2023-2024 University Catalog 
    Jul 20, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog

Liberal Arts Curriculum

All students who are pursuing the Bachelor’s degree must complete the requirements of the Liberal Arts Curriculum (described below) and the requirements for a major program of study.

Liberal Arts Curriculum

A liberal arts education is essential to prepare each student to achieve the mission of the University: to “…think and act critically, creatively, and ethically as productive members of society committed to transforming the world” (2003). Seton Hill University views a liberal arts education as the essential foundation that provides every student with a common body of knowledge, prepares all students to engage with other people and their diverse ways of being, thinking, and relating to others in organizational, entrepreneurial, and other settings, and prepares for a lifetime of learning and action, both professionally and personally. At Seton Hill, students are prepared for professional success in two ways: by knowing about the theory and practice of a chosen field of study, and equally important, by knowing how to think, learn, and relate effectively to others.

The University reserves the right to change the Liberal Arts Curriculum as experience dictates, to require the completion as a partial basis for graduation, and to waive particular requirements in favor of comparable components when it deems such action advisable for the good of the student or the University.

The Liberal Arts Curriculum is the part of a Seton Hill degree which all students, regardless of their major, have in common; it is based on a broad intellectual experience which is the starting point for a distinctive and lifelong education.

Guiding Principles

  • The Seton Hill University mission statement is the basis of the Liberal Arts Curriculum.
  • The Liberal Arts Curriculum fosters the development of communication and problem-solving skills, historical and global awareness, the use of multiple modes of inquiry, reflection, and assessment.
  • Each course in the Liberal Arts Curriculum specifies learning goals that help the student meet one or more of the University learning objectives. The Liberal Arts Curriculum complements and augments study in the major.
  • Learning occurs both in and out of the classroom. The Liberal Arts Curriculum is designed to integrate academic work with student exploration and learning in interaction with each other, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community, through experiences such as volunteering, student government, athletics, study away, and, in some majors, service learning and internships.

Students enrolled in the undergraduate program will meet the following Liberal Arts Curriculum requirements:

  1. Communication and Problem Solving

Emphasizes the acquisition and development of essential communication skills, critical thinking, reflection, and creativity. Requires students to identify their personal strengths, areas of growth, and personal/professional goals.

 A. Writing

Writing is the primary content of Composition and Culture. By "writing" the faculty mean not just mastery of grammatical or rhetorical conventions (though these are essential), but also engagement in a complex intellectual activity that both prompts and is prompted by critical thinking. In all delivery formats, Composition and Culture asks students to engage in critical thinking by interpreting, questioning, analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing texts and ideas about critical identities through reading, writing, research, and discussion.

Composition and Culture is offered in two delivery formats: as a one-semester accelerated course (SEL 107) or over two semesters (as SEL 105 and SEL 106). The content and rigor of the courses are the same; the only difference between them is the pacing. Students select the appropriate course(s) for them using the results of the electronic Directed Self-Placement tool (DSP) prior to Setonian Day or meeting with an advisor. The DSP helps students gauge their needs and experiences in relationship to the objectives of the curriculum.

Students who elect to take SEL 107 complete the work of Composition and Culture in a single semester. In this accelerated format, students learn how to read critically as writers, compose multiple essay projects related to culture and literacy, become familiar with the steps of the research process and produce a substantial research project, practice oral communication in discussion and other more formal settings such as the Celebration of Writing, engage in self- assessment, and use their technology and growing rhetorical expertise to craft multimodal texts that integrate writing alongside other modalities. For students who opt to take SEL 105 and then SEL 106 over the course of an entire academic year, the work of the course is more distributed, with the research and formal oral presentation components not occurring until the second semester (SEL 106).

All students (traditional and online programs) must satisfy the Liberal Arts Writing requirement. This can be accomplished in two different ways: completion of SEL 107 in one semester (3 credits) or completion of both SEL 105 and SEL 106 over two semesters (6 credits).

 B. Information Fluency

Seton Hill University defines information fluency as the ability to navigate the evolving information ecosystem; engage in collaborative, rigorous analysis and transparent dialogue; discern the validity of information and its sources; and disseminate findings thoughtfully and ethically through synthesis and factual articulation. Information fluency is both a set of skills and a disposition, to be practiced and applied not only in the classroom, but in daily life and in the workplace as well, and guided by every Seton Hill graduate’s responsibility to search for and recognize the truth. Students will develop a sense of curiosity and commitment to lifelong learning, and exhibit a proven ability to think critically and reflectively while engaging with, using, and creating information. In a time of rapid technological change and proliferating information, information fluency is a crucial element of an education that fulfills Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s goal of fitting students for the world in which they are destined to live.

Key information fluency concepts are introduced to students in the first year as part of Composition and Culture and other discipline-specific, foundational courses. Further information fluency skill development occurs within the liberal arts curriculum, as well as courses within each major, as assignments and activities require students to utilize these skills within the context of research, discussion, information creation, and presentation.

Information fluency proficiency is further enhanced by collaboration among faculty, professional staff, and students.  Upon faculty request, librarians conduct instructional sessions that are designed to meet the specific needs of the students in each course. For online and hybrid courses, librarians also create informational pages and modules that facilitate skill development without the need for in-person instruction. Tools to assist faculty with information fluency-based assignments and assessments include the Information Fluency: A Guide for Faculty and Creating Effective Research Assignments LibGuides. The Writing Center also offers assistance and resources to help students incorporate their research as they produce scholarship in a variety of formats.

There are also numerous subject guides available via the library webpage to assist students in developing their research skills. 

  1. Historical, Cultural, and Global Awareness

Explores the history and context of the world from multiple perspectives.

  1.  Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice

The Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice requirement of the liberal arts curriculum will be satisfied by courses in which students practice curiosity about the lives of others as a method for gaining perspective on themselves and the world.  While these courses vary, they all are opportunities for students to learn about the differences among human beings, as well as our common humanity. These differences include, but are not limited to, historic and ongoing disparities among human persons that are rooted in sexism, racism, classism, ableism, and religious intolerance. Through reading, dialogue, questioning, self-examination, and engagement, students in these courses will prepare for personal, civic, and professional life while cultivating inner resources for meeting the moral and spiritual hazards faced by all human beings who live in societies.

Approved courses are designated in the course descriptions in this catalog and by the letters DE in the course schedule. 3 credits are required.

  1. U.S. Cultures

The U.S. Cultures requirement of the liberal arts curriculum may be met through a variety of courses housed in various disciplines. While these courses vary in topic, theme, and emphasis, all provide the student with the opportunity to explore and learn about American culture. The various courses focus on one or more aspects of race, class, ethnicity, gender, religion, and sustainability in the United States, with attention to a critical evaluation of the past and present struggles to achieve the democratic ideals of liberty, equality, and justice. 

In the U.S. Cultures courses, students have the opportunity to develop a historical perspective through the use of primary historical documents, artifacts, or other sources. Using primary sources helps students to understand the origin and development of U.S. democratic principles relevant to the theme of the course. While some courses concentrate on understanding particular time periods or aspects of U.S. history and their impact on the present, others engage in contemporary analysis of present issues or conflicts within U.S. society.

Students in a U.S. Cultures course complete an independent research project. The course may also utilize experiential learning, service learning, or learning outside the classroom.

Approved courses are designated in the course descriptions in this catalog and by the letters US in the course schedule. 3 credits are required.

  1. Global Cultures

Global Cultures courses are housed in academic programs and the liberal arts to offer approaches to study globalization in the world from a variety of disciplinary viewpoints, guided by history’s impact upon the world in which we live.

Approved courses are designated in the course descriptions in this catalog and by the letters GC in the course schedule. 3 credits are required.

  1. Language Study

The study of language is essential to become a citizen of the world. It broadens the student’s awareness of other cultures, since language and culture are interdependent, and strengthens the student’s intercultural competency. Students are required to demonstrate college level introductory proficiency in speaking, reading, understanding, and writing a modern language different from the students’ native language. In order to meet this liberal arts curriculum requirement, study in French, German, Italian and Spanish is offered at Seton Hill. Other modern languages are also available at Seton Hill through online study including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese and Russian. Students must achieve college-level introductory proficiency. Students may study modern language through study abroad or transfer credits. American Sign Language may be transferred in to fulfill the Modern Language requirement. 

SEN 105 - Intro English Language & Culture II (English as 2nd Language) is recommended for students whose native language is not English. ESL students are permitted to meet the language requirement by taking a college-level course in a language different from their native language. ESL students cannot fulfill the language requirement in their native language.

Approved courses are designated in the course descriptions in this catalog and by the letters ML in the course schedule. 3-6 credits are required.

  1. Multiple Modes of Inquiry, Reasoning, and Expression

Encourages the development of quantitative reasoning and scientific discovery.

  1. Artistic Expression

Courses that fulfill the Artistic Expression requirement are offered in the disciplines of art, music, theatre, dance, and writing. These courses vary in topic, theme, and emphasis and address the learning objectives for the Artistic Expression component listed below. Students engage in study that taps their imagination and promotes the acquisition of basic skills in artistic expression. This component of the Liberal Arts Curriculum reaffirms the breadth and rich diversity of students’ skills in communication, self-awareness, and reflection, and offers opportunities to develop their creativity using visual art, performing arts, and creative writing. While the study presumes no previous training in the chosen artistic medium, students are provided with the opportunity to learn about the richness and depth of the human experience through the discipline of the artistic process.

Approved courses are designated in the course descriptions in this catalog and by the letters AE in the course schedule. 3 credits are required.

  1. Mathematics and Quantitative Skills

Mathematical literacy is of great value in everyday life. As with reading and writing literacy, mathematical literacy is a habit of mind that is best formed by exposure in many contexts.  The importance of mathematical literacy can be stated as follows:

  1. One of the classic liberal arts rationales for studying mathematics is that it strengthens general reasoning powers, for instance by developing problem-solving skills. 
  2. Mathematical literacy at varying levels is clearly needed in preparation for further study in many academic and professional fields.
  3. Increasing amounts of mathematics are needed in an increasing number of careers, and a mathematical literacy helps to hold some doors open.
  4. Many adults, and especially college graduates, are very likely to assume positions in their communities and in professional organizations where the subsets of mathematical literacy known as quantitative literacy (e.g., the ability to deal intelligently with statistics) will come into play and may even be essential for effectiveness, and so enhance the quality of citizens.
  5. Anyone without a mature appreciation of mathematics misses out on one of the finest and most important accomplishments of the human race, so mathematical literacy contributes to the spread of that appreciation. 

An important but often vaguely defined subtopic of mathematical literacy is Quantitative literacy (QL), which can be described as the ability to adequately use elementary mathematical tools to interpret and manipulate quantitative data and ideas that arise in individuals’ private, civic, and work lives. Thus, quantitative literacy is an elementary application of mathematical literacy. 

It is recommended that a student complete their mathematics requirement as early in their tenure at Seton Hill University as possible.

Approved courses are designated in the course descriptions in this catalog and by the letters MA in the course schedule. 3-4 credits are required. 

 C. Natural Science

Study in natural science furthers students’ understanding of the process of scientific inquiry and discovery. Aspects of scientific inquiry include formulation of a hypothesis, experimental design, analysis of data, and reporting findings based on evidence. Distinguishing between scientific and pseudoscientific approaches, students develop an understanding for both the use and misuse of science in modern society. Students consider the broad impacts of global scientific problems, including environmental sustainability.

Courses that fulfill the natural science requirement may require a co-requisite laboratory. The courses vary in topic, theme, and emphasis.

Approved courses are designated in the course descriptions in this catalog and by the letters SC in the course schedule. 3-4 credits are required.

 D. Social Science

The social sciences focus on the scientific study of human behavior and its social and cultural contexts. Critical thinking, communication, creative problem solving, and collaboration skills are developed, which can then be applied to a wide range of occupations.

The social sciences develop awareness of civic responsibility. Built upon ethical frameworks that focus on gaps between science and practice, the social sciences are paths for students to apply evidence-based practices to the complex needs of a diverse social world.  

Courses from a variety of areas provide a foundation of scientific literacy that empowers students to evaluate the appropriateness of social policies and to be skeptical consumers of scientific information. By learning how systems of power influence society and social processes, students are able to identify social structures that perpetuate systemic biases and to collaborate with others in the dismantling of such systems.

Approved courses are designated in the course descriptions in this catalog and by the letters SS in the course schedule. 3 credits are required.

  1. Reflection and Self-­Assessment

These courses invite students to wonder and make meaning of the essentials of the human experience and provide a forum for understanding the relation of faith and reason, ambiguity and absolutes, and the development of personal and community value systems.

 A. Connections

This component of the Liberal Arts Curriculum is satisfied through SLA 102. SLA 102 is a one-credit course providing all traditional first-year students with an orientation to university level expectations and resources available to them at Seton Hill University.  The course focuses on the development of specific skills and strategies for academic, personal, professional, and interpersonal success. This class forges connections for students with one another, with an upper class student mentor, and with faculty and staff.  It is student driven, mission focused, and interactive.  1 credit is required.

B. Faith, Religion, and Society

This component of the Liberal Arts Curriculum is satisfied through SLA 150 . The Faith, Religion, and Society course is an opportunity to explore the foundational roles of faith and spirituality in human growth and development and in the shaping of human societies and cultures. 3 credits are required.

C. Philosophy

The philosophy component of the liberal arts curriculum fosters students’ capacities for thinking critically and for engaging respectfully with diverse worldviews. In philosophy, students learn to analyze historical and contemporary texts, to express complex ideas clearly in speech and/or writing, and to raise fundamental questions regarding important dimensions of human life.  They are encouraged to think in non-linear ways and to entertain previously unfamiliar concepts and courses of action.  With a background in philosophy, students are better prepared to reflect and act upon the key decisions that shape their lives and the world in which they are destined to live.

Approved courses are designated in the course descriptions in this catalog and by the letters PL in the course schedule.  3 credits are required.


In the theology component of the liberal arts curriculum, students have the opportunity to explore the Christian faith tradition. Students learn the basic methods of critical theological inquiry and historical-critical analysis.  These methods are applied to a deeper study of an essential area of the Christian tradition that is the focus of the course.  Students may choose foundational courses in the scriptures or Christology; study the historical development of the Christian tradition or its expression in contemporary Catholic or Protestant forms; or focus on liturgical/sacramental life.  Women’s spirituality, contemporary ethics, and special topics courses are available as well.

The variety of courses offered in this area gives students a choice from over a dozen options at the 200 level.  Since these are academic courses, no background in a religious tradition is necessary for success.  However, students are encouraged to choose areas that match their interest and experience, or courses that can enhance their major and professional preparation.  Consultation with an advisor or a theology faculty member is encouraged for help in making the right choice.

In theology courses, students are encouraged to place course material into dialogue with their own experience and explore the socio-political dimensions of Christian faith in light of social privilege and oppression.

Approved courses are designated in the course descriptions in this catalog and in the course schedule by the letters TH. 3 credits are required.

  1. Setonian Seminar

This component of the Liberal Arts Curriculum is satisfied through SLA 400. Setonian Seminar offers an exploration of liberal arts mindsets gained throughout the college career.  Students will have the opportunity to process, integrate, and reflect upon their college experiences through the lenses of liberal arts education, the University Learning Objectives, the Setonian mission, Catholic Social Teaching, diversity, social justice, and their own readiness for the future.  3 credits are required.

V. Professionalism and Career Readiness

A. Career Readiness-Designated Course
Career readiness is a foundation from which to demonstrate requisite core competencies that broadly prepare the college educated for success in the workplace and lifelong career management. These core competencies, as identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, include: Communication, Career and Self-Development, Professionalism, Technology, Critical Thinking, Equity and Inclusion, Leadership, and Teamwork. Career readiness is introduced to students in the first year as part of Connections and continues to be taught in courses within the liberal arts curriculum, as well as courses within each major. 

In addition to the curricular career readiness initiatives, the staff of the Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC) plan and implement instructional career development sessions designed to meet the specific needs of the students in each academic major. The CPDC also provides a robust collection of resources to help students complete experiential learning, develop job search strategies, and plan for graduate or professional school.

Course(s) meeting this requirement are internal to each major program.



Liberal Arts Curriculum


Liberal Arts Curriculum Curriculum


  1. Communication and Problem Solving
  1.  Writing
  2.  Information Fluency (satisfied through multiple points across the curriculum)
  3.  Writing Intensive-Designated Course (internal to major program)




  1. Historical, Cultural, and Global Awareness
  1. Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice
  2. U.S. Cultures
  3. Global Cultures
  4. Language Study


  1. Multiple Modes of Inquiry, Reasoning, and Expression
  1. Artistic Expression
  2. Mathematics and Quantitative Skills
  3. Natural Science
  4. Social Science




  1. Self Reflection and Assessment
  1. Connections
  2. Faith, Religion, and Society
  3. Philosophy
  4. Theology
  5. Senior Integrative Seminar



V. Professionalism and Career Readiness

  1. Career Readiness-Designated Course (internal to major program)                          
Total Credits: 40-48