Core Curriculum

Vision Statement

The University of Portland’s Core Curriculum has two central premises. Its first premise is that no discipline by itself is sufficient to discover the truth. Reasoned inquiry must cross scholarly disciplines to engage and inform each of them. In the Catholic intellectual tradition, there is an emphasis on strong and diverse core requirements in order to prompt cross disciplinary engagement with fundamental questions of existence. At the University of Portland, the Core Curriculum promotes the virtue of intellectual humility by cultivating an awareness of what is not known while provoking the search for truth.

The Core Curriculum’s second premise is that learning originates in seeking answers to important life questions such as:

  • Who am I? Who am I becoming? Why am I here?
  • How does the world work? How could the world work better?
  • How do relationships and communities function? What is the value of difference?
  • What is the role of beauty, imagination, and feeling in life?
  • Who or what is God? How can one relate to God?
  • What is a good life? What can we do about injustice and suffering?

Each discipline supplies a particular lens for engaging such questions, and one needs to look through multiple lenses to begin to approach the truth. Wrestling with enduring questions students will be prepared with the skills, knowledge, and values that will prepare them to become life-long learners, and effective citizens who are able to understand and appreciate the perspectives of those different from themselves. The goals of the core serve this vision and are achieved through the learning outcomes, which are continuously assessed.

The University requires course work in: 

Credit Hours Area
3 Fine Arts — Fulfilled by FA 207, FA 307 or FA 310.
3 History — Fulfilled by any history course up to and including 300 level.
3 Literature — Fulfilled by ENG 112 only.
3 Mathematics — Fulfilled by any mathematics course above MTH 120.
6 Philosophy — Fulfilled only by PHL 150 and PHL 220.
6 Science — Fulfilled by one course each from 2 clusters, including Human Biology (BIO 106, BIO 203), Food (BIO 104, BIO 107, ENV 160, ENV 161), Physical Science (CHM 105, PHY 109, PHY 163), Environment (ENV 112, ENV 182, THEP 482), Geoscience (ENV 110, ENV 111), Ocean Science (ENV 162); or courses in a science major. Consult programs for options.
6 Social Sciences — 2 disciplines fulfilled from among SOC 101, PSY 101, ECN 120, ECN 121 (transfer credit only), POL 200, POL 203, POL 205, SW 205CST 225.
9 Theology

— Lower-division requirements fulfilled only by THE 105 or THE 101 (Transfer students only) and THE 205. Upper-division THE course may be a Theological Perspectives class that can be used to satisfy the distribution requirements of both theology and a companion subject.

Some departments and schools require a specific course to satisfy one of the core requirements listed above. Students should consult the Bulletin for the degree requirements of their major.

The core curriculum also applies to transfer students. No substitutions may be made without special permission from the dean of the student's college or school.