A liberal education consists of two parts: studies in a core curriculum and study in a major field. All undergraduate, degree-seeking students initially enroll in the College of Arts and Sciences, where they fulfill division requirements of the University Core Curriculum. The liberal arts deal with the creative, social, and scientific developments of past and present cultures and their ideals and human values. These studies impart an appreciation for complexity and the ability to think critically, to solve and resolve problems, and to write and speak with precision and clarity.

The John Carroll Core Curriculum in the Liberal Arts is informed by the principles that issue from the University’s mission as a Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher learning. Accordingly, the Core emphasizes the development of whole human persons who are educated in the humanizing arts and sciences; skilled in expression and in scholarly investigation; and aware of the interrelationship of all knowledge and the interdependence of all peoples. Moreover, it promotes the integration of faith and culture by imparting a deeper knowledge of, and respect for, the students’ own cultural and religious traditions as well as those of others. Finally, it highlights intellectual, moral and spiritual principles, and the responsible social actions that flow from them.

The second part of their liberal education has students concentrating study in a major field. The liberal arts Core and major programs are integrated into a coherent educational experience to prepare students for positions of leadership and service in professional, business, and service careers.

The University Core Curriculum in the Liberal Arts

As a means to achieve the goals stated above and other goals significant to the University’s mission, the Core has a distributive structure as well as distinctive emphases. The Core thus allows selectivity while also stipulating certain academic experiences that are important for all students.

In the Core, all students must take:

  • A first-year seminar, which is an academic experience in common with other students that provides an interdisciplinary introduction to academic inquiry.
  • Two courses in first-year composition that develop written expression.
  • A writing-intensive course that extends the significance of excellent expression beyond first-year composition.
  • A course in speech communication that develops oral expression.
  • A year of foreign language that provides the basic tools for understanding another culture and its literature.
  • A literature course that develops the abilities to read critically, write clearly, and appreciate the working of the human imagination.
  • A history or art history course that deepens the awareness and appreciation of other civilizations or the historical roots of a student’s own society.
  • A mathematics course that develops logical thinking, problem-solving skills, and an alternative way of viewing the world.
  • A laboratory science course that acquaints a student with the scientific method and with a variety of laboratory techniques.
  • A course that focuses on issues of diversity, which might include gender and race.
  • Two international courses that expand a student’s horizons.
  • Three courses in philosophy: one that introduces the central problems and methods of philosophy, one that explores a period or area in the history of philosophy, and one that examines applied or specific problems in philosophy.
  • Two courses in religious studies: one that examines the nature of religion and religious language, faith as it relates to reason and experience, the study of sacred scriptures, and the development of religious traditions; and one additional course.

The distributive requirements are designed to combine with the specific requirements to provide an equilibrium among disciplines as well as to create a coherence that will enable students to integrate their Core experience successfully. Please refer to the schematic presentation of the Core on pages 60.