analytical decision-making and creative problem-solving are universally valued but not universally taught.

In our latest publication, Teaching Durable Skills: How Universities Can Intentionally Build Critical Competencies, we offer definitions, implications, and guidance for university leaders seeking to intentionally integrate durable skills into their curriculum.

Download the white paper

If you are a visionary leader, you need an equally visionary partner.