Skip to main content

Core Curriculum

Processes & Policies

Processes & Policies To Help Students Succeed

All students are pre-enrolled in a Core course connected to their Residential Learning Community (RLC) before they arrive for Summer Orientation. During Summer Orientation, students consult with advisors as they select other Core courses and courses for their majors for the fall quarter and to plan for the remainder of the academic year. This Core Guide lists the courses students will select from for each Core area. The Core Guide is updated frequently as new courses are approved. Students and their advisors use this Guide to familiarize themselves with the range of choices available for each of the Core categories. 

Student progress through the structure of the Core Curriculum is not strictly sequential, from Foundations through Explorations to Integrations. While some courses (e.g., Critical Thinking & Writing 1 and 2; Cultures & Ideas 1, 2, and 3; and Religion, Theology & Culture 1, 2, and 3) must be taken in sequence, all students have the opportunity to discover other sequences that are best for their individual undergraduate experience. At the same time, all students engage in coursework designed to help them achieve the shared set of learning objectives for each component of the Core Curriculum. Furthermore, the Experiential Learning for Social Justice, Advanced Writing, and Pathways components of the Core Curriculum help students experience requirements not only as individual courses but also as related educational activities that help structure and integrate their entire experience of university study. 

Because not every course approved for the Core is offered every quarter, students and advisors should also consult CourseAvail and use the drop- down box listing Core categories to select courses offered during a particular quarter. In addition to being able to consult a list of courses approved for each Core area and offered a particular quarter, students can click on the five-digit section number for any course, while reading a list of courses offered by a particular department, to see what Core areas a course satisfies. A listing of Core attributes is available to assist with this process. As the academic year progresses, winter and spring quarter schedules will become available online. 

A single course may satisfy only one Core requirement, with the following exceptions: 

  • Some students satisfy some requirements with more than one course, each of which partially completes the requirement. For example, students majoring in engineering may satisfy a requirement with more than one course. Those courses are identified in CourseAvail as “xxxPAR” because they “partially” fulfill a requirement.
  • Engineering majors may satisfy more than one requirement with one course when the course has been approved for those Core requirements.
  • All students may satisfy Core requirements with courses required for the major when the courses are approved for both the major and the Core. In addition, all students may satisfy multiple Integrations requirements with courses that satisfy other Core and major requirements when the courses are approved for the Integrations requirements as well as for the other Core and major requirements. Students normally satisfy Core requirements with courses carrying four or five units, with the following exceptions:

    • Engineering majors satisfy the Advanced Writing requirement with a combination of ENGL 181 and 182, which together carry three units.
    • The Arts requirement can be satisfied either by a single course of four or five units or with a combination of courses totaling at least four units.
    • The Pathways requirement is satisfied by combinations of three or four courses: three (or a minimum of 12 units) for engineering majors and transfer students who enroll with 44 or more units of transfer credit and four (or a minimum of 16 units) for all other majors and transfer students who enroll with fewer than 44 units of transfer credit.
    • Students normally satisfy the Core requirements with graded courses unless a course approved for the Core Curriculum is only offered P/NP.
    • Although most students will take Foundations courses in the first year, the order in which Core courses are completed is flexible, with the following exceptions:
    • Critical Thinking & Writing 1 and 2 and Cultures & Ideas 1 and 2 are two-quarter, themed, sequenced courses. Students must consult with one of the University advisors in the Drahmann Center before making any changes in their enrollment in these courses.
    • Critical Thinking & Writing 1 and 2 are prerequisites for Advanced Writing.
    • Religion, Theology & Culture 1, 2 and 3 must be taken in sequence.
    • Religion, Theology & Culture 3 courses only count for the Core requirement after students have completed 88 quarter units.
    • A course satisfying the Cultures & Ideas 3 requirement is normally taken after completing Cultures & Ideas 1 and 2.
    • A course satisfying the Science, Technology & Society requirement is normally taken after completing Natural Science and Social Science requirements.

Many courses offered through the study abroad program are preapproved to fulfill Core Curriculum requirements. However, only the second-level Core Curriculum requirement in Religion, Theology, and Culture (RTC 2) can be fulfilled with a preapproved study abroad course. The third-level Core Curriculum requirement in Religion, Theology & Culture cannot be fulfilled with a study abroad course.

Note: Students in some majors satisfy some Core requirements with special courses linked with major requirements. Students are personally responsible for knowing all academic and administrative policies and regulations affecting their program of study.