Sep 23, 2021  
2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog 
2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Liberal Studies

Saint Michael’s College Statement of Mission affirms the commitment of the College to provide a liberal education in light of the Catholic faith and its tradition. This commitment influences all activities of the College especially its curriculum. Our curriculum is designed to develop virtue and good character in our students, as well as to develop their mental capacities. By including the teaching of Christian ideals and the teaching of the Gospel in the curriculum, the College carries out the tradition of liberal education which has always sought the formation, not only of the intelligent person, but of the good person.

The Saint Michael’s College Liberal Studies Curriculum reflects the mission statement of the College and is consistent with the desire to develop a community of persons striving for personal fulfillment and dedicated to the pursuit of justice for the common good.

The Liberal Studies Curriculum is based on four basic principles.

  1. Enhancement of Citizenship

    The Liberal Studies courses should prepare students at Saint Michael’s to be responsible citizens in the larger community. Civic excellence requires students to become aware of the civic humanist traditions of the West, as well as the traditions of other cultures. The Saint Michael’s curriculum must empower its women and men to participate constructively in society and its institutions. Citizens of the twenty-first century will be called upon to meet the challenges of an increasingly integrated global community.
  2. Appreciation and Cultivation of the Arts and Sciences

    Students should develop an understanding and appreciation of the intrinsic value of the liberal arts and sciences. The Liberal Studies courses should promote a respect for the learning process, including an awareness of the various requirements of scholarship in religious studies, philosophy, natural science, mathematics, social science, humanities, and fine arts.
  3. Critical Thinking and Communication

    The Liberal Studies courses should promote the ability to think critically and to communicate thoughts in a clear and persuasive fashion. Both critical thinking and communication are necessary for the exercise of responsible citizenship, and both are needed to appreciate and participate in the dialogues that occur within the liberal arts, sciences, and fine arts. Critical thinking and communication are not exclusively the province of any particular course or discipline, and they are stressed in all courses in the Saint Michael’s curriculum.
  4. The Integration of Human Knowledge

    The Liberal Studies courses should establish a foundation of integral values that will help the women and men of Saint Michael’s investigate, evaluate, and respect life in all its diverse manifestations, and assist them in making the personal decisions they will confront throughout their lives. An effort towards integration is expressed in a variety of ways: notably through the structure and arrangement of the Liberal Studies courses, the development of interdisciplinary courses, and the experience of common learning in Liberal Studies courses.

Coordination of Liberal Studies Courses

All Saint Michael’s students are encouraged to discuss with their advisors the Liberal Studies courses which best fit their academic interests. Students should select courses with attention to the intellectual connections inherent in these offerings, and should consider carefully the issues and disciplines that they intend to study. Listed below are two sets of coordinated courses that offer an integrated approach to some liberal studies requirements. These interdisciplinary groupings illustrate how courses can be combined with a specific academic focus.

Peace and Justice

The following courses provide a basis for examination of social justice in the United States:

Christian Humanism

These courses offer a foundation for the study of the Christian Humanist tradition:

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students at Saint Michael’s College must demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly in written English. The College defines the level of writing proficiency necessary to graduate as the ability to formulate a thesis statement and to validate it in a clear, well-organized essay. This requirement is ordinarily met by demonstration during the first-year seminar. Students who do not meet the requirement during their First-Year Seminar are strongly encouraged to take EN101, Writing I, by their sophomore year in order to strengthen their writing skills. In addition, students have access to free one-on-one peer assistance at the College’s Writing Center throughout their academic career. For further information contact Elizabeth Inness-Brown coordinator, at 802-654-2441.

Second Language Requirement

All students are required to achieve the low-intermediate level of a second-language in order to graduate from the College. 

Fulfillment of this second langue requirement may be demonstrated by:

a) placing above the second-semester language course level on the college’s language test;
b) passing a second language course at Saint Michael’s College;
c) passing a second language course at another institution (the course has to be pre-approved); 
d) passing an Advanced Placement test offered by the College Board with a score of three or higher (four or higher for Latin);
e) passing an SAT II language test at the level specified by the College for that language;
f) submitting a record showing that the student received at least partial secondary education outside the United States in a language other than English 

Students who choose option a), b), or c) and studied Spanish or French in high school or learned it at home will be asked to take an on-line language placement test at home early in the summer.  Then, during a summer registration day, students will take the written portion of this language placement test. 

All other students who want to take a test in a language other than Spanish or French and want to choose a), b), or c) will take a different placement test during a summer registration day.  Further information on the second language requirement is available from the program’s coordinator, Hideko Furukawa, at 802-654-2760.

Liberal Studies Requirements

The specific minimum requirements of the Liberal Studies Requirements (LSR) are:

  • Two courses in Religious Studies
  • Two courses in Philosophy
  • Three courses in Social Sciences and Organizational Studies
  • Two courses in Natural and Mathematical Sciences
    (At least one laboratory course in a natural science.)
  • Three courses in Humanities
       One course in Literary Studies
       One course in Historical Studies
       One course in Culture and Civilization
  • Two credits in Artistic Experience
  • Two Writing-Intensive Courses
       One First-Year Seminar
       One Writing-Intensive Course within the major field
  • Demonstration of Writing Proficiency
  • Demonstration of low intermediate level foreign Language Proficiency

Note: A maximum of two courses in one’s major may be used to fulfill the Liberal Studies Requirement.

Listed below are the Liberal Studies Requirements (LSR) in each area:

Religious Studies

  • Two courses: one 100-level and one 200-level


  • Two courses: one 100-level and one 200-level

Social Science and Organizational Studies

Three courses: one course from each of two different Social Science departments, plus a third course from either Organizational Studies or the Social Sciences.


  • Any 100-level course


  • Any 100-level course

Language and Linguistics

Political Science

  • Any 100-level course


  • Any 100-level course
  • Any 250-260 course


  • Any 100-level course
  • Any 200-level course

First-Year Seminar

  • FS 131-180 or 191-199

Organizational Studies

Natural and Mathematical Sciences

One course from each of two separate departments, with at least one laboratory course in a natural science (BI, CH, PY); OR BI 151/153, or CH 103/107, or PY 210/211 or 220/221. First-Year Seminars numbered 181-199 may also count in this category as a laboratory course in a natural science.


  • Any 100-level course


  • Any 100-level course

Computer Science

  • Any 100-level course


  • Any course 101 or higher


  • Any 100-level course

First-Year Seminar

  • FS 181-199


Three courses, one in each category:

I. Literary Studies


  • Any Literature course


  • Any 100-level course

Modern Language

  • Any 400-level course

Religious Studies

II. Historical Studies



  • Any 100-level course


  • Any 100-level course

III. Culture and Civilization

First-Year Seminar

  • FS 101-130 or FS 151-180 fulfills any Humanities category.

Artistic Experience

  • A minimum of two credits from the following:


  • Any one or two credit dance course