This two-semester course is open only to first-year students and meets three times a week for 75 minutes (Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and again Thursday late afternoons); the additional meeting time yields additional course credit.

The course also meets extra periods: for required small discussion groups, writing tutor sessions, the required pre-orientation, Sapere Aude. Completing both HUM 103 and 104 earns a student three course credits, with some caveats. Successful completion of HUM 103 brings with it two course credits, although students who withdraw from the HUM 103/104 survey after completing only HUM 103 receive only one course credit and will satisfy no graduation requirements.

Students who complete HUM 104 receive one course credit and satisfy these three graduation requirements: the writing requirement and two Ways of Knowing requirements, one in historical thought and one in literary studies, creative writing, and rhetoric. Because the two semesters together constitute a single course, a grade of incomplete (I) will be given after the first semester, although students will receive notification from their instructors about their performance throughout and at the end of both semesters.