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Core Curriculum

Xavier University is committed to a broad-based liberal education in the Jesuit tradition. The foundation for this liberal education lies within the Core Curriculum. Through their experiences in core courses, Xavier University encourages students to explore the world through multiple avenues to truth which reflect the complexity of the human spirit. This learning process involves experience and discovery, individual and collective problem solving, affectivity, intuition, and active engagement in this world. This is the beginning of a life-long personal integration leading to practical, wise and sensitive action in a continuously changing, culturally diverse world.

Listed below are the academic goals of the Core Curriculum that will facilitate this life-long integration:

  • Students will demonstrate the ability to express themselves articulately, orally and in writing.
  • Students will, individually and cooperatively, demonstrate ability to think and to solve problems, critically, analytically and creatively, within and across disciplines.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to differentiate the methodologies and to understand the interrelationships of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.
  • Students will demonstrate, in a way consistent with the Jesuit tradition, an ability to understand and analyze significant religious, ethical, and moral issues within a rapidly changing global society.

There are four components of the Core Curriculum for baccalaureate students.

Ethics/Religion and Society Focus (E/RS) (4 courses)

By devoting special attention to the ethical and/or religious analysis of socially significant issues, the Ethics/Religion and Society Focus endeavors to realize Xavier's mission and philosophy of education. Xavier believes it is important for its students to learn to analyze societal issues critically in terms of human values and to develop a sense of compassionate solidarity and service.

The Ethics/Religion and Society Focus is comprised of four integrated courses:

Ethics as an Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL 100 )
Theological Foundations (THEO 111 )

These two courses are prerequisites for the remaining two E/RS courses or one must be a prerequisite and the other a co-requisite for the remaining two courses.
Literature and the Moral Imagination (ENGL 205 ), Classical Literature and the Moral Imagination (CLAS 205 ), or Hispanic Literature and the Moral Imagination (SPAN 205 ).

Typically this course follows the other literature course in the core.
A Focus Elective. May fulfill another requirement in the core or a major or minor. A list of approved E/RS electives for a specific term appears in the Semester Schedule of Classes.

Cultural Diversity Course (1 credit hour)

This course introduces students of sophomore classification to the opportunities cultural diversity presents, and to the issues of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination and their relation to the exercise of power in American society.

English Composition Course (3 credit hours)

In order to ensure that all students possess adequate writing skills, either English Composition (ENGL 101 ) or Rhetoric (ENGL 115 ) is required of every student.

Distributional Requirements (51 credit hours)

  • Fine Arts 3 credit hours
  • Foreign/Second Language 6 credit hours
  • History 6 credit hours
  • Literature 3 credit hours
  • Mathematics 6 credit hours
  • Philosophy 6 credit hours
  • Sciences 9 credit hours
  • Social Sciences 6 credit hours
  • Theology 6 credit hours

Fine Arts
Three semester hours must be completed in approved studio or lecture courses that encourage expression, specifically in the fields of film, video, music, theater, and the visual arts.

Foreign/Second Language
Students must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in a foreign/second language or complete up to six hours toward obtaining that proficiency after placement. International students whose native language is not English fulfill the language requirement by their proficiency in English. Xavier University considers American Sign Language a foreign/second language.

Six semester hours of sequential survey courses are required to introduce students both to a body of knowledge and to historical methodology which includes understanding change over time and arguments about cause and effect. In these courses students examine the evolution of ideas, institutions, organizational systems and values which have shaped and are shaping societies.

In addition to the literature course in the Ethics/Religion and Society Focus, students must select a course that emphasizes the analysis of, response to, and interpretation of literary texts.

Six semester hours are required in mathematics. Students may not fulfill this requirement by taking two courses similar in content, as, for example, MATH 150 , Elements of Calculus I, and MATH 170 , Calculus I. CSCI 170 , Computer Science I, can be used for core credit. Those who enter Xavier deficient in mathematical skills will be required to complete MATH 105 , Fundamentals of Mathematics, before attempting any other mathematics course. Although MATH 105 does earn credit, it does not fulfill the mathematics core requirement.

Six semester hours must be completed in courses that study fundamental and perennial philosophical questions with readings from philosophical literature. PHIL 100, Ethics as an Introduction to Philosophy, serves as an introductory course in the Ethics/Religion and Society Focus and as the prerequisite for the two required, sequenced philosophy courses: PHIL 290 , Theory of Knowledge and a philosophy elective.

Nine semester hours are required in courses that include the laboratory experience in the study of natural or human phenomena. Students must complete this requirement through courses offered in two different science departments.

Social Sciences
Six semester hours must be completed in courses that provide a general introduction to the systematic study of human behavior and institutions.

Six semester hours must be completed in courses that study the human experience of God and the doctrines and rituals related to religious experience. THEO 111 , Theological Foundations, serves as an introductory course in the Ethics/Religion and Society Focus and as the prerequisite for the two required theology courses. Students take one course from each of the two areas:

Scripture/History or Christian Systematics
Theological Ethics or Religion and Culture