The Liberal Arts at USD

Since its founding in 1949, the University of San Diego has remained committed to the liberal arts tradition.

A Liberal Arts Education for the 21st Century

We believe in the power of interdisciplinary learning and will challenge you to see the ways in which all subjects are ultimately interconnected in our society. Ultimately, the liberal arts will teach you how to learn, how to think and how to communicate across disciplines, thereby ensuring success long after graduation. A liberal arts background enables one to be a multifaceted thinker and scholar: a curious mind with the skills to analyze the world from myriad perspectives. No matter your passions or major, the liberal arts will propel you to a successful future with limitless potential.

How will the liberal arts impact your USD experience?

Catholic Intellectual Tradition

The Catholic intellectual tradition complements the liberal arts in that it emphasizes educating the whole person. Outside the classroom, you will have countless opportunities to discover your passions, grow in your faith and spirituality, expand your worldview and realize the type of person you hope to become.

Core Curriculum

To ensure you receive the full liberal arts experience, you will complete USD’s core curriculum alongside the requirements for your selected major and/or minor. The core curriculum outlines coursework in a variety of key subject areas that have been designated by faculty as critical competencies for personal and professional development. For a detailed look at each subject area, please review the core curriculum flowchart.

In addition to taking classes across multiple academic disciplines, completion of the core requires that you take part in two integrative learning experiences. One integrative experience will take place during your first year at USD, where you will explore a central topic over the course of two semesters by way of two distinct classes from different subject areas. At the end of the year, you will be tasked with completing and presenting a project that showcases the interdisciplinary connection of your coursework in relation to the topic at hand. In your senior year, you will complete your second integrative experience: a culminating project within your major that takes into account meaningful interdisciplinary connections.

Living Learning Communities

Our five themed Living Learning Communities (LLCs) bring first-year students together in a way that combines residential, academic and social experiences. Each LLC is comprised of roughly 15 different first-year courses, which span academic interests. Though the nature of each class will be rather different, they will all tie the theme of your LLC into their curriculum. Thus, you will live and learn around a shared concept, sparking interesting discussions and prompting intellectual exploration. Of course, LLCs aren’t just about the classroom experience. Your LLC will be your community at USD, your first home on campus. You will share a special bond with the students who live in your community, and especially with those in your same fall LLC course. In the spring, your journey will continue as you select from an offering of courses that will further explore your LLC theme in the context of an entirely new subject area, thus providing your first integrative experience in interdisciplinary study.

Career Readiness Programs

Each of our three undergraduate colleges and schools requires that students complete a career readiness program in order to graduate. If you will study within the College of Arts and Sciences, you will complete the Compass Program; within the School of Business, the Passport Program; and within the School of Engineering, the Connect Program. Each outlines its own set of customize steps to prepare you for life after USD. These steps may include completing an internship, conducting research, attending a certain amount of networking events and more. The programs will also introduce you to other opportunities provided by the Career Development Center, such as Torero Treks or our unique flash mentorship program with alumni.

USD Honors Program

A true embodiment of the liberal arts, the USD Honors Program challenges our most intellectually curious students to take their academic journey to the next level through designated honors coursework. Team-taught courses and research will complement standard coursework, providing an experience oftentimes reserved for the graduate level or beyond.

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