Core Curriculum

All bachelor degrees awarded by the University of St. Thomas shall meet the core curriculum requirements of the undergraduate program. The core curriculum is organized into nine curricular areas.

Goals of the Core Curriculum

The importance of offering a well integrated undergraduate core curriculum flows from the commitment of St. Thomas as a Catholic university to the underlying unity of the human person: we are called to integrity in our personal, social, and spiritual lives. The unity of the person entails the interrelatedness of the various branches of knowledge, and we are guided in our search for such interrelations by the recognition that faith and reason are fundamentally compatible and complementary. Moreover, this vision of the human person brings into focus the communitarian dimension of the person, leading us to emphasize the ethical and social development of all students and to insist that knowledge should serve the common good. Finally, because this tradition calls upon us to recognize the dignity of the human person, the curriculum fosters both an appreciation for the life of the mind and an awareness of interdependence with others on local, national, and global levels.

Drawing upon the Catholic identity of the university as an over arching principle, the undergraduate program is then framed by three additional key principles: the pursuit of liberal learning, serving as a foundation for career preparation viewed as cultivating a vocation to serve the common good, leading to fruitful interaction with the urban community within which the university flourishes.

Students formed within the architecture of such a curriculum will exhibit a love of learning and will act in accord with their deeper understanding of the responsibilities they carry within the various communities within which they participate. Through their learning they will be prepared to engage in fruitful dialogue across the many differences that constitute the polyphony of human culture, standing open to being challenged while exhibiting a readiness to seek out the deepest insights of those who at first might have seemed strikingly different from themselves.

To further these over arching objectives, graduates of St. Thomas should have developed:

  • the ability to think analytically, critically, and creatively, and to solve problems by applying knowledge in appropriate circumstances
  • the ability to write and speak clearly, to read demanding works with comprehension, to listen and observe carefully, and to respond appreciatively to the precise and imaginative use of language
  • an understanding of the fine arts as modes of expression that deepen human experience and open new perspectives on human cultures
  • an understanding of the nature and function of faith and the Catholic tradition in the modern world
  • the ability to articulate and support moral and ethical judgments about what constitutes good actions and a good society
  • the ability to participate responsibly in a democratic society, to respect the value of informed dialogue and to give thoughtful consideration to differing ideas
  • an understanding of the responsibility of educated persons to contribute to the communities and the environment in which they live on local, national, and global levels
  • knowledge of their own and others’ cultures and traditions, including non-Western and non-majority cultures, and respect for the diversity of peoples and cultures within the fundamental unity of humankind
  • knowledge of the natural world and of the modes of inquiry cultivated by the natural sciences
  • the ability to reason quantitatively and to evaluate basic mathematical and statistical arguments
  • the ability to understand how the power of technology can be used in service of the common good and as a tool within academic disciplines
  • the ability to use knowledge from various fields and to integrate ideas across disciplinary boundaries
  • knowledge in depth in at least one field of study, including an understanding of the route to acquiring knowledge and demonstration of some ability to do research or learn independently in that field. 

Courses used to satisfy the requirement in a curricular area are of two types:

  • core courses – in which a specific course is designated as fulfilling a requirement; and
  • core-area courses – in which a selection is made from a list of courses designated as fulfilling the requirement.

Overview of requirements:

  • Literature and Writing - 8 credits
  • Moral and Philosophical Reasoning - 8 credits
  • Natural Science and Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning - 12 credits
  • Faith and the Catholic Tradition - 12 credits
  • Social Analysis - 4 credits
  • Historical Studies - 4 credits
  • Fine Arts - 4 credits
  • Language and Culture - 12 credits
  • Human Diversity - 4 credits (courses fulfilling this requirement may also fulfill another core or core area requirement)