St. Ignatius Institute

Administrative Office
Kalmanovitz Hall, Room 144
Phone: (415) 422-6174
Sean Michaelson, S.J., Director

The St. Ignatius Institute (SII) offers an integrated liberal arts curriculum in which the primary curricular threads - history, literature, philosophy and theology - are organized to follow an historical sequence. The Institute is designed for those who want the solid foundation of a Catholic liberal arts education in the Jesuit tradition.

The Institute's program does not comprise a "major." Instead, it is an alternative core curriculum substituting SII classes for the University's core in all areas except mathematics and science. To complete requirements for the baccalaureate degree, each Institute student must also complete one of the majors offered by the University, as well as any additional courses required by specific undergraduate colleges. Institute students are enrolled in majors from all sections of the University: science, business, nursing, humanities, and social sciences. With few exceptions, students are able to complete the SII program and a major within four years.

The SII curriculum, based largely on the great books and authors of Western civilization, grounds the student in the rich tradition of Christian humanism.

A unique feature of this program is the seminar/lecture combination. Each semester, a seminar deals with a specific curricular area and time frame through the discussion of pertinent great books and their authors. Concurrently, the same area is systematically treated in a lecture course. All SII courses incorporate primary sources as much as possible. This is an academically challenging course of study geared towards students who want a rigorous academic college experience while living and studying in a community. The Institute also sponsors lectures for the wider University community on topics of contemporary importance.

Additionally, SII students are encouraged to participate in the Institute's Junior Year Abroad programs in Rome, Budapest, and Oxford, England. Approximately 40% of the Institute students avail themselves of this opportunity.

In addition to SII being a particular academic course of study, it is a residential learning community within the University. Students enrolled in the SII are invited to live on the SII floor in one of the residence halls. In addition to the advantage of living with students who are taking the same classes as oneself, this community comes together once a week for an evening of reflection, dinner, and fun. Other aspects of the residential living community include the students performing community service activities together, attending social events and outings, and having opportunities for prayer and reflection. All aspects of the residential living community of SII are optional but are encouraged as ways to integrate the academic and social aspects of the collegiate experience.

St. Ignatius Institute Curriculum Outline

The Institute curriculum is based primarily on the great works of Western civilization. Students take 4-credit SII courses in addition to fulfilling other university requirements. Most SII courses fulfill the university's core requirements.

The Institute curriculum allows a student to complete most major programs in four years. The normal course load is 16-18 credits per semester: some credits taken in the Institute curriculum and the remaining credits in the student's major or electives. The requirement for graduation is the successful completion of the Institute curriculum, the fulfillment of major and college requirements, and sufficient electives for a total of 128 credits.

First Semester
  • SII - 100 Greek and Roman Culture and Literature
  • SII - 110 Writing Practicum
  • SII - 210 Ancient Philosophy
Second Semester
  • SII - 120 Advanced Writing Practicum
  • SII - 215 Ethical Theory and Practice
  • SII - 106 Sacred Scripture or
  • SII - 201 Catholic Thought or
  • SII - 203 Religion and Culture in Late Antiquity
Third Semester
  • SII - 270 The Social Animal
  • SII - 302 Music and Art
Fourth Semester
  • SII - 204 Medieval and Renaissance Literature or
  • SII - 211 Medieval Thought
  • SII - 302 Music and Art
  • SII - 304 Modern Literature
Fifth Semester
  • SII - 312 Modern Philosophy
Sixth Semester

Completion of any remaining requirements (i.e. History, Math, or Science)

Seventh Semester or Eighth Semester

SII Senior Seminar Requirement (must take one)

  • SII - 400 Great Texts of World Literature or
  • SII - 410 Topics in the Humanities or
  • SII - 420 Interdisciplinary Topics