Jun 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Academic Program

Requirements for the Degree

In order to graduate from Mount St. Mary’s University, students must earn a minimum of 120 credit hours with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0. No fewer than 30 of the 120 hours must be earned at Mount St. Mary’s; at least 60 hours of the 120 must be from four-year institutions.

In addition, students must:

  • fulfill all requirements for the core program
  • complete the courses and number of credit hours required by their major field of study
  • maintain a 2.0 average overall and in the major
  • satisfy the senior year residency requirement by enrolling at the University for 24 of their final 30 hours prior to graduation

To be able to participate in graduation ceremony, seniors must have completed 104 credits at the end of the fall semester prior to commencement, and be registered for the remaining credits required for the degree in the spring semester. Attendance at commencement activities is mandatory, unless the student has obtained permission from the associate provost prior to the ceremony.

All students should check their records periodically with their faculty advisor to ensure they are progressing toward fulfillment of graduation requirements.

Core: The Common Educational Experience

The Common Educational Experience, or core curriculum, is a rigorous, common, and integrated program that welcomes students into a community of academic excellence centered in the liberal arts, informed by the Christian faith, and ordered toward the ideal of a life well-lived.

Rooted in the Catholic understanding of God, creation, and the human person, the curriculum treats knowledge as an end in itself and aspires to integrate natural and revealed truth in a comprehensive vision of the whole. Students encounter this vision and are encouraged to embrace it reflectively, mindful of other viewpoints within and outside their own cultures. To this end, they explore the relationships among the Christian, Western, and American heritages and a range of global cultures, to see how these traditions shape the contemporary world. The purpose of a liberal arts education is to free individuals from passive conformity to the various social forces operating upon them. Such an education prepares students to challenge those forces when appropriate and embrace the truth, goodness, and beauty in creation. In pursuit of this aim, we work to nurture the minds and spirits of all Mount undergraduates, inviting them to grow in virtue and live in loving solidarity with all humanity, guided by the spirit of Christ.

FSYM 101 - The First Year Symposium

Credits: (3)
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.

World Languages

Credits: (3-6)

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. If a student tests into the 100-level, s/he should complete 101-102 to fulfill the core requirement. If a student tests into the 200-level, s/he should complete 201 to fulfill the core requirement. If a student tests into the 300 or 400 level, s/he should take one course at the 300 or 400 level to fulfill the core requirement. For questions regarding prior learning credit, please see the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures page. Students that earn a score of 5 on their AP exam should consider their core requirement fulfilled.

Foundations of Social Science

Credits: 3-4)

Foundations of Social Science courses equip students to understand and analyze the human conditionand 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 ).

Laboratory Science

Credits: (4)

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.

MATH 211 - Mathematical Thinking

Credits: (3)
In Mathematical Thinking, students experience and explore the nature of mathematics through a wide variety of hands-on learning techniques. Students will apply a growth mindset when expanding their mathematical knowledge. 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 probability, statistics, number theory and graph theory Prerequisite(s): Sophomore status required.

WCIV 102 - Origins of the West

Credits: (3)
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.

PHIL 103 - Foundations of Philosophy

Credits: (3)
This course is an Introduction to philosophy with readings from the ancient and medieval periods. With PHIL 203 Philosophy in the Modern Age (3), it forms the required philosophy sequence in the Philosophy Core Program. The course aims to initiate students into the study and practice of philosophy by reading four enduring thinkers, each of whom stands as a major shaper of the Western and Catholic intellectual traditions: Plato, Aristotle, Augustine or Boethius, and Aquinas. By examining these thinkers through some of their great philosophical works, this course will explore fundamental questions in philosophy, such as: 1) Is truth relative? 2) Is morality merely a matter of opinion? 3) Is the structure of the cosmos intelligible to the human mind? 4) Is a certain way of life best for the human being? 5) Is religious faith rational? 6) Can God’s existence be proven? 7) Is there one true source of human happiness? (2013; revised 2020) Spring Only

WCIV 201 - Atlantic Encounters: 1450-1850

Credits: (3)
Atlantic Encounters offers students the opportunity to investigate the emergence of important aspects of our contemporary culture among the peoples of the multicultural, early modern Atlantic world. In this course, students reflect on the cultural encounters of peoples from Africa, Europe, and the Americas, the spread and critique of scientific and Enlightenment rationalism, and the emergence of trans-Atlantic traditions of political liberty

PHIL 203 - Philosophy in the Modern Age

Credits: (3)
This course explores the history of philosophy from late Renaissance through the Scientific Revolution and the rise of the nation-state. Students will learn how to pose, and evaluate answers to, questions concerning the nature of truth, the value of knowledge, the relationship between faith and reason, the relationship between the individual and community, and the nature of the human good. Prerequisite(s): PHIL 103  Fall Only

AMER 202 - America in the World

Credits: (3)
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.

THEOL 220 - Foundations of Theology: Faith and

Credits: (3)
The first theology core course introduces students to the concept of revelation, and the human response to the revelation– faith. This course builds on the epistemological challenges to belief raised in the modern philosophy course, and introduces students to the Old Testament, by responding to questions such as ‘how we speak about God’, creation and science, faith and reason, the problem of evil and suffering, and the fulfilling of faith in the constitution of a people, the Church. Note: this is a new name for the same course, THEOL 220: Belief in Today’s World.

THEOL 320 - Encountering Christ

Credits: (3)
This course provides an introduction to the sources and methods of Christian theology, considering the nature and activity of God, and the history of human relationships with God, from the perspective of revelation. This course focuses of the New Testament (especially the Gospel of Luke), the person of Jesus Christ, and the ecclesiastical themes of the Sacraments, discipleship, and the moral life.

PHIL 300 - Ethics and the Human Good

Credits: (3)
An inquiry into the nature of the moral good, the structures of moral agency and the proper criteria for making choices that bear on human beings and their well-being. Prerequisite(s): Junior status required.

THEOL 300 - Ethics and the Human Good

Credits: (3)
This course situates the moral life and contemporary issues within the Catholic theological tradition. The course requires interdisciplinary work, particularly in relation to each student’s major and/or prospective career. As part of the core curriculum, this course in theology includes seminal works in the philosophical tradition, such as Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. Prerequisite(s): Junior status required Spring Only

Global Encounters

Credits: (3)

Global Encounters courses introduce students to other ways of understanding the world by studying cultures outside the dominant traditions of the West, thereby strengthening their sense of membership in the global community. Such courses encourage students to enter into critical engagement with these cultures, leading them to a greater understanding of their own society within the complexities of the contemporary world. These courses are offered at the 300- or 400-level and are normally taken in the junior or senior year.

Modernity in Literature, Art, Music, or Theatre

Credits: (3)

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 .

Transfer Students and Core

All transfer students complete a specially planned sequence of courses in consultation with the Office of the Registrar. Core requirements may in some cases be fulfilled by courses taken at the student’s previous institution(s).

Majors and Minors

Sustained study in a chosen major complements the common learning in the core curriculum by engaging students in an apprenticeship guided by faculty who share their academic and/or professional interests.Students may also pursue one or more minors in a variety of fields.



Interdisciplinary Majors and Minors

In addition to the majors listed above, students may choose to complete an interdisciplinary major that they design in consultation with appropriate faculty. Such majors must be approved, using the Declaration of Major form, by the appropriate department chairs and by the associate provost. For example, a student interested in a biopsychology interdisciplinary major would work with faculty in science and psychology. All such majors should have no less than 33 credits, and at least half of this course work should be done at the 300 or 400 level.

Interdisciplinary minors can be designed as well. Such a minor should have at least 18 credits with 9 credits at the 300 or 400 level. Like the interdisciplinary major, the minor needs approval by the appropriate department chairs and the associate provost.Any student proposing to design an interdisciplinary major or minor must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better and must submit to the associate provost a self-design plan along with the signed Declaration of Major or Minor form.

Interdisciplinary Minors

Students may elect to complete a minor as well as a major.

Mount St. Mary’s offers minors in the following interdisciplinary fields:

Declaring a Major

All students must have declared a major at the time of registration in the second semester of their sophomore year. The Declaration of Major form is available on the Portal. Students planning for a second major should consult with their faculty advisors. The same form is used to declare a second major. All students are required to have a 2.0 grade point average in all of their majors.

The University does not guarantee that every course needed for a second major will be offered every year. If a course required for a second major conflicts with another course needed to complete the graduation requirements or is not being offered that year, the student may have to forgo the second major or, if possible, secure permission from the appropriate department head to substitute a different course.

Only one bachelor’s degree is given for a four-year course of study; students who complete majors in different degree areas may choose to have their degree listed either as Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science, but not both. In order to pursue a major that is available on the Emmitsburg campus only, a student must be matriculated on the Emmitsburg campus.

A student should follow the degree requirements listed in the academic catalog for the year in which they declare their major. Students adding an additional major will follow the requirements for that major listed in the academic catalog for the year in which they declared their primary (first) major.

Declaring a Minor

A minor is not required, but many students elect to minor in a departmental or interdisciplinary program. A minimum of 18 semester hours is required for a minor; the specific courses required are set out in the discussion of minors associated with each academic department. A Declaration of Minor form must be completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office no later than the end of the second semester of the junior year.

Three-Year Degree Option

The Three-Year Degree Option is an opportunity for motivated students to complete their undergraduate degree program in less time than the traditional four-year programs. This program is designed for students who have a clear idea of their educational path beyond the Mount and wish to enter graduate or professional school more quickly than is possible with a traditional 4-year course of study. Students who aim to complete their degree in three years should make their intent known to the associate provost in the 2nd semester of the first academic year. Any student intending to proceed on this track must have a GPA of 3.2 or higher.

Students in the three-year program enroll during the traditional fall and spring semesters. Additionally, students will enroll in classes over two summer sessions. A few majors require part of a third summer session. For more information about this program, please consult your academic advisor.