What Is Liberal Arts?

Are you curious about the cultural evolution of mankind? Do you see yourself as a leader who can shape social policy? As a humanities major at SMWC, you’ll explore the vast skyline of humanity and become an effective leader in today’s complex and evolving world. Those who study humanities discover:

  • more meaningful involvement in their companies, churches, communities and schools
  • alternative spiritual and philosophical ways of thinking
  • in-depth cultural awareness and historical perspectives
  • intellectual integrity and stronger self-confidence


As a humanities major you can:

  • choose humanities courses in the order that you wish, in consultation with your adviser
  • have freedom to choose from many electives in the humanities and other areas 
  • also major or minor in another field, or take courses to develop personal interests or professional skills 
  • have close relationships with faculty from a number of different academic areas 
  • open the door to professional advancement and career opportunities
  • learn about literature, history, philosophy and theology
  • sharpen your critical and creative and communication skills
  • strengthen your research and organizational skills
  • develop sensitivity to your own interests and the interests of others, so that you can work with people in large and small groups
  • enrich your learning by participating in activities related to your interests, including singing, writing and publications, theatre and art

Humanities Major - (39 credit hours)

A baccalaureate degree at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College requires at least 125 credit hours. Humanities majors are required to complete 39 credit hours.

Required Courses

39 Credit hours required. Courses applied towards this major cannot be applied to general study requirements. Students majoring or minoring in history, literature, philosophy, or theology must choose an area of concentration different from the second major or minor.

Surveys the history of art in the western world beginning with prehistoric and extending to

For the student interested in environmental issues, an introduction to questions related to the environment. Ecosystems and the human impact on ecosystems as population density increases will be included. Different kinds of environmental damage and their problems will be discussed as well as peace and justice issues in the environmental arena.

Study of literature from a variety of cultures and in a variety of forms with an emphasis on myths. Students explore the value of creative expression in a society to develop an appreciation of the process of creation and to foster personal principles for judging creative expression. Fulfills general studies requirement. Satisfies English Education major/elective. As needed.

Survey of the origins of the human race from a global perspective beginning with prehistoric times through the 1500s. The course stresses the framework of the political history of the world during this time, as well as the character and dynamics of different civilizations. The interrelationship of the political, social, economic, artistic and intellectual life of various cultures is developed.

Study of problems of morality designed to help the student deal effectively with the conflicts and controversies of contemporary times. Prerequisite: PH 200.

Examines the concept of God from a Christian perspective. Topics include the experience of God; God's attributes; Trinity; the relationship of God to creation. For theology majors and minors only.

Track - (15 credit hours)

Students are required to take a track of 15 credit hours in one of two areas: the Arts or General Humanities.

Arts Track

15 Credit hours required among the Arts.
*Students have the choice between AD200 OR MU200

Studies the development of formal and contextual criteria leading to an understanding of the visual language of art and its application to personal, societal, cultural and aesthetic concerns. Provides a knowledge base of information and visual literacy skills necessary for informed critical analysis, discussion, interpretation and appreciation of the visual arts. Fulfills general studies requirement. Fall and Winter, every year.

Studies film history and creative techniques with an emphasis on the connections between film and culture, trends, and developments in US and world films. Satisfies English Education elective. Fall, odd years.

Surveys the history of art in the western world beginning with prehistoric and extending to twenty-first century art. This course concentrates on the artists, the philosophies and events that have molded contemporary art. Fall, even years.

In-depth study of selected masterpieces in modern drama, from the great realist works of Ibsen and Chekhov to the selected realism of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. The effect of avant-garde movements, such as Absurdism and Expressionism, on the threatre will be studied in detail.

This course introduces students to a rich and diverse history of American popular music. Students will listen critically to both recorded and live music, discussing and writing about the music itself and about its cultural and historical content and significance.

Course introduces the student to many facets of theatre: directing, acting, technical aspects, literature and history. Students also attend and critique a variety of plays.

General Humanities Track

15 Credit hours required among General Humanities.

Explores the works of women writers as perceptive recorders of the human experience through their art. Satisfies Women‘s Studies minor requirements.

Studies fiction, poetry, and drama from Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America of significant writers to evaluate the relationship of place and author, the effect of political and social realities on the themes and styles of authors, to compare and contrast world authors with those from the U.S. As needed.

Examines divergent governmental systems to gain an understanding of the various patterns of decision making the world today and to evaluate the viability of alternative political processes. Emphasizes the relationship between politics, constitutions and foreign policy considerations in the determination of governmental action. As needed.

Survey of various world civilizations beginning with the 1600s and concluding with the present time. Emphasis is given to evolving cross-cultural influences, the evolution of power politics, rise of capitalism and imperialism, the socialist, fascist and Marxist revolutionary movements and the dynamics of the modern Third World.

Studies interracial and interethnic relations, prejudice, discrimination and the changing nature of contacts and problems generated between groups within the social institutions of multiethnic societies. The primary focus is the U.S., with use made of comparative material from several societies. Prerequisite: SO 211 or instructor‘s consent.

Information about Course Requirements
We do our best to keep this information updated, but you should always double-check to ensure you are meeting graduation requirements. For the most current course requirements please review the latest undergraduate college catalog.  Always consult your academic advisor when registering for courses or when you have questions about course requirements.

Practical Experience as a Student

Do you want to explore cultural themes through poetry or prose? Publish your work in SMWC’s literary magazine, Aurora. Can you see yourself examining the emotional process of human decision-making through art? Audition for a theatrical production or display your artistic talents in our student gallery. Are you more of a behind-the-scenes person? Develop your leadership skills with one of our nearly 30 clubs and organizations.

Through our dynamic Career Development Center, you’ll be able to test-drive different careers, network with experts and discover your niche in the world. You will also have the exciting opportunity to work in a groundbreaking virtual internship program. You will use cutting-edge technology to creative a collaborative environment that embraces diverse ideas, uses innovative approaches and makes a positive impact in the community.

Between the individual attention you’ll receive in class and the practical experience you’ll have out in the field, you’ll find yourself with many opportunities for success at The Woods. Are you ready to be empowered?

Careers in Humanities

As a humanities major at The Woods, you’ll gain unlimited understanding of the world, with a profoundly marketable degree that opens up many paths for careers and graduate study. Humanities majors consistently perform in the top tier on all graduate-level tests, such as:

  • Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)
  • Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)
  • Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT)
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Career Fields

 Many students who pursue humanities find their niche in:

  • Law: family law, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Healthcare: program directors, pharmaceutical companies
  • Education: teaching, higher education administration
  • Public Relations: advertising, development, media
  • Government: consumer affairs, travel, tourism

As a humanities major, you’ll analyze entire generations of leaders and visionaries. You’ll use your broad skillset to make well-informed decisions and develop creative solutions that make an impact in the world.