Intellectual Inquiry Curriculum

the skills of INQ courses stack to help students reach goals

The Intellectual Inquiry (INQ) Curriculum and Roanoke's entire approach to education is structured to help students develop the skills that will make the most difference in their lives after college, including their work lives.

Employers search for job candidates who can think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems.

Where will you find the courses that help you build these skills? They are at all levels in your major, and in the Intellectual Inquiry Curriculum. INQ 110 helps you work on critical thinking and writing. INQ 120 focuses on ethical reasoning and oral skills. INQ 240 shows you how data can be used in decision-making. The  other 200-level INQ courses focus on using the methodologies of the disciplines to ask and answer questions. In your Global course, you analyze issues in terms of global interconnections or cultural perspectives.

And finally in INQ 300 Contemporary Issues, you work collaboratively to solve a real problem by employing all the skills developed in your major and the other INQ courses.

These courses form the basis of a strong liberal arts education that is at its core an "education for liberation." It liberates us from the limitations of our own personal experiences.  It opens our eyes to the world, challenges what we believe, asks us to support ideas with facts and reason, and arms us with the skills needed to thrive in a complex and changing world. 

  • Want to know more about the skills, competencies, and experiences upon which faculty built the Intellectual Inquiry Curriculum?  See these documents:

Intellectual Inquiry Description
Freedom with Purpose
Why Inquiry?
Skills & Competencies by INQ Course
Student Learning Outcomes for Intellectual Inquiry  
Stack up Skills Employers Want in your INQ Courses

  • Looking for which courses can serve as substitutions for INQ courses? Below are the rules from the College Catalog. The Progress area inside of Student Planning (Self Service) keeps track of your substitutions and allows you to search for substitutions as well.  See this page for a video and FAQ about how to use Progress for General Education and see the bottom of this page for links to the academic catalog inside Self Service for each 200-level INQ/HNRS course's possible substitutions.

Up to three substitutions are allowed as described below. However, students applying substitutions still must take at least one INQ course in Natural Sciences and Mathematics, one the Social Sciences, and one in the Humanities and Fine Arts.

-- A one-unit course in Mathematics or Statistics may substitute for INQ 240.
-- A one-unit course in Mathematics, Statistics, or Computer Science may substitute for INQ 241.
-- A one-unit course in natural sciences that includes at least 3 hrs/wk of laboratory from BIOL, CHEM, ENSC, or PHYS may substitute for INQ 250.
-- A one-unit course in the natural sciences with or without laboratory time from BIOL, CHEM, ENSC or PHYS may substitute for INQ 251.
-- A one-unit course in Anthropology, Communication Studies, Criminal Justice, Economics, Geography, International Relations, Political Science, Psychology, Public Health Studies, Sociology, or EDUC 300 may substitute for INQ 260.
-- A one-unit course in Art, Art History, English, 300- or 400-level Foreign Languages literature or culture courses (NOT FREN 301-303, 330, 241; GRMN 301, 335; SPAN 303, 304, 330, 335, 341, 402, 403) History, Music Philosophy, Religion, or Theatre may substitute for INQ 270 or 271. Courses substitution for 270 must primarily cover material that dates from before 1500; courses substituting for 271 must primarily cover material that dates from after 1500.

  • Looking for descriptions of INQ course topics offered in an upcoming term?  See                

Registrar's webpage with Registration Information

  • Looking for the list of courses that satisfy the Global Requirement?

Registrar's webpage with Registration Information

The link above gives you a list of courses that currently satisfy the Global Requirement. The link is updated as new courses are added. Note the approval dates shown in the link. You must take a course AFTER it has been approved as Global in order for it to satisfy the Global Requirement. If you took one of these courses sometime before it was designated as Global, it does NOT satisfy your Global Requirement. Also, do not assume that a course satisfies the Global Requirement simply because it sounds global or has words like Global or International in its title.

Prior to Fall 2016 only 200-level INQ sections with Global in their titles satisfied the Global Requirement. If you took such a class, you satisfied your Global Requirement.

  • Wondering if you can repeat an INQ course? Yes, you can repeat an INQ course to improve your grade. If you repeat INQ 110, 120, 240, 241, 251, 270, 271, or 300, the grade from the new attempt will replace the first attempt even if the topic is different. You will also lose credit for the first attempt, so be careful not to repeat a course by accident. Laboratory science and social science courses are tagged by discipline. So, for example, when we offer INQ 260, we actually offer INQ 260AN, INQ 260SO, INQ 260PY, INQ 260PS, etc. If you have already taken INQ 260AN and then take a second INQ 260AN, the grade will replace and the credit for the first attempt will be lost. On the other hand, if you have already taken INQ 260AN, you could take any of the other disciplines such as an INQ 260SO to receive an additional credit. The grade will not replace and credit will not be lost.
  • Wondering if you can take INQ courses out of order?  All 100- and 200-level INQ requirements must be complete before you take INQ 300. You may not co-enroll lower level INQ courses with INQ 300. Other INQ courses may be taken in any order.
  • Wondering how this works for a transfer student or how dual-enrollment, AP credits, or college credits earned while you were in high school count? Nearly all INQ requirements can be transferred in, but once enrolled at Roanoke remaining number of 200-level INQ requirements must be met with INQ courses (not more substitutions) for students who transfer in three or more 200-level INQ courses. Even competency earned for a score of 3 on an AP test can be used as a substitution. The Progress area inside of Student Planning (Self Service) will track how your transfer units work, but see the following document for details:

INQ for Students Transferring Courses to Roanoke

  • Wondering how INQ courses work if you study abroad? We apply the same rules for substitutions in 200-level INQ courses as if you were on campus.  Note that studying abroad does NOT satisfy either your Global Requirement or the Intensive Learning (May Term) requirement. 
  • Considering a summer school course at another college or university? That is a great way to pick up some electives, but a faculty rule says that all general education (INQ) requirements must be completed at Roanoke College once you enroll. Courses you plan to take at other schools cannot count for INQ substitutions for other requirements. See the Registrar's Office for more information on transferring summer courses back to Roanoke. They will pre-approve courses for transfer.  

Have questions that haven't been answered by any of the documents above?


Dr. Bryan Parsons
Director of General Education and Associate Professor                       
(540) 375-4967


Dr. David Taylor
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Administration; Professor
(540) 375-4933