Skip to Navigation
    Saint Michael's College
  Aug 18, 2017
Skip Navigation
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog

Liberal Studies Curriculum

Goals of a Saint Michael’s College Education

Saint Michael’s College embodies the tradition of a liberal arts education in light of the Catholic faith, which emphasizes a concern with ultimate questions within a diverse world, and an attention to the full human and spiritual development of the student. A Saint Michael’s education, consisting of at least one major, the Liberal Studies Curriculum, elective courses, and co-curricular activities, equips students with the ability to express their thoughts with clarity and accuracy, enables them to test the validity of different approaches to reality, and assists them in framing coherent and persuasive discourse.  It prepares them for global citizenship, stewardship of the earth, and a productive career. An individual’s education is not completed in four years, but lasts a lifetime; therefore our curriculum is designed to graduate students with a passion for the intellectual life, a commitment to moral responsibility, and a desire to improve the human condition through socially conscious citizenship. 

Enduring Understandings

Graduates will understand:

  1. The value of intellectual inquiry and the search for truth as a life-long habit 
  2. The varieties of knowledge, perspectives, traditions, and experiences of the human condition
  3. The worthiness of imaginative and creative exploration
  4. The power of ideas to shape the worlds in which they live
  5. The responsibility of each person to contribute to the common good
  6. The value of communities characterized by freedom, social justice, mutual respect, and inclusion
  7. The need to relate responsibly to the natural world and develop habits for sustainable living
  8. The imperative to act ethically and to be morally responsible and civically engaged
  9. The significance and impact of globalization on every facet of society.

Outcomes of the General Education Curriculum

A Saint Michael’s liberal arts education is transformative in many ways, providing the following essential outcomes.

Areas of Knowledge

Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  1. The ways artists, writers, and thinkers from the past and present, in both one’s own culture and others, have found and created meaning, value, conflict, and beauty in the world
  2. Texts and beliefs that shape the Catholic and wider Christian traditions, and the importance of religion and spirituality in human experience
  3. Key concepts and theories underlying different modes of thought as well as the assumptions on which they are based
  4. The ways that societies have developed through complex socio-economic, religious, political, cultural, or other factors
  5. The physical and natural world and modes of inquiry utilized by the sciences
  6. Theories that explain human behavior, institutions, or social systems
  7. Methods, approaches, and tools for making ethical decisions in personal, professional and social contexts
  8. Global issues that impact the common good.

Intellectual and Practical Skills

Students will be able to:

  1. Think critically, analytically, and creatively, integrating demanding texts and other media within and across disciplines
  2. Communicate ideas clearly and effectively in oral and in written form
  3. Use quantitative reasoning to evaluate and solve problems
  4. Demonstrate skill in a second language
  5. Engage in artistic expression
  6. Conduct research by identifying, evaluating, documenting, and synthesizing information from diverse and reliable sources
  7. Work collaboratively as a member of a team to advance the understanding of a topic or to solve problems
  8. Critically reflect upon their personal and cultural assumptions and examine how these affect their values and behavior
  9. Participate intelligently and respectfully in written and spoken discourse with people of similar and differing beliefs.

Liberal Studies Curriculum

The specific minimum requirements of the Liberal Studies Curriculum (LSC) are:

First Year Seminar (one course)

Fundamental Philosophical Questions (one course)

Study of Christian Traditions and Thought (one 100-level course)

First Semester of Second Language (zero to one course depending on placement)

Students will complete at least 8 of the following 9 requirements:

Study of Christian Traditions and Thought (one upper level course)

Global Issues that Impact the Common Good (one course)

Historical Studies (one course)

Literary Studies (one course)

Processes of Scientific Reasoning (one course)

Quantitative Reasoning (one course)

Second Semester of Second Language (one course)

Social and Institutional Dimensions of Human Behavior (one course)

Artistic Experience (one half-course or full course)

Additional Core Competencies:

Ethical Decision-Making (fulfilled by a course in the major; every major is designed to fulfill this automatically)

Oral Communication (included throughout the curriculum; each major is designed so that the student fulfills this requirement automatically)

Written Communication (included in courses throughout the curriculum, especially in First Year Seminars and in at least one designated course in each major)

All Saint Michael’s students must demonstrate entry-level writing proficiency, which we define as the ability to write a short essay with a well-defined point, logical organization, and a minimum of surface errors that interfere with comprehension. This requirement ensures that you have the writing skills necessary to succeed in all your courses at Saint Michael’s.  Toward that end, faculty will review your writing for entry-level proficiency primarily through First-Year Seminar. Students who do not meet the requirement will need to develop proficiency by taking EN 101: College Writing.

List of LSC courses by category:

First Year Seminar:

FS 102 - The Afterlife 

FS 112 - Drama and Culture 
FS 114 - A River Runs Through It: The Literature and Craft of Fly Fishing 
FS 118 - Theatre and Social Justice 
FS 120 - Living Digitally 
FS 122 - Music and the Human Experience  
FS 123 - On Memory 
FS 124 - Human Rights in China  
FS 149 - Africa and Its Peoples  
FS 150 - Black Voices of Democracy  
FS 154 - Race, Gender, & Ethnicity in Media  
FS 156 - Memoirs of Race, Gender, & Sexuality 
FS 158 - Society, Identity, & Race  
FS 159 - God, Sex, Violence  
FS 162 - Science and Technology that Changed History and You  
FS 182 - The Social Construction of Humanness  
FS 184 - Robotics, Technology and the Evolving Self  

Fundamental Philosophical Questions:


Study of Christian Traditions and Thought:
   First course:


  Second course:

PH 205 - Philosophy of Society  
RS 220 - Modern Christian Thought  
RS 326 - Work, Capital and God 

Global Issues that Impact the Common Good:

AN 335 - Media Nomads: Youth, Television and Trekking in the Buddhist Himalayas 
BI 242 - Community Ecology  
CH 308 - Environmental Chemistry 
EC 110 Economic Issues in a Global World   
ES 244 - Environmental Study of Sustainable Places - Wales Field Trip  
FR 297 - Voices of Resistance in the Francophone World  
GL 320 - Globalization and Latin America 
HI 338 - Rebels with a Cause: Tiananmen in History and Memory  
HI 363 - Race, Class, and Gender in the Atlantic World  
HI 390 - Empires: 1492—Present 
MU 352 - World Music 
PJ 207 - Conflict Resolution: Non-Violent Communication 
PJ 208 - Conflict Resolution: Non-Violent Action 
PO 340 - Social Movements and Contentious Politics 

Historical Studies:

CL 118 - Ancient Medicine and the Greek and Latin Roots of Scientific Terminology  
HU 207 - The Nineteenth Century  
MA 304 - History of Mathematics  
MU 222 - Medieval and Renaissance Music 
MU 243 - History of Gospel  

Literary Studies:

CL 211 - Classical Mythology: The Divinities of Greece and Rome  
HU 207 - The Nineteenth Century  

Processes of Scientific Reasoning:

BI 255 Human Evolution  
CH 210 - Accelerated General Chemistry II 
PY 102 - Physical Science 
PY 104 - Physics and Robotics  

Quantitative Reasoning:

MA 110 - Mathematics for Social Justice 
MA 112 - Finite Math   
MA 115 - Mathematics for Teachers   
MA 140 - Biological Data & Statistics  
PS 213 - Psychological Statistics  
PS 216 - Statistics and Research Methods II  

Second Language:

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 language requirement may be demonstrated by:

a) placing above the second-semester language course level on the college’s language test;
b) passing a second semester language course level at Saint Michael’s College;
c) passing a second semester language course level 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 and want to continue these languages at SMC 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 continue the same language 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, Qian “Lucy” Dong at 802-654-2457.


Social and Institutional Dimensions of Human Behavior:

EC 110 - Economic Issues in a Global World   
ED 357 - Early Childhood Education: Investing in the Future   

Artistic Experience:

AR 201 - Foundations in Art  
AR 214 - Digital Animation and Motion Graphics   
EG 101 - Graphical Communication  
ES 244 - Environmental Study of Sustainable Places - Wales Field Trip  
MU 352 - World Music 
MU 364 - Advanced Performance Studies  


Experiential Learning:

What is the Experiential Learning graduation requirement at SMC?

Experiential Learning means putting theory into practice, therefore, experiential learning activities at St. Michael’s College are opportunities for applied learning in  the natural, social, or professional world beyond the formal classroom, studio, or lab.  A wide variety of experiential activities, both curricular and co-curricular, are possible at St. Michael’s College. For an activity to qualify for the experiential learning (EL) requirement, students are expected to demonstrate a high level of engagement, responsibility, and personal investment in one of the pre-approved EL programs.  A St. Michael’s College supervisor-mentor monitors the student experience; facilitates opportunities for reflection, student independence, and applied learning; provides feedback and assessment throughout the learning process; and certifies that the student has fulfilled the EL requirement.

Options for fulfilling the EL requirement

This requirement may be fulfilled through credit-bearing or non-credit bearing experiences that enhance student learning through practical application of concepts learned in the liberal studies curriculum, the major or co-curricular activities.  Some experiences require specified levels of engagement or achievement.  In most cases, the requirement will be filled in the sophomore, junior, or senior year.  There are 6 areas of experiential learning from which students may choose to focus their energies in completing the requirement.  Students are highly encouraged to participate in as many of these opportunities as possible.



Curricular (credit-bearing) options (such as study abroad, academic internships, student teaching) are automatically tracked and recorded by the registrar.   For designated co-curricular and non-credit-bearing options (such as certain kinds of community service, undergraduate research, or leadership positions to name a few), students should declare their intentions to pursue a particular co-curricular experience in fulfillment of the Experiential Learning Requirement at the outset of the experience.  This should be done in consultation with and by approval of the designated mentor-facilitator in each respective program area. This same faculty or staff mentor-facilitator is ultimately responsible for certifying the student’s completion of the Experiential Learning Requirement.  A form for documenting the successful completion of the EL requirement can be found on the portal (under Academics → Registrar → Documents & Forms → Experiential Learning Form).


Credit-Bearing Internships
Off-campus internships completed with direct supervision or mentorship from faculty of the College.  Business students enroll in BU 498.  Media  Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts students enroll in MJD 413. Environmental Studies, ES 499. All other majors, initially enroll in ID 499 until a department specific prefix can be assigned.  Contact: Margaret “Meg” Sealey, Internship Coordinator.

Non Credit-Bearing Internships
Off-campus internships completed without direct supervision or mentorship of someone at the College will be treated essentially as a co-curricular Individualized Learning experience (see EL area #6).

Practicum Courses
Psychology Practicum, PS 450 and PS 460, Contact: Psychology Department Chair
Student Teaching, ED 428 or ED 475, Contact: Education Department Chair
Peer Tutoring Practicum ID 220, Contact: Academic Support Services

Experiential Portfolio, BU 495, Contact: Business Department Chair
Emergency Services Training: EMT I, EMT II, FF1, Contact:
Production Practicum: Stage Management, TH 273, Contact: Fine Arts Chair
Writing Center Coaching: Students are nominated and then selected to take EN 314: Teaching Writing, a course that qualifies them to become coaches at the College’s writing center.  This course is followed by a coaching commitment in the Writing Center. Contact: Tim Mackin, Director of the Writing Center.
The Defender: The Defender is the student designed and produced campus newspaper. Students who want to take on the responsibility of managing the Defender enroll in MJD 433: Publication Management.  Contact: Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts Department Chair


Study abroad for a semester, a year, the summer or for shorter study away opportunities, including study trips led by Saint Michael’s faculty. Contact: Peggy Imai, Director of Study Abroad

Extended Service Trips
The College’s M.O.V.E program offers students the chance to explore a culture different from their own and collaboratively work on meaningful projects in developing parts of the world. Contact: Allison Cleary, International Service Trip Coordinator.


Students and faculty work together on independent research projects which may be for credit or not-for-credit, take place on or off the SMC campus, and occur either during the academic year or the summer.  The work may lead to publication and/or presentations at academic conferences. Students are required to submit a report to the VPAA’s office at the culmination of the research project. Examples:

Summer research funded by an External Agency
Summer research either at Saint Michael’s College, at a research university, or at a national laboratory, with funding provided by an external agency at the state, regional or national level. Examples of research opportunities include:

Vermont EPSCoR’s summer internship program
National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates
NASA VT EPSCoR Summer Research
US Department of Energy National Undergraduate Fellowship
Contact: Faculty members in your area of study

Summer research funded by Saint Michael’s College
Trustee Research Grants for directed summer research on campus. All academic fields, including Humanities, Social Sciences, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences are eligible. Contact: Office of the VPAA

Summer research through the Center for Social Science Research
Research fellowships are available to students who wish to pursue an independent research project under the guidance of a faculty sponsor. These projects are funded and include a stipend of up to $3,700 for students working full time on a project for at least two months in the summer. Contact: Professor Herbert Kessel, Department of Economics.

Honors Research in Psychology: PS 408. Contact: Psychology Department


Community Engaged Learning
A number of courses at Saint Michael’s have a Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) component, including local, domestic and international learning opportunities.CEL 205 - Critical Perspectives of Service  .  First-year seminars may not be used to fulfill the EL requirement.   Contact: Joan Wagner, Director of Community Engaged Learning

Community Service
Community service engages students in activities that primarily focus on freely providing time, talent, and energy to address human and community needs.  As students participate in activities designed to build community and respect the value and dignity of all, they come face-to-face with complex societal issues and their role in creating a more just world. Opportunities for formal learning arise through orientation, training, and reflection activities provided by MOVE or a partnering organization. Designated mentoring activities qualify to fulfill the EL requirement. Contact:  Lara Scott, Director of M.O.V.E.


Opportunities for Leadership Development exist in a variety of co-curricular programs on campus.  Achieving and acting in specified leadership levels fulfill the EL requirement.  For information on each, contact the following:

Edmundite Campus Ministry: Anna Lester
Fire and Rescue Program: Leslie Lindquist and Eric Haversang
Intercollegiate Athletics: PKLA Programs: Meggan Dulude
Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts: Lara Scott
Onion River Review: Prof. Will Marquess
Orientation Leadership and Student Association: Grace Kelly
Residence Assistant (RA) Program: Catherine Welch
Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC
Wilderness Program: Todd Wright


The Individualized Learning option allows for a variety of independent student experiences including a substantial commitment to one or more of the following: a non-academic internship; an off-campus workplace; a project designed to benefit the community or natural environment; or other combination of non-classroom learning situations which actively engage students in intellectual, emotional, social, or physical learning tasks. Students enroll in a half-course EXP 401 - Seminar in Experiential Learning  during their final year of studies at Saint Michael’s College in order to synthesize and critically reflect on their customized, hands-on experience. Students enter the course with at least one focal experience in mind and have already completed the independent learning experience prior to taking this course. For more information on pursuing individualized learning, consult Joan Wagner. 

Courses that fulfill one of the six areas of the Experiential Learning requirement:

BU 496 - Organizational Problem Solving  
ED 271 - Adolescent Development in a Culturally Responsive Classroom  
ED 428 - Student Teaching Seminar  
ED 475 - Student Teaching Internship  
ES 244 - Environmental Study of Sustainable Places - Wales Field Trip  
ID 220 - Peer Tutoring Practicum  
MJD 215 - Wilderness Photography  
PH 351 - Otherness and Marginalization: Levinas and the Alienated  
PO 352 - Health and Development in East Africa 
PO 353 - Applied Health and Development Approaches in East Africa