Academic Program

Academic Program Overview | Dignitas | Required First-Year Courses | Pathways | Study Abroad | Honors | Prior-Learning Assessment | Cross-Registration | Summer Session

Academic program

The curriculum at The College of St. Scholastica reflects a commitment to prepare students for their responsibilities as working professionals, as citizens of a democracy and as individuals who seek to live full human lives. A student's academic program consists of three parts: general education requirements (General Education), specialized coursework (a major) and electives. The major prepares the student for graduate school or for a profession and is normally selected during the sophomore year. Elective courses allow students to pursue particular interests.

Students who complete an undergraduate degree at The College of St. Scholastica will achieve outcomes related to:

  • Heritage
  • Scope of learning
  • Intellectual and foundational skills
  • Personal and social responsibility
  • Integrative and applied learning

Degree Requirements

The following minimum College requirements must be met for the bachelor's degree:

  1. Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 128 semester credits including:
    • Forty-two upper-division credits (numbered 3000 or above). A major program as stipulated by a department or adviser.
    • Achieve a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the major as well as an overall "C" average.
  2. Fulfill the residence requirement:
    • The last 32 credits before graduation must be earned at The College of St. Scholastica.
    • A minimum of 16 credits must be earned in a major field at The College of St. Scholastica.
    • Cross-registered courses may count toward residence; CLEP and Portfolio Assessment credits must be earned before the final 32 credits.
  3. Complete the general education requirements. Requirements for some majors are more stringent than these minimums.
  4. The maximum number of physical education credits that can count toward graduation is 8.

Awarding of a Second Bachelor's Degree

A second bachelor's degree must be granted 12 months or more after the first degree.  The new degree must include at least 32 unique credits. Otherwise, a second major is awarded.

Learning Outcomes for the Twenty-First Century


The College of St. Scholastica is a Catholic academic institution in the Benedictine tradition.  We are shaped by the Benedictine principles of formative study, meaningful work, responsible living and daily prayer. The College of St. Scholastica embraces the fundamental principles of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition: reason and faith are equally valid and ultimately compatible; rational inquiry and the search for meaning are key values; the contributions of other perspectives are enriching. The College intentionally fosters a community of diverse voices, religions and philosophies. St. Scholastica students should reflect our distinctive identity and, as beneficiaries of the College's heritage, recognize their responsibilities to the academic community that nurtures them and to other communities in which they may contribute. Students at St. Scholastica will:

  • Articulate the ways they have experienced the Benedictine values while at the College.
  • Recognize the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and its role in their college experience.
  • Contend with academic issues where the tension between reason and faith is present.
  • Analyze critical questions of our time from the perspective of the College's Benedictine heritage and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.

Scope of Learning

The College of St. Scholastica is committed to preparing students broadly for their responsibilities as skilled and ethical working professionals, as engaged and informed citizens, and as individuals seeking to realize their full human potential. CSS students gain broad experience in liberal education, focused by engagement with meaningful questions, both contemporary and enduring. This occurs especially in the General Edudation Curriculum but also across other programs and experiences.

  • Scope: Through study and engagement in the sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, languages, and the arts.

Intellectual and Foundational Skills

The College of St. Scholastica equips students with the intellectual and foundational skills that prepare them for responsible living and meaningful work. CSS students practice these skills extensively, throughout their experiences at the College, in the context of progressively more challenging problems, projects, and standards for performance.

  •  Inquiry and analysis
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Written and oral communication
  •  Quantitative literacy
  • Information literacy
  • Teamwork and problem solving

Personal and Social Responsibility

As a Catholic Benedictine institution, The College of St. Scholastica prepares students to live and work in a diverse world and to live in justice and peace, consistent with Catholic Social Teaching, which calls us to live simply, sustainably, and in solidarity with all people. Anchored through active involvement with diverse communities and practical challenges, CSS students take on ever-increasing levels of responsibility for thinking about diversity and for understanding how our individual identities impact relationships.

  • Civic knowledge and engagement - local and global
  • Intercultural knowledge and competence
  • Ethical reasoning and action
  • Foundations and skills for lifelong learning

Integrative and Applied Learning

In majors, minors, and other programs, students of The College of St. Scholastica direct a substantial portion of their effort toward excellence within a particular discipline. Additional ongoing experiences in the liberal arts and sciences prepares students for the challenges of the twenty-first century. CSS students demonstrate their application of knowledge, skills, and responsibilities to new settings and complex problems

  • Synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies

General Education Program

The General Education program at The College of St. Scholastica provides students a foundation in the liberal arts and sciences that is rooted in our Catholic Benedictine Heritage and cultivates a conscientious use of knowledge that prepares them for responsible living in a global community. The program has three components: a first-year experience known as Dignitas and two required courses in composition and communication, a range of liberal arts courses called Pathways and an upper-division Writing Intensive requirement.

Historically Benedictines have been scholars, caregivers, educators and artists; the liberal arts mirror the broad pathways that Benedictines have pioneered. The rigor and breadth of our program prepare St. Scholastica students to meet the present and face the future with wisdom, faith and imagination.




Click here for more information regarding Dignitas.

Additional Required First-Year Courses - Dignitas

ENG 1110 First-Year Composition       (4 credits)
Emphasizes the development of thinking and writing skills. Based on principles of contemporary writing pedagogy, the course includes prewriting activities, the writing process, considerations of audience and purpose, writing reflections, peer evaluation, drafting, group writing and conferences with one's instructor. Early assignments depend on personal experience and then sequence to referential and argumentative writing. Includes basic documentation and bibliographic instruction.

CTA 1102 Human Communication       (4 credits)
Combines the areas of interpersonal communication and public speaking. The course focuses on the nature of the communication process as it applies to relationships, the self, perception, verbal communication, assertiveness, listening skills, nonverbal communication, conflict management and cultural differences. Students will be introduced to styles of presenting themselves and their ideas to public groups. The course emphasizes purpose, audience analysis, choice of supporting material, organization, delivery behaviors and rhetorical skills.


Veritas, the College's new general education program, will take effect fall 2016. If you are a student entering fall 2016 or after, click here for information on Veritas.

Additional Required First-Year Courses - Veritas

ENG 1110 First-Year Composition       (4 credits)
Emphasizes the development of thinking and writing skills. Based on principles of contemporary writing pedagogy, the course includes prewriting activities, the writing process, considerations of audience and purpose, writing reflections, peer evaluation, drafting, group writing and conferences with one's instructor. Early assignments depend on personal experience and then sequence to referential and argumentative writing. Includes basic documentation and bibliographic instruction.

CTA 1101 Interpersonal Communication       (2 credits)
Focuses on the nature of the communication process as it applies to relationships, the self, perception, verbal communication, assertiveness and listening skills, nonverbal communication and conflict management.

Pathways for Dignitas

Students satisfy the Pathways component of the general and liberal arts requirements by taking a wide range of courses, amounting to about one-third of the 128 credits required for graduation.

Cultural Diversity (I)                              (4 cr.)
Students are required to take one course that can count for both cultural diversity and another liberal arts distribution requirement.

Social Sciences (II)                                  (4 cr.)

World Languages (III)                           (0-8 cr.)
Students need to demonstrate a language competency equal to the second semester of a beginning language course. This requirement can be met in one of four ways:

  1. By having completed three years of one language in high school grades 9-12.
  2. By successfully completing ASL 1112, FRN 1112, GMN 1112, LTN 1112, OJB 1112, RUS 1112,or SPN 1112.
  3. By showing equivalent proficiency at the same course levels (respectively in American Sign Language, French, German, Latin, Ojibwe, Russian, or Spanish) through a St. Scholastica placement exam.
  4. By English not being your first language.

Literature (IV)                                         (4 cr.)
Analytical Reasoning (V)                      (4 cr.)
Natural Science (VI)                              (4 cr.)
History (VII)                                            (4 cr.)
Fine Arts (VIII)                                       (4 cr.)
Philosophy (IX)                                      (4 cr.)
Religious Studies (X)                            (4 cr.)
Writing Intensive (WI)                         (4 cr.)

Students are required to take an upper-division Writing Intensive course in their junior or senior year. This requirement must be taken at St. Scholastica.

The Roman numerals found after course titles in this catalog identify which Pathway(s) a specific course fulfills. Each course may be used to satisfy only one Pathway, with the exception of the cultural diversity requirement.

Courses Approved for Pathways Requirements

The most current set of Pathways courses is listed on the General Education website at:

Disciplinary Concentration

To prepare students for responsible living and meaningful work, the College believes that students should direct a substantial portion of their effort toward excellence within a particular discipline. This entails pursuing a major to develop a depth of knowledge and skills and the modes of inquiry common to the discipline, as well as considering the larger context of the roles the discipline plays in society. Requirements for all the majors are found under Curriculum. 


Electives provide an opportunity for students to explore areas of interest outside of the General Education program and the major. The number of electives a student can take will vary based on the student's major, the number of college credits they brought to the College from other sources, and the number of credits taken each semester. Students are encouraged to stretch themselves by selecting electives that expose them to new ideas.

I. Cultural Diversity

Cultural Diversity challenges the student to articulate how her/his perception of reality is culturally embedded and how values, assumptions and beliefs are reflected in behavior. This scrutiny fosters respect for the diversity of peoples and cultures. This respect requires more than mere exposure to cultural differences; it requires intellectual discourse that examines such differences critically and is attentive to the challenges of understanding those whose lives are shaped by cultures other than one's own.

II.  Social Sciences

Social Science is the study of psychological, economic, social, cultural and/or political thinking, and behavior in individuals and societies. Students discover the interconnectedness and relationships among motivation, learning and development, including the causes and implications of differences and similarities among people.

III. World Language

Language guides our thinking, shapes our perceptions and is the foundational element of culture. The four skills of language study - listening, responding, reading and writing - provide the key that opens the door to a deepened understanding and appreciation of the world's cultures and peoples.

IV. Literature

Literary study emphasizes close reading of and thoughtful expression about texts from a variety of perspectives and issues, ranging from forms and genres to modes and historical-cultural contexts. Focused on language, literary study involves both individual work and communal ways of understanding texts through oral and written interpretation. Literary study fosters the imaginative and intellectual effort needed to engage in varying cultural experiences to understand human values.

V. Analytical Reasoning

Analytical reasoning is an approach to knowledge that includes the ability to break down a larger problem and theory into constituent elements; gain an organized, logical and/or empirical understanding of the patterns and relationships among those elements; apply that understanding in a methodical fashion to similar situations; and communicate that understanding in language appropriate to the problem. The development of analytical abilities enables students to consider and respond more capably to the complexities of responsible living and the challenges of meaningful work.

VI. Natural Sciences

The natural sciences attempt to discover principles or laws that describe life and the physical universe through the cycle of observation, formulation of hypotheses, experimentation and development of theory. The fruits of scientific discovery enable humans to appreciate the beauty and interconnectedness of the universe in its many parts and exercise stewardship over the resources nature provides. Students who take natural science courses are better able to understand the scope and limits of the scientific endeavor, how science has shaped the modern world and the technical issues society now faces.

VII.   History

History is an interdisciplinary study that reflects upon and analyzes human experience. It focuses on the ways women and men are active agents in transforming the world and how the past illuminates the present. Students explore human societies in different times and places, encouraging cross-cultural comparisons. Courses in history contribute to creating better informed, more critically thinking citizens who understand themselves and the world around them in deeper, more diverse ways.

VIII.  Fine Arts

Art is created in all human cultures as a response to life. All forms of art can enable us to express depths of spirituality and emotion, rationally explore that which gives us pleasure, shape social values, reach out to others across time and culture and create something more lasting than we are. Through the creation and study of art, students consider its definition, interpretation and impact on humanity. Art merits both technical and reflective study as part of a liberal education.

IX. Philosophy

Philosophy, the love of wisdom, uses natural reason to guide the search for the good life. The study of philosophy challenges the student to think critically and make and evaluate arguments. The aim of philosophy courses is to contemplate those questions that will lead to responsible living.

X. Religious Studies

Religious Studies invites students to explore religion as a central means of preparing themselves for responsible living and meaningful work by challenging them to work for justice and social change, and encouraging them to shape religious beliefs and spiritual values for their personal and professional lives. Special emphasis is placed on our Catholic and Benedictine heritage.

XI. Writing Intensive

During junior or senior year, students must select a four-credit course designated Writing Intensive (WI) outside their major. This requirement must be completed at The College of St. Scholastica. The purpose of this requirement is twofold: 1) students will have the opportunity to apply liberal arts skills and values developed in their major field to a body of subject matter outside their major; and 2) students will have the opportunity to further develop and practice writing skills essential to personal and professional growth.

Courses designated WI build on skills developed in Dignitas. In WI, courses students write about personal experience, narrate events, gather, summarize and evaluate information, rewrite and edit, incorporate feedback in drafts, develop arguments and produce texts that reflect research. WI courses challenge juniors and seniors to apply further those communication skills and principles they have learned in and out of the classroom.


The College of St. Scholastica is dedicated to helping students become more responsible members of their communities, extending to the global community. St. Scholastica has a tradition of study and service abroad that foes back more than thirty years to our first program in Ireland. Students at St. Scholastica are sure to find a study abroad or service learning program through the many available options, including College-sponsored courses, programs at universities affiliated with the College and independent programs. Additional details about specific programs can be found here:

Types of Experiences

  • St. Scholastica Faculty-led: a St. Scholastica professor or instructor leads a group of students abroad.

  • Consortium and Exchange: St. Scholastica and the school abroad sign an agreement regarding curriculum, financial aid and scholarships. Current examples include; HECUA, Regent's College and the Irish American Scholars Program.

  • Outside programs: Any program not directly associated with St. Scholastica. This can be a program from another school, a program from one of our many providers, or a study abroad opportunity through another college or university found by the student. Financial aid, however, may not be available for programs other than those sponsored by St. Scholastica. For a full list of study-abroad opportunities, please visit our website at

HECUA Off-Campus Study Programs
The College of St. Scholastica is a member of the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA). HECUA provides off-campus experiential learning opportunities that link academic study with hands-on work for social change. Students earn 16 St. Scholastica credits in the semester-long programs and four St. Scholastica credits in January-term programs. The program is open to all St. Scholastica students. St. Scholastica financial aid travels with students in semester programs. More information can be found at

Which semester should I travel?
Deciding when to study abroad is different for everyone. Some majors are more flexible than others, so it's important to talk with an academic advisor about the best time for studying abroad. If a semester or year program is not possible for your schedule, take advantage of a program departing during winter or summer break. The key is to plan early!

How financial aid works:
Students who choose a St. Scholastica faculty-led, a consortium, or an exchange program will, in most cases, be able to apply any institutional aid such as scholarships or grants. Students who choose an outside program will not be able to utilize institutional aid but will be able to use any applicable federal or state aid, outside scholarships and student loans to pay for study abroad programs.

Credit transfer:
Credit for courses taken abroad will be evaluated and transferred back to St. Scholastica. For faculty-led programs, credit transfer is automatic. For consortiums, exchanges, and outside programs, the credit will be reviewed and applied to the student's transcript.

Getting started:

  1. Decide where you want to go. Research study abroad options through the CSS Study Abroad website, or through external study abroad providers.

  2. Learn more about each program. For St. Scholastica study abroad programs see the faculty program advisor or contact the program provider (for external programs).

  3. Find out how this will impact your financial aid. Make an appointment with Financial Aid to determine your budget and how your loans and scholarships will apply to study abroad.


The College of St. Scholastica has a special affiliation with Lincoln University College (LUC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. LUC is fully accredited by the government of Argentina as an institute of higher education. It is an American institution with an international faculty, housed in a grandiose villa in the heart of the city. LUC provides a range of general education courses along with a strong business program. Argentina offers many opportunities for travel, both within the country and to nearby Latin American destinations. All courses are taught in English and students take intensive Spanish to enrich their learning experience. Tango lessons are also available!


Senior and graduate nursing students have the unique opportunity to complete a service-learning program in Belize. Students are placed in local clinics and schools and even make home visits to offer medical care to the members of the community. Although the senior and graduate programs differ in their curriculum, both programs emphasize experiential learning through a process of action and reflection.


The College offers a semester at a new liberal arts college in China near Hong Kong. All instruction is in English and the student body and faculty are international. General education and business credits can be earned through this program. Campus housing is available. Students also often have the option of studying in China during the winter break in a program covering Chinese economics, government, language and history. All majors are welcome to participate.



Students have two opportunities to study abroad in England. The first is a three-week May program in London, offered every other year and taught by St. Scholastica faculty. With a focus on literature and theatre, this program exposes students to the vibrant cultural history of London and includes multiple theatre performances, workshops, museums, and historical sites. To receive two elective credits, students may choose one of two courses for the program--"London Theatre and Culture" or "Literature of London"--with a shared core itinerary. The literature course requires enrollment in an additional 2-credit spring semester course on campus. 

The second opportunity to study abroad in England is through the Regent's American College London (RACL), which shares the Regent's University London campus with several other college's under the University heading enrolling approximately 2,000 students from more than 100 countries. Students can receive St. Scholastica general education and major specific credits for RACL courses. With a predominantly British faculty, RACL follows the American semester calendar and pedagogical approach. Many courses focus on British history and the fine and performing arts, and some include visits to the theatre, museums, and historic buildings as a part of their coursework. RACL also offers summer courses. Financial aid, including the benedictine scholarship, may be used at RACL via a consortium agreement. Contact for Regent's is David Bauman in the office of Academic Advisement.



The College of St. Scholastica cosponsors an exchange program with the Leipzig University developed for students in the health science fields, that promotes the integration of language and professional interests in an immersion model. During a two-week stay after the end of spring term, St. Scholastica students live with and shadow Leipzig students in their professional training and clinical practice in Germany. In the fall term, Leipzig students come to the St. Scholastica campus and repeat the exchange. Participation in the exchange requires a minimum of one year college/three years high school German and is recommended at the end of the junior or senior level to maximize professional experience.


The College often offers students the chance to participate in a winter break program to Hyderabad, India. The primary objective of this interdisciplinary course is to introduce students to the cultural, psychological, sociological, political, geographic, environmental, scientific, and economic issues of the country. Students will be exposed to individual social values and political and economic systems that affect our perspectives and lifestyles. Through individual projects, students will interact with their mentors developing research and critical thinking skills.


The College sponsors an Ireland program during each spring semester. The program enables a student to pursue a full semester's coursework in liberal education in addition to experiencing intercultural exchange, travel and personal enrichment. The course offerings will vary each year dependent upon the two resident St. Scholastica faculty members who participate in a given semester.


The Theology and Religious Studies Department offers a two-part course focused on the study of Christian art, culminating in a trip to Rome, Italy. Students participate in a semester-long study of the arts in the Christian Tradition (TRS 2120 - The Christian Faith in Art] prior to traveling as a class to Rome, a city internationally known for its historic artistry as well as its significance in the Christian tradition. The city is used as the classroom, giving students a chance to examine religion and faith as expressed in a wide variety of art, as well as a number of historical religious locales including St. Peter's. The trip to Rome is dependent upon the number of registered students.


The College offers a summer program in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Students and faculty live and study at Quest Mexico. This center is dedicated to educating students about social justice issues and the life of the poor in Mexico. Students study Spanish at a local language school and learn about Mexico from Quest Mexico staff, community leaders and activists. St. Scholastica faculty teach a course on Mexican history. The final two weeks of the program are spent in a service-learning placement in the community. Students must be at the sophomore level and have completed the equivalent of two semesters of college-level Spanish to participate in the program.


The College often sponsors a winter break program in Casablanca, Morocco, that looks into the marketing relationship in the utilization of the application of contemporary marketing to the basic marketing function with ultra-fragmented distribution channels in the Middle East. Groups of students conduct research to illustrate how the contemporary marketing fundamental principles can apply in an environment that still, to this modern day, uses the trading principles of the 18th century while at the same time functioning with contemporary marketing concepts that we use in the West.


The College of St. Scholastica conducts a series of summer language camps in cooperation with Petrozavodsk State University in Petrozavodsk, Duluth's sister city in Russia, and Saint Martin's University in Washington.  Russian language camps are intended for American students of Russian and are held every other year in June and July in Petrozavodsk. Language classes are taught at the beginner through advanced-intermediate level by Petrozavodsk State University faculty. The Russian camps also include many cultural and recreational activities as well as extended visits to St. Petersburg and Moscow. An integral part of St. Scholastica's and Saint Martin's Russian Language Programs, the camps are open to any interested student. In alternate summers, St. Scholastica faculty offer English language camps for students from Petrozavodsk. St. Scholastica students also are encouraged to participate in these camps by acting as hosts to the College's guests from Russia. 


Students at St. Scholastica have an opportunity to spend a few weeks every other summer on a service-learning program in Tanzania. Students examine the concepts of culture, cultural competence and health from a global perspective and apply them during a service-learning opportunity in Tanzania that provides the opportunity to explore equity and justice issues through critical examination of their personal and professional values in light of the Benedictine values that are also embraced by our hosts - the Benedictine Sisters of St. Agnes in Tanzania. Students are introduced to history, language, and sociopolitical systems of Tanzania along with Swahili language and safe travel preparation. Service-learning projects match the skills and talents of the students and faculty with the work and needs of the rural people that the Tanzanian sisters serve. Everyone involved in the program assists in gathering and carrying medical and teaching supplies for the two monasteries we visit.

Honors program

The Honors Program at The College of St. Scholastica was created to give intellectually-motivated students enriched learning experiences and a community of peers devoted to a vigorous life of the mind. Features of the program include discussion-oriented classes;  exposure to ideas from multiple disciplines, cultures, and times periods; and exploration of contemporary questions.  Honors courses meet general education requirements, so do not involve extra coursework. Typically, meeting two of the following criteria will lead to the opportunity to request an interview with the Honors Director for admission to the program: top 15 percent of high school class, high school grade point average of 3.5 or above on a 4.0 scale, and ACT score of 26/SAT score of 1100.

Prior Learning Assessment

The college classroom is not the only place college-level learning may occur. The College of St. Scholastica has several mechanisms by which it recognizes college-level learning acquired outside the classroom.  Credit may be accepted from specialized or special purpose institutions, including the U.S. Armed Services, provided the work is applicable to St. Scholastica's baccalaureate degree programs and is recommended by the American Council of Education (ACE).

Portfolio Assessment

Students who wish to document prior learning through Portfolio Assessment begin the process by participating in an online PLA orientation that helps them decide if this program will be useful. In the online PLA orientation, students identify their college-level learning experiences. The online PLA orientation facilitator guides students through the process.   After completing the PLA orientation, the student will document their equivalent learning in a portfolio that will be reviewed by faculty members. To register for the online PLA orientation, please contact your academic adviser.

Credit by Examination

The College Board and the Educational Testing Service provide a national program of examinations called the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) that is used to evaluate college-level education. The Registrar maintains a list of the CLEP exams that meet Pathways requirements. Academic departments determine which CLEP examinations can substitute for major requirements, so students are advised to discuss their CLEP plans with their academic adviser. Note that credit cannot be granted for both a course passed by examination and a regular classroom course that duplicates the subject matter. No credit can be given for an examination if an advanced course in that area has already been taken.

Challenge Exams

A degree-seeking undergraduate student may request the opportunity to take a "challenge" examination to seek credit for a course for which a CLEP examination is not available. Challenge opportunities are provided at the discretion of the department chair. Please contact your academic adviser for specific procedures to request a challenge.


Full-time traditional undergraduate students at St. Scholastica may enroll for up to two courses per semester at two other local universities without payment of additional tuition if the total number of credits does not exceed 18 credits. Such enrollment, called cross-registration, is available at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

If a student's total credits exceed 18, the student will be charged for those excess credits at the current College of St. Scholastica cost-per-credit rate. The University of Wisconsin-Superior does not allow students to cross-register for any courses in the UWS Distance Learning program, including all online courses. In addition, students are responsible for payments to the host institution for course fees. The host institution reserves the right to withhold grades if payments for course fees are not received. The grade earned at the cross-registered institution counts in your St. Scholastica GPA.

Complete details of the program are available in OneStop. Cross-registration is not available during the summer, nor does it include graduate-level work at any time.

A variation on cross-registration may be available for traditional students or for non-traditional and graduate students with other institutions with adviser approval. For example, many students on our Brainerd campus take consortium work through Central Lakes College.

Summer session

The College offers a variety of study opportunities during the summer, including traditional courses on the Duluth campus, accelerated courses at all of our extended campuses, and online courses. Contact an academic adviser for more information on summer offerings.