Curriculum

As an Integral student, you'll engage in small group discussions that explore the works of Western history's greatest thinkers, challenge your assumptions, and hone your intellect to a razor-sharp edge. 

The Integral Program - A Different Way to Learn

The Integral Program — part of the Saint Mary's College experience for over 50 years — uses questioning, conversation, and a classic liberal arts approach to engage students in a unique and profound educational experience. Our students discover the interconnected nature of a broad spectrum of fields, learning to think mathematically, scientifically, poetically, and philosophically. You'll not only study ways of thinking, you'll explore the nature of thought itself. Each Integral class learns to converse on multiple levels, ask precise and incisive questions, and give intuitive and informed responses.

 

Program Admissions

Each Integral course is a prerequisite for later courses, making it impossible to join the program later than freshman year. In extraordinary cases a remedial course in January Term may be taken to allow a freshman to enter the program in February. Transferring into the Integral Program after the first semester of your first year is nearly impossible due to the unique nature of its curriculum, which proceeds in a purposeful, chronological manner through all four undergraduate years.

 

Program Requirements

The Integral Program is a special community with its own curriculum, requirements, faculty, and degree. The demands of the program differ significantly from those of more conventional departments and majors. Integral students do have the option of taking at least six elective courses in other fields of interest. The program attracts talented and committed students from all backgrounds, but it is not and has never been an honors program.

Some Integral students pursue an additional major or minor, which must be chosen from a limited selection of programs and usually requires carrying more than a 4-course load. Integral students usually begin pre-professional studies after graduation.

      

Curriculum

As an Integral student, you'll engage in small group discussions that explore the works of Western history's greatest thinkers, challenge your assumptions, and hone your intellect to a razor-sharp edge. Integral classes do not include the voices of critics and authorities — discussions are guided only by you, your fellow students, and an Integral tutor. You'll encounter the insights and discoveries of Euclid, Sappho, Einstein, Freud, and more, sometimes in translation, sometimes in the original tongue. The curriculum is divided into seminars, tutorials, and laboratories. The Seminar, the heart of the curriculum, will engage you in careful reading and probing discussion of seminal works of literature, history, economics, politics, philosophy, and theology. The tutorials are in three sequences (Mathematic, Language, and Music) and require active participation in translating and analyzing texts, demonstrating mathematical proficiency, and explaining natural phenomena. Laboratories offer hands-on experience in the physical sciences. Seniors use their accumulated learning to write a major essay and defend it before their fellow students and the Integral tutors.

Year One 

  • Seminar: Ancient Greek drama, epic and lyric poetry, philosophy, and history
  • Language: Grammar - the Greek language of ancient Athens and the New Testament
  • Mathematics: Greek Mathematics, Geometry, and Astronomy
  • Laboratory: Fundamental activities of scientific inquiry

 

Year Two 

  • Seminar: Hebrew and Christian Scripture, Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance texts
  • Language: Logical and linguistic works by Aristotle and Plato; continued Greek study
  • Mathematics: Ancient and Renaissance astronomy; development of analytic geometry
  • Music Tutorial: Texts in music theory and harmonics; choral singing

 

Year Three

  • Seminar: Early modern authors, from Cervantes to the American founding
  • Language: Poetics and Rhetoric through Anglophone authors; Beowulf to Ralph Ellison
  • Mathematics: Newton’s Principia and the development of calculus

 

Year Four 

  • Seminar: Modern thought and expression: Tolstoy, Hegel, Freud, Nietzsche, Eliot, and Woolf
  • Language: Dialectic and literary modernism
  • Mathematics: non-Euclidean geometry, number theory, Einstein; quantum theory