Core Curriculum

Overview of requirements

Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice

The study of human diversity, inclusion, and social justice is an important component of a liberal arts education. It exposes us to the richness of human aspirations and achievements, and strengthens our understanding of the essential and equal dignity of all human beings. It provides vantage points for reflection upon our own experiences, beliefs, and practices. It forces us to confront instances of oppression, and to recognize that the experiences, beliefs, and practices of various people and cultures have been at times misrepresented or underrepresented in academic discourse and in the discourse of American society. It shows us how particular interests and privileges may contribute to misrepresentation or underrepresentation. It helps us make the world more just, more peaceful, and more harmonious.

The University of St. Thomas values the study of diversity, inclusiveness, and social justice also because it is basic to Catholic education. Following the radical call of the gospel, the Church demands justice for the vulnerable and for the economically, socially, and politically oppressed: “Since all men and women possessed of a rational soul and created in the image of God have the same nature and origin,” Gaudium et Spes tells us, “the basic equality which they all share needs to be increasingly recognized” and “every type of discrimination affecting the fundamental rights of the person … should be overcome.”

Finally, the University of St. Thomas believes it is important for students to explore issues of diversity, inclusion, and social justice because it wants its graduates to be successful, as well as informed and ethical actors in a diverse society. If graduates of St. Thomas are to be successful, they must understand the significance of human diversity, inclusion, and social justice for a wide field of human interactions, from those associated with responsible citizenship to those involved in the practice of their chosen professions and disciplines. DISJ core-flagged courses are part of a series of DISJ touchpoints in the core curriculum stretching from the first days of orientation to reflective capstone work, and including curricular and co-curricular components.

Courses which satisfy the DISJ core-flag requirement devote the majority of course content to exploring topics of diversity, inclusion and social justice specifically in the context of the United States.

A course may satisfy DISJ and the Integrations in the Humanities requirement; however, a single course cannot satisfy both DISJ and a core-area requirement (other than Integrations in the Humanities) for the same student.
Students must take four credits.

Some sections of a course may carry the DISJ flag while others do not. Students should use ClassFinder to determine which course sections satisfy the DISJ requirement in the term for which you are completing the requirement.

English

The study of literature and writing fosters empathy and imagination, critical insight, power of expression, interdisciplinary engagement, cultural awareness, and appreciation for the variety of human experience. Students who study literature and writing learn close observational skills, rhetorical knowledge, and discernment of the relationship between aesthetics and ethics. They develop a repertoire of strategies for thinking critically, analyzing texts, and composing in a variety of genres. They learn how to inhabit different perspectives, examine their values, and envision and create new realities, which helps prepare them to be caring, engaged citizens of their communities and the world.

Students must take one course (depending on placement):

  • ENGL 121 or ENGL 190

Fine arts

The arts – visual arts, theater, film, dance, music, and creative writing – challenge and extend human experience. They provide means of expression that go beyond ordinary speaking and writing. They can express intimate thoughts and feelings. They are a unique record of diverse cultures and how these cultures have developed over time. They provide distinctive ways of understanding human beings and nature. The arts are creative modes by which all people can enrich their lives both by self-expression and by response to the expressions of others.

Works of art often involve subtle meanings and complex systems of expression. Fully appreciating such works requires the careful reasoning and sustained study that lead to informed insight. Moreover, just as thorough understanding of science requires laboratory or field work, so fully understanding the arts involves first-hand experience with them. [Academic Preparation for College: What Students Need to Know and be Able to Do (New York: College Entrance Examination Board, 1983, p. 16.]

A core-area course in the Fine Arts will enhance the student’s understanding of and appreciation for one or more of the fine arts (visual arts, theater, film, dance, music, and creative writing). It will instill in the student an understanding of the role of the fine arts in expressing and maintaining, discovering and questioning a culture’s dominant beliefs and ideals. The focus of the course is broad enough to encompass different styles, but also allows an intensive scrutiny of the way in which the work of art is composed and created.

All university students have experienced the arts in one way or another. They have all seen artwork whether it be in advertising or public art or even a visit to a museum. They have heard music almost constantly since they were born. They have experienced theater either as a live performance in a theater, or more likely in film and television. They have read literature, increasingly written expressly for children and young adults, and perhaps have heard creative writers describe their craft at reading events and book signings. The core-area course in the

Fine Arts will build on that foundation of knowledge and develop an appreciation for what students already know while exposing them to other levels of the particular art form. In discussing the various art forms across the historical spectrum, students will become more aware of the fact that the arts, and the culture in which those arts were created, have a great deal in common. Students will also discover that certain arts are successfully implemented because they reflect the view of the dominant group within a culture.

The arts can be a focal point of beginning to understand what a culture has to offer. By examining examples from diverse cultures, students will recognize that certain values are held in common, although they may be expressed in different ways.

Students in a Fine Arts course will come away from it with an understanding of the means by which an artist can express an idea, an emotion, or a cultural belief. Such an understanding should include an awareness of the possible variations that exist in style, expression, and symbolic associations that allow for a range in audience reaction and that make a work of art relevant not only to its own world, but also to our own. Students should become aware of the power of communication that goes beyond ordinary language and be able to analyze its structure, message, and effect.

Since many of the ideas and perspectives explored in a Fine Arts core-area course are interdisciplinary in nature, drawing upon history, language, literature, philosophy, and religion, it is recommended that students take some of these courses prior to the Fine Arts course.

Students must take four credits:

Course Numbers

ARTH

105, 106, 115, 116, 120, 121, 130, 131, 132, 140, 141, 142, 150, 202, 204, 250, 251, 260, 265, 270, 275, 280, 282, 284, 285, 291, 297, 304, 305, 310, 321, 323, 328, 329, 330, 335, 339, 340, 345, 351, 352, 355, 356

ENGL

255

FILM

200, 310

MUSC

112, 115, 117, 130, 162, 170, 204, 216, 218, 230, 233, 412

THTR

111, 218, 221, 222, 223, 297, 412

Alternately, students may choose to participate for four semesters in one of the following music ensembles:

  • MUSN 173 Guitar Ensemble
  • MUSN 181 Orchestra

Or

Students may take a total of four semesters in any combination of choirs:

  • MUSN 140 Donne Unite
  • MUSN 142 Chamber Singers
  • MUSN 143 Liturgical Choir
  • MUSN 160 Concert Choir

Or

Students may take a total of four semesters in any combination of bands:

  • MUSN 185 Symphonic Band
  • MUSN 186 Symphonic Wind Ensemble

Or

Students may take a total of four semesters in 50-minute lessons in the same instrument or lesson (with exceptions granted in consultation with the Chair):

  • MUSP 110 Digital Music Lessons
  • MUSP 121 Harpsichord: Elective
  • MUSP 122 Lute: Elective
  • MUSP 128 Recorder: Elective
  • MUSP 131 Piano: Elective
  • MUSP 135 Organ: Elective
  • MUSP 158 Guitar: Elective
  • MUSP 159 Harp: Elective
  • MUSP 160 Banjo: Elective
  • MUSP 161 Harmonica: Elective
  • MUSP 162 Mandolin: Elective
  • MUSP 165 Music Composition: Elective
  • MUSP 168 African Drumming: Elective
  • MUSP 187 Electric Guitar: Elective
  • MUSP 188 Flamenco Guitar: Elective
  • MUSP 152 Jazz/Pop Vocal: Elective
  • MUSP 153 Jazz Piano: Elective

Four semesters of music ensembles (MUSN 140, 142, 143, 160, 173, 181, 185, 186) or lessons (MUSP 110, MUSP 121, MUSP 122, MUSP 128, MUSP 131, MUSP 135, MUSP 159, MUSP 160, MUSP 161, MUSP 162, MUSP 165, MUSP 168, MUSP 187, MUSP 188, MUSP 152, MUSP 153).

Note: A student cannot satisfy the Fine Arts requirement with a combination of two semesters of ensembles (or lessons) and then another 2-cr Fine Arts course.

Global Perspectives

Global Perspectives courses are designed to introduce students to the opportunities and challenges of living in an increasingly globalized world. As the St. Thomas Strategic Plan notes, our world is “marked by social, cultural, political, technological and economic interdependence and integration across local, national and international boundaries”; thus “understanding and integrating global knowledge, perspectives and intercultural competencies is essential to living, working and serving.

The study of and dialogue with world cultures is central to the idea of a Catholic university. Ex Corde Ecclesiae, for example, calls for an impartial search for truth, “a search that is neither subordinated to nor conditioned by particular interests of any kind.” It exhorts Catholic universities to “become more attentive to the cultures of the world today” and to realize that various diverse cultures provide “a wealth for the whole of the human family.” [Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 7, 45]

A course may satisfy GP and the Integrations in the Humanities requirement; however, a single course cannot satisfy both GP and a core-area requirement (other than Integrations in the Humanities) for the same student.

Students must take four credits.

Some sections of a course may carry the GP flag while others do not. Students should use ClassFinder to determine which course sections satisfy the GP requirement in the term for which you are completing the requirement.

A study abroad course which spends 20 days abroad (including travel days) will automatically meet the GP requirement (such a study abroad course may also meet another core-area requirement).

International students are counted as having satisfied the Global Perspectives requirement.

Historical Analysis

Historical study promotes critical thinking, intellectual resourcefulness, interdisciplinary engagement, and intercultural awareness in ways that are complementary to but distinct from other academic disciplines. Students who study history gain a better knowledge of their own and other people’s cultures and traditions. They come to understand how major social, economic, political, religious, and cultural changes over time impact our world today and set the stage for future developments. They also learn to make connections between written and material legacies that offer evidence of lived experience and the circumstances that produce them in order to become more productive and engaged citizens of our communities and our world.

Students must take one course:

  • HIST 111
  • HIST 112
  • HIST 113
  • HIST 114
  • HIST 115
  • HIST 117
  • HIST 118
  • HIST 119

Integrations in the Humanities

Liberal arts education takes knowledge to be intrinsically valuable and liberating. It produces understanding that illumines and ennobles. The humanities disciplines are traditionally a subset of the disciplines in the liberal arts. The humanities focus on documenting and understanding the human experience; they help students perceive value, discover and construct meaning, and synthesize various sources of knowledge. Without such synthesis, it is impossible to develop an informed view of the whole.

Courses in the area of "Integrations in the Humanities" show how methods of the humanities help integrate ideas and perspectives across disciplines or across communities.

Integration is a goal of humanistic studies generally and a goal also of a Catholic university. As Ex Corde Ecclesiae says: “A University, and especially a Catholic University, ‘has to be a “living union” of individual organisms dedicated to the search for truth … It is necessary to work toward a higher synthesis of knowledge, in which alone lies the possibility of satisfying that thirst for truth which is profoundly inscribed on the heart of the human person’.” [Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 16]

A student may elect both of the required IH courses from IH-designated offerings within a single major only if the student has more than one major.

See Summary of Core Requirements section for detail regarding potential overlap with Integrations in the Humanities and core flagged requirements.

Students must take eight credits.

  • AMCD 200: American Culture: Power & Identity
  • ARTH 202: History of Street Art
  • ARTH 204: Typography and Visual Culture
  • ARTH 250: Museum Studies: Exhibitions, Collections, Structures
  • ARTH 251: Museum Studies: Trends, Practices, Visitors
  • ARTH 260: Women in Ancient Art and Culture
  • ARTH 265: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Mesoamerica
  • ARTH 270: Arts of the Pacific Islands
  • ARTH 280: Sacred Architecture & Space
  • ARTH 330: Churches and Mosques in the First Millennium
  • ARTH 275: Buddhist Art
  • ARTH 282: History of American Architecture
  • ARTH 304: Typeface Design
  • ARTH 305: Greek Art and Archaeology
  • ARTH 310: Roman Art and Archaeology
  • ARTH 328: Chinese Sculpture and Architecture
  • ARTH 329: Chinese Painting
  • ARTH 351: Romanticism to Impressionism
  • ARTH 352: Art in the United States
  • ARTH 356: Modernism in European Art
  • BETH 390: Technology, Society and the Human Person
  • ENGL 215: American Authors II
  • CATH 205: Crisis and Development in the Catholic Church
  • CATH 222: The Catholic Literary Tradition
  • CATH 301: The Catholic Vision
  • CATH 308: Woman and Man
  • CATH 340: Church and Culture: The Social Dimension of Catholicism
  • CATH 355: Catholic Studies in Rome
  • CATH 405: John Henry Newman
  • CATH 406: The Many Worlds of G. K. Chesterton (2 credits)
  • CATH 407: The Many Worlds of G. K. Chesterton (4 credits)
  • CLAS 225: The Classical Hero, Epic and Film
  • CLAS 245: Classical Mythology
  • CLAS 325: Greek & Roman Environment
  • COMM 370: Intercultural Communication
  • COMM 378: Comm & Underrep Families
  • ENGL 201: Texts in Conversation: Perspectives on Genre and Craft
  • ENGL 202: Texts in Conversation: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
  • ENGL 203: Texts in Conversation: Thematic and Intertextual Perspectives
  • ENGL 204: Texts in Conversation: Perspectives on Language, Culture, and Literacy
  • ENGL 211: British Authors I
  • ENGL 212: British Authors II
  • ENGL 214: American Authors I
  • ENGL 217: Multicultural Literature
  • ENGL 218: Literature by Women: Critical History
  • ENGL 222: Catholic Literary Tradition
  • ENGL 220: The Classical Tradition
  • ENGL 341: Literature by Women: Critical Questions
  • ENGL 221: The Modern Tradition
  • ENGL 315: Topics in Professional Writing
  • ENGL 324: Genre Studies: The Healing Art of Drama
  • ENGL 325: Writers Grappling with God: Theology and Literature
  • ENGL 337: Literature of Human Diversity
  • ENGL 360: Chaucer & Medieval Period
  • ENGL 361: Shakespeare & Early Modern
  • ENGL 362: Early British Literature: Contexts and Conversations
  • ENGL 364: Eighteenth Century British Literature
  • ENGL 364: Romantic Literature
  • ENGL 365: Romantic Literature
  • ENGL 366: Victorian Literature
  • ENGL 371: Nineteenth Century American Literature
  • ENGL 390: The Erdrichs: Native American Literature
  • ENGL 395: Issues in Lit. Lang. & Culture
  • FAST 378: Comm & Underrep Families
  • FILM 225: Women and Gender in Film
  • FILM 300: World Cinema
  • FILM 335: Film Theory and Criticism
  • GERM 212: Intermediate German II
  • GERM 300: Intro to German Studies
  • GERM 341: Highlights of German Lit I
  • GERM 440: Intro to Business German
  • HIST 211: Women and Families in the Americas
  • HIST 226: Modern Europe Since 1914
  • HIST 227: Global History of Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Twentieth Century
  • HIST 228: Environmental History
  • HIST 292: Topics: Modern Iraq and Iran
  • HIST 349: History of Ottoman Empire
  • HIST 375: Non‐State Actors: Insurgents and NGOs in the Islamic World
  • HIST 396: Topics: History of the American West
  • HONR 480: Art for Just Water
  • HONR 480: The Scientific Revolution: When Modern Science Was Born?
  • HONR 480: At the Heart of Time
  • HONR 480: Improvisation as Equipment for Living
  • HONR 480: Matrix of Connectivity: How We Bridge the Gaps
  • HONR 480: Seeking Meaning and Money in Life’s Work
  • HONR 481: Honors Seminar
  • JOUR 270: Media Literacy
  • JOUR 372: Environmental Journalism
  • JPST 275: Qualitative Methods: Research for Social Justice
  • JPST 280: Active Nonviolence
  • JPST 365: Leadership for Social Justice
  • MUSC 230: Music of the United States
  • MUSC 412: Hist & Lit of West European
  • PHIL 218/219: Philosophy of Sport
  • PHIL 220: Logic
  • PHIL 221: Critical Thinking and Inductive Reasoning
  • PHIL 230: Disability and Human Dignity
  • PHIL 231: Philosophies of Social Justice
  • PHIL 235: Philosophy of Art and Beauty
  • PHIL 240: Faith and Doubt
  • PHIL 241: History and Philosophy of Medicine
  • PHIL 245: Politics, Law, and the Common Good
  • PHIL 250: Christian Mysteries from a Philosophical Viewpoint
  • PHIL 254: Biomedical Ethics
  • PHIL 255: Technology and Ethics
  • PHIL 258: Environmental Ethics
  • PHIL 260: Global Philosophy of Religion
  • PHIL 265: Minds, Brains, and Computers
  • PHIL 272: Evolution and Creation
  • PHIL 330: Philosophy of Mind
  • PHIL 357: Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 359: Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL 385: Philosophy of Science
  • PHIL 460: Philosophy of God
  • SPAN 220: Spanish for Health Care Professions
  • SPAN 305: Spanish Oral Expression & Culture
  • SPAN 315: Hispanic Linguistics
  • SPAN 320: Business Spanish
  • SPAN 335: Introduction to Spanish Literature
  • STCM 244: Research, Evaluation and Measurement
  • STCM 250: Science, Media, & Social Impact
  • THEO 221: Bible: [Instructor-Chosen Subtitle]
  • THEO 222: History: [Instructor-Chosen Subtitle]
  • THEO 223: Belief: [Instructor-Chosen Subtitle]
  • THEO 224: Bridges: [Instructor-Chosen Subtitle]
  • THEO 225: Faith & Ethics: [Instructor-Chosen Subtitle]
  • THEO 226: Spirituality: [Instructor-Chosen Subtitle]
  • THEO 227: Contexts: [Instructor-Chosen Subtitle]
  • THEO 228: Comparative: [Instructor-Chosen Subtitle]
  • THEO 229: Professions: [Instructor-Chosen Subtitle]
  • THEO 300: Signature Work: [Instructor-Chosen Subtitle]
  • WGSS 225: Women and Gender in Film

Language and Culture

Skill in a second language is essential to global citizenship. Such skill is useful in itself; furthermore, acquiring it exercises broad intellectual skills that transfer to other areas. When students’ acquisition of proficiency in the target language is supported by an analytic study of the fundamental structures of that language, students are continually challenged to exercise critical thinking while solving language problems. Discussion of the nuances of language helps to improve students’ sensitivity to language as a vehicle of expression.

A second language is an integral part of another culture, and second languages need to be studied as such. Students need to consider other cultures in their own terms; they need to recognize the force of locale, time, ideology, and language itself in shaping ways individuals in different cultures perceive human experience. Ultimately, developing a critical perspective with regard to the assumptions of one’s own culture may be the greatest benefit to be gained from first-hand contact with another culture through studying its language.

Students who studied a language other than English (and the cultures where it is spoken) for two or more years in high school must take a placement exam if they plan to continue studying that language at St. Thomas, unless they are bringing in college credit for that or other coursework in that language. Students are not permitted to enroll above or below their placement without approval of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages.

The Language and Culture core requirement can be fulfilled in any of the following ways:

  • Establish proficiency at the 212 level or higher through completion of a course at that level, proctored placement exam, or the language waiver process (for languages not offered at St. Thomas)
  • Place into the 211 level and complete that level
  • Place into the 112 level and complete 112 & 211
  • Begin a new language, or place into 111 or 122, and complete a two-course sequence

International students who completed their high school education in a language other than English are exempt from this requirement.

Natural Science

Science plays a pervasive and fundamental role in modern society, providing the technological advances that drive our economy and the insights that help us understand ourselves, our environment, and the universe in which we live. Students learning to work toward the common good must have some sense of how scientific reasoning – from observation, to interpretation, to theory formation – allows us to make sense of complex, interacting natural systems that characterize our planet, our home. Without the powerful tools of science, there is little hope of addressing pressing issues such as climate change, water quality, disease, natural disasters, and even poverty. For all these reasons, the natural sciences are essential to a liberal arts education.

Students will take one core-area course in the natural sciences that includes a hands-on laboratory experience. For students intending to major in a natural science, the core-area course will typically be a foundational course that serves as an introduction to the discipline and provides fundamental skills needed for future courses. For students not intending to major in the natural sciences, courses typically focus more on the importance of science literacy in daily life. Students are asked to critically evaluate scientific arguments by assessing the relevance, reliability, and limitations of scientific knowledge. Through engaging the natural world, students are exposed to the scientific method to illustrate that science is a continually changing process to better understand the world in which we live. The laboratory component of these courses uses an experiential-based approach with opportunities for students to engage in the scientific process.

Students must take one lab science:

  • BIOL 101
  • BIOL 102
  • BIOL 105
  • BIOL 106
  • BIOL 110
  • BIOL 207
  • BIOL 208
  • BIOL 209
  • BIOL 361
  • CHEM 100
  • CHEM 101
  • CHEM 109
  • CHEM 111
  • CHEM 115
  • ENGR 123
  • ESCI 132
  • GEOL 102
  • GEOL 111
  • GEOL 114
  • GEOL 115
  • GEOL 130
  • GEOL 161
  • GEOL 162
  • GEOL 163
  • GEOL 211
  • GEOL 220
  • GEOL 260
  • IDSC 150
  • NSCI 201
  • PHYS 101
  • PHYS 104
  • PHYS 105
  • PHYS 109
  • PHYS 110
  • PHYS 154
  • PHYS 211
  • PHYS 212
  • PUBH 200
  • PUBH 210

Philosophy & Theology

How do human dignity and the nature of the human person ground ethics? How are people formed to become virtuous and wise? What is the common good? Why should we strive for a just and inclusive society? Is truth knowable? What gives life meaning? Are humans more than matter? Do we have free will? Is belief in God reasonable, given modern science? What can an agnostic make of traditional arguments for God's existence? What should a person of faith make of the diversity of religions across the globe? How can alleged revelations be tested? What is the nature of evil? Is evil a barrier to belief in a good God? Is faith possible in a state of doubt about evidence? Is redemption possible? What role does community play in redemption? What sense does it make to say that God is all-knowing, or all-powerful, or becomes incarnate? What sense does it make to speak of divine providence?

Catholic intellectual tradition includes rich discussions of all these vitally important questions, and others like them. Through the centuries, the great philosophers and theologians of the tradition have posed the questions, debated them, and studied possible answers from various sources, including reason and natural human experience, along with Scripture and religious doctrine. As a university inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition, St. Thomas asks all its students to explore philosophical and theological foundations of the tradition. Such exploration provides theoretical mooring for the university's convictions and commitments – its conviction, for example, that faith and reason are compatible, and its commitment to the common good and to action for a higher purpose.

All students take a course that introduces the discipline of philosophy and engages philosophical questions central to Catholic intellectual tradition, and all students take a course that introduces the discipline of theology and the Catholic intellectual tradition's theological framework. A deeper, more focused exploration of these foundations is necessary to begin to appreciate the strength of the tradition; thus, all students take a third foundational course in Catholic intellectual tradition in their choice of either the Philosophy Department or the Theology Department.

These three courses in Philosophy and Theology do not constitute the entirety of St. Thomas's treatment of Catholic Intellectual tradition: rather, the three courses root concepts and principles that find their full flowering throughout the university's curriculum.

Students must take these two courses:

  • PHIL 110
  • THEO 100

And one of the following, either from PHIL or THEO:

  • PHIL 213
  • PHIL 234
  • PHIL 235
  • PHIL 240
  • PHIL 245
  • PHIL 250
  • PHIL 254
  • PHIL 255
  • PHIL 256
  • PHIL 258
  • PHIL 260
  • PHIL 265
  • PHIL 272
  • PHIL 301
  • PHIL 302
  • PHIL 303
  • PHIL 340
  • PHIL 365
  • PHIL 460
  • THEO 221
  • THEO 222
  • THEO 223
  • THEO 224
  • THEO 225
  • THEO 226
  • THEO 227
  • THEO 228
  • THEO 229

Quantitative Analysis

Tradition has it that the phrase “Let no one ignorant of geometry enter here” was inscribed above the entrance to Plato’s Academy. Plato was not obsessed with triangles, but desired his students to be well-versed in a certain way of thinking that the study of geometry, and mathematics in general, conveys.

Mathematics is a cognitive process that requires critical thinking: reading and re-reading, gathering data, formulating an abstract model to understand and solve a problem, assessing various tools and perspectives at one’s disposal, and taking a series of small and logical steps to arrive at a solution, or an approximation of a solution, all the while assessing the path one is taking, adjusting or backtracking as necessary, and reformulating or tweaking the model. It is a way of learning, knowing, investigating, describing, predicting, analyzing, and understanding.

The fundamental aim of the requirement in Quantitative Analysis is to help students develop and strengthen their abilities to engage in this deep and broad, deliberate thought process.

Students must take one course:

  • MATH 100
  • MATH 101
  • MATH 109
  • MATH 111
  • MATH 113
  • STAT 220

Social Scientific Analysis

The rationale for this requirement is based on two beliefs. The first is that an essential component of a liberal arts education helps students understand and develop the ability to analyze the social world in which they live. The second is that the social sciences provide a distinctive and valuable perspective for understanding human behavior, social interaction, and related issues of social concern. This requirement is intended to ensure that all students develop basic abilities to perform social scientific analysis of patterns of social interaction.

Students must take one course:

  • ECON 211
  • ECON 251
  • ECON 252
  • ENVR 151
  • GEOG 111
  • GEOG 113
  • POLS 104
  • PSYC 111
  • SOCI 100
  • SOCI 110

Signature Work

The Signature Work experience advances the mission of St. Thomas by asking upper-class students to integratively engage with a topic that is relevant to the mission, convictions, and vision of St. Thomas. This experience is intended to be a culmination of students’ time at St. Thomas: Students showcase their ability to integrate and consciously reflect on their learning from across their years at St. Thomas in an interdisciplinary manner.

The St. Thomas Signature Work experience addresses the Integrative and Applied Learning aspects of the American Association of College and Universities’ (AAC&U) Essential Learning Outcomes. Signature Work focuses on “synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies” as “demonstrated through the application of knowledge, skills, and responsibilities to new settings and complex problems” (Paul Gaston, General Education & Liberal Learning, 2010, p. 9). Culminating experiences such as Signature Work are listed by the AAC&U as high-impact practices.

Students must have already completed 80 credits of course work before taking a Signature Work Course.

A student’s major may require a specific course which satisfies the Signature Work requirement. However, if a student’s major does not require a specific Signature Work course, a student must take a Signature Work course in another field of their choosing.

A Signature Work course may also meet another (any other) core requirement.

Students must take one course:

Some sections of a course may carry the Signature Work flag while others do not. Students should use ClassFinder to determine which course sections satisfy the Signature Work requirement in the term for which you are completing the requirement.

Writing Across the Curriculum

The mission of the Writing Across the Curriculum program is to create a culture of writing at the University of St. Thomas, enabling students to think critically, to engage deeply in their learning, and to write with confidence, precision, and grace.

Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) classes fall into three categories:

  • Writing Intensive (WI)

Students learn to practice writing as a process: generating and developing ideas, offering helpful feedback to others, using feedback from instructors and peers to revise drafts, and editing near-final drafts. This writing process is used to promote critical thinking as well as to produce quality academic writing. WI classes are typically offered in the core curriculum.

  • Writing to Learn (WTL)

Students complete a series of informal, low-stakes writing assignments that promote critical thinking and facilitate learning course content. WTL classes are offered throughout the curriculum.

  • Writing in the Disciplines (WID)

Students learn the genres and conventions of writing in their major fields of study and the rationales behind them. The writing process is supported at critical stages of development and includes instructor feedback on drafts. WID classes are offered in the major.

Students must complete a minimum of two (2) Writing Intensive classes, one (1) Writing to Learn class, and one (1) Writing in the Disciplines class to fulfill the Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

WAC class offerings vary by term and are identifiable by the section number:

  • Writing Intensive sections will begin with a 'W'
  • Writing to Learn sections will begin with an 'L'
  • Writing in the Disciplines sections will begin with a 'D'

For more information you may also refer to the Writing Across the Curriculum website

First-Year Experience

Students must take one course:

  • FYEX 100

Students must participate in a learning community:

  • Living Learning Community
    OR
  • Two Theme-Based Learning Community Courses (TBLC)

Courses taken for either learning community can overlap with either major or core area requirements. Both types of learning communities have activity requirements outside of class.

Note: Both courses from the Theme-Based Learning Community (TBLC) courses must be within the same theme, and students must register for the accompanying TBLC Path (FYEX 150) (for activities) for the specific TBLC for which they are signed up.

Summary of Core Requirements

First Year Experience

  • FYEX 100 – Foundations for College Success (1 credit)
  • Living-Learning Community or Theme-Based Learning Community (4-8 credits)

Core Area Requirements

  • English (4 credits)
  • Language & Culture (0-12 credits)
    • Either complete coursework through 211 level (or place at 212 or above via placement test)
      OR take eight credits of the same language
  • Natural Science (4 credits)
  • Quantitative Analysis (4 credits)
  • Historical Analysis (4 credits)
  • Fine Arts (4 credits)
  • Social Scientific Analysis (4 credits)
  • Philosophy & Theology (12 credits)
  • Integrations in the Humanities (8 credits)

Flagged Core Area Requirements

Flagged Requirements: provide an added dimension to another course – need not necessarily add to course load

  • Writing Across the Curriculum (16 credits)
    • Writing to Learn (4 credits)
    • Writing Intensive (8 credits)
    • Writing in the Discipline (4 credits)
  • Global Perspectives (4 credits)
  • Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (4 credits)
  • Signature Work: (2 or 4 credits)
    • Completed after a student has earned at least 80 credits
    • Often part of a student’s major
    • Includes a portfolio of work collected over the student’s time at St. Thomas

Non-Overlap of Core Requirements

A course used to satisfy one core-area requirement cannot be used (by the same student) to satisfy a different core-area requirement. Some courses may be chosen either to satisfy one requirement, or to satisfy another, but not both. More specifically, some courses may be counted either for Integrations in the Humanities, or for another core-area listed above, but not both. For example, THEO 221 could meet the requirement for the third Philosophy and Theology course for one student OR it could meet the Integrations in the Humanities for another student.

Courses used to satisfy core-area requirements cannot also be used to satisfy the GP or DISJ flags, except for courses used to satisfy the Integrations in the Humanities requirement.

A course which is designated for Signature Work can meet a core requirement (this applies to all core area and core flagged courses).

A course which is designated for Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) can also meet a core requirement (this applies to all core area and core flagged courses).