Liberal Studies Curriculum (LSC)

At St. Mike's, we want our graduates to take on the world as thoughtful intellectuals who aren't afraid to take risks and think differently.

Our Liberal Studies Curriculum will help you do just that.

We prepare you for life after college with a dynamic range of courses designed to foster intellectual curiosity and exploration and help you answer life's most profound questions.

You'll be introduced to the breadth and diversity of knowledge itself. You'll be exposed to many academic disciplines that will challenge you to think critically, express yourself, and become a lifelong learner. And, you'll learn what it means to contribute to the common good as a concerned and thoughtful citizen.

The Liberal Studies Curriculum consists of 11 to 13 courses with considerable choice within the categories. Advanced Placement, transfer, and study abroad credit may also apply. A list of individual courses in each area can be found in the college catalog. Here is the LSC at a glance:

First Year Seminar courses are writing-intensive courses that explore broad questions in the liberal arts and sciences by encouraging discussion and active learning.  A small class size allows instructors to get to know students well and to work closely with their writing.  Students work cooperatively, creating a small and engaged community of learners.

Fundamental Philosophical Questions courses provide students with resources for exploring the questions at the heart of achieving an integrated vision of human reality. Courses examine such questions as: the ground of existence, truth, goodness, beauty and their significance for illuminating the conditions that foster human understanding and a life expressive of human dignity.

Study of Christian Traditions and Thought courses explore the nature of religion, acquaint students with the academic study of religion, examine the Catholic and broader Christian tradition in a critical and coherent manner, and enable students to understand religious belief, practice, and traditions.

Global Issues that Impact the Common Good courses explore social, cultural, political, economic, or other conditions that enhance and hinder the full development of individuals and societies. These courses emphasize the interdependence among people across the globe, as well as the increasingly universal and complex nature of the rights and duties of individuals and societies. 

Historical Studies courses encompass rigorous examinations of cultural, artistic, intellectual, social and political movements, influences, and events through time. Research and writing are key components of these courses.

Literary Studies courses focus on an analytic and aesthetic interrogation of literary texts with emphasis on the way language is used in a variety of periods, cultures, genres and styles to produce meaning.

Processes of Scientific Reasoning courses study the physical and natural world and modes of inquiry utilized by the sciences.

Quantitative Reasoning courses use quantitative reasoning to evaluate and solve problems. 

Second Language courses give students the benefit of acquiring at least a low-intermediate level in a second language and learning about the area(s) of the world and culture(s) associated with that language. An added benefit is that students will come to understand more about their first language and its distinct features.

Social and Institutional Dimensions of Human Behavior courses allow students to apply critical thinking skills to the understanding of human behavior.  Students consider the dynamic interactions among social systems and their impact on human well-being.

Artistic Experience courses engage students in artistic expression through studio, workshop or practice-based courses in such fields as creative writing, dance, music, studio art, or theatre.

Experiential Learning is fulfilled as part of either a student’s curricular or co-curricular activities.  Students engage in at least one substantial “hands-on” project that takes them beyond the confines of the classroom and relates theory to practice.  Options might include, but are not limited to, internships (credit/ non-credit, unpaid or paid), student-faculty research, study abroad, service learning designated courses, MOVE service trips in which the opportunity to participate is competitive, participation in dance, music, or theatre performances, participation in the college’s Fire and Rescue Program, work as a Resident Assistant, and student leadership in LEAP, the College’s Wilderness Program, the Writing Center, the Peer-Tutoring Program, an intercollegiate athletic team, or the Edmundite Campus Ministry.

  • Internship
  • Community Engaged Learning
  • Faculty-Student Research
  • Study Abroad
  • Designated co-curricular experiences

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes
for the Liberal Studies Curriculum

First Year Seminar
Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. The ability to engage in active learning at the college level.
  2. The ability to use writing as a tool for learning.
  3. An understanding of what makes “good writing” for a general academic audience, and the ability to give peers feedback on their writing using that understanding.
  4. The ability to manage the writing process (pre-writing, drafting, feedback, revision, editing, and proofreading) to produce finished products.
  5. The ability to generate a thesis on their own and support it with convincing evidence and reasoning in a formal academic essay that has cohesion, coherence, and voice.
  6. An understanding of academic integrity and the ability to integrate and cite sources.
  7. A knowledge of basic research skills.

Fundamental Philosophical Questions
Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of major currents in the history of Western Philosophy.
  2. An understanding of the process of interpretation and the conditions that make it possible.
  3. The ability to think critically and creatively.
  4. An appreciation for the knowledge and skills needed in order to address fundamental questions of human existence.

Study of Christian Traditions and Thought
Intended Learning Outcomes for the First Course:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. A basic understanding of the key developments in the Catholic and the broader Christian tradition.
  2. An appreciation of the basic biblical, doctrinal and theological sources at the foundation of Christianity.
  3. An understanding of the role which religion and spirituality play in human life through a careful and systematic examination of religious ideas, institutions, values, or patterns of belief and practice.

Intended Student Learning Outcomes for the Second Course:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. A deeper understanding of specific topics, issues and/or questions related to religion and/or philosophy.
  2. A deeper understanding of the importance of Christian religious traditions and/or philosophical thought.
  3. An ability to critically analyze texts related to the specific topic of the course.
  4. An ability to distinguish between primary and secondary texts.

Ethical Decision-Making
Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of the similarities and differences in the ethical reasoning of two or more perspectives.
  2. An understanding of the ways that different ethical frameworks may contribute to varying practical outcomes.
  3. The ability to analyze ethical issues from two or more perspectives.
  4. The ability to articulate how ethical reasoning applies to practical problems in the student’s field of study.

Global Issues that Impact the Common Good
Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of contemporary social, cultural, political, economic, geographical, or other conditions which shape the global community.
  2. An understanding of the phenomena and processes of globalization.
  3. An understanding of the conditions which enhance and hinder full human development.
  4. An ability to evaluate and synthesize information from diverse and reliable sources, and to bring research skills to bear on a specific issue, question, or problem.

Historical Studies
Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of important texts and contexts in the social, political, economic, cultural, artistic, or intellectual history of a culture within a specified period.
  2. The ability to distinguish between primary and secondary sources.
  3. The ability to analyze historical evidence, to understand history as “constructed accounts” of the past and to think, write and speak credibly about that past.
  4. The ability to engage in written research and analysis.

Literary Studies
Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. The ability to identify, analyze and evaluate the formal properties of primary work in literature (poetry, prose, drama, film).
  2. An understanding of the relationship between a work of literature and its cultural context.
  3. An understanding of the distinctive intellectual and aesthetic experience provided by literature.

Processes of Scientific Reasoning
Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. Knowledge of the scientific content and scientific principles in a scientific discipline, sub-discipline, or interdisciplinary field.
  2. Proficiency in the scientific method, including the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, and the effective communication of results.
  3. An understanding of the process of science as an intellectual pursuit and of the ways which scientific ideas evolve and gain acceptance.
  4. The ability to work as part of a team.

Quantitative Reasoning
Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. An ability to reason and solve quantitative problems from a wide array of authentic contexts and everyday life situations.
  2. An ability to understand and interpret sophisticated arguments supported by quantitative evidence.
  3. An ability to create and articulate those arguments in a variety of formats (using words, tables, graphs, mathematical equations, etc., as appropriate).

Second Language
Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. For Classical Languages: Low Intermediate skills in reading and writing.
  2. For Modern Languages: Low Intermediate skills in reading and writing, as well as in listening and speaking.
  3. The ability to understand, through a target language, that language's culture(s) and one's own culture.
  4. An awareness of language as a system that reflects culture, and of ways in which language organizes thought processes and information.

Social and Institutional Dimensions of Human Behavior
Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. Students will grasp the basic questions and substantive content of the discipline for understanding social and/or individual explanations of human behavior.
  2. Students will understand and analyze key theories of human behavior appropriate to the discipline.
  3. Students will apply the appropriate modes of analysis and evaluate empirical evidence in addressing questions of human behavior appropriate to the discipline.

Artistic Experience
Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. The ability to practice the art form in question at a beginner level.
  2. An understanding of the relationship between the work of artists and the broader cultural context.

Experiential Learning
Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of the importance of practical experience as a means of learning.

Oral Communication
Intended Learning Outcomes:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. The ability to listen and speak effectively in one or more of the following modes: interpersonal communication, small group discussion, public presentations.
  2. The ability to use listening and speaking as a means of learning.
  3.  Improved abilities to speak, listen, and engage in thoughtful discourse.

Written Communication
Intended Learning Outcomes for Writing-Intensive Courses in the Major:

Students will demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of the purposes and components of the main forms of writing in the discipline.
  2. The ability to manage the writing process (pre-writing, drafting, gathering feedback, revision, editing, and proofreading) to produce professional products.
  3. The ability to generate their own research topics; find, analyze, and synthesize appropriate sources; and integrate research into their own voice with appropriate citations.
  4. The ability to give constructive criticism on the writing and ideas of others in the field.

Career Paths

The liberal arts and sciences are the firm foundation for every career. Throughout your working life you will need to be able to absorb new information, think critically, write and speak clearly, form and defend arguments, adapt to new situations, and understand cultural contexts. The liberal arts and sciences train you in these core competencies so you are ready to meet a variety of challenges.