At the heart of a Mount education is the Core Curriculum, an interdisciplinary Liberal Arts and Sciences curriculum. A graduate of the College, therefore, will possess not only the professional skills necessary for success in the workplace, but also qualities associated with a liberally educated person able to thrive in a complicated and diverse world. Some of those skills are thinking critically and creatively, communicating effectively, appreciating the complexity of human behavior, knowing the relation among various ethical systems, and appreciating the relationship of Roman Catholicism to other belief systems.
All students take 52 credit hours in courses in the Core Curriculum. Six credits are specifically devoted to interdisciplinary studies (IDS). First time students* begin with a mandatory three-credit Foundations Seminar course (IDS 100) which introduces the individual Liberal Arts and Sciences areas, discusses the various ways each discipline views the world, and shows the benefits of integrating these views when problem-solving. This preliminary course also addresses general skills, practices and expectations of college study.** Later, students take another three credits from a 200- or 300-level IDS course of their choosing. This upper-level course provides students the opportunity for further practice in integrating disciplines by examining a specific problem or subject too complex to treat with just one discipline.
Thirty-seven credits of the Core Curriculum are distributed among Liberal Arts and Sciences courses which expand upon concepts and approaches to learning introduced in IDS 100. Students fulfill these credits by choosing from courses in the following areas: Humanities (12 credits), Social Sciences and History (9 credits), Natural Sciences and Mathematics (7 credits), Religious Studies and Philosophy (6 credits), and Ethics (3 credits). Courses selected in the Humanities ask students to interpret the value of creative and esthetic processes in their lives, and give them practice in effectively communicating their thoughts in oral and written form. Selections from the Social Sciences and History show students the relationship between self, society and the world at large, and how this connection developed over time. Choices in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics expose students to the principles and methodology of scientific inquiry, and how quantitative reasoning aids in the interpretation of the natural world. Courses in Religious Studies and Philosophy allow students to explore the spiritual and conceptual dimensions of their lives by comparing their personal religious and philosophical traditions with those of the college and of other cultures. In Ethics classes, students address questions of right and wrong, values, and appropriate choice and responsibility for the actions they take in their lives.
Nine credits* of the Core Curriculum are electives drawn from a wide selection of additional courses in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, and/or more IDS courses. These classes afford students the opportunity to sample a wide variety of topics, or to pursue a personal interest in greater depth.
A final component of the Core Curriculum is the Capstone Synthesis Reflection. This course, reflective paper, project or presentation is integrated into each academic department’s senior seminar. This allows students nearing graduation to demonstrate the integration of the specificity of their majors into the broader focus of the courses taken in the Core Curriculum.
If a student fails to complete the Foundations Seminar Course (IDS 100) in the first semester, the student must register for the IDS 100 course in the next semester, or for an IDS 200/300 level course during the next two semesters. If a student chooses to register for the IDS 200/300 level course during the next two semesters instead of IDS 100, the IDS 100 grade (if one was earned) will not be replaced by the upper level IDS 200/300 course and she/he will also need to complete an additional IDS 200/300 level course to fulfill the six credit hour requirement in interdisciplinary studies (IDS).
*Transfer and non-traditional students follow similar but varied guidelines for meeting the IDS and Core Curriculum LAS requirements.
**For serious reasons and as a last option, a student might determine that she/he needs to drop IDS 100. For a student to drop this course, she/he will first meet with her/his academic advisor. If after consultation and careful consideration of all possible ways to complete the required IDS 100 course in the current semester, it is determined that the best course of action is for the student to drop the course, she/he will fill out a drop form. She/he will need the signatures of the academic advisor, the IDS coordinator, and the vice president for academic affairs. The student is responsible for collecting required signatures and submitting the drop form to student administrative services or the registrar's office, in the Conlan Center, for processing.