Core Curriculum

The University of Portland’s Core Curriculum invites students to acquire the knowledge, skills, and values that will prepare them to respond to the needs of the world and its human family. The premise of the Core Curriculum is that while no discipline by itself is sufficient to achieve this purpose, the liberal arts provide a foundation of multiple lenses to address enduring questions of human concern. These include: What is a good life? How does the world work? Who or what is God? What does it mean to be human? How do people maintain enduring values in a world of rapid change and uncertainty? Wrestling with such questions helps in the formation of students who better understand themselves and the world, preparing them to become effective citizens able to understand and appreciate diverse perspectives.

Grounded by Catholic intellectual tradition and Holy Cross values, the University of Portland has strong and diverse core requirements that emphasize cross disciplinary engagement, ethical reflection, and critical thinking. The Core Curriculum enacts these points of emphasis by using different disciplinary lenses to approach truth, preparing graduates to engage in a wide range of vocations by developing habits of heart and mind that include:

  • Literacy, Dialogue, and Expression
  • Religion, Faith, and Ethics
  • Aesthetic Inquiry, Imagination, and the Creative Process
  • Scientific and Quantitative Literacy and Problem Solving
  • Scientific and Quantitative Literacy and Problem Solving
  • Global and Historical Consciousness

To cultivate these Core Habits, the University Core Curriculum requires course work of all students at three levels: introductory level, foundation level and exploration level.

To ensure that all students have some exposure to a historical disciplinary lens, students must take at least one HST course at either the Foundation or Exploration levels.

The Core Curriculum also applies to transfer students. No substitutions may be made without special permission from the Core Director in consultation with the dean of the student's college or school. Some departments and schools require a specific course to satisfy some of the requirements listed below. Students should consult the bulletin for the degree requirements of their major.

Goals of the Core

Each of the six Core Habits of Heart and Mind include learning goals for courses. Individual courses also identify specific student learning outcomes to assess whether the learning goals are being achieved. The course learning goals include:

Aesthetic Inquiry, Imagination, and the Creative Process

  • Engage in creative processes requiring curiosity and imagination
  • Recognize ways products of creative and artistic expression inform human experience

Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and the Common Good

  • Learn to live and contribute in a diverse society and interdependent world
  • Recognize how cultures, identities, and inequalities shape human experience
  • Engage community and social issues with a sense of civic responsibility and shared commitment to human dignity.

Global and Historical Consciousness

  • Apply a comparative perspective to global issues
  • Develop competencies for responsible global citizenship and stewardship
  • Demonstrate a historical and cultural consciousness
  • Demonstrate a historical and cultural consciousness

Literacy, Dialogue, and Expression

  • Express critical, analytical, and imaginative thoughts and ideas, particularly in writing
  • Employ critical reasoning to explore ideas and evaluate information
  • Engage in active consideration of and constructive response to the ideas of others.

Religion, Faith, and Ethics

  • Confront ultimate questions with knowledge from a range of intellectual & religious traditions
  • Examine faith and religion, their place in one’s life, and in the lives of others
  • Develop the knowledge and skills for acting ethically in everyday life
Scientific and Quantitative Literacy and Problem Solving
  • Use scientific thinking to understand how the world works
  • Employ mathematical and statistical skills to explore and make sense of data
  • Use empirical analysis to address human, social, or ecological problems

Introductory Level - 1 credit hour

At the Introductory Level, all first year students will take CORE 101 on a pass/fail basis.

CORE 101
 Anchor Seminar
 1

Foundation Level - 33 credit hours

At the Foundation Level, all students will take courses distributed across the following six habits.

Aesthetic Inquiry, Imagination, and the Creative Process - 3 credit hours

Select one course from following:

FA 107
The Creative Process in Visual Art   3
FA 108
 The Creative Process in Performative Art  3
FA 307
 The Arts in Portland  3
FA 310
 The Fine Arts Through the Film Medium  3

Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and the Common Good - 3 credit hours

Select one course from the following:

CST 225
Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others 3
HST 210
Who is America: The Early U.S.
3
HST 211
Who is America: The Modern U.S.
3
HST 220
The Search for Justice in the Western Tradition
3
SOC 101
Introduction to Sociology
3
SW 101
Social Work and Social Justice
3

Global and Historical Consciousness - 3 credit hours

Select one course from the following:

HST 221
Modern Western Civilization 3
HST 251
Modern East Asia
3
HST 254
Colonial Latin America 3
HST 256
Modern Latin America
3
POL 203
Introduction to Political Theory 3
POL 205
World Politics  3
CHN 103
Beginning Chinese Language and Culture III
3
FRN 202
Intermediate French Language and Culture
3
FRN 205
Accelerated Intermediate French Language and Culture
6
FRN 301
Advanced French Conversation and Culture
3
FRN 302
Advanced French Conversation, Composition and Culture
 
GRM 202
Intermediate German Language and Culture
3
GRM 207
 Accelerated Intermediate German Language and Culture 6
GRM 301
Advanced German Conversation, Composition, and Culture
3
GRM 302
Advanced German Conversation, Composition, and Culture
 
SPN 202
Intermediate Spanish Language and Culture  3
SPN 205
Accelerated Intermediate Spanish Language and Culture 6
SPN 301
Advanced Spanish Composition, Conversation, and Culture I
3
SPN 302
Advanced Spanish Composition, Conversation, and Culture II
3
SPN 308
Advanced Spanish for Heritage Speakers
3

Other HST courses designated HTS 25x or HST 291 may fulfill the Global and Historical Consciousness requirement. Please confirm eligible course offerings with a program counselor.

Literacy, Dialogue, and Expression - 6 credit hours

ENG 112
Thinking Through Literature   3
PHL 150
Introductory Philosophy
 3

Religion, Faith, and Ethics - 9 credit hours

PHL 220
Ethics
3
THE 105
Engaging Ultimate Questions: Religion, Faith, and Ethics
3
THE 205
The Bible, Past and Present
3

Scientific and Quantitative Literacy and Problem Solving - 9 credit hours

Select one course from the following - 3 credit hours

ECN 120
Principles of Macroeconomics  3
ECN 121
Principles of Microeconomics
3
POL 200
Introduction to United States Politics
3
PSY 101
Psychological Science
3

Select one course from the following - 3 credit hours

MTH
Any mathematics course above MTH 120   3

Select one course from the following - 3 credit hours

BIO Any 100-level course or any 200-level course required of a major
3
CHM Any 100-level course or any 200-level course required of a major
3
ENV
Any 100-level course
3
PHY
Any 100-level course or any 200-level course required of a major
3

Exploration Level - 6 credit hours

At the Exploration Level, all students will take 6 credit hours of courses designated as exploration courses for the University Core Curriculum. These courses will address at least two Core Habits and must be approved by the University Core Curriculum Committee or the Core Director.

The first Exploration Level courses will be offered in the 2022-2023 academic year.

Integration Assignment

Prior to graduation, students will also complete an integration assignment reflecting on educational experiences with the University Core Curriculum and demonstrating an ability to understand the Core Habits.