Core Curriculum

Megan Mustain, Ph.D., talks with philosophy students on the campus of St. Marys UniversityThe Core Curriculum at St. Mary’s University has a privileged role in the education of its students in accord with its mission as a liberal arts institution. More than a set of disparate general education requirements, and in distinction (but not separation) from professional, major, and co-curricular education, the Core Curriculum has the specific purpose of explicitly engaging students with the perennial question at the heart of the liberal arts: Who are we as human beings? This perennial question has many dimensions; the Core Curriculum at St. Mary’s focuses on these five:

1. The question of self-identity
2. The question of the self in relationship to others
3. The question of the self in relationship to wider social structures
4. The question of the self in relation to the natural world
5. The question of the self in relationship to God

Answering these questions requires that students first enter a conversation between their own lived experience and the broad heritage of human learning and practice, both past and present. The Core Curriculum also asks students to take their answers from this conversation and embody them in their own lives of service to others and the common good. Finally, the Core Curriculum aims to enable students to take the necessary risk of asking and answering these questions again as their lives and circumstances change.

The Core Curriculum at St. Mary’s has two parts: the St. Mary’s Core, a set of foundational courses taken by all students, and the School Specific Core, a set of additional courses which addresses key Core areas and skills and which differs according to the specific undergraduate school.

For a recommended sequence for taking all Core courses, please see the Undergraduate Catalog and degree plan for your specific major.


William Buhrman, Ph.D.
Director, St. Mary’s Core Curriculum