Core Curriculum and Requirements
Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2015-2016, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on October 1, 2015. Access the catalog of record at http://catalogs.sandiego.edu.
The USD core curriculum fosters the pursuit of knowledge through active student and faculty participation in a broad and richly diverse academic experience. The core develops indispensable competencies, explores traditions of thought and belief, and probes the horizons of the liberal arts and the diversity of human experience. The core promotes critical appreciation of truth, goodness, and beauty in the context of engagement with the Catholic intellectual tradition and diverse faith communities. The core instills habits of thought and action which will serve all students in their academic majors and throughout their lives as reflective citizens of the world.
I. Indispensable Competencies
Goal: To insure that students that have those competencies necessary to succeed in their university studies and to plan and pursue their personal, professional, and career goals.
- At the Lower-Division Level, students must demonstrate competency in written expression either by successfully completing a three unit English course titled “Composition and Literature” or by passing an examination in composition. The course will emphasize instruction and practice in composition in response to complex literary texts. Readings will be drawn from a range of genres and periods and will include voices and perspectives traditionally underrepresented in the American canon. (Students who demonstrate competency without taking the “Composition and Literature” course are required to pass a literature course taught by the English department to fulfill the literature requirement specified in Section III-A below.)
- At the upper division level, students must demonstrate advanced proficiency in written English either by completing successfully an approved upper division writing course or by passing an upper division proficiency examination. Upper-Division Writing Courses will be offered by various disciplines and can be identified by the suffix “W” in the course number.
Students must demonstrate competency either by completing one of the approved mathematics core curriculum classes or by passing an examination in mathematics.
|Mathematics Core Curriculum Classes|
|MATH 112||Investigations in Modern Mathematics||3|
|MATH 115||College Algebra||3|
|MATH 130||Survey of Calculus||3|
|MATH 150||Calculus I||4|
Third semester competency in a second language is required for students seeking the bachelor’s degree. Students may demonstrate competency either by successfully completing a third semester course in a second language or by passing an examination at that level. This requirement, like that in written literacy, is designed to increase the student’s ability to participate more fully in diverse U.S. and global societies. (Students are advised to fulfill their language requirement in successive semesters. For students with high school credit in a second language, see the languages and literatures section in this course catalog for appropriate course placement.)
Note: Students who wish to attempt examinations to satisfy any lower-division competency requirements must take those examinations within their first two semesters of full-time enrollment at USD.
Goal: To examine major systems of thought, belief, and practice, with emphasis on the Judeo-Christian tradition and on ethical decision making.
Theology and Religious Studies
Nine units, including at least three units at the upper division level.
Six units (excluding Logic), including one upper division ethics or applied ethics course. Only three units of ethics may be used to satisfy the philosophy requirement.
Goal: To foster an understanding of how the humanities and the natural and social sciences explore the range of human experience and knowledge.
Humanities and Fine Arts
Nine units, consisting of three units in history, three units in literature in any language, and three units in fine arts (art, music, or theater). Students should select courses from each of these programs in consultation with a faculty advisor using the list of approved core courses.1
Six units, including three units from the physical sciences and three units from the life sciences. In addition, at least one of the courses must include a laboratory.
- Physical Sciences
Course List Code Title Hours Chemistry CHEM 101 Chemistry and Society 3 CHEM 103 DNA Science and Technology 3 CHEM 105 Physical Sciences for K-8 teachers 3 CHEM 111 Chemistry and Society with Laboratory 3 CHEM 151 General Chemistry I 3 Environmental Studies ENVI 104 ENVI 110 Marine Science MARS 101 Physics PHYS 101 Physics and Society 3 PHYS 105 Physical Sciences for K-8 Teachers 3 PHYS 107 Astronomy 3 PHYS 117 Astronomy with Lab 3 PHYS 136 General Physics I 3 PHYS 270 Introduction to Mechanics 3 Electrical Engineering ELEC 102 Introduction to Electro-Technology 3
- Life Sciences
Course List Code Title Hours Biology BIOL 101/biol 111 Survey of Biology 3-4 BIOL 102/112 Ecology and Environmental Biology 3 BIOL 103/biol 113 Plants and People 3 BIOL 104/biol 114 Topics in Human Biology 3 BIOL 105/biol 115 BIOL 110 Life Science for Educators 3 BIOL 112 Ecology and Environmental Biology with Lab 3 BIOL 190 Introduction to Evolution 3-4 BIOL 221 Introduction to Organismal Diversity 3 BIOL 225 Introduction to Cell Processes 3-4 Environmental Studies ENVI 112 ENVI 121
Six units from two different programs among the following: anthropology, communication studies, economics, ethnic studies, political science, psychology, or sociology. Students should select courses from each of these programs in consultation with a faculty advisor using the list of approved core courses.
Diversity of Human Experience
Students will take at least one three unit course that focuses on the variety of experiences and contributions of individuals and social groups in the United States, especially of those traditionally denied rights and privileges. The courses are designated by the suffix “D” in the course number. The core curriculum’s commitment to an examination of the experiences of diverse populations within the United States and internationally is evident at three different points in its requirements: in the “D” course; in the “Composition and Literature” course, which includes texts by authors representing the kaleidoscope of voice of the United States; and in the study of a second language, where attention is given to the interrelationship of issues of cultural diversity within the United States and internationally.
The core curriculum is a crucial part of the undergraduate program at USD. It is designed to help students recognize and experience diverse ways of knowing, thus providing the tools needed for choosing and achieving success in a major field of study and for making a wise and engaged choice of elective courses. The core curriculum also helps students in finding and pursuing careers that will be intellectually meaningful and spiritually rewarding. Finally, the core curriculum is designed to instill in students an abiding intellectual curiosity, a respect for the diversity of human experience, and a willingness to participate as thoughtful, bold, and contributing citizens of the world.