May 18, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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American Studies

Co-coordinators: Dr. Robin L. Cadwallader and Dr. Denise Holladay Damico

This interdisciplinary minor approaches American culture from many directions in order to view America as a whole rather than from the perspective of a single discipline. Required and elective courses represent a wide spectrum of academic disciplines that address critical topics such as American philosophical thought and religious institutions, social and economic structures, artistic and literary expression, various facets of American history, and the American political system and legal tradition. This interdisciplinary perspective allows students to pursue a variety of interests and establishes a foundation for advancement after graduation, including graduate studies in History, Literature, Politics, or related fields; law school or similar pursuits; and careers in public sectors such as government, private, and non-profit.


Advisor: Dr. Joseph Melusky

Students interested in attending law school may elect a pre-law concentration. While this concentration is not mandatory for students preparing for a legal career, it does provide a unique preparation for law school. Enrolling in the Pre-Law Concentration ensures that interested students will receive appropriate advising as they prepare for a career in the legal profession. Students majoring in any field at Saint Francis University can enroll in the Pre-Law Concentration.

The Pre-Law concentration is available as a concentration to students majoring in Political Science, Public Administration/Government Service, History, and other subject areas.

All pre-law students will be expected to participate in extracurricular activities designated by the program advisor. To facilitate entry into the legal profession, students are encouraged to participate in the Pre-Law Club. The Club sponsors debates, films, guest speakers, Constitution Day and Law Day programming, and moot court exercises. At moot court, some students serve as attorneys arguing a hypothetical case before the “United States Supreme Court of Loretto” and others don judicial robes and serve as Justices. SFU pre-law students have also participated in moot court competitions sponsored by law schools. The Club also travels to law schools, law school admissions fairs, the National Constitution Center, and the U.S. Supreme Court. The SFU Center for the Study of Government and Law provides “mini grants” to help defray student expenses associated with LSAT preparations. Junior and senior students can also apply for an award from the Richard-Dorsey Muller Endowment. Successful applicants receive a stipend to assist with law school preparation and application expenses. Law-related internships are available to interested students as well.

Saint Francis University, in collaboration with Duquesne University School of Law, offers a highly competitive early admission program for pre-law students. This partnership provides special academic opportunities for qualified students to earn both an undergraduate degree and a law degree in just six years rather than seven.

Dr. Joseph Melusky, professor of political science, director of the SFU Center for the Study of Government and Law, and a member of the Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors, serves as pre-law advisor and faculty moderator for the Pre-Law Club.

Pre-Law Courses Required

Students interested in attending law school may elect an interdisciplinary pre-law specialization. While this specialization is not mandatory for students preparing for a legal career, it does provide a unique preparation for law school. Enrolling in the pre-law concentration ensures that interested students will receive appropriate advising as they prepare for a career in the legal profession.

Through this program, pre-law students at Saint Francis University can get an early start on their law degrees. The program provides a combination of liberal and professional education well suited to those desiring to enter the field of law.
The pre-law specialization is designed to accompany any major. The total number of credits required to complete the concentration and the major varies with the major. For some majors, there is considerable overlap between the specialization and the major. For example, students can reasonably expect to complete the political science/pre-law major within three years, making the Duquesne University School of Law early admission program an attractive alternative. Majors in History, philosophy, sociology, and others also would be feasible.

For other majors, there is less overlap. As such, it would be extremely difficult or impossible for students in certain majors to fulfill all General Education, major, and pre-law specialization requirements in three years. Students who are interested in this program should plan carefully and discuss their plans with their advisors and with Dr. Melusky.

See Pre-Law Studies Specialization 

Social Responsibility

Program Directors: Dr. Robin L. Cadwallader and  Dr. Jessica Cammarata

The Social Responsibility Minor is an interdisciplinary course of study aimed at helping students consider, from both theoretical and experiential perspectives, the nature and responsibilities of democratic citizenship in our time. The Social Responsibility Minor is inspired by the Goals of Franciscan Higher Education and the Goals of the General Education Program, which call for reverence for all life, a global vision, respect for all persons, an appreciation for diversity, stewardship of the world’s resources, and service to the poor and needy.

In the course of studies for this minor, students will engage questions such as the following: What does citizenship mean now? What should it mean? How does it relate to various perspectives on justice? community? diversity? What are the ideals to which democratic citizens are called? What are essential values for responsible citizenship? In what ways can people make a positive difference in their world/communities? What are the skills needed to be a socially responsible citizen? In what ways might conscientious objection or civil disobedience be expressions of social responsibility?

The Minor may have either a national (United States) or an international focus. Consistent with the goals of General Education at Saint Francis, not only familiarity with key knowledge bases but also the development of relevant skills and the examination of values-related questions are integral to this course of study.

Skills Components in the Social Responsibility Minor:
Communications (verbal, written, technology-related, media), organizational and leadership skills, political skills, intellectual skills (critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, socio-critical analysis).

Key knowledge bases:
Investigations of the modern social, environmental, and technological problems, the historical precedents, and the key social and political institutions that contribute to the development of problems and possible resolutions.

Examination of values-related questions of social responsibility:
Opportunities to evaluate the critically-dominant cultural values, as well as to acquire an awareness of alternative value systems; the study of values in the context of social and political questions; and the study of means by which social and political groups achieve compromise and resolution in the context of varying systems of belief.

Women’s Studies

Program Director: Dr. Robin L. Cadwallader

Women’s Studies, an interdisciplinary academic field concerned with social justice for all people, emphasizes hands-on activities and grassroots activism.  In a Women’s Studies major or minor, students seek to identify, understand, and address various forms of oppression, with women’s issues being the focal point of the learning environment. Saint Francis University offers a major and a minor in Women’s Studies. 

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