Skip to main content

Core Curriculum

Core Objectives and Resources

This page serves as a resource for faculty teaching in the core areas or developing a new course for the core.

On this page, faculty can find:

  • the current learning objectives for each core area
  • additional course development guidelines
  • the rubric used for assessment of student learning
  • current assessment reports 

The learning objectives were created by Core Faculty Committees. The core learning goals are distributed across the three components of the Core Curriculum (Foundations, Explorations, and Integrations). 

Foundations Learning Objectives & Guidelines

Critical Thinking and Writing

Critical Thinking and Writing 1 & 2 is a two-quarter "Foundations" sequence in which students are introduced to academic discourse, rhetorical analysis, information literacy, research, and critical thinking. Students develop an intensive practice of writing as a method of inquiry, reflection, and communication.

Learning Objectives for Critical Thinking and Writing 1

1.1     Read and analyze texts for audience, speaker/writer, purpose, message, and context 

1.2     Compose rhetorically effective nonfiction texts for different audiences in different modes of presentation

1.3     Compose texts that resist overly simplistic binary thinking by engaging various perspectives about topics and/or texts

1.4     Use writing processes as tools for learning and discovery

Learning Objectives for Critical Thinking & Writing 2

2.1     Locate and select information that genuinely considers multiple, credible perspectives

2.2     Demonstrate an engaged, ethical approach to the use of sources, including accurate citation

2.3     Compose texts that effectively integrate sources for a clear purpose, audience, and occasion in different modes of presentation

2.4     Use writing and information literacy as tools for learning and discovery

Resources for Faculty

  • Guidelines for course development
  • Rubric will be developed this year
  • Assessment Report forthcoming

Cultures and Ideas 1 & 2

Cultures and Ideas 1 & 2, a two-quarter "Foundations" sequence," considers the nature and development of human cultures and ideas and provides a foundation from which students explore the complexities of human societies.Students are introduced to the study of significant texts, ideas, issues, and events in their historical context, while considering how they resonate for us in the contemporary situation.

Learning Objectives for Cultures and Ideas 1

1.1  Identify significant elements of the cultures examined. (Global Cultures, Arts and Humanities)

1.2   Recognize the complexity of the cultures examined. (Global Cultures, Arts and Humanities)

1.3   Analyze and/or interpret significant objects, texts, ideas, issues and/or events in their historical contexts, using at least one disciplinary method. (Critical Thinking)

1.4  Examine and analyze both shared and diverse human experiences across cultures and historical periods in order to comprehend the relevance of the past to the cultural present. (Perspective).

Learning Objectives for Cultures and Ideas 2

2.1   Make connections between the cultures and objects, texts, ideas, issues, and/or events examined in C & I 1 and 2. (Global Cultures, Arts and Humanities.)

2.2   Demonstrate understanding of the complexity and/or larger contexts of the cultures examined. (Global Cultures, Arts and Humanities.)

2.3   Question and/or evaluate the effects cultural understanding has on the interpretation of the objects, texts, ideas, and/or events. (Critical Thinking)

2.4   Examine and analyze both shared and diverse human experiences across cultures and  historical periods, demonstrating awareness of their relevance to students’ own world view, cultural assumptions, and values.  (Perspective) 

Resources for Faculty

Second Language

Communication in a second language is an essential skill in the globalizing world. Training in additional languages provides students experience of the different perspectives that the use of another language affords. Jesuit education has always promoted the study of second languages to facilitate intercultural understanding.

Learning Objectives for Second Language

1.1   Demonstrate skill in the use of the modern or classical language for authentic communicative purposes, as appropriate to the language. (Communication)

1.2   Demonstrate an understanding of and sensitivity to the cultural products, practices, and perspectives exhibited in the language studied. (Perspective)

Resources for Faculty


Mathematics is a basic building block of contemporary society and, over the centuries, has had a profound impact on the natural sciences, technology and the social sciences. This requirement develops competencies in mathematics, both as a pure discipline and as an important tool in problem solving.Mathematics develops both analytical and logical reasoning, as well as the capacity to think abstractly about a wide range of theoretical and practical problems.

Learning Objectives for Mathematics

1.1    Demonstrate their problem solving skills, including their ability to interpret problem situations, choose among several potentially appropriate mathematical methods of solution, persist in the face of difficulty, and present full and cogent solutions that include appropriate justification for their reasoning.

1.2    Demonstrate their ability to approach mathematical ideas or problems from multiple perspectives (e.g., by using the internal connections between geometry, algebra, and numerical computation; applying the connections between theory and applications; or distinguishing between a formal proof and less formal arguments and understanding the different roles these play in mathematics).

1.3    Demonstrate an understanding of mathematical content (including the limits to its application) that goes beyond mere fluency in using mathematical symbols, language and formulas.

Resources for Faculty

Religion, Theology and Culture 1

Religion, Theology & Culture 1 is the first in a third part series of courses designed to promote a critical engagement between faith and cultures and exemplify a commitment to academic excellence and freedom. The first course aims to enhance critical reflection on religious belief and practice.It introduces students to the basic approaches by which scholars seek to understand what religion reveals about human beings—their societies, traditions, convictions, and aspirations.

Learning Objectives for Religion, Theology, and Culture 1

1.1     Describe and compare the central religious ideas and practices from at least two locally or globally distinct cultures or communities. (Knowledge of Global Cultures; Complexity of content as well as method; Ambiguity)

1.2     Use critical approaches to reflect on their own beliefs and the religious dimensions of human existence. (Critical Thinking; Complexity of Method; Reflection)

Resources for Faculty

Explorations Learning Objectives & Guidelines


The Jesuit character of the university promotes sustained attention to moral philosophy as applied to the problems of contemporary life. A course in this area helps students to understand how major ethical theories construe ideals such as justice, happiness, virtue, dignity, rights, and equality.It helps students apply these theories to questions of how individuals and institutions should act in the world.

Learning Objectives for Ethics

1.1     Reason ethically by drawing on major ethical theories and traditions (e.g., virtue ethics, feminist ethics, deontological or consequentialist theories) as a means to normatively assess individual, professional, and institutional decisions, issues, or other matters of ethical significance. (Arts & Humanities, Critical Thinking, Ethical Reasoning)
1.2     Analyze, critically evaluate, and apply major ethical theories and traditions to significant personal, professional, and institutional decisions, issues, or other matters of ethical significance. Students should be able to articulate some central ethical concepts, e.g., justice, happiness, the good, virtue, dignity, moral rights, and equality (Arts & Humanities, Critical Thinking, Ethical Reasoning)
1.3     Demonstrate appreciation of nuance and ambiguity, as well as clarity and precision, in their thinking and writing about ethical problems, concepts, and ideals. (Critical Thinking, Complexity)
1.4     Reflect on their own ethical decisions and actions, on their roles as morally responsible members of the human community, and on what it means to be a good person. (Critical Thinking, Complexity)


Resources for Faculty


Civic Engagement

The health of any democratic community depends largely on the ability of its members to participate in and contribute actively to community service, philanthropy, and the political system.Fostering civic participation is a vital part of all universities' missions and a central goal of Jesuit education. Courses in this area deepen students' understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizens in relation to selected institutions and issues, but also cultivate civic skills and dispositions needed for active citizenship.

Learning Objectives for Civic Engagement

1.1     Critically evaluate, and express reasoned opinions about, the role of public organizations (governmental, non governmental, multilateral, or international) in civic life through both oral and written work. (Civic Life, Communication)

1.2     Analyze and evaluate civic issues by engaging in active and collaborative learning with peers and others through one or more of the following: a) working cooperatively with other students in class; b) actual observation and participation in the contemporary ramifications of various types of civic life or civic discourse; or c) working with civic organizations beyond the walls of the University. (Civic Life, Collaboration, and Civic Engagement)

Resources for Faculty


Diversity courses directly address and help fulfill the university's mission of working toward a more humane and just world. The courses deepen students' knowledge of diverse human experiences, identities, and cultures.In this area, students will analyze the relations between peoples or social categories that are associated with differences in power and privilege, such as race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, citizenship, religion, class, sexual orientation, physical ability, and so on.

Learning Objectives for Diversity

1.1    Describe examples of diverse human experiences, identities, and cultures in the United States. (Diversity, Perspective)

1.2    Identify and discuss concepts, theories, institutional or social structures, hierarchies, processes, or paradigms that lead to and perpetuate inequity and injustice. (Perspective, Social Justice)

1.3    Examine diversity as constituted through intersections of social categories such as race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, age, language, citizenship, religion, class, sexual orientation, physical ability, and so on. (Diversity, Complexity)

1.4    Analyze differences in power and privilege related to race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, age, language, citizenship, religion, class, sexual orientation, or physical ability. (Diversity, Social Justice)


Resources for Faculty


The education of the whole person requires that students encounter and explore artistic ways of knowing humanity and the world. Creating and interpreting aesthetic forms symbolic of deep human feeling encourages students to consider how knowledge and understanding grown in ways other than discursive reasoning. From the beginning of the Jesuit educational experience, study of the arts has been employed to cultivate humanity, encourage growth in virtue, and school the body in the ways of verbal and physical eloquence.

Learning Objectives for Arts

1.1   Learn and apply basic artistic techniques and aesthetic principles to create works of art (Arts and Humanities, Communication)

1.2   Demonstrate an understanding of how artistic creation enables the expression of human ideals, challenges, and desires. (Arts and Humanities, Complexity, Communication).

1.3   Reflect on and analyze works of art and the creative process, individually and collaboratively (Arts and Humanities, Complexity, Collaboration, Communication). 

Resources for Faculty

  • No additional course development guidelines at this time
  • Arts Rubric for assessment of student learning
  • Assessment report forthcoming

Natural Science

Students need a deeper understanding of the natural sciences in order to make informed choices as citizens, as professionals, and as individuals. Courses in this area familiarize students with some of the most important scientific ideas, with the fundamental assumptions and ways of thinking in the sciences, and how scientists acquire new knowledge. Students should understand the power, beauty, and limits of knowledge produced by scientific methods of inquiry.

Learning Objectives for Natural Science

1.1     Demonstrate a basic understanding of the theory and concepts central to the study of a particular topic or discipline in the natural sciences. (Scientific Inquiry, Complexity, Critical Thinking)

1.2     Apply scientific reasoning and methods of inquiry, such as formulating testable hypotheses, identifying variables, or collecting experimental or observational data that explain phenomena in the natural world. (Scientific Inquiry, Complexity, Critical Thinking)

1.3     Interpret scientific data, qualitatively and quantitatively, in order to derive conclusions appropriate to the scope and quality of the data, attentive to concepts of probability, causation, and correlation. (Scientific Inquiry, Complexity, Critical Thinking, Mathematical & Quantitative Reasoning)

1.4     Recognize limitations of evidence produced by experimental and observational methods. (Scientific Inquiry, Complexity, Critical Thinking, Mathematical & Quantitative Reasoning)

Resources for Faculty

Social Science

Everyday indicators of human well-being—from the unemployment rate to the crime rate—are not self-evident, but the product of social scientific choices about how to think about and measure social life.To make well-informed decisions in their civic and professional lives, students will rely heavily on social scientific theory and data about human behavior and societies. Students will need to understand how the social sciences produce knowledge in distinct ways and gain experience in assessing theory and evidence in at least one branch of the social sciences.

Learning Objectives for Social Science

1.1     Apply deductive and inductive reasoning to analyze social science topics. (Scientific Inquiry, Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning)

1.2     Evaluate evidence used to test theories, hypotheses, or predictions. (Scientific Inquiry, Critical Thinking, Complexity)

1.3     Recognize that social scientific theories and/or data permit multiple interpretations or conclusions, and articulate reasons for the differing interpretations or conclusions. (Critical Thinking, Complexity)

Resources for Faculty

Religion, Theology and Culture 2

The second course in RTC invites students to deeper engagement with the study of religion through the application of multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary approaches to complex religious phenomena, past and present.By providing multiple, integrated perspectives, this course seeks to enrich students' appreciation for the diversity of human religious expression.

Learning Objectives for Religion, Theology and Culture 2

2.1     Analyze complex and diverse religious phenomena (such as architecture and art, music, ritual, scriptures, theological systems, and other cultural expressions of religious belief.) (Complexity; Critical Thinking)

2.2    Integrate and compare several different disciplinary approaches to a coherent set of religious phenomena. (Complexity of Content as well as of Method; Critical Thinking)

2.3    Clarify and express beliefs through critical inquiry into the religious dimensions of human existence. (Reflection; Critical Thinking)

Resources for Faculty

Cultures and Ideas 3

Students build on their intercultural competence from the foundational exposure to cultural analysis from C & I 1 and 2 by deepening their knowledge and critical thinking about the complexities of global cultures and societies. Focusing on thematic or theoretical approaches to global topics and issues, the third course considers examples and case studies drawn primarily from outside the United States and Western Europe.

Learning Objectives for Cultures and Ideas 3

3.1  Demonstrate an understanding of Asian, African, Middle Eastern, Eastern European, and/or Latin American cultures in their global and/or diasporic contexts.  (Global Cultures, Diversity)

3.2  Identify, analyze and evaluate the challenges and complexities as cultures interact with and influence one another. (Critical Thinking, Global Cultures, Complexity, Perspective)

Resources for Faculty

Science, Technology, and Society

Science and technology increasingly exert profound effects on the natural and social worlds, including our economy, politics, health, environment, and our understanding of ourselves as human beings. This calls for further study of the science and technology that underpin debates over a wide range of topics relevant to contemporary life. To make informed decisions, students will need to grasp scientific and technological developments, how they emerge, and their social impact.

Learning Objectives for Science, Technology & Society

1.1   Comprehend the relevant science and/or technology and explain how science and/or technology advance through the process of inquiry and experiment. (Scientific Inquiry, Science & Technology, Critical Thinking, Complexity)

1.2   Analyze and evaluate the mutual influence between science and/or technology and society. (Science & Technology, Critical Thinking, Complexity)

Resources for Faculty

Religion, Theology, and Culture 3

Building on the first two courses, the third course in RTC applies insights from the study of religion to difficult, open-ended questions of vital interest to contemporary societies. From historical or current perspectives, this course takes critical engagement to a creative level either in theory or practice.

Learning Objectives for Religion, Theology and Culture 3

3.1     Identify diverse perspectives on and evaluate ethical implications of past or present issues of enduring relevance. (Critical Thinking; Ethical Reasoning; Perspective)

3.2     Evaluate and apply insights from the study of religion to open-ended issues facing societies, past or present.

Resources for Faculty

  • Guidelines for course development
  • RTC 3 Rubric for assessment of student learning
  • Assessment report forthcoming

Integrations Learning Objectives & Guidelines

Advanced Writing

Building on the Critical Thinking & Writing sequence, students in Advanced Writing courses will deepen their familiarity with the values, genres, and conventions within a discipline-specific context. Advanced Writing helps students gain increased sophistication in critical reading and writing with a purpose, including addressing diverse audiences through a range of styles and voices.

Learning Objectives for Advanced Writing

1.1 Read and write with a critical point of view that displays depth of thought and is mindful of the rhetorical situation of a specific discipline. (Critical Thinking, Complexity, Communication)

1.2 Compose texts that demonstrate intellectual and creative rigor, engagement, and clear purpose (Critical Thinking, Complexity, Communication)

1.3 Independently locate, deliberately select, and appropriately use and cite evidence that is ample, credible, and smoothly integrated into an intellectually honest text appropriate for a particular discipline. (Complexity, Communication, Information Literacy.

1.4 Demonstrate an understanding of their writing processes as modes of learning and intentionally manipulate those processes in response to diverse learning tasks. (Critical Thinking, Complexity; Meta-Goal: Intentional Learning)


  • Guidelines for course development
  • Rubric will be developed 2017-18
  • Assessment report forthcoming

Experiential Learning for Social Justice

Courses with an ELSJ component will help students develop a disciplined sensibility toward the causes of human suffering and misery, and a sense of responsibility for addressing them. Students will engage in a social or cultural setting outside the university's walls, where experience, subject to rigorous reflection, can become a source of knowledge that moves students toward an ongoing engagement with the world in a spirit of service.

Learning Objectives for Experiential Learning for Social Justice

1.1     Recognize the importance of life-long responsible citizenship and civic engagement in personal and/or professional activities in ways that benefit underserved populations. (Civic Life, Civic Engagement, and Social Justice)

1.2     Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the formal and informal knowledge, wisdom, and/or skills that individuals in these communities possess, showing awareness of own and at least one other perspective/worldview. (Perspective)

1.3     Recognize, analyze, and understand the social reality and injustices in contemporary society, including recognizing the relative privilege or marginalization of their own and other groups. (Social Justice)

Resources for Faculty


Pathways, clusters of courses with a common theme, promote integrative and intentional learning. More specifically, they cultivate the ability to make intentional and reflective educational choices; to study a theme from a number of disciplinary or methodological perspectives; and to perceive connections and relationships among ideas.

Learning Objectives for Pathways 

1.1    Describe connections among courses in their Pathways and between the Pathways and their majors. (Integrative Learning)

1.2     Analyze a significant issue from at least two different disciplinary or methodological perspectives. (Integrative Learning)

1.3     Reflect on the learning process itself and on the past and future of their vocational and educational choices. (Intentional Learning)

Resources for Faculty