Feb 05, 2023  

College of Arts and Sciences

                                       Dean      Michael Clump, Ph.D.
Associate Dean   Michael Marvin, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean and Director of Academic Advising   Robert Hamilton, M.A.
Psychology, Justice, and Society   Jennifer Oliver, Ph.D.
Associate Chair   Ken Balusek, Ph.D.
English & Fine Arts   John Kerrigan, Ph.D.
Associate Chair   Timothy McDonald, Ph.D
History   Joanna Carraway Vitiello, Ph.D.
Modern Languages   Leslie Merced, Ph.D.
Philosophy   Brendan Sweetman, Ph.D.
Physics and Engineering   Mayuri Gilhooly, Ph.D. 
Theology and Religious Studies   SJ Crasnow, Ph.D.
Science Coordinator   Joanna Cielocha, Ph.D.
Biology   Jamie Dyer, Ph.D.
Chemistry   Michael Marvin, Ph.D.
School of Education   Sarah Hicks, Ph.D.
Program Director, Educational Doctorate   Nilufer Guler, Ph.D.
Program Director, Catholic Studies   Brendan Sweetman, Ph.D.
Program Directors, Biochemistry   Ryan Elsenpeter, Ph.D.
    Michael Marvin, Ph.D.
Program Director, Biomedical Physics   Nancy Donaldson, Ph.D.
Program Director, Engineering   Deb O’Bannon, Ph.D.


Mission Statement:

Grounded in the Jesuit and Catholic traditions of liberal arts education, the College of Arts and Sciences engages learners in building a foundation of values, developing critical and creative approaches to knowledge, and engaging in reflection and discernment that prepares graduates to become globally active, compassionate and just.

Vision Statement:

We prepare global citizens on their path of learning and self-formation to cultivate a just, inclusive and sustainable future.

Tradition of the Liberal Arts

The academic programs administered by the College of Arts and Sciences comprise what are broadly recognized as the liberal arts and the pre-professional programs growing out of the liberal arts disciplines. As such, these programs relate directly to a tradition of learning stretching back to the medieval universities. The liberal arts were prized as the intellectual disciplines calculated to form social leaders and well-cultivated spirits in addition to keen intellects. In the Jesuit tradition, the liberal arts aimed to develop the whole person as a “contemplative in action” and to encourage life-long learning. This  tradition continues at Rockhurst University as students are exposed to a broad range of programs in the arts and sciences and provided opportunities to train their minds, cultivate their spirits, and prepare themselves as leaders of the contemporary world.

Career Preparation in the Liberal Arts Tradition

Students often ask advisors for advice on what major they should choose. Many begin the process of declaring a major by asking themselves what sort of career various majors will prepare them for, but this may be the wrong question. Most undergraduate majors do not provide immediate credentials that translate directly into a well-defined career track. Suppose students are interested in a law career. Does that automatically mean that they must major in political science? Or does a prospective physician have to be a biology major? Clearly not—a law school is as likely to admit an English major as it is to admit a political science major; medical schools take undergraduate chemists as readily as they take biologists. Professional schools are often surprisingly liberal in the undergraduate majors they accept.

Students who plan to begin their careers as soon as they finish college will often find that an undergraduate major has not prepared them for a specific job. Rather, their education has provided skills and knowledge which can be applied to a wide variety of careers. Many corporations and organizations are interested in hiring people who have completed a solid undergraduate degree regardless of their major.

Students should avoid imposing unnecessary and misguided restrictions on both their studies and their prospective careers. They should consider the  world of work when declaring a major, but they will think about that world with greater clarity if they ask other questions first: What do I enjoy doing?  What are my hobbies, and why do I enjoy them? What courses have I enjoyed? What kinds of books do I like to read? What problems do I like to solve? Thinking along these lines can ease the anxiety many college students feel when they must declare a major. There is no reason to major in a field that does not develop the student’s own abilities and interests.

All students are also required to fulfill Rockhurst’s core curriculum. Details of the core curriculum are found in The Core Curriculum .

The College of Arts and Sciences grants the following degrees: Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Bachelor of Arts,  Bachelor of Science, as well as the M.Ed. and Ed.D. degrees (see Graduate catalog). Students may choose one of 18 major fields of study leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree, or one of seven major fields leading to the Bachelor of Science degree. The College also offers a variety of minors, certificates, and pre-professional programs.

The College of Arts & Sciences contains the following departments:

Allied Health  

Behavioral & Social Sciences  




Criminal Justice  


Film and Fine Arts  


Medical Laboratory Sciences  

Modern Languages  

Peace and International Studies  



Psychology, Justice, and Society  

Physics and Engineering  

School of Education    


Theology and Religious Studies  

Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies  

General Studies  




    Associate of ArtsAssociate of ScienceBachelor of ArtsBachelor of ScienceMinorCertificate