They convey insights and competences that make a difference in the economy, the society and the politics of the twenty-first century. The underlying idea of Contextual Studies has always belonged to the core of the HSG. This idea is already apparent in the foundational curriculum of the Business Academy that was set up in 1898; the idea has constantly been developed further, and by now has become part of the DNA of the HSG as such. The idea consists of giving our students, alongside their specific subject competences, a social, historical and cultural awareness to accompany them on their future paths, thus giving them orientation both in and beyond their professions. Following the Bologna reform, in 2001 the University of St.Gallen expanded the model of cultural subjects that was current at the time into Contextual Studies, which were organised in a modular way. Beginning with the Autumn Semester of 2018, the reformed Contextual Studies, with their new structure, will create spaces for reflection beyond and in between particular courses and will thereby offer a platform for innovative teaching at the HSG. Our students will be formed into personalities who are aware of their own social responsibility and who in their later lives will be capable of thinking in an integrative way and of acting in a sustainable way.
Contextual Studies begin in the Assessment Year with a disciplinary introduction to History, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology. Building on this, Contextual Studies then offer a multi-disciplinary specialisation on both the Bachelor’s level and the Master’s level in highly relevant thematic areas: namely Media, Cultures, History, Society, Responsibility, Creativity, Law, and Technologies. By means of these eight areas of concentration, students are offered the possibility of obtaining specialised qualifications. The “Workshop” format offered each semester allows students to work on an individual research question within the areas of concentration, linking topics from the core study programs with perspectives taught in the contextual studies. This interdisciplinary deepening within the framework of the “Workshop” is reported in the Diploma Supplement. The course offerings in Contextual Studies are rounded off by means of Skills and Languages, which include, amongst other courses, introductions to academic study, seminars in rhetoric and courses in programming, as well as (on the Bachelor’s level) a multiplicity of language courses.