Every degree program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is made up of three components: the Core Curriculum, courses in the major, and free electives.

In the Core Curriculum, students engage a broad range of disciplines in the humanities and in the sciences from a variety of approaches. Our primary emphasis is depth of study and intellectual sophistication. At the same time, we recognize that learning implies exploring different modes of inquiry. Fact learning alone is not enough to justify the existence of our Core Curriculum. Rather, it is informed by three guiding principles: to inspire a synthesis of knowledge; to enable the articulation of informed views and judgments; and to promote literacy as a foundation for responsible citizenship.

In fostering active participation in learning, the Core prepares students to become active participants within society, to engage in informed political debate, to understand and appreciate the diversity of cultures, beliefs, and experiences, to respect the individual, and to develop an intercultural and global perspective. The Core encourages holistic development that empowers students to conduct themselves as citizens of a democratic society, with responsibilities in our world community for the common good.

  • Engage with the arts and recognize their importance in understanding, interpreting, and expressing the human condition.
  • Discover the principles of the basic and applied sciences and develop an understanding of data-driven approaches to scientific problems from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • Discover, critically evaluate sources of, and use various forms of knowledge, including historical knowledge.
  • Communicate effectively in various ways, especially via analytical essays with well-supported arguments.
  • Acquire the knowledge and skill to apply the scientific approach to the description, evaluation and analysis of environmental, social, and behavioral issues.
  • Understand the characteristic issues in, and distinctive methods of inquiry of, several different areas of study.
  • Appreciate Christian intellectual traditions and concepts, especially Catholic ones.
  • Develop intercultural competence, including proficiency in a world language other than English.
  • Recognize the value of diversity in its many dimensions, including in traditions, cultures, and ways of thinking, and understand how differences in power and privilege may influence our ethical choices, our lives generally, and our pursuit of the common good.



The four foundation courses are the shared intellectual academic experience that all students complete. Students engage in interdisciplinary inquiry about identity, knowledge, faith, and morality; reflect, write and discuss diverse texts that challenge them to think critically and communicate clearly; and reflect on their own values through the central themes of our Augustinian Catholic tradition.

ACS focuses on the question: Who am I? The first seminar (ACS 1000 Ancients) contains readings from Hebrew and Christian scriptures, Greek and Roman antiquity, Augustine, and the High Middle Ages, and is dedicated to understanding the foundations of our shared intellectual tradition. ACS 1001 Moderns continues to address the question of identity with texts from the Renaissance to the modern era. The two-semester ACS course sequence must be taken by all students during the first year of study.

Learn more about the Augustine and Culture Seminar Program.

THL 1000 involves students of every religion, culture, and worldview in examining the Augustinian vision of “understanding what we believe” (On Free Choice of the Will 1.4). Students investigate Christian and non-Christian religious practices, beliefs, and traditions that have developed over time in diverse cultural and religious contexts as they explore faith, reason, and culture in their many, textured relationships.

Learn more about the Department of Theology and Religious Studies.

Knowledge, Reality, Self (PHL 1000) explores the philosophical responses to the questions of how we can know, what is real, and what is the nature of the human person.

Learn more about the Department of Philosophy.

The Good Life: Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems (ETH 2050) provides critical reflection on distinctive and viable visions of the moral life, with particular focus on Christian, especially Roman Catholic, Augustinian accounts, and explores the significance of different visions through an examination of various contemporary moral questions. ETH 2050 is the capstone of the foundation courses. Normally students should take ETH 2050 by the end of their sophomore year, after taking the other four foundation courses.

Learn more about the Ethics Program.


The College offers more than 60 majors and minors in the humanities, social sciences, math and sciences.