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Core Curriculum

The University of St. Thomas approved a new Core Curriculum for fall of 2020, which will provide students with an excellent undergraduate education rooted in the liberal arts and the Catholic intellectual tradition.  The expansive Core Curriculum and an extensive set of majors and minors will prepare students to address the challenges of the 21st Century.  The new curriculum includes a common learning experience (Core Curriculum Shared Experience) that serves as a foundation for all St. Thomas students.  Building on this foundation, students choose an area of major studies (Major Concentration) that focuses and helps prepare them for their future careers.  Additionally, students choose additional courses (Enhanced Curriculum Experience) that complement their core experience and major studies.  

Core Curriculum Infographic

The Core Curriculum Shared Experience is not only foundational, but also integrative.  Toward the end of their time at St. Thomas, all students will engage in the following:

  • First-Year Experience
  • Core Area Courses
  • Core-Flagged Courses
  • Capstone Experience (Signature Work)

First-Year Experience

The First-Year Experience includes two elements: coursework and a co-curricular experience (1 credit). These two elements give every first-year student an early experience with high-impact practices that introduce essential tools that contribute to college retention and success.

Core Area Courses

Core-area Courses: 44-52 credits

  • English: 4 credits
  • Language and Culture: 0-8 credits
  • Fine Arts: 4 credits
  • Philosophy: 4 credits
  • Theology: 4 credits
  • Philosophy or Theology: 4 credits
  • Historical Analysis: 4 credits
  • Social Scientific Analysis: 4 credits
  • Quantitative Analysis: 4 credits
  • Natural Sciences: 4 credits
  • Integrations in the Humanities: 8 credits

Core Flagged Courses

Core-flagged courses are taught within a wide variety of disciplines. They devote substantial attention to specific skills or specific mission-based initiatives. Courses are designated as “flagged” based on instructor interest/expertise and/or course content. A core-flagged course will also typically satisfy either a core-area or a major requirement. Thus, these requirements typically will not add to the total number of credits in the core.

Capstone Experience

The goal of the capstone experience (Signature Work) is to have students synthesize their learning in an interdisciplinary manner, and consciously reflect on how their work at St. Thomas fits together into an integrated whole, informed by the university’s mission. Students elect either a Signature Work-flagged course in a student’s major, or a course from a department outside the major (some Integrations in the Humanities courses will be appropriate).

The University of St. Thomas grants the degrees Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Music (B.M.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering (B.S.Comp.E.), Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (B.S.E.E.), Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (B.S.M.E.), and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (B.S.C.E.) to individuals who successfully complete its undergraduate degree programs.

A candidate for a degree completes a major concentration in one of the specific academic disciplines represented in the undergraduate program. Alternatively, a student may construct a major concentration to meet a specific need or interest (subject to the approval of the Committee on Studies). The major concentration component of a degree provides students with the opportunity to pursue a limited subject in depth and to further prepare for a career.

Explicitly built into the model is an expectation that studentsenhance their core and major curricular experience in a reflective manner (the reflection itself will be integrative). Students will take at least 12 credits (outside their primary major and the core curriculum) to enhance their experience. Enhancement can occur in in a number of ways, including:

  • A second major (B.A.) in Liberal Studies (new)
  • A second B.A., B.M.,or B.S. major
  • A minor (or minors)
  • A guided series of courses (new)
  • A set of exploratory electives (new)

Other Curriculum Requirements

Total required credits: 129

Total required credits at 200-level or above: 64

Maximum size of a major (maximum sizes specified here accommodate existing majors; allied requirements are not included in the cap):

  • B.A. degree outside the Opus College of Business may not exceed 44 credits in major requirements
  • B.A. degree within the Opus College of Business may not exceed 56 credits in major requirements
  • B.M. degree may not exceed 60 credits in major requirements
  • B.S. degree may not exceed 56 credits in major requirements
  • B.S.M.E., B.S.C.E., B.S.E.E. or B.S.Comp.E. degree may not exceed 61 credits in major requirements

Credits outside major: No separate requirement

Minimum size of a minor: Minors are at least 16 credits, with at least 8 credits at the 200+ level. All minors need to meet these conditions.