In 1992 Xavier University instituted a new undergraduate core curriculum. The major significant innovation of the new core is a concentrated area of study called the Ethics/Religion and Society Focus. The goal of this carefully structured sequence of courses is to foster students' understanding of socially significant issues from the perspectives of the humanities, especially literature, philosophy, and theology, as well as the perspectives of the social and natural sciences.

The Focus is comprised of four courses:

  • Ethics as an Introduction to Philosophy
  • Theological Foundations
  • Literature and the Moral Imagination, and
  • An elective course that must be concerned with the ethical and/or religious dimensions of socially significant issues.

All Xavier undergraduates must complete the E/RS Focus.

The E/RS Focus was developed as a curricular means to realize and embody the values-oriented dimension of Xavier's philosophy of education. The particular structure of the Focus represents the University's desire that the ethical and religious analysis of social issues not be restricted to particular departments, such as philosophy and theology, or a self-contained course, but that it becomes an active concern of many departments and an object of continuing dialogue among the faculty.

The E/RS Focus has enhanced liberal arts education at Xavier by highlighting the enduring value of the intensive study of literature, philosophy, and religion for living, reflectively and responsibly, in society. It has also enhanced the integration of knowledge by crossing disciplinary boundaries and by introducing humanistic content into the social and natural sciences.

The excellence of the Focus has received recognition from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the McGregor Fund, and the John Templeton Foundation.