Mendoza School of Business

Business and the Common Good Minor

How does a career in business both foster personal fulfillment and promote the common good? How do political, economic, and corporate structures shape the aims and methods of business to serve the common good?

The Minor in Business and the Common Good is designed to address these crucial questions at the intersection of business, society, and spirituality.

Together with an interdisciplinary team of faculty, students explore business and professional life with an intellectual depth that extends beyond core requirements, integrating theological and philosophical perspectives.

Inspired by the principles of Catholic Social Thought, this Minor also aligns with Mendoza’s larger vision: emphasizing the essential role an outstanding business school plays within a Catholic university.

Proudly sponsored by the Notre Dame Business Ethics and Society Program (BES).

What You’ll Learn

Core Courses

The following 3-credit core courses are required to fulfill the BCG minor. These courses also fulfill University Core requirements:

BES 30310 Business and the Common Good (fulfills WRIT)

This gateway seminar for the Minor in Business and the Common Good will be limited to 24 Mendoza College students, with priority given to students intending to pursue the Minor. The seminar focuses on the place of wealth and commerce in a well-ordered life, both for the individual and the community. Among other topics, the course takes a special interest in the rich Catholic tradition of reflection on these topics, especially the Catholic social teaching relevant to business that has emerged in the last two centuries.

BES 30792/BES 30795 Why Business? (fulfills WKCD)

What is the role of business in a just and humane society? Many of you are about to dedicate your lives to business, and the rest of you will work, in one way or another, with business. Yet many people believe that business is a morally suspicious activity, a suspicion evident in the common belief that business people need to “give back” to society. Is business an activity for which one must atone? Are people right to be suspicious of business? This course is designed to engage ideas from the Catholic tradition with perspectives drawn from moral philosophy, business, and economics. We will engage issues of faith and normativity both critically and constructively. Students will consider competing positions on faith and normative questions, will reflect on (or discover elements of) their own faith or non-faith, and will describe the extent to which they believe various claims are supported by faith or reason. This course responds to Pope John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus (1991) and Pope Francis’s Laudato Si (2015), which called on Catholic education to “safeguard the moral conditions for an authentic ‘human ecology'” (Centesimus Annus, 38).

BES 20702/THEO 20677 Theological Ethics and Honorable Business (fulfills WKDT)

This course is intended to be a second level theology course that introduces fundamental principles of Catholic moral theology and Catholic Social Teaching, as oriented specifically for those preparing to enter the business world. As such, students will be encouraged to think in theological categories about business and ethics, and to appreciate how these categories bring the light of faith, in unity with the insights of human reason, to bear on the purpose of business and the possibility of virtuous engagement in this profession within a just and humane society.


BCG students will also participate in two required 1.5 credit colloquia. Each colloquium will focus on a specific topic or theme related to the intersection of commerce, society, and human flourishing.


BCG students may choose at least one 3-credit elective from a list of approved courses that fit the intellectual mission of the Minor. This list will vary from semester to semester. Examples include:

BES 33100 Work and the Interior Life (fall 2023)

This is a Catholicism and the Disciplines (CAD) course that can fulfill a core curriculum requirement, or can be taken as an elective. Work has long been a subject of Catholic thought, with the first chapter of Genesis regarded as “the first gospel of work” (Laborem Exercens, para. 25). This course focuses on the interior spiritual aspects of work, and does so via the Catholic intellectual and social traditions. A person’s interior spiritual life, or “interior life” for short, has been described as the intimate conversation that the person carries on with God during the daily moments and seasons of life. When it comes to the subject of work, the interior life involves one’s internal disposition toward his or her work, how one understands his or her work, and one’s intentions for work. The Church’s proposition is that all have the ability to envelope their work in the interior life. In this discussion-based course, we will seek to understand what that means for your intended profession or discipline.

BES 33702 International Business Scholars Colloquium (fall 2023)

The International Business Scholars Colloquium is a 1.5 credit undergraduate course affiliated with and organized by the Business Ethics and Society Program (BESP) at the Mendoza College of Business and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies in the Keough School of Global Affairs. The course runs for both the fall and spring semesters, 1.5 credits per semester. A small group of selected students will meet in-person weekly to discuss assigned readings, to listen to and engage with invited speakers, and to form a community of Notre Dame business and/or other students interested in global affairs (with particular emphasis on Europe), to explore the nature of honorable business within our globalized world, and the ethical and professional challenges and opportunities for pursuing business as a force for good in the international context(s). The first hour of class will be dedicated to discussion of readings or an invited speaker. During the second hour, we may have a meal together and continue informal discussion and conversation with faculty and invited practitioners. International Business Scholars will be encouraged to participate in the activities of the BESP and the Nanovic Institute beyond the Colloquium (occasional lectures, panels, etc.). As a capstone immersion experience, students may be able to participate in an international trip exploring the challenges and opportunities of business in a foreign country in the spring of 2024. Students interested in the colloquium should contact Prof. John Sikorski to obtain instructor permission for enrollment in the colloquium (

BES 33XXX Democracy and Virtue (spring 2024)

Coming Soon

How to Apply

Mendoza students can enter the Minor either semester. Students are encouraged to apply by the Friday before break, both fall and spring. However, applications may be submitted at any time.

Direct inquiries to the Director of the Minor, Professor David O’Connor at