College of Arts and Sciences
A Message from the Dean
Welcome to the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University. The College is a community of caring, engaged, and student-focused faculty and staff dedicated to invention, discovery, and the prospect of producing knowledge in the service of others. In addition to being the oldest of the University’s five schools, we are also the home to Fairfield’s Core Curriculum, the intellectual foundation of a Fairfield education, anchored in the liberal arts and deeply informed by the Jesuit values of academic excellence and service. We create authentic learning opportunities for students that allow for “exploring the complexities of the human condition, experiencing the wonders of artistic creation, investigating the intricacies of the universe, and reflecting on the mysteries of the sacred – so that we may all do our part to promote a just and peaceful world.”
With 15 departments and 18 programs, the College values inspired teaching and innovative faculty research that makes Fairfield unique. With majors, minors, and interdisciplinary programs spanning a wide variety of subjects and areas of academic inquiry, the opportunities to explore are limitless and uniquely position our students for success in an increasingly competitive job market where key skills such as critical thinking and clear communication are highly valued. From taking the stage in a theatre production to studying the impact of pollution on marine life, the College of Arts and Sciences provides our students the space to explore their passions. Within easy reach of major metropolitan centers and countless companies and service organizations, our internship program further allows our students to put theory into practice in the real world as part of their studies in the College.
We are confident that your time with us will not only prepare you for a rewarding career but an inspired life of service. As the philosopher John Dewey observed, “education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” It is our desire that you live and learn fully during your time at the College, that you are fully engaged. But always remember your responsibility to lead by sharing what you have learned with others. In the immortal words of Ignatius of Loyola, “Go forth and set the world on fire.”
Richard Greenwald, PhD
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
The oldest and largest of Fairfield’s five schools, the College of Arts and Sciences offers the bachelor of arts and the bachelor of science degree, as well as master's degrees in American studies, communication, creative writing, mathematics and public administration. In recent years, the College has won numerous grants to support new and continuing programs. Examples include funding to enhance the core science curriculum, to broaden access to science education, to add courses in critical languages, to enhance diversity at the University, to bring geographic information systems technology to area high school classrooms, and to promote family literacy. Through various scholarships, grants, and internship programs, students in the College have had the opportunity to study and conduct research in Brazil, China, Nicaragua, Russia, and Tanzania, among other locations.
Students are encouraged to select a major by the end of their freshman year (essential in sciences) but no later than the end of the sophomore year. Pre-major students who are still exploring should consult with their faculty advisor, any of their professors, the Office of Academic Support and Retention, or a career counselor to help them choose a program of study. Selecting a major is not an irrevocable decision; the academic program at Fairfield is flexible enough to allow students to discover new interests or identify new goals. Any of the academic programs in arts and sciences will provide the broad foundations for success and flexibility in any career path.
Within each major field of study, courses range from introductory to highly specialized, with multiple opportunities for independent study and research. Students may also opt, with faculty advice and agreement, to design their own major. Double-majors and minors can also be arranged for students who want to combine the skills and perspectives of two or more disciplines. The core curriculum provides many opportunities to explore the vast territory of the liberal arts and to discover individual intellectual passions.
Bachelor of Arts
The bachelor of arts is a liberal arts degree with emphasis in the arts, humanities, or social and behavioral sciences.
Major concentrations in the BA degree program include:
- American Studies
- Environmental Studies
- International Studies
- Modern Languages and Literatures (French, German, Italian, and Spanish)
- Religious Studies
- Sociology and Anthropology
- Visual and Performing Arts
Bachelor of Science
The bachelor of science is a liberal arts degree with an emphasis in the sciences.
Major concentrations in the BS degree program include:
The Fairfield curriculum includes a number of majors and minors that are interdisciplinary in nature. Such programs permit students to combine coursework from more than one academic department, thereby examining a broad subject from a multiplicity of disciplinary perspectives. There are six interdisciplinary majors currently available to students in the College of Arts and Sciences:
- American Studies
- Environmental Studies
- International Studies
- Individually Designed Major
- Liberal Studies
The College also offers the following interdisciplinary minors:
- American Studies
- Applied Ethics
- Asian Studies
- Black Studies
- Catholic Studies
- Classical Studies
- Educational Studies
- Environmental Studies
- Graphic Design
- Health Studies
- Humanitarian Action
- International Studies
- Irish Studies
- Italian Studies
- Judaic Studies
- Latin American and Caribbean Studies
- Peace and Justice Studies
- Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies
- Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
The College of Arts and Sciences participates in the University Honors Program, an interdisciplinary course of study (20 credits) open to invited freshmen and sophomores and devoted to intellectual history, interdisciplinary studies, and advanced work in the student's major field.
The bachelor of arts or bachelor of science in Liberal Studies is a flexible, individualized and interdisciplinary degree designed for non-traditional part time undergraduates (for example, students returning to college after a long hiatus, working professionals who seek career advancement with a respected university degree, etc.). This major consists of nine courses from at least two areas (humanities, social and behavioral science, mathematics and science, professional studies) as well as a capstone course. The degree offers many attractive features to returning students including a modified core curriculum, more liberal credit transfer policy, and the ability to receive credit through CLEP and portfolio review. More information is available under the Liberal Studies program section of the catalog.
Specialized Programs in Arts and Sciences
In addition to the traditional major concentrations, the College of Arts and Sciences offers specialized programs and academic services. A partial list follows:
The College of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions, offers a Five-Year Integrated Bachelor and Master of Arts Teacher Certification Program in Elementary Education or Secondary Education. Secondary education tracks include English, science, math, social studies, and world language education. Students earn a BA or BS in their major. They minor in Educational Studies and take two to four additional teacher preparation courses as undergraduates, depending on the certification area. Students continue teacher preparation as graduate students, completing a 30-credit MA in Elementary or Secondary Education and eligibility for Connecticut teaching certifications.
Health Professions Program
Fairfield offers a challenging, competitive, and highly successful pre-medical/pre-dental/pre-health professional program. Students in this program pursue studies in a field or major of their personal interest while taking those courses necessary for admission to medical, dental, and veterinary school, as well as any of the professional schools for allied health careers, such as optometry, physical and occupational therapy, and podiatry.
All students who are considering the health professions as a career and were not registered for the program as admitted students should identify themselves and meet with the Health Professions Advisor as early as possible. A great deal of careful planning must be done in order to prepare a strong application for advanced study.
Students who apply to health professions schools need to have foundational knowledge in science. These foundations can be taken within a science major or added to a non-science major. Many pre-medical students elect to pursue a degree in biology that provides well beyond the minimum requirements recommended by the Association of American Medical Colleges for admission to medical school (similar to requirements for other health professions schools). However, students should also recognize that other majors - in the natural sciences and in non-science fields - are acceptable alternatives as long as the major is supplemented by a combination of courses that represent preparation for medical, dental, and allied health schools. The best preparation for medicine and a number of other health professions usually includes early completion of the following basic course sequences: MA 0119 & MA 0120; BI 0170 & BI 0171; CH 0111 & CH 0112; CH 0211 & CH 0212; PS 0115 & PS 0116. The choice and sequence of courses depend on the student's personal and academic priorities; these should be discussed with the Health Professions Advisor and other academic advisors.
Internship opportunities are of special interest to students preparing for careers in medicine. Options available to Fairfield students include the Emergency Medicine Research Associates Program at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport and a wide variety of local, national, and international opportunities. Contact advisor Geoffrey Church, x2485, for more information.
Fairfield's pre-law program has been consistently successful during the past decade. No particular major is recommended for law school candidates. Pre-law students should elect courses that examine the social, economic, and political systems of which the law is a part. They should also select courses that help them develop competencies to read analytically, reason logically, write clearly, speak precisely, and think critically. Finally, students may wish to pursue coursework that examines the law from the perspective of disciplines such as politics, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and business. The program is closely supervised by faculty who serve as special advisors to pre-law students; supplementary advising is available through the the Academic and Career Development Center. Contact advisor Gwendoline Alphonso, x2861, for more information.
Internships provide the opportunity for practical experience in a career field related to a student's major. Most departments of the College of Arts and Sciences offer credit for internships in appropriate agencies and business firms in Fairfield, nearby communities, as well as in New York City and New Haven. Majors who wish to take advantage of these opportunities should consult their department chair or program internship coordinator about eligibility requirements and other details.
In addition to the major, a number of departments and interdisciplinary programs in the college offer optional minor concentrations. These concentrations are developed under faculty supervision within the context of departmental requirements and offerings. For further information, contact the department chair or program director.
Departmental Requirements and Options
Each department or program in the College of Arts and Sciences has specific academic requirements and options for earning a degree in its academic field. Those requirements and options are found in the departmental and program sections that are presented in alphabetical order on subsequent pages of this catalog.
Additional majors, concentrations, and programs housed in academic departments:
- Anthropology: see Sociology and Anthropology
- Art History: see Visual and Performing Arts
- Behavioral Neuroscience: see Psychology
- Chinese: see Modern Languages and Literatures
- Creative Writing: see English
- Digital Journalism: see English
- Film: see Visual and Performing Arts
- French: see Modern Languages and Literatures
- German: see Modern Languages and Literatures
- Graphic Design: see Visual and Performing Arts
- Greek and Roman Studies: see Classical Studies
- Hebrew: see Modern Languages and Literatures
- Italian: see Modern Languages and Literatures
- Japanese: see Modern Languages and Literatures
- Marine Science: see Biology
- Molecular Biology: see Biology
- Film, Television, and Media Arts: see Visual and Performing Arts
- Music: see Visual and Performing Arts
- Professional Writing: see English
- Public Relations: see Communication
- Russian: see Modern Languages and Literatures
- Spanish: see Modern Languages and Literatures
- Studio Art: see Visual and Performing Arts
- Theatre: see Visual and Performing Arts