Jul 18, 2024  
2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog 
2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived 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)

Foundations in Faith, Values, and Thought:

Fundamental Philosophical Questions (one course)

Study of Christian Traditions and Thought (two courses)

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

Pathways to Understanding the World:

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 Language (zero to two courses depending on placement)

Social and Institutional Dimensions of Human Behavior (one course)

Participatory Learning and Competencies:

Artistic Experience (one half-course or full course)

Experiential Learning (internship, qualifying Service-Learning courses, Faculty-Student Research, Study Abroad or designated co-curricular experiences; may not be fulfilled in the first year of college studies)

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)

At Saint Michael’s, all students must demonstrate entry-level writing proficiency, which we define as the ability to write a short essay with a well-argued point, logical organization, and a minimum of surface errors that interfere with comprehension. This requirement is ordinarily met by demonstration during the First-Year Seminar. Students who do not meet the requirement there are strongly encouraged to take EN 101: College Writing, and to work with a coach in the College’s Writing Center.For further information contact Elizabeth Inness-Brown coordinator, at 802-654-2441.

List of LSC courses by category:

First Year Seminar:


Fundamental Philosophical Questions:


Study of Christian Traditions and Thought:
   First course:


  Second course:


Global Issues that Impact the Common Good:


Historical Studies:


Literary Studies:


Processes of Scientific Reasoning:


Quantitative Reasoning:


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 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 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 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.


Social and Institutional Dimensions of Human Behavior:


Artistic Experience: