I. Cross-disciplinary courses

  • First-year Seminar (2 courses)
  • Ethics Common Seminar (1 course)

First-year Seminar (FYS)

First Year Seminar is a required full-year course (four credits each semester) taken during the first year. In the fall semester, students improve their ability to read carefully and think critically about what they read, learn to write more effectively, increase their information literacy as they conduct basic library searches, and develop the discussion skills necessary for successful college work. The spring semester builds on those skills, and includes a significant research project, as well as opportunities to improve oral presentation skills. Faculty from across the curriculum teach FYS. Although each section is unique in the disciplinary content it addresses, every FYS section provides opportunities to develop the same intellectual skills. Through a wide variety of assignments and projects, students actively shape their development as reader, thinker, listener, writer, speaker, and researcher.

The FYS professor serves as faculty advisor for each student in the section. Students stay in the same section for both semesters. These features help develop a sense of community and continuity.

Ethics Common Seminar (ECS)

The Ethics Common Seminar is a one-semester course intended as a capstone for the liberal arts experience as students wrestle with difficult ethical questions. Students identify ethical issues inherent in modern life, learn to examine them from multiple perspectives, and articulate coherent arguments, grounded in ethical perspectives, to support their own judgments. Students thus develop tools that will enhance their ability to make responsible decisions throughout their lives.

Ethics courses are taught by faculty from a variety of disciplines, so course content varies.  Despite the differences, all ECS courses focus on the same fundamental goals. Since ECS wrestles with difficult issues, Senior standing is strongly recommended.

Designated Cross-Disciplinary Courses

Designated courses focus on particular areas critical to the mission of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, but can be combined with courses taken for other purposes.

Experiential Learning (EL)

In courses with the Experiential Learning designation, students practice their ability to learn independently by taking a prior knowledge/skill, applying it in a more fluid learning environment that they have designed, and then reflecting how on the entire experience deepened their understanding.

Gender (GE)

Gender shapes collective human perspectives and actions, while strongly influencing our individual experiences as both men and women. Liberally educated students should be aware of their gendered identity, and how it affects their place in the world.  Courses fulfilling this requirement use gender as a primary focus for analysis of course content, while also examining how gender intersects with categories of race, class, ethnicity, nationality, or sexuality. Gender designated courses also explore the connections between local experiences of gender and the relevant structural and theoretical contexts of the course.

Intercultural Learning (IC)

The Intercultural Learning requirement prepares students for the increasingly diverse world they inhabit by promoting the understanding that we are all products of a particular culture, and that our perspective on the world grows from that background.  Intercultural courses also enable students to learn enough about another culture to realize that there is always diversity beneath the stereotypes.  Armed with these insights, students are able to work more effectively with others at home and abroad.