Creating Your PLAN for Purpose, Leadership and Action

Simmons PLAN (Purpose Leadership ActioN) is a highly customizable, four-year academic pathway that is a key part of the Simmons undergraduate experience. The curriculum provides students with a highly-immersive experience and faculty mentorship each year to graduation.

A student painting during an art class at Simmons University

The Simmons PLAN: A four-year journey that prepares you to succeed academically and professionally

Combining academics with professional preparation, PLAN equips you with the communication, critical thinking, integrative thinking, and inclusive leadership skills that are so valuable to employers. Students engage in experiential learning and are exposed to new ways of thinking in and out of the classroom, while also developing a sense of belonging and connectedness to Simmons and to the City of Boston.

PLAN prepares students who enter Simmons with a variety of diverse experiences and backgrounds that enable them to work and engage with confidence and success at the university level. PLAN helps students develop college-level writing skills, and it provides the intellectual foundation that will allow students to thrive in any undergraduate major.

This dynamic program prepares students for lifelong success and empowers them to leverage their passions, excel early in their careers, and be leaders in their communities. Each required PLAN course develops one or more essential capabilities – skills including communication, data analysis, ethical leadership, and creative problem solving – that are highly desired by employers and are critical to success in careers or post-graduate education in any major or field of study.

“It is an amazing feeling to watch students’ aha moments in class - when it all clicks. They start to realize that no matter the topic, critical thinking is always going to be an important tool that they can use throughout their entire academic career, no matter the major.” 

Leanne Doherty, Associate Provost, Academic and Faculty Affairs

Student presenting in a class

How PLAN Works

Each year of PLAN provides students with intellectually challenging, meaningful, and project-oriented learning.

How PLAN Works

What makes PLAN unique?

Bria Gambrell with feminist activist Gloria Steinem at the 2019 National Women's Studies Association in San Francisco, California.

PLAN is highly customizable

Unlike most other general education curricula, PLAN is highly customizable, with courses in a wide variety of disciplines and professions. Students engage in experiential learning that aligns with their interests and passions.

PLAN centers on professional preparation

Based on national surveys of employers and graduate schools, the Simmons University faculty determined a set of skills critical for undergraduate students to achieve proficiency by the time they complete their Simmons University degree.

PLAN focuses on leadership and purpose

The Leadership Courses enables you to examine what kind of leader you already are and the kind of leader you’d like to become and to develop the critical leadership skills of public speaking and working as part of a team. Students can choose from Leadership courses on topics such as Leading Quietly (or Leadership for Introverts) and Enterprising Women. In addition, diversity, equity, and inclusion is woven into the PLAN curriculum so that students can learn how to lead inclusively and harness their unique strengths to find their purpose and help others thrive.

You’ll also be introduced to the Passionate Leaders Project in your Leadership course. The Passionate Leaders Project, or PLP, funds learning opportunities beyond the boundaries of the traditional classroom. You can request up to $4,000 through the PLP for things like global experiences, research, internships, service projects, and creative projects. In your Leadership class, you’ll begin formulating ideas for a PLP proposal through an exercise that will be reviewed by the same team that reviews formal PLP proposals.

PLAN has measurable outcomes

Student in commencement robes

Through this distinctive and customized experience, students learn how to approach complex societal issues while building essential career readiness and community engagement skills. 

  • During your first year, you develop critical writing and leadership skills through Boston and Leadership courses. 
  • During your second year, you are challenged to study an issue from a multi-disciplinary perspective.
  • During your third year, in Simmons Excel, you will develop a variety of real-world skills through career and life planning and planning for financial independence.
  • During the fourth year, you embark on a Capstone Experience, which allows you to demonstrate mastery in your major through a thesis, internship, or final project.

How PLAN Works

Our PLAN Students

Explore Peer Leaders

Explore Peer Leader Alexis Gallotto '23 Guides First Year Students Through Time Management, Homesickness, and Public Transportation

What is the Explore course? The Simmons Course is a part of the PLAN core curriculum. First year students take Simmons: Explore, which is an introduction to college life, study strategies, and on campus resources. Each year, the courses build...

Holly Wright

Learning Outside the Classroom: A Boston Culture Palace, Right Next Door

When nursing major Holly Wright ’25 came to Simmons last fall, she didn’t expect to spend so much time studying art. As part of the Simmons PLAN (Purpose Leadership ActioN) core curriculum, Wright registered for the Boston course, “Isabella Stewart...

Sara Mitchell

Sara Mitchell ’22: My Learning Community Changed My Life

We caught up with Sara Mitchell '22 about her experience in Simmons PLAN, which sparked an interest in educational equity — an interest she's carried throughout her college career.

Estela Raya Fouts, political science major at Simmons University, one of the best universities in Boston

Major Spotlight: Estela Raya-Fouts ’24, Political Science and Spanish

What does Estela Raya-Fouts ’24 love about being a political science major? The supportive faculty! Check out how Raya-Fouts is combining the political science, Spanish and migration studies programs to pursue a career with immigrant populations.

Kelly Hager, Simmons University Interim Dean of the Undergraduate Program

The Simmons Difference: Kelly Hager, Interim Dean of the Undergraduate Program, Talks "PLAN"

While most colleges have a general education program, Simmons University's PLAN goes above and beyond. Interim Dean Kelly Hager illustrates the valuable experiences PLAN offers students and the professional skills graduates will take away.

Emma Harrison, student pursuing BS in biochemistry

Emma Harrison ’22 Strengthens Passion for STEM Through Learning Community

For Emma Harrison '22, the lessons she gained through her PLAN courses are endless. From gaining a deeper understanding of Boston to informing her career path, Emma is excited to take these lessons and make a positive impact.

From top left: Catherine Cox '23, Brianna Desharnais '22, Julia Hart '21, Lauren Howard '22, Evangeline Kennedy '21, Irmana Monem '21, and Graciella Rios Ortega '21

Passionate Leaders Project: Spring 2021 Cohort

The Passionate Leaders Project supports undergraduate students seeking to enrich their academic and professional interests by funding learning opportunities beyond the boundaries of the traditional classroom. Learn what the Spring 2021 cohort is up to!

What to Expect this Fall Webinar

Getting to Know Simmons: Key Takeaways from the "What to Expect this Fall!" Panel

This panel discussed what incoming first-year students can expect this summer and during their first semester at Simmons.

Sunnie Hodge jumping on Table Mountain

Passionate Leaders Project

The Passionate Leaders Project supports undergraduate students seeking to enrich their academic and professional interests by funding learning opportunities beyond the boundaries of the traditional classroom. 

Learn more

More in PLAN: Core Curriculum