Catholic Liberal Arts Colleges
If you're looking for an institution of higher learning that can provide you with a well-rounded education, you might want to look into a liberal arts college. With some exceptions, liberal arts colleges tend to be small, largely residential and privately run. Schools affiliated with the Catholic Church make up one of the main categories of liberal arts colleges. However, you'll find there are some things that set Catholic liberal arts colleges apart from the others. Schools offering Liberal Arts degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
How are Catholic Liberal Arts Colleges Similar to and Different from Other Liberal Arts Colleges?
The first and most obvious characteristic of Catholic colleges is their church affiliation. That said, not all Catholic colleges are alike. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, out of over 200 Catholic colleges and universities in the United States, less than 12 are sponsored by dioceses (www.usccb.org). Except for The Catholic University of America, which is sponsored and partially funded by the Catholic Church, all others are sponsored by their founding order, such as Jesuits, Franciscans or Benedictines.
Like most liberal arts colleges, many of these schools emphasize undergraduate education. However, some also offer graduate degrees or are part of an institution that does. You'll find the usual array of majors and concentrations that are offered at other liberal arts colleges. In addition, there are a number of Catholic liberal arts schools that offer various online programs or courses.
Most standard majors and classes are available at Catholic liberal arts colleges, including degrees in the arts and sciences and in more career-focused disciplines such as business or information technology.
Among Catholic schools, you'll notice there's a declaration of an adhesion to Judeo-Christian tradition and the educational traditions of their founding order. As reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education (September 12, 2010), in 1990, Pope John Paul II issued Ex corde Ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church), in which he emphasized the integration of knowledge, faith and truth within the context of a Christ-centered Catholic college (http://chronicle.com). In other words, you'll find that Catholic colleges reinforce the beliefs of the Catholic Church and tend to be less socially and ethically permissive than their secular counterparts.
Do I Have to be Catholic to Attend?
While Catholic liberal arts schools, like all private liberal arts colleges, tend to be somewhat more selective in their admission policies than public institutions, religion isn't one of their admission criteria. Consequently, you don't have to be Catholic to be admitted to the school. However, considering that the school was founded on a clear set of Catholic principles, you'll be expected to respect them and behave accordingly.
As part of your undergraduate education at a Catholic liberal arts college, you'll be required to complete courses in theology and philosophy. Prevailing school policy determines the number of courses.
Where Can I Find a School?
The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities provides a list of 250 schools throughout the United States. The list notes which schools have seminaries associated with them. Although the list provides links to very few of the schools, it does give city and state locations for each (www.accunet.org).
At the website of St. Irene's Roman Catholic Church in Carlisle, Massachusetts, you'll find a list of nearly 200 Catholic colleges and universities throughout the country. The alphabetized list provides links to each school's website (www.stirenes.org).
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: