Formative Education

Formative education engages the whole person, guiding young people toward purposeful lives, fulfillment, and more ideal selves and societies. Formative education helps create communities that encourage exploring the different dimensions of intellectual, emotional, interpersonal, and spiritual development.

In keeping with the Jesuit tradition, we encourage our students to ask questions such as: What brings me joy? What will give my life meaning and purpose? What does the world need me to be?

Dedicated to Formative Education

Boston College is committed to helping everyone in its community to integrate the intellectual, social, and spiritual so as to live life fully. In its Strategic Plan, the University outlines its commitment to enhance formation—part of Jesuit education since St. Ignatius founded the order in 1540—among students, faculty, and staff to further the University’s mission and strengthen its institutional culture.

Key Initiatives at LSEHD

Education’s true goal is to prepare young people to adopt ways of living that incorporate values, ideas, and practices that will allow them to become decent, fulfilled human beings.
Stanton Wortham, Charles F. Donovan, S.J., Dean

Examples of Formative Education Experiences

Boston College has established many approaches, courses, and programs to ensure that students, faculty, and staff learn and grow in keeping with nearly 500 years of Jesuit educational tradition.

Academic Programs for Students

Core Curriculum

Boston College’s Core Curriculum meaningfully connects the living tradition of the Jesuits with the best and most relevant ways of knowing in our time, establishing a foundation for intellectual development and preparing engaged, effective world citizens.


The Cornerstone program offers first-year students special courses, including the Freshman Topic Seminar and The Courage to Know, in which they are encouraged to reflect on their lives as students and to get to know their academic adviser.  


In the Capstone program, seniors and second-semester juniors review their education and preview upcoming long-term commitments, focusing on their personal development in relationships, society, academics, spirituality, career, and personal skills.


The Perspectives program offers interdisciplinary courses inspired by the Jesuit tradition of providing, through the study of the liberal arts and reflection on the common good, a humanist context for professional and scientific education. 



The PULSE Program educates students about social injustice by placing them in direct contact with marginalized populations and social change organizations and encouraging discussion on classic and contemporary works of philosophy and theology.

Experience, Reflection, and Action

Every week, first-year students meet to discuss experiences; reflect on subjects concerning wholeness, purpose, and community; and engage in meaningful action to promote social justice. 


Co-Curricular Programs for Students

Center for Student Formation

The Center for Student Formation helps students integrate their intellectual, social, and spiritual lives through mentorship programs, retreats, leadership opportunities, and service experiences. 

Division of Student Affairs

Student Affairs is home to 14 departments that provide programs, resources, and services that promote student learning, health and wellness, leadership development, and engagement. 

 Office of Campus Ministry

Campus Ministry fosters lives of faith and justice among the University community through pastoral, sacramental, retreat, and service-immersion programming.


Programs for BC Faculty & Staff

Center for Ignatian Spirituality

The Center for Ignatian Spirituality communicates to the Boston College community the vision and history of the University’s Jesuit mission and the spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola which is the foundation of that mission.


The Intersections office helps faculty and staff engage with the mission of Boston College through seminars, retreats, and international immersion trips, fostering a spirit of university citizenship that strengthens the institution.

Management Development Perspectives (MDP)

MDP provides managers and administrators with a broad understanding of University operations, goals, challenges, and vision through the lens of the Boston College’s Jesuit tradition, educational ideals, and strategic mission.

Quick Links