Liberal Arts at the Mount

Liberal Arts  informational board

Opening minds, opening doors

A liberal arts education offers much more than just the option to study music, painting, and the written word. In addition to focusing on one’s chosen major, a liberal arts college enriches students with a broad array of general knowledge, from fields such as philosophy and language arts to mathematics and the natural sciences.

The problem-solving skills, methods of thought, and other critical academic tools learned in these courses can be applied to any field of study.

Mount Saint Mary College’s liberal arts core provides a well-rounded education. In addition to the requirements of their chosen major, Mount undergraduates take courses in the natural sciences, philosophy, religion, language arts, mathematics and information technology, history/social science, and more.

Liberal Arts classrooms

A world of possibilities

Not all college students begin their academic journey knowing what field of study they wish to pursue. For these undeclared students, the Mount’s liberal arts core is often valuable in selecting a major.

The Science of Viral Discovery course, taught by Evan Merkhofer, assistant professor of biology, allows freshman non-science majors to discover previously undocumented viruses and examine the virus’s RNA. Using state-of-the-art technology, the students isolate and characterize viruses known as bacteriophages – viruses that infect bacteria.

The students “really have ownership of this project,” Merkhofer said. “It’s great to see non-science majors taking such an interest in this course and developing their skills.”

After being offered for the first time in the Fall 2016 semester, several students in the Viral Discovery course expressed interest in becoming biology majors.

The phenomenon isn’t limited to just this course. Mount Saint Mary College success stories often begin the same way.

Originally undeclared, alumna Laura Lomolino completed her Mount bachelor’s degree in business in three years and her graduate courses at the college one year later, in May of 2016. She credits enthusiastic business faculty and the college’s Career Center with guiding her down the path to a business major.

“I was happy to be welcomed with open arms into the School of Business,” said Lomolino. “The faculty is not only caring, but they want to see you succeed and will work hard to make that happen.”

Lomolino received the Presidential and the Leadership scholarships. She completed the college’s rigorous Honors program and is a member of the Delta Mu Delta honor society (business).

“It’s amazing to see how much I have grown as a person,” she noted. “My experiences at the Mount allowed me to break out of my shell, growing into the outgoing and motivated person that I am today.”

Liberal Arts  meeting

Career flexibility

In today’s ever-evolving business world, employees often require knowledge from many disciplines. Mount Saint Mary College’s liberal arts core can give students the edge they need to succeed.

Tara Doughty ’06 enjoys her role as director of program management at the medical education company Hospicom, Inc. To get where she is today, Doughty had to draw on tools she acquired not only in her public relations and business administration majors, but also those from her liberal arts education as well. The liberal arts core of her Mount Saint Mary College education created a firm foundation on which she built her career, she said.

Her advice to current and future Mount students is simple: broaden your skillset.

“What’s important is to have a strong skillset in communications, strong writing skills, and an outgoing personality,” Doughty explained. “Never be closed to an opportunity you didn’t plan.”

Liberal Arts Commencement speech

The Mount Advantage

Students don’t have to wait until their job search to experience the benefits of the Mount’s liberal arts education.

Mount students have the freedom to forge their own academic paths. Each one can enjoy studying a large variety of topics in a supportive, success-oriented environment. At the Mount, students can nurture secondary passions, or even combine courses from different fields to strengthen their major studies. For example, one might take marketing courses from both a communications and a business perspective, expand his or her understanding of history via art courses, or enhance a business major with information technology skills. There are many more creative pairings like these to take a Mount education even further.

In addition, the broad range of courses offered at the college allows for small class sizes. Mount students enjoy a 14-to-1 student to teacher ratio, creating a more personalized, in-depth approach to learning. Mount professors often form lasting bonds with their students, continuing to mentor them and share in their accomplishments long after graduation.

Through a diverse selection of majors and a strong liberal arts core, Mount Saint Mary College prepares more than 2,100 undergraduate students a semester for careers in education, business, nursing, and beyond. More than 96 percent of the college’s 2016 graduates reported obtaining a job or pursuing graduate school within six months of completing their degrees.