Academic Program

The undergraduate 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 undergraduate academic program consists of three parts:

  1. general education requirements (General Education),
  2. specialized coursework (a major) and
  3. 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 be able to:

  • Inquire Deeply
  • Solve Complex Problems
  • Develop Cultural Fluency
  • Communicate Clearly and Persuasively
  • Serve and Lead through Benedictine Values

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 advisor.
    • 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 do not count toward residence and may be earned at any time.
  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 CSS Bachelor's Degree

A second CSS 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.

College Learning Outcomes

Inquire Deeply

CSS students will explore issues, problems, and content of their field of study. Deep inquiry and analysis lead to greater understanding and results in informed conclusions, judgments, and solutions that contribute to the greater society. Direct Measure: Inquiry & Analysis

Solve Complex Problems

Seeking and developing creative solutions to complex problems requires an open mind and heart to engage in a comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas,  evidence, and events before formulating an opinion or conclusion. By generating such solutions, CSS students will learn to effect change in ways that contribute to the collective health of communities and create a more just and equitable society. In support of this aim, students will understand the social contexts and complexities of problems and identify ethical issues and explore implications of various solutions. Direct Measures: Ethical Reasoning and Critical Thinking

Develop Cultural Fluency

To welcome and engage all people, ideas and perspectives, CSS students will practice the Benedictine Value of Hospitality. Students will engage and explore diverse ways of being, knowing, and communicating that support inclusive and respectful interaction, and develop relationships within and across a variety of cultural contexts. Direct Measure: Intercultural Knowledge & Competence.

Communicate Clearly and Persuasively

In order to communicate responsibly and meaningfully in a diverse world and guided with ‘the ear of the heart’, students will be able to speak, read, and write clearly and effectively to be successful, productive citizens. Students and alumni will advance knowledge their fields and improve the relationships and communities in which they find themselves. Direct Measures: Written Communication and Oral Communication.

Serve and Lead through Benedictine Values

Grounded in our Benedictine Values of Community, Hospitality, Respect, Stewardship and Love of Learning, CSS alumni will be engaged in communities in a way that is both enriching to their lives and socially beneficial to neighborhoods and communities of the world. At CSS, students will prepare to actively advance justice, sustainability, and serve and transform the communities of our world by engaging within the social, cultural, political and economic realities in which they find themselves. Direct Measures: Civic Engagement.

Veritas, St. Scholastica's General Education Program

Benedictines in history have been scholars, caregivers, educators, and artists. The liberal arts mirror these broad Benedictine roles. At St. Scholastica, Veritas (“truth”) is the name of our liberal arts general education program. With Veritas and a major, St. Scholastica students engage in liberal education in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, which emphasizes the search for truth across a breadth of disciplines.

In addition to the traditional breadth of liberal arts disciplines, Veritas emphasizes skills and values to empower students and prepare them for a world of changing complexities. These include the critical thinking skills of inquiry, analysis, creative thinking, communication, quantitative reasoning, information literacy, teamwork, and problem solving, and the personal and social values of civic engagement, intercultural competence, and ethical reasoning. These incredibly difficult and important so-called “soft skills” cut across the disciplinary content of the Veritas curriculum, setting the stage for our graduates’ responsible living and meaningful work.

Veritas builds students’ fundamental literacies in Foundations courses, then expands the breadth of their disciplinary knowledge while continuing to build skills in Conceptions & Integrations courses.


The Foundations of Veritas are our signature two-semester first-year seminar Dignitas, composition, interpersonal communication, mathematics, and world languages. These begin to build the literacies of oral and written communication, quantitative reasoning, and intercultural competence. In addition, Dignitas welcomes St. Scholastica students into the Benedictine heritage, grounding them in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and Catholic Social Justice Teaching, by focusing on concepts of Dignity and Diversity.

The full requirements in Foundations are 8 credits of Dignitas, 2 credits of interpersonal communication, 4 credits of composition, 4 credits of Foundations-designated mathematics, and 8 credits of world language. While Dignitas, composition, and interpersonal communication make for a cohesive first-year experience, not all courses in Foundations must be taken in the first year. Despite the “foundational” nature of these skills, not every course in Foundations is a 1000-level course. 

Some students take fewer Foundations credits due to their transfer status and credits.

Conceptions & Integrations

The disciplines of Conceptions & Integrations courses broaden the Veritas curriculum to encompass all the traditional liberal arts. While engaging students in disciplinary breadth, the Conceptions & Integrations courses continue to build critical thinking skills, and each course specifically connects to one of the values of civic engagement, intercultural competence, or ethical reasoning.

The full requirements in Conceptions & Integrations are 4 credits in each of 7 disciplines, plus 4 more credits in any discipline or designated Veritas elective. At least 8 credits must be from Integrations-designated courses. 

Some students take fewer Conceptions & Integrations credits due to their transfer credits.

Courses with the Integrations designation are Veritas courses that introduce students to one of the disciplines, but in addition are upper-division and writing intensive. Their upper-division nature may make them more suitable for students who have completed substantial college coursework already, but the Integrations-designated courses themselves do not have prerequisites in the disciplines.

Conceptions & Integrations Disciplines

Social Sciences

The Social Sciences study 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. 


History is an interdisciplinary study that reflects upon and analyzes human experience, paying particular attention to change over time. It focuses on the ways people 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. 


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. 

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 experience 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. 

Theology and Religious Studies

The study of theology and religion involves the academic exploration of our relationship with God and the nature and role of religion. Courses examine beliefs, rituals, ethics, sacred writings, spiritualities, and the meaning and application of faith in students' lives. Most courses reflect the Christian tradition or the Benedictine Catholic heritage. Consistent with an ecumenical and interfaith perspective, courses are often in dialogue with Protestant Christianity, Judaism and other faiths. Particular courses focus on the traditions and theologies of other world religions.


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. 

Natural Sciences

The natural sciences attempt to discover principles or laws, which explain life and the physical universe through iterations of observation, formulation of hypotheses, experimentation and/or further data collection, and development of theory. Scientific discoveries enable humans to understand and explain the universe, to appreciate the beauty of its complex interconnectedness, and to exercise stewardship over its resources. Students who take natural science courses are better able to understand the scope of scientific endeavor, its limits, how science has shaped the modern world, and both the scientific and technological issues society faces.

Veritas Electives

The Veritas Electives allow for course offerings that are uniquely designed outside of the seven Conceptions & Integrations disciplines. In addition to the required 4 credits in 7 disciplines, students take an additional 4 credits by pursuing further study in any of the Veritas disciplines, or a course from these electives, which may be highly interdisciplinary.

Veritas and Transfer

Even traditional first-year students may bring in a significant number of college credits. These can be applied as appropriate in the Foundations courses and the Conceptions-designated disciplines. However, at a minimum students take Dignitas, a course in the Religious Studies discipline if not explicitly taken already, and 8 credits of Integrations-designated courses.

The World Languages requirement in Foundations may be met by successfully completing 3 years of a single language in high school (grades 9-12), fluency or proficiency demonstrated by exam, or successful completion through the 1112 level at CSS.

A student who enters CSS officially coded as a “transfer student” has first-year college experience (or the equivalent) already, so is exempt from the Dignitas first-year seminar. In addition, these students have no world language requirement, and their transfer credits are applied as appropriate to Foundations and Conceptions-designated requirements. At a minimum, they must explicitly address the Religious Studies discipline, and take 8 credits of Integrations-designated coursework in Veritas.

The full details of CSS’s transfer equivalencies and articulation agreements are complex and nuanced. Students should consult with their admissions counselors and advisors to get a personalized understanding of their transfer credits.

Study Abroad

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 goes back more than 30 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 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 use 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 affect your financial aid. Make an appointment with Financial Aid to determine your budget and how your loans and scholarships will apply to study abroad.


Nursing students have the opportunity to participate in this service-learning elective. Students, through intensive experience applying principles of civic engagement and nursing knowledge, gain understanding of cultural differences and similarities between people of different cultures. Students use their skills and knowledge to help bring solutions to community-identified problems.


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 study in London on a three-week May program, led and taught by St. Scholastica faculty members every other year. With a focus on literature and theatre, the "London Arts and Culture" itinerary exposes students to the vibrant cultural history of London and includes multiple theatre performances, workshops, museums, and historical sites. A three-day excursion to the cities of Bath and Stratford-upon-Avon is also included.


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 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: The College of St. Scholastica in Rome)before 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 an intensive 10-credit, six-week service-learning education-abroad summer program in Cuernavaca, Mexico, called Cuernavaca Quest. This exciting program combines academic work and experiential education focusing on social justice issues. It promotes personal transformation through the integration of knowledge, action and reflection. 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, culture, and society. The final two weeks of the program are spent in a service-learning internship 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. All credits earned in the Cuernavaca Quest program count toward a major or minor in Spanish. 


The College sponsors a winter break program in Morocco providing undergraduate students the opportunity to research marketing practices in a global setting. This course applies contemporary marketing theory to marketing functions within the ultra-fragmented distribution channels of Morocco. Students conduct research on a variety of businesses to illustrate how contemporary marketing principles apply in an environment that still, to this modern day, uses the trading principles of the 18th century while at the same time competing in the modern global marketplace.


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 intended for American students of Russian are held every other year in May and June in Petrozavodsk. An integral part of St. Scholastica's and Saint Martin's Russian Language Programs, the camps are open to any interested student. 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. 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 every other summer to spend a few weeks on a service-learning program to Tanzania. In a required course the previous semester, students are introduced to the history, culture, and sociopolitical situation in Tanzania, along with some basic Swahili instruction and safe travel procedures. Students continue to examine and reflect upon concepts of culture, cultural competence, global development, equity and social justice issues while traveling. Particular focus is given to a critical examination of one's personal and professional values in light of the Benedictine values that are also embraced by our hosts - the Benedictine Sisters of the Monastery of St. Agnes in Tanzania. Service-learning projects are matched to the skills and interests of the student and faculty participants to work with the needs of the rural peoples that the Tanzanian Sisters serve. All participants assist in gathering and carrying medical and teaching supplies for the monasteries that we visit.

Honors Program

The Honors Program at The College of St. Scholastica prepares civic scholars committed to the pursuit of knowledge that leads to ethical action in their communities and beyond. The program's small, discussion-based seminars can fulfill Veritas requirements as designated by the instructor. Prospective students who meet two of the following criteria qualify to request an interview with the Honors Director for admission to the program:

  • rank in the top 15 percent of high-school class,
  • high-school GPA of 3.5 or above,
  • and ACT score of 26.

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 advisor.

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 advisor. 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 advisor for specific procedures to request a challenge.


Full-time degree-seeking 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. The College of St. Scholastica does not open online courses to cross-registration.

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. 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 advisor 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 advisor for more information on summer offerings.