Updating USD's Core Curriculum

The Core Curriculum is the expression of the two great traditions that animate the University of San Diego: liberal arts education and the Catholic intellectual tradition. By carrying on the humanist project of free inquiry, the liberal arts teach us to think critically. We learn to examine the world, to question assumptions, and to cultivate self-reflection – habits of mind which are essential for our students as they become adults and citizens. These ideals are also essential to the spiritual and ethical values of USD's Catholic mission. The distinctive idea of a Catholic university puts particular emphasis on academic excellence in the liberal arts, and on critical reflection as a key ingredient in our spiritual welfare. By thinking about both reason and faith, our students uphold the dignity and aspirations of all people. The Core reflects these traditions, and it simultaneously turns toward the complex realities of the present. The vibrancy and relevance of a USD education depends in no small part on a Core that can evolve with its students, and with our rapidly changing, diverse world.

The core curriculum is the product of five years of work by faculty and marks the most significant adjustment to our core curriculum since 1986. We have arrived at a Core that is student centered and that embodies the tradition and mission of USD. The new core is a recommitment to the value of a liberal arts education for all undergraduates, regardless of major.

  • Integrate knowledge, insights, and skills gained through scholarly inquiry and strong community into the quest for truth as a continuous process of making connections (integrated learning);
  • Become individuals who aspire to uphold the dignity and aspirations of all people in the search for truth and for the good (foundations);
  • Critically and creatively explore the "big questions" about God, personal and social identity, and the world through varied modes of inquiry (foundations & explorations);
  • Learn essential skills of critical thinking and information literacy, communication, mathematical reasoning and problem-solving, and quantitative reasoning (core competencies).