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Core Curriculum

Pathway Overview

  • Think about your interests—Pathways provide an opportunity to discover your passions and to see how different disciplines approach the same issue, theme, or problem. Pick something that excites you. It might be helpful to read over the stories of some SCU Seniors about how they approached their Pathways.
  • If you take any Pathway-related courses this academic year, save your work in case you declare that Pathway. (Use Digication, dropbox, your own computer and thumb drive to store your work.)

Pathways, clusters of courses with a common theme, provide an opportunity to choose a Pathway theme; to study that theme from a number of disciplinary or methodological perspectives; and to perceive connections, complexities, and relationships among ideas and your educational and life experiences.

Pathways also provide opportunities for undergraduate research experience and for deepening links with the Residential Learning Communities and Centers of Distinction, such as the Center for Science, Technology & Society, the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education, and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.


• All majors in the College of Arts & Sciences and Leavey School of Business except transfer students who matriculate with 44 or more units of transfer credit complete four-course Pathways (at least 16 units). If a Pathway includes 2-unit courses, more courses will be required.

• All engineering majors and transfer students who enroll with 44 or more units of transfer credit complete three-course Pathways (at least 12 units).

• Students may include no more than two courses from any subject (e.g., ANTH, BIOL, ENGL, TESP).

• Please note that ENVS, ETHN, CHST, PHSC, and WGST are exempt from the above two-course rule because courses in these areas are inherently interdisciplinary.

• A student’s Pathway may contain no more than two courses in either the Cultures & Ideas sequence (C & I 1, 2, and 3) or the Religion, Theology, & Culture sequence (RTC 1, 2, and 3).

• Only one course in a Pathway may be a Foundations course (normally taken the first year). Note: C&I 1 and 2 are Foundations courses, but C&I 3 is not; RTC 1 is a Foundations course, but RTC 2 and 3 are not.

• Some courses will be appropriate for more than one Pathway, but students will complete only one Pathway.

• Students may apply no more than one study abroad course toward their Pathway.

• Any course a student wants to include within a Pathway must have been approved for the Pathway. A list of approved courses is available on the Core website:; choose “Pathway Listings.”

• Some CTW 2 courses count towards a pathway.


  • Narrow your interests and start planning ahead. Begin using your upcoming courses to explore the Pathways you've identified.
  • Select your Pathway! Declare it through eCampus. Find links with your Pathway and upcoming major, minor and Core courses. Continue to save your work!
  • Continue taking your Pathway courses, saving your work.
  • Complete your Pathway reflection essay after reaching 100 units and before applying to graduate, referencing the prompt and rubric on the Pathways web site
  • Upload your reflection essay and sample assignments from each class in your Pathway to the online system via the eCampus link, “Submit Pathway Assignment”
  • Receive confirmation of your Pathway Reflection Essay passing and completion of your required number of Pathway courses, therefore fulfilling the Pathway Core requirement, as noted on your degree audit (eCampus)
  • If your essay requires a Revise/Resubmit, please refer to your marked rubric to make the necessary changes; visit the HUB and resubmit via eCampus link.

Frequently Asked Questions

Students should write their reflection essays as if any educated adult is the audience. Do not assume that the reader is familiar with the subject matter of the courses. Include enough detail for readers to see what is distinctive about the student's Pathway and reflection.

Yes. Students can use courses required for their major provided that they follow the general Pathway requirement of no more than two courses in the same subject.

No. The Pathway reflection essay can only be submitted after students complete 100 units. Only one course in a Pathway may be a "Foundations" course (normally taken the first year).

No. Some courses will be appropriate for more than one Pathway, but students will complete only one Pathway.

You may find it useful to look at the Pathway requirement as two pieces:

1) completing the necessary number of courses/units. Arts & Sciences and Business students will normally take four courses (at least 16 units). For students in the School of Engineering and Transfer students who transferred in 44 or more units, three courses (at least 12 units) are required. Courses/units counting towards the Pathway are monitored/verified through the degree audit, accessible via ecampus. 

2) connecting learning in the completed courses with the theme of the Pathway through a two-three page reflection essay. After completing 100 units but before you petition to graduate, you will upload the reflection essay, along with sample materials from two pathway courses, to a web submission system accessible via ecampus. The faculty member who evaluates your essay will send you an email message letting you know your score on the four categories of the rubric. If you do not earn a pass or exemplary pass on all four categories of the rubric, you will be asked to revise and resubmit.

*Please note the degree audit identifies the first three-four courses completed in the declared Pathway. Additional courses completed will not be identified by the degree audit, but students may choose to write about learning in these Pathway courses by noting them in the web submission system when uploading their pathway materials. 

There is no limit to how many courses you may take in a major for pathways if your major is interdisciplinary, BUT a maximum of 2 courses in a single subject (for example ENGL, RSOC, CHEM, etc) may be taken for credit towards your Pathway course requirement.

As cross-listed courses are listed in multiple subject areas, these courses are exempt from the two course rule. Courses that are inherently interdisciplinary such as courses in: ENVS, ETHN, LBST, PHSC, and WGST are also exempt from the two course rule.

Yes. However, you may apply no more than one study abroad course toward your pathway.