The University of Scranton in my opinion provides a rigorous yet fair curriculum for any and all majors. Whether it’s biology, physical therapy, accounting, communications, nursing or any of the other majors at Scranton, students in all areas of study are challenged in their courses. But for those who look for an even bigger challenge, the University has several special academic programs. The most prominent among them are the Business Leadership program, the Honors program, and the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts (SJLA) Honors program. As a member of SJLA, I can say firsthand that while the SJLA Honors program is difficult, it is even more rewarding.
SJLA is the only one of the Honors programs that runs for four years. Both the Honors and Business Leadership programs last for two years. Incoming freshmen who performed at a high level academically are invited to the program before they start in the fall semester. That being said, current students can apply later in their freshmen year or in their sophomore year. While most students within the Panuska College of Professional Studies are unable to participate in SJLA because of their strict course requirements, the group of students in the program still has a variety of majors. SJLA places emphasis on philosophy, theology, and literature in its curriculum, and students who complete the program automatically gain a minor in philosophy when they graduate.
Every undergraduate student who attends the University of Scranton must take two philosophy courses, two theology courses, and one elective that must be either a philosophy or theology course. For SJLA students, this is only the beginning of their modified course schedule. As they progress through the program, they will take other philosophy courses, such as Metaphysics and Philosophy of Conscience, and literature courses, like Classics of Western Literature. The Trivium is one of the most well-known classes and was even the subject of an article put out by the Associated Press: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/25/scranton-the-trivium_n_588362.html.
One of the most unique aspects of the SJLA program is that the same group of students is in each of these classes. That is, students in the SJLA program will take these SJLA courses with other SJLA students in their grade. As a result, students are able to get to know one another, collaborate with one another, and build an enjoyable and fulfilling community.
Having spoken with several alumni recently, I learned that the curriculum of the SJLA program used to be the standard curriculum for all undergrad university students. Clearly, the liberal arts are significant at Scranton, and so when the change to the overall curriculum occurred, the SJLA program was designed and put in place.
The liberal arts studies of the SJLA honors program have made me a better student, and even in my fourth year of the program, SJLA courses continue to challenge me to do my best work. However, I have truly come to enjoy all the challenges presented to me and the community that my classmates and I have formed.
For more info on SJLA, check out this link to the University of Scranton course catolog: http://catalog.scranton.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=10&poid=910&returnto=326