The Modes of Inquiry

The Modes of Inquiry offer six conceptual frames of reference central to the pursuit and construction of modern knowledge:

While resembling the traditional distributional arrangements of general education, these categories also transcend them by asking students and faculty to focus on the distinctive cross-disciplinary questions underlying each Mode of Inquiry. The Linfield Curriculum encourages intellectual breadth by introducing students to a wide variety of academic experiences.


Each student must complete at least seven approved courses

  • one course in each of the Six Modes of Inquiry
  • one Upper Division course, which must be:
    • At the 300-level or above
    • Taken from one of the Six Modes of Inquiry 
    • From outside the student’s major department.
      • In the case of a student with multiple majors, the Upper Division course must be from outside one of the major departments. That is, the Upper Division course may not be a course that satisfies the requirements for both majors.
      • In the case of interdisciplinary majors, the Upper Division course must be from outside the student’s major and outside the department or departments that houses the major.


To satisfy the requirement for each Mode of Inquiry and the Upper-Division course, a student must demonstrate meeting the learning objectives of that mode by choosing an assignment, or collection of assignments, to post in an online repository. The choice of these exemplars must be supported with a paragraph description. These exemplars must be posted by the last day of finals of the semester the course is taken. For the case in which a course carries multiple LC designations, a student may initially choose to submit exemplars and support for multiple designations; however, the student must eventually select the designation for which the course is to count and submit exemplars and support from different courses for the other LC designations. Students may apply only one LC designation per course.