Marymount University

Undergraduate Catalog 2012-13

About Marymount University

Marymount University was founded in 1950 by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. Today, Marymount is an independent, comprehensive Catholic university serving approximately 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students. The University has four Schools: Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education and Human Services, and the Malek School of Health Professions. Programs are offered at Marymount’s Main Campus, Ballston Center, and Reston Center, as well as various corporate and government sites. The University’s location in Arlington, Virginia — just minutes from Washington, DC — offers students unparalleled opportunities for academic and personal enrichment.

University Mission

Marymount University is an independent Catholic university that emphasizes academic excellence at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Committed to the liberal arts tradition, the University combines a foundation in the arts and sciences with career preparation and opportunities for personal and professional development. Marymount is a student-centered learning community that values diversity and focuses on the education of the whole person, promoting the intellectual, spiritual, and moral growth of each individual. Scholarship, leadership, service, and ethics are hallmarks of a Marymount education.

A Marymount Education

Marymount University prepares students to be thoughtful and effective persons within family, community, and society; enables students to develop the competencies necessary for entry, growth, and success in their chosen careers; builds within its students a shared sense of community among individuals drawn from diverse national, cultural, and social backgrounds; fosters in its students a spirit of service to others, a concern for social justice, and a commitment to living in an ethically responsible way; and develops in students both the ability and the motivation to be lifelong learners.

As an educational community, Marymount is formed by the heritage and traditions of liberal arts education, the American higher education community, the Catholic Church, and the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary.

  • As a university in the liberal arts tradition, Marymount fosters the development of intellectual curiosity; an unbiased pursuit of truth; an understanding of the varying modes of inquiry utilized across the disciplines; and the development of the skills, competencies, and motivation necessary for intellectual inquiry and lifelong learning. Marymount fosters the pursuit of excellence in teaching, learning, and scholarship and forms a community marked by intellectual freedom, civility, and diverse interpretations of the human experience.
  • As a comprehensive university in the American higher education tradition, Marymount is a learning-teaching community that emphasizes excellence in teaching and places primary focus on the learning-teaching process; strives to contribute to the development of knowledge through the scholarship of its members; and contributes to the development of its community through service outreach programs. The University recognizes the value and importance of career preparation as a fundamental purpose of a university education. The University provides both undergraduate and graduate education, serving a variety of student audiences, in response to the needs and interests of its community and region.
  • As a Catholic university, Marymount affirms that the exploration of humanity’s relationship to the Divine is an integral part of the academic work of the University; challenges all members of the University community to live ethically responsible lives; fosters a community of faith exploration open to individuals of diverse religious backgrounds and beliefs; and strives to exemplify its Catholic tradition within the University and in the way in which all members of the University community interact with one another and with the larger community outside the University.
  • In the spirit of the University’s founders, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Marymount inspires a shared sense of community among individuals drawn from diverse national, cultural, and social backgrounds and emphasizes a spirit of service to others and responsiveness to the needs of persons and groups who do not fully share in the bounty of the larger community.

The University also is shaped by the unique resources available through its location in the nation’s capital area and by a creative, future-oriented perspective on education.

  • The Marymount experience is enriched by the cultural, governmental, business, and professional resources of Washington, DC, a city with an international character and global perspective. The University’s location offers extraordinary professional and scholarly opportunities for faculty; the opportunity to bring leaders from government, commerce, and the professions to campus; specialized resources for instruction and research; unique internship placements for students; and outstanding employment opportunities for graduates.
  • Marymount has grown and changed extensively since its founding in 1950, reflecting a dynamic period of change in American higher education and reflecting the openness, creativity, and enterprising spirit of the men and women who comprise the Marymount community. Marymount has been willing to look creatively at the educational needs of the region it serves, to respond quickly, and to try new approaches. The University strives to sustain a future-oriented perspective and to serve as a leader in responding to the educational needs of its region and in utilizing innovative instructional technologies and practices.


The name "Marymount" has long been associated with excellence in education. The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM), founders of Marymount University, have a long history of providing thoughtful responses to societal needs. Today, elementary, secondary, and collegiate institutions bearing the name "Marymount" are located in California, New York, Virginia, England, France, Italy, and Mexico.

Marymount University in Arlington was founded as a women’s college in 1950 at the suggestion of Bishop Peter L. Ireton of Richmond. Thirteen freshmen entered the first year, and nine of them comprised the first graduating class in 1952. In 1960 the institution was incorporated as Marymount College of Virginia, an independent college governed by an autonomous board of directors.

Enrollments steadily increased, and the physical plant and facilities were expanded to serve a growing student population. From the original property, which included a mansion, stone guest house, and two cottages — all comprising the residence of Rear Admiral Presley M. Rixey, White House physician to Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt — the institution has grown to be a modern residential campus.

From 1950 to 1972, as a college, Marymount offered only the associate degree. In 1973, it became a senior college offering the bachelor’s degree in more than 20 fields. In 1979, graduate programs leading to the master’s degree were added. Marymount’s first male students were admitted in 1972 in the Nursing program. In 1979, coeducational graduate programs in a number of fields were added. In 1986, the institution responded to its changing student profile by becoming coeducational at all levels and changing its name to Marymount University. In 2005, Marymount was approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to offer its first doctoral degree, the clinical Doctor of Physical Therapy.

The University responded to its dramatic enrollment growth by acquiring new buildings near the Main Campus and increasing accessibility through a shuttle service. The Ballston Center, established in 1992, houses classrooms, offices, computer laboratories, and support services. Marymount University also reaches out to the metropolitan Washington area through its Reston Center and off-campus offerings at corporate and government sites, medical centers, and public schools.

An independent institution related to the Roman Catholic Church, Marymount University is governed by a Board of Trustees that includes corporate and professional executives, members of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, and Marymount University alumni.

Academic and Student Services

Marymount University is committed to meeting the needs of all students and provides support services through various offices, including Campus Ministry, the Center for Career Services, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Counseling Center, International Student Services, Student Access Services, and Student Activities.

Catalog Contents

Undergraduate Catalog 2012-13

General Information


Financial Information

Academic Support Services

Academic Information and Policies

University Requirements and the Liberal Arts Core

Academic Opportunities

Undergraduate Programs

Course Descriptions

University Leadership

Notices to Students