General Studies Requirements (pre-Woods Core)

The General Studies curriculum is the foundation of a Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College education, representing the College’s liberal arts vision and its commitment to the preparation of every student for a diverse and changing world.

Domains of Learning

The General Studies courses are arranged in ascending domains, with a blend of required courses and possibilities for choice along the way to fit the needs of each student:

  • Skills for Advanced Learning
  • Foundations and Diversity
  • Academic Perspectives
  • Linking
  • Interdisciplinary

The first of these domains, Skills for Advanced Learning, is designed to refine students’ abilities in such crucial areas as writing, mathematics, speech, computer studies and personal fitness. It demands that students use knowledge, rather than simply acquire it.

The Foundations and Diversity domain offers grounding in studies that are considered essential to a liberal education. It provides opportunities for students to learn about various cultures, languages and people they will encounter in their lives.

The Academic Perspectives domain is designed to give students a particular kind of breadth in their education. Courses from many areas are specially created to help students understand how the world may be analyzed from one of four different perspectives: the creative/expressive, the scientific, the social/cultural, and the theological. Courses focus on how practitioners ask questions, seek answers and use information. In this domain students learn different methods of analysis and apply them to real-world problems and issues.

The Linking domain lets students begin to compare different approaches and to use one academic perspective to supplement another. Since the world seldom presents problems that can be approached solely from one perspective, the College faculty believes that this is a crucial set of skills. Courses are focused around a single, complex problem or issue and bring two different academic perspectives to bear upon it.

Finally, the Interdisciplinary domain provides courses that develop and test students’ abilities to fully integrate different modes of analysis. Students choose one of several courses created for this most challenging level of the curriculum. At this stage they take responsibility for their own learning, using seminar methods and working with complex issues. Students emerge from this stage confident in their abilities to make meaning of and communicate in a rapidly changing, complex world.

For more information, please consult the SMWC College Catalog.