Policies and Procedures


To be accepted into the Program as a major or minor, students must be in academic good standing in the College. Because of the nature of the Humanistic Studies Program, which requires small classes, enrollment in the major or minor is limited to approximately 25 students each year. Selection of the students for the Program is based in part on academic performance.

All course work required in the major must be completed on the Saint Mary's campus. Transfer credits usually are not accepted because of the Program's uniqueness.

Many Humanistic Studies majors spend their sophomore year in Rome, Ireland, or on other foreign study programs offered by Saint Mary's or Notre Dame. While such study is an excellent preparation for the major, it is not required.

The Comprehensive Examination in Humanistic Studies requires that the student synthesize the material studied in the Program in an essay completed in a two-week period early in her final semester of the Program. Exams are graded pass, fail, and, in the case of exceptional performance, honors. Should a student fail the exam, the faculty members of the department will meet to decide under what circumstances she may retake it. Double majors choose in which of their majors they will complete the comprehensive requirement.

To satisfy the College's Advanced Writing Requirement in Humanistic Studies, students write a variety of essays in the required courses in the major, collecting a portfolio of their best work which is periodically reviewed by the faculty. Final determination of advanced writing proficiency is made at the time of the comprehensive examination in the major. A student may fulfill her advanced writing requirement in Humanistic Studies, even when she fulfills her comprehensive requirement in another department, by submitting a portfolio of her written work early in her last semester in the Program. Should a student fail to satisfy the requirement, the department will recommend appropriate action to the Assistant to the Vice President and Dean of Faculty.