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Can you tell me a little bit more about your core curriculum? I hear it is pretty extensive and that everyone has to take all the same classes. Do students get to choose any of their classes? When do you pick your major?
Our core curriculum is our pride and joy. In fact, it’s one of the most distinctive aspects about us, and I am happy that you want to know more about it!
All students who attend Christendom study much of the same subject matter for the first two and a half years. Currently, all students take 84 credit hours of carefully selected classes:
- 6 classes (18 credits) of Theology
- 6 classes (18 credits) of Philosophy
- 4 classes (12 credits) of English Language & Literature
- 4 classes (12 credits) of History
- 4 classes (12 credits) of Foreign Language (Latin, Greek, or French)
- 2 classes (6 credits) of Political Science
- 1 class (3 or 4 credits) of Math
- 1 class (3 credits) of Science
At the end of your sophomore year, you are able to select one of our six majors (History, Theology, Philosophy, Classics, English Language & Literature, or Political Science). Additionally, you can minor or double major in any of these same subjects, and can minor also in Math, Economics, and Liturgical Music.
Once a student has completed the core curriculum, they can then focus more on their major and take classes in their area of study.
Christendom offers a number of internship opportunities for students on campus, but we also do what we can to help our students find internships in the Washington, DC, area and elsewhere during the school year or during the summer.
One of the benefits of doing an internship (paid or volunteer) is to gain experience in a field that you may want to work in after graduation, but another reason is to gain contacts in the field that may help you later on in life. Christendom has a number of internships and employment opportunities that can really benefit students post-graduation. These are on-campus positions in fundraising, journalism, photography, office administration, kitchen help, maintenance, library services, event planning, and much more.
I have had many graduates tell me that their experience working in one of these positions made their resumes stand out to their future employers because they had had “real life” experience working in the field for which they were applying. Regular readers of The Chronicler may remember Jack Anderson ’11 and Matt Hadro ’10 who used to write the weekly sports section of this publication (prior to Coach Vander Woude taking it over last year). When they came to visit the college as seniors in high school, they both told me that they wanted to be sports writers someday. I told them that they could get some great experience by writing the weekly columns for The Chronicler, and they did. Now, they are both professional writers – Matt works for the Media Research Center as a news analyst and as a blogger for Newsbusters, while Jack writes for a variety of sports blogs (SB Nation, Skins Talk, NFL Blog Blitz).
A lot of our students get internships in the Washington, DC, area during the summer, working at think tanks or on Capitol Hill or for law offices or political/non-profit groups. Some students can even earn academic credit for doing an internship.
Can you give me a little summary of each of your various departments? Who are the teachers in each department and what are their educational backgrounds?
We have 6 main academic departments here at Christendom in which you may select a major: History, Philosophy, Theology, Political Science and Economics, Classical and Early Christian Studies, and English Language and Literature. We also have a Math and Natural Sciences, as well as a Music program in which students may minor.
We have a short summary of the various departments and the names and educational backgrounds of our full-time professor available here and you may also watch some of the short departmental videos on our website under the individual department pages. These can give you a pretty good insight into what makes Christendom's approach to the various academic disciplines a little different than other colleges.
Additionally, you may take a look at the entire faculty line-up here.
I am really good at my math and science-related subjects in high school, particularly math, yet, I also like the idea of Christendom's liberal arts curriculum, which doesn't seem to offer much in the math and science department. Is there some way that I can do both if I attend Christendom?
A. This is a very common question that is asked of me, and I am glad that I can once again try my hand at giving you a suitable answer.
From my understanding, normally, the reason people like math/science related subjects is because their brains are wired that way and they like the idea of things being black and white, right and wrong, objectively true rather than subjectively true. Additionally, they are interested in the reasons why things are the way they are, thus the desire to understand how things work and operate through the sciences.
When I came to Christendom as a freshman many years ago, I was the math kid. It was my favorite subject. I scored 200+ points higher on the math section of my SAT than on the reading section. My Dad has an Electrical Engineering degree, two of my brothers have computer science degrees, one of my brothers has a doctorate in Electrical Engineering, and my sister is a math teacher. Math seemingly runs through my blood.
But I am here to tell you that Christendom has many offerings for those who tend toward "right side of the brain" activities. We offer many math classes (in which one can get a minor in math, if desired)
- Introduction to Mathematical Thought
- Euclidean Geometry
- College Algebra and Trigonometry
- Computer Programming
- Calculus I, II, III
- Linear Algebra
- Probability and Statistics
- Symbolic Logic
- Modal Logic
- Mathematical Logic
- Differential Equations
And we also offer a number of science courses as well:
- Introduction to Scientific Thought
- Descriptive Astronomy
- General Physics I and II
- Laboratory for General Physics I & II
And besides the actual math and science offerings, there are many subjects that work well with the "right side of the brain" people. If people like objective truth, it doesn't get much more objective than Theology. If people like to figure things out and learn to understand what makes things tick, then Philosophy is the subject to study. History is also very good for people who like to keep things objective. Studying these subjects definitely fulfills the needs of a "right brain" person, so it is not always necessary to actually study math/science in college, even if it is your favorite subject. Take it from me, a Theology major.
Finally, I wanted to let you know something that my brother, Michael, told me a while back. He came to Christendom for two years and took all the core curriculum courses that were offered (history, Theology, philosophy, political science, English), as well as a whole bunch of math classes. After two years, he decided that he wanted to do electrical engineering, so he transferred to George Mason University.
Because he had taken so many math courses at Christendom he didn't need to take any more math courses to fulfill his degree in engineering, and he finished up with his EE degree in just three additional years. He eventually went on to get his doctorate in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Delaware. He currently works in Texas and recently told me that he tends to use more of what he learned in his two years at Christendom than he does all the scientific stuff he studied for 8 years. I asked him why and he said that it is because scientists spend much of their time doing various projects, and when the project is over, there needs to be some sort of synopsis or paper written up about it. As a result of his Christendom liberal arts education, he says that he is quite often selected to be the project manager and therefore, the one responsible for writing up the findings. So, there's something to be said for a well-rounded, well-read scientist.
For more information on our math/science department please click here.
A: Some people think we offer a Great Books Program, but, in fact, we do not. A Great Books Program, from what I can tell, is one which studies a certain limited number of primary texts in a Socratic or discussion type forum. No textbooks or secondary sources are used in a Great Books program and all students study the exact same subjects and receive one degree, a BA in Liberal Arts, without having choices of majors. Here's what our friend, Wiki, has to say about it.
Christendom would be categorized as offering a classical liberal arts education. We rely heavily on many of the exact same primary texts read in a Great Books program, but we also use many secondary sources to gain deeper understanding of the subject matter. Additionally, we rely heavily on the great education and knowledge of our esteemed faculty. All of them have read more on the subjects that they teach than probably the whole student body put together. We rely on their insights into their subject matter and want to hear what they think about this or that topic in their area of expertise, as opposed to relying on the insights of college-aged students (which happens quite often in a Great Books Program, I am told).
Also, the vast majority of our classes are lecture format (with an average class size of around 18-22 students) with students having the ability to ask questions and make comments during class. Although we do have a very strong core curriculum which lasts two and a half years, following the completion of the core, students are given the opportunity to delve deeper into one of six areas of study and major in Theology, Philosophy, English Language and Literature, Classics, Political Science, or History.
Additionally, most Great Books programs do not offer history as part of their curriculum because generally, in order to do an in-depth survey of history, textbooks are used. Here at Christendom, we rely heavily on College founder Dr. Warren Carroll's History of Christendom series of books. Of course, there are other differences, but these are the ones I think may be easiest understood. I hope that this clarifies a couple of the differences between a Great Books Program and what Christendom offers. Here is our core curriculum at a glance.
Here is an interesting (although a little long) look at the idea of studying the Great Books by a former University of Dallas professor named Frederick D. Wilhelmsen. Although I do not necessarily agree with all that he says, I do think he has some pretty valid points. This is simply my opinion, and does not reflect the views of Christendom College….just saying.