The Courses

The Needle (Required Course)

You may have had a history, art history or literature class you really loved. However, you've never had a course like The Needle. Why? The Needle points you to all of these disciplines at the same time, while guiding you around four of the most exciting and life-changing "classrooms" on the face of the globe and stitching together for you five weeks of intense learning.

The Needle will open your eyes to a world that is both gone forever and still totally present. Through this optic, you will see what the great architects of "Western Civilization" meant for you to see - the city planning, museums, opera houses and theatres that dot this intentional landscape. You will study in many of these storied settings.

You will see how the sweeping trajectory of Europe had a darker side of conquest, exploitation, disempowerment and genocide. You will discover how progress and destruction worked together to produce not only the invaluable discoveries of Louis Pasteur, but also the murderous efficiency of the death camp's Zyklon B.

The Needle will meet in each of the cities.

The Dial (Elective Upper Division Courses)

The Compass Dial has four points. Choose your course so the disciplinary and intellectual direction you take feeds your passion and advances the goals you've set for your journey. Students may choose only one course. All courses are worth three semester credits.

Battleground: European War and Remembrance, 1914-1989 (History 497)
If you're a history major, or just love history, then get ready for the most intense and dynamic course of yoru life. Focusing on the key national histories and entanglements that caused the First World War, the Second World War and the Cold Ward, Battleground will show you how and why Europe was ripped apart so brutally in the 20th century. Prepare for a difficult and emotionally charged interrogration into the torturous meanings of what the brutally conflcting ideologies of modern life did to this continent. Verdun, The Somme, Auschwitz, Normandy, Potsdam and Check Point Charlie: You won't ever see a map of Europe again without remembering how these places and so many like them conspired to make our world what it is today.

Madness: Civlization and Its Psychopathologies from Freud Through the Cold War (Psychology 492)
Are you a student of psychology or sociology fascinated by the "fear and loathing" of the 20th century mind? Welcome to your home on The Dial! Few entry points into "the modern condition" are as powerful as the themes selected for Madness. Starting in Berlin, you will examine how the Nazis and their Communist counterparts studied and used the theories of psychology to underlay their propaganda, politics and torture techniques. Next, you will chart a topography of terror that characterized the trembling lives of soldiers, prisoners and civilians during and after the world wars. Finally, you will delve deeply into the history of psychiatry and psychopathology, with Charcot's Paris and Freud's London as your classrooms.

Spysight: Surveillance and Survival in the 20th Century European Police State (Political Science 499)
Do you devour spy novels? Ever wonder about the "world of shadows" that was the life and death of so many practitioners of espionage before, during and after the world wars of the last century? What about the "internal enemies" that Fascists, Nazis, Bolsheviks and Communists identified, spied on, captured, tortured and murdered in the police states of Europe and the Soviet Union? If these are issues you care bout, then Spysight is your Dial class on The Compass Program SM. The former headquarters of the Gestapo in Berlin, as well as the archival repository of the even more dreaded Stasi police, will be among the learning sites that will haunt you and your classmates as you plot your pathway on the Compass Dial.

ShutterSpeed: Flashpoints of Beauty in the Empire of the Camera (Art 499)
Camera optics were originally not fast enough to keep up with the human smile. By the time that changed, the pace of modern life had increased to a frenzied degree that nobody could have imagined when photography began. If you love art, museums, cameras and photography, dial Shutter/SPEED is your journey and prepare to see life in an entirely new way. As you traverse the cities, you will make galleries, museums, urban ruins, monuments and the hidden vestiges of Europe's complicated past your unforgettable classrooms.


The Needle and Dial will join together periodically on your journey. When they do, prepare to experience something akin to a pilgrimage. The Anne Frank House, Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and the D-Day Landing beaches are the three major sites you will experience with your fellow students on The Compass Program SM. Your challenge during Authentication Travel will be to add your own destinations and experiences to the list of Compass Pilgrimage sites that define your summer.