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Why does Dominican have a Core Curriculum?

The answer lies in Dominican’s mission statement: The university “prepares students to pursue truth, give compassionate service, and participate in the creation of a more just and humane world." The Core Curriculum fosters the foundational skills, breadth of knowledge, and habits of integrating knowledge and experience needed to meet the challenges of this mission.

Is the Core Curriculum the same as “GenEd requirements”?

In many ways, the Core is similar to the general education programs at other schools in that a key purpose is to ensure that all students receive a broad education. But Dominican’s Core contains distinctive elements, especially within Dominican Distinction, which centers the Enduring Questions Seminars and our commitment to Diversity and Social Justice. Additionally, the ongoing dialogue between each student’s major and the Core is especially emphasized at Dominican, where students’ core experience stretches across their four years of study.

Isn’t the Core just a bunch of requirements “to get out of the way” as quickly as possible?

How you view the Core depends to a great extent on your outlook, your commitment to personal growth, and on the academic choices you make. We want Dominican students to have unprecedented intellectual freedom and growth opportunities, so we designed the Core with a careful balance of structure and flexibility. This encourages you to take ownership of your own education as you strive for that intellectual maturity that comes with acquiring the necessary knowledge, skills and habits of mind and heart to enable lifelong learning and growth.

In the Foundations, there is a good deal of choice. For example, you may choose which sections of CRWS to take depending on your interest in various disciplinary fields and the topics that are offered. Similarly, you may choose the math course that best suits your major and which foreign language to study.

In the Area Studies/Explorations and Diversity and Social Justice courses, we offer an impressive range of courses that satisfy the requirement for each category. So, study the Bulletin and plan to take courses that help you get the most out of your Dominican education. These courses may:

  • Test a potential major,
  • Complement a major, or
  • Lead into new realms of learning for the sheer joy of discovery.
Is the Core the same for all students, regardless of school or major?

Yes, all undergraduates complete the same Core Curriculum, whether they are enrolled in Rosary College of Arts and Sciences, Brennan School of Business, College of Applied Social Sciences, or College of Health Sciences.

Do Honors students complete the same Core Curriculum?

The Honors curriculum is different from the traditional LAS Core Curriculum, but they share many of the same principles around Foundations, Areas of Exploration, and Diversity and Social Justice. Additionally, students may work with their advisors to switch from one core to the other, should that be necessary. .

I’m a transfer student—how many Core requirements will I have to meet?

Many transfer students will have already met many of the Core requirements, but transfer students will be required to complete two seminars (Life in the Natural World and The Good Life Senior Integrative Seminar) and a theology requirement. The Office of the Registrar provides transfer guides that include lists of courses from many area schools that fulfill particular Foundations or Area Studies requirements..

Is there a simplified list of Core requirements to help me plan my course of studies?

The Office of Advising creates advising worksheets for each academic major program, which are provided on their respective major pages and also include a list of Core requirements.

Where can I find descriptions and schedules of Core courses?

Consult the current bulletin for listings and descriptions of all Core courses. A schedule of courses for any given semester may be found on Course Search in myDU. Your advisor will help you more fully understand the core requirements.

When should I complete the Core Curriculum?

Students are strongly urged to complete the Foundations component of the Core as soon as possible—ordinarily within the first year. The rest of the core requirements are often taken throughout the four years, which promotes integrative learning across the major/minor and the core.

Who teaches in the Core Curriculum?

Faculty members from virtually every department teach in various parts of the Core. For instance, Dominican mathematics professors instruct students in Core mathematics courses, and students will meet a history or biology professor in a course meeting the Core area history requirement or the Core natural science requirement. Professors from a wide range of disciplines lead Enduring Questions Seminars, contributing to their rich diversity and integrative character.

Will Enduring Questions Seminars help me in my major?

In many ways, Core courses can strengthen one’s work in a major field. But just as importantly, the Core provides an appreciation of both the limits of particular majors and the relationship of those majors to the range of skills and knowledge necessary to understand today’s world and to carry out Dominican’s educational mission after graduation.

Can I meet Core requirements through placement examinations or AP credit?

Yes. Students may test out of the following Foundations requirements:

  • Mathematics
  • Foreign language
  • Computer applications

Placement tests are given during freshman and transfer Student Orientation and Registration (SOAR) programs or by arrangement. Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate (pdf) credit may also allow students to meet one or more of the Area Studies requirements. For more information, see Dominican’s online application, or the AP Credit Chart (pdf).

How can I get more information about the Core?

Contact Sheila Bauer-Gatsos, Director of the Core Curriculum. You may also contact Academic Advising for more information about the Core Curriculum.