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Foundational Courses and the Core Curriculum

Core Curriculum

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. 

The courses in the Core Curriculum treat a broad range of disciplines from a variety of approaches; at the same time, the Core strives to ensure depth of study and intellectual sophistication while recognizing that learning implies different modes of inquiry. Fact learning alone is not enough to justify the existence of a Core Curriculum; rather the purpose of the core is to achieve a synthesis of knowledge that provides a basis for informed judgment. The Core also seeks to promote literacy as a foundation for intelligent discourse and the articulation of informed views.

In fostering active participation in learning, the Core prepares students to become active participants within society, to engage in the process of informed political debate, and to encourage an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of cultures and experiences, a respect for the individual, and the development of a multi-cultural and international perspective. The Core thus encourages personal development in preparing students to regard themselves a citizens living in a democratic society, as belonging to a world community, and as therefore having communal responsibilities.

Degree completion requirements for students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are broadly outlined in the CLAS Academic Handbook.

  • Engage with the arts and recognize their importance in understanding, interpreting, and expressing the human condition.
  • Discover, critically evaluate sources of, and use various forms of knowledge, including historical knowledge.
  • Communicate in various ways, especially via analytical essays with well-supported arguments.
  • Develop the analytic and evaluative skills used in applying the scientific approach to the study of 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 literacy, including knowledge of a language other than English, with particular attention to unfamiliar cultures and spanning social divides.
  • 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.

In addition, the Foundation courses, our shared intellectual academic experience that all students complete, prides itself on their learning goals. These are assessed by faculty biennially in the ePortfolio that students contribute representative course materials highlighting their Foundation course learning and values.