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Core Curriculum

  The Mount's Core Curriculum is the academic embodiment of our Catholic mission. Rooted in the liberal arts, the program is a common and sequential curriculum that prepares students for success in the modern world, while giving them a solid grounding in the Catholic intellectual tradition.

More than just a set of requirements, the core is integrated with every academic major, and includes leadership development and cultural components, giving every MSMU student a true liberal arts education in all of its dimensions—communication skills, cultural content and character formation.

MSMU Core Curriculum GuideMSMU Core Curriculum Reference Chart

Core Courses

Faith and Wisdom
Culture and Civilization
Science and Mathematical Inquiry

First-Year Symposium, FSYM 101 (3 cr.)
The First-Year Symposium welcomes students into the Mount’s Catholic liberal arts community by asking them to explore a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human? Students gain insight into the human condition by reading, discussing, and writing about great literature. With small sections, one-on-one writing instruction, and close teacher/student interaction, the First-Year Symposium serves as first-year students’ introduction to college and to college-level writing.

Foundations of Philosophy (PHIL 103) (3 cr.)
Foundations of Philosophy explores the early history of Western philosophy, from its birth in the Greek city-state to its role in developing medieval Christian thought. Students learn how to pose and evaluate answers to questions concerning the nature of truth, the value of knowledge, the relationship between faith and reason, and the nature of human excellence.

Philosophy in the Modern Age (PHIL 203) (3 cr.)
In Philosophy in the Modern Age, students read major modern philosophical works and study the enduring questions of modern philosophy. In so doing, they are challenged to think deeply about fundamental questions of human life, such as: What type of knowledge is reliable? Is faith reasonable in an age of science? What rights and responsibilities do people have?

Belief in Today’s World (THEOL 220) (3 cr.)
Belief in Today’s World introduces students to the challenges of thinking about questions of belief in today’s secular and pluralist world, especially in the American context. Topics include how we can speak about God, what it means to have faith, how to deal with the problem of evil, and how to connect questions of personal belief to the Church, sacraments, and social issues.

Encountering Christ (THEOL 320) (3 cr.)
Encountering Christ introduces students to the person of Jesus, including his attributes, his deeds, and his radical challenges to the power elites of his own society. It helps students understand how Jesus the Christ, the fullest revelation of God for Christians, continues to challenge all who would follow him, both in what they value and in where, how, and with whom they spend their time, talent and treasure.

Ethics and the Human Good (THEOL 300/PHIL 300) (3 cr.)
Ethics and the Human Good caps the Faith and Wisdom sequence by helping students to see how an understanding of the human good relates to complex, moral decision-making. Students study works of moral philosophy and theology and develop their own well-reasoned judgments on the critical moral questions they will face in their personal and professional lives.

World Languages (3 or 6 crs.)
All students begin the Culture and Civilization sequence with the study of a foreign language, helping them to access the richness and complexity of communicating thoughts, emotions, and beliefs in a language that is not their own. Students will either begin a new language or broaden mastery of a language already studied in high school. If continuing a language, students will be placed in the appropriate level based on the results of a language placement exam. All students complete a language course at the 102 level or higher.

Origins of the West (WCIV 102) (3 cr.)
In Origins of the West, students explore the origins of the contemporary Western world by examining its Greek, Roman, and Judeo-Christian roots and by studying the art, history and literature of three foundational periods in Western Civilization: Democratic Athens, Imperial Rome, and the Christian Middle Ages, with a special emphasis on the legacies that continue to shape the world in which we live.

The Western Imagination: The Renaissance to the Great War (WCIV 201) (3 cr.)
The Western Imagination draws on the literature, art, and history of the West between 1500 and 1918 to help students understand the emergence of the global, urbanized, and technologically-advanced modern Western world in which they live. Students are challenged to think reflectively about Western ideas of progress, especially on questions of authority, knowledge, liberty, and consumption.

America in the World (AMER 202) (3 cr.)
America in the World encourages students to think seriously about the role of America in the world, from the Age of Encounter to today. Students pose questions about how the United States grew to an international power; how Americans have understood themselves over the centuries; how the spread of “American values” has impacted the modern world; and how individuals, events, and processes from around the world have affected American life.

Modernity in Literature, Art, Music, or Theatre (3 cr.)
Through the study of literature, music, theatre or the visual arts, Modernity courses invite students to explore human creativity and innovation, to deepen their understanding of the relationship between the individual and modern pluralistic society, and to understand the role of the artist in the modern world. Fulfilled by any of the following courses: ARMO 300, ENMO 300, MUMO 300, or THMO 300.

Global Encounters (3 cr.)
Global Encounters courses introduce students to different ways of understanding the world by guiding them through an in-depth study of a non-Western culture. These courses give students insight into unfamiliar ways of life, thereby strengthening their sense of membership in a global community, leading them to a greater understanding of their own society, and helping to develop the skills necessary for seeing and seeking to resolve the problems facing our global world. Fulfilled by multiple options.

Foundations of Social Science (3 cr.)
Foundations of Social Science courses equip students to understand and analyze the human condition and human behavior by using the tools of observation and data analysis. They also introduce students to the ways that observation and data can be used to analyze contemporary events. Students may choose from various courses, including Economics, Education, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. (Choices include ECON 101, ECON 102, EDUC 100, PSCI 100, PSYCH 100, or SOC 100).

Mathematical Thinking (MATH 211) (3 cr.)
In Mathematical Thinking, students experience and explore the nature of mathematics through a wide variety of hands-on learning techniques. This course improves students’ ability to use a mathematical approach to solve problems, to deploy logical reasoning, to communicate mathematical concepts, and to comprehend and use mathematical notation. Content is selected from classical and modern areas of mathematics, such as geometry, number theory, algebra, graph theory, fractals, and probability.

Laboratory Science (4 cr.)
In Laboratory Science courses, students develop the scientific literacy necessary to live as informed citizens in today’s technology-based, global society. In these courses, students deepen their understanding of science and scientific inquiry, learn to apply the scientific method in a laboratory setting, and gain insight in how to use observation and experimentation to solve problems. All students take at least one laboratory science course.

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