Policies & Assignments

Course Vision:

Journals3GGL Journals help you reflect each course day.

In God and the Good Life you will:

  1. Learn how to argue convincingly, responsibly and productively about philosophical questions -- in particular moral questions, religious questions, questions about truth and belief, and questions about what makes lives meaningful.
  2. Practice making decisions in light of your own reasoned-out vision of the good, rather than relying only on externally imposed standards.
  3. Contribute to building a dialogue group community characterized by mutual encouragement, pursuit of truth, fun, and creativity, where every member knows that the others are helping them develop their vision of the good life.
  4. Grow in five philosophical virtues: curiosity, responsibility, intellectual courage, humility, and empathetic reasoning.

Learning Objectives:

You will develop (and be evaluated on) four specific skills related to the course vision:

  1. Close reading of philosophical texts and analysis of their key arguments. By the end of this course, you should be able to identify and the main claims and arguments in major philosophical texts. You should be able to reflect on how the philosopher is attempting to persuade their reader and on the virtues and/or vices of their methods. And you should be able to compare these arguments to arguments of other philosophers, arguments you come across in everyday life, and your own philosophical positions.

  2. Close reading and analysis of philosophical arguments in popular media. By the end of this course, you should be able to recognize and break down philosophical arguments from the news and other public venues. You should be able to identify important philosophical assumptions in these arguments, determine what evidence would be relevant to the truth of these assumptions, and argue for or against the author's main claim from your own point of view.

  3. Sustained interpersonal dialogue. By the end of this course, you should be able to ask strong questions designed to learn about another person’s philosophical viewpoint. You should be able to actively listen and incorporate new evidence into your philosophical insights. You should be able to sincerely articulate your views and responsibly identify and address philosophical differences with others. And you should be able to execute multi-step, action-oriented projects within a diverse ~15 person team.

  4. Defense of your core beliefs in a persuasive philosophical apology. By the end of this course, you should have completed a significant, multi-section essay that incorporates interesting personal narratives, original philosophical arguments, and textual commentary to defend a coherent philosophical stance on the good life. You should also be able to anticipate and respond appropriately to objections to your core assumptions. And you should be able to draft this essay, revise it in response to coaching and edit smaller sections into a well-organized long-form essay.


GGL assignments are all opportunities to make progress on course learning goals.  We hope like many students you'll also find these to be rewarding exercises in and of themselves.  Click links for assignment descriptions and grading standards.  

Grading System:

Success in God and the Good Life requires consistent attendance, engaged participation, careful reading, and (most importantly) timely, successful completion of all assignments. There is no curve for the course–your grade is determined purely based on the effort you put in and your achievements over the course of the semester.  The teaching team wants you to grow in this class and to score as well as possible on every skill, so please talk to us if you want to strategize about how to reach for higher grades or if you do not understand how you are doing.  Assignment grades will be posted to Sakai as soon as they are available.

Here is a table we will keep updated with deadlines and how different assignments weigh in your final grade.

The table linked above also includes how each assignment fits with the primary learning goals of the course, and the procedure we use for connecting minimum point percentages to letter grades.

Late Work and Absence Policy:

Instructors reserve the right not to accept late work, and will assess requests for extensions on a case-by-case basis, taking into account individual circumstances, whether the extension is requested in advance (to the extent possible), and whether students have an official university excuse.

If a student receives an excused absence for a day on which credit is given for an in-class activity or assessment (e.g. a Comprehension Check), the student will be expected to make up that activity as soon as possible. Students should contact their instructor with the official excuse and make arrangements with their instructor and TA as appropriate. Students without an official excuse will not be allowed to make up credit.

Attendance Policy

As per university policy, our course is being offered fully in-person this semester. As always, official excuses must be routed through the proper channels (for instance, the University Health Center or University Athletics). To obtain an official excuse, contact the relevant party (your doctor, coach, or the faculty leader in your activity, etc), and ask for an excused absence. If your absence meets the requirements to be excused, they will let you know how to communicate this official absence with us. Please include your TA and your professor on any correspondence related to excused absences. Students with excused absences are encouraged to get notes from a classmate and / or meet with their TA to make sure that they understand the course material covered in class on that day. Please note, though: only your professor can grant an extension for graded assignments.

Students who are quarantined should follow the same procedure, but should also contact the professor of their section if they'd like to attend class remotely. Per university guidelines, we are not offering the course in the "dual mode" under ordinary circumstances, but we will make exceptions for students during their quarantine period. 

As always, any accommodations requests (including those for prolonged remote engagement due to illness) should be routed through the Sara Bea Center. If you have any questions about any of this, please reach out to a member of the teaching team! We will be happy to connect you with the relevant office or person!

Grading Questions:

Have a question or concern about your grade for an assignment?  First check the directions and rubric for the assignment and identify where you think points were potentially missed.  Meet with your assigned TA to discuss your questions.  The professors are also glad to meet to discuss grades or anything related to your success in the course.  Everyone on the teaching team is committed to helping you achieve the learning objectives!

Honor Code:

This class follows Notre Dame’s binding Honor Code.  All work you submit must be your own.  Your sources must be properly cited.  In general, you can just reference course readings by their book or article title.  Outside readings should be cited with a works cited or footnote system.  Direct quotations from others must be in quotation marks.  If you have questions about how to attribute your sources, talk to your  TA or professor.

Support for Student Mental Health:

Care and Wellness Consultants provide support and resources to students who are experiencing stressful or difficult situations that may be interfering with academic progress. Through Care and Wellness Consultants, students can be referred to The University Counseling Center (for cost-free and confidential psychological and psychiatric services from licensed professionals), University Health Services (which provides primary care, psychiatric services, case management, and a pharmacy), and The McDonald Center for Student Well Being (for problems with sleep, stress, and substance use). Visit care.nd.edu.