Minerva offers a flexible approach to curriculum design, based on an existing set of course modules or built from a custom selection of learning outcomes, the Habits and Concepts (HCs) that underpin all Minerva courses. The general education courses in the modular curriculum can be configured to suit learners at various stages and in diverse educational settings. These modules can be integrated into existing programs, supplemented by non-Minerva courses, or offered as a complete set.
For more specific educational objectives or focused learner groups, the Minerva team works with partners to customize courses, programs, and complete institutional curricula.
In addition to custom program design for secondary education, Minerva offers four Bedrock courses that can be readily integrated into existing college preparatory programs. The courses supplement standard secondary/high school or gap-year offerings, sharpening students’ communicative, computational, mathematical, and self-learning capabilities. The Bedrock courses, which act as prerequisites for the more advanced courses in the Collegiate Accelerator curriculum, help prepare high-performing students for greater success in college and beyond.
Strategic Learning & Growth
This course provides tools for increasing self-awareness, and improving planning, knowledge acquisition, and decision making. Through the study of key scientific findings in learning and executive functioning, students develop practical skills for engaging in continuous cycles of reflection and learning.
This course focuses on improving the clarity and style of verbal expression, across a variety of media. With an increased understanding of word choice, phrasing, sentence structure, and tone, students gain greater proficiency in written and spoken communications.
Applied Algorithmic Thinking
In this course, students learn to apply fundamental computer science concepts to difficult, real-world problems. From practice implementing basic algorithmic strategies in the Python programming language to the construction of functional interactive applications, students become more adept at powerful computational skills.
Applied Quantitative Thinking
In this course, students study topics in mathematics that are directly applicable to daily life. A key goal of the course is for students to develop intuitions about how to use mathematics to solve concrete problems, as opposed to just memorizing formulas or procedures to pass an exam. Students come away from this course with the knowledge and confidence to tackle real-world problems using mathematical tools and strategies.
All Minerva education solutions are student-focused and outcomes-driven. Coursework is structured to introduce specific mental tools and frameworks, then reinforce them over time, through practical application and prompted knowledge transfer.
The Minerva Collegiate Accelerator comprises a modular set of general education courses designed for top students at the undergraduate level. The five Foundation courses impart core analytical, creative, and communication capabilities, including research techniques, structured analysis and interpretation of evidence, convergent and divergent thinking, and persuasive reasoning. In the more advanced Framework courses, students delve deeper into systems thinking, strategic decision making, persuasive reasoning, computational modeling, collaboration, and leadership.
Together, these courses form a broadly applicable general education sequence that teaches the critical skills needed for success in the modern era. Students learn to think systematically about the world around them, deriving insights, and developing practical solutions.
Critique & Communication
From the languages we speak to the images we see, our world is layered with information. To communicate effectively, students 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 their 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.
Applied Creative & Critical Thinking
Logical reasoning, problem solving, and recognizing and mitigating cognitive biases are among the most fundamental skills that facilitate effective work in any area. In this course, students practice these skills systematically, learning to apply them to concrete problems across domains. Students will gain a foundation in critical and creative thinking upon which they can build expertise in disciplinary knowledge.
In this course, students learn how “thinking like a scientist” will enable them to frame problems effectively, recognize and develop testable hypotheses, and evaluate the strength of empirical evidence supporting conjecture. Students explore the relationships among facts, hypotheses, theories and scientific laws and the desirable properties of hypotheses (testable, simple, consistent, and accurate). Students also compare the types of inferences that can be drawn from observational data and the results of experimental interventions.
Insights from 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.
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.
Interpretation, Communication & Design
To communicate effectively, one must be able to convey the result of one’s thinking to others in a compelling manner, and to persuade them to adopt the same or similar views. Humans organize and interpret what they see and hear according to certain principles. Everything from sophisticated art forms to everyday gadgets must take these principles into account in order to be successful. Knowing these principles enhances our ability to evaluate a wide range of products from films and video games to material objects. Applying them enables us to create high quality multimodal and multimedia communications. In this course, students will learn to interpret and create communications from written essays to presentations to artistic works based on the principles of verbal and nonverbal expression and design.
Systems & 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.
Systems & Strategic Leadership
Building on Systems and Society, students use their knowledge of complexity in social systems as a basis for learning tools for interpersonal and group engagement, including strategy development, negotiation, and leadership. By synthesizing knowledge of complex systems with techniques for influencing individuals and groups, students learn how to interact effectively within and across groups and organizations.
Computational Modeling & Decision Theory
In this course, students learn to use computational tools to find either optimal or approximate solutions to problems. Topics include sorting, path-finding, data classification, perceptron models, genetic algorithms, agent-based and numerical simulations of models, and network theory. In addition, we study decision making in the face of risky or uncertain outcomes. The approach is two-fold: students investigate both quantitative tools for making rational decisions, and descriptions of common biases and heuristics applied by humans that may lead to non-optimal choices.