May 24, 2024  
2019-2020 Course Catalog 
2019-2020 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Core Curriculum and Competencies: Requirements for students entering USJ Fall 2018 and later (formerly known as General Education)

The Core Curriculum highlights rigorous Liberal Arts and Science in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, so as to support holistic development of critically informed, ethically and spiritually grounded, merciful persons responsive to the needs of a globally interconnected community and prepared for a host of (continually evolving) career and life paths.

There are 4 components to the Core Curriculum

  • Understanding Mercy
  • Making Sense of Our World
  • University Competencies
  • Engaging Complexity


The following requirements are for students who will be enrolling directly from high school:

Understanding Mercy (16 credits)

INTD 100 - First-Year Seminar  - selected prior to first year orientation 3 credits
INTD 116 - First Year Seminar II   1credit
RELS 125 - Faith, Theology in a Religiously Pluralistic World   3 credits
One 200 level or higher RELS course 3 credits
One Philosophy course 3 credits
INTD 301 - Mercy Integrative Seminar   3 credits


Making Sense of Our World (27-28 credits)      

English Composition                3 credits
Fine, Visual or Performing Arts 3 credits
History 3 credits
Literature 3 credits
Mathematics 3 credits
Natural Sciences with Lab 3-4 credits
Social Sciences * 3 credits
Liberal Arts and Sciences Electives* (two 3-4 credit courses) 6 credits

Courses may only be used one time in each category and at least four (3) credit courses must be at the 200 level or above

Social Science course designations are: ECON, INTS, POLS, PSYC, and SOCL

*Liberal Arts and Science course designations are: BIOL, CHEM, COMP, DANC, DRAM, ECON, ENGL, FIAR, HIST, INFT, INTD, INTS, MATH, MUSC, PHIL, PHYS, POLS, PSYC, RELS, SOCL, SPAN, and WMST - In rare instances a Professional Program course may be cross listed with an LAS course code, and these courses may be approved to count toward the LAS requirement

Art History, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, English, History, Math, Philosophy, Psychology, Religious Studies, Spanish, or Woman’s Studies majors may be able to waive one category (3 -4 credits) from Making Sense of Our World requirements- confer with Academic Advising to determine eligibility


University Competencies- 
Undergraduates need to demonstrate competency in three fundamental areas: information literacy, second language proficiency and writing

Information Technology - one COMP or INFT course. May be demonstrated with competency test, scoring a 3 or better on the AP Computer Science or AP Computer Applications exam, or CLEP exam in Computer Science 3 credits
Other Language - A student meets the minimum to demonstrate competency if admitted to the University with three years of a single foreign language in high school with a C or better in the third year. Other ways to demonstrate competency are as follows: complete two years’ study of the same language in high school plus one 3 credit 2nd semester course in college (SPAN 101 or higher); pass a competency test; or complete two semesters of the same language at the college level. Students who attended high school in another country where the main language of instruction was not English, will be exempt from the language requirement and do not need to take a waiver test. 0-6 credits
Critical Writing and Reasoning - students must pass the  Critical Writing and Reasoning Portfolio   no credit


Engaging Complexity

Global Issues and International Studies (GI)- students must take one course with this designation
Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies (MWGS) - students must take one course with this designation
Values and Ethics (VE)- students must take one course with this designation

Note: The Engaging Complexity categories are not additional credits. Each student must complete one course with each designation and courses may not count for more than one category. The courses can come from across the curriculum including from a student’s major and all of the LAS courses designated in these categories.

Transfer Students Core Requirements:

Students that transfer 23 credits or fewer (not including AP credit or ECE credit):

  • Students entering USJ with 23 or less transfer credits are waived from both First Year Seminar Courses (INTD 100, INTD 116)
  • Students are responsible for all of the other Core requirements as listed above including the Critical Writing and Reasoning Portfolio  

Students that transfer 24-59 credits:

  • Students entering USJ with 24 or more credits are waived from both First Year Seminar courses (INTD 100, INTD 116)
  • Students are waived from  RELS 125 - Faith, Theology in a Religiously Pluralistic World   Students are required to take a 200 level or above RELS course
  • Students can waive either the Philosophy requirement or the Values/Ethics requirement- those waiving Philosophy may take a 200 level RELS course with the Values/Ethics designation
  • Students are required to complete all additional requirements as listed above including the Critical Writing and Reasoning Portfolio  

Students that transfer 60 credits plus or Associates Degree:

USJ accepts 30-31 credits of General Education, waives Language and IT competencies, and regards all USJ Core Curriculum requirements satisfied except:   

  • Religion 200 -level or above course with Values/Ethics focus
  • INTD 301 - Mercy Integrative Seminar  
  • (2) Liberal Arts & Sciences Electives 200-level or above
  • One course each meeting the Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies and Global Issues/International Studies designations. These courses may also be used to meet the two-course Liberal Arts and Sciences Electives requirement above

Outcomes of the Core Curriculum

First Year Seminar: Students will acquire a general broad understanding of the University of Saint Joseph experience, which may include the ability to:    

  • Understand the University of Saint Joseph mission and values, including the emphasis on academic integrity and sense of community
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the diverse learning strategies that promote critical thinking, effective written and oral expression, development or research, and collaboration skills
  • Demonstrate personal and academic growth through active involvement in academic and co-curricular activities

First Year Seminar - Oral Communication:

  • Outcomes: Oral Communication
  • Speak in a variety of public speaking situations
  • Research, prepare, organize and deliver public speeches
  • Recognize and respond productively to experiences of nervousness in public speaking situations
  • Listen effectively, recognizing and thinking critically about components of oral communication such as oral argumentation, emotional appeals, etc.

Religion 125:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the Christian Bible
  • Understanding Vatican II document(s) and/or papal encyclical(s)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the Catholic tradition through elements of history, faith, beliefs, theology, rituals and practices
  • Understand basic concepts of religious pluralism, interfaith study, and interfaith leadership
  • Understand social justice and Mercy Core Values
  • Understand life and contributions of Catherine McAuley

200 Level Religion course: Acquire a broad understanding of Religious Studies that my include:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of at least one religious tradition with attention to historical development of the central texts, beliefs, practices, or ethical understandings
  • Demonstrate knowledge of intersections between a religious tradition and issues of social justice, women and faith, service to others, or global responsibility
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the challenges and opportunity of religious pluralism and diversity

Philosophy: Students will acquire a general broad understanding of Philosophy that may include the ability to:    

  • Apply the discipline’s terms and concepts
  • Describe, explain and analyze the discipline’s questions
  • Describe, explain and analyze divergent answers in the discipline
  • Articulate and support their own philosophical position

English Composition:

  • Devise, support, and defend an arguable thesis in writing, using the conventions of format and structure appropriate to the situation or academic discipline
  • Evaluate appropriate primary and secondary sources
  • Follow principles of academic integrity, using clear, accurate citations to integrate and differentiate original ideas from those of others
  • Write and revise effectively, and use the tools of revision to assist others

Fine, Visual or Performing Arts: Students will acquire an understanding of artistic expression, including the ability to:

  •  Demonstrate understanding of the vocabulary, concepts, materials, techniques and methods of the art studied
  •  Demonstrate research or study, including but not limited to analysis of artistic works using primary and/or secondary sources
  •  Demonstrate understanding of the cultural and historical contexts in which an artistic piece is created
  •  Apply concepts and tools of the art studied, as exemplified in ones own creative or critical expression


  • Demonstrate knowledge of a historical period or issue with attention to unfamiliar possibilities and cultural perspectives
  • Evaluate how history shapes identity and events (personal, national, global, etc..) in the past and present
  • Develop the skills of historical thinking, including the ability to analyze and contextualize original documents


  • Analyze and interpret literary texts
  • Recognize and analyze literary techniques such as figurative language among others
  • Recognize the conventions and characteristics of a literary genre or multiple genres
  • Contextualize literary works and techniques historically and culturally


  • Perform computations such as arithmetic, algebraic, geometric and statistical and check results for plausibility
  • Use or interpret mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, tables, schematics, and draw inferences from them
  • Solve problems using appropriate mathematical methods including arithmetic, algebraic, geometric or statistical means
  • Communicate mathematical information using word, symbol, visual or numerical representations

Natural Science with Lab :Students will acquire a general broad understanding of scientific literacy that includes a lab component and the ability to:    

  • Apply the scientific method (required for all SI courses)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of scientific concepts and terminology
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the relationship between science and a personal or societal issue (examples of issues could include technological, ethical, social, environmental, economic, health and others)

Social Science:

Global Issues (GI): Global Issues Outcomes: Students will acquire a general broad understanding of global issues and international perspectives, including the ability to:    

  • Demonstrate knowledge of a global issue
  • Demonstrate knowledge of multiple perspectives on global issues (examples of perspectives could include economic, historical, socio-cultural, gender, political, scientific, environmental, theoretical (i.e. feminist, neo-liberal) and others
  • Demonstrate knowledge of global interdependence, currently or historically

Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies (MWGS):

  • Describe and analyze the conditions and contributions of women
  • Analyze the construction of gender roles/identities and their impact on women and men
  • Recognize and evaluate the systematic power relations among diverse groups, especially women and men
  • Explain and apply feminist theories and related methodologies in an area of study

Values and Ethics (VE):Students will acquire a general broad understanding of ethics and values, including the ability to:    

  • Describe, explain and analyze a single moral perspective
  • Describe, explain and analyze multiple moral perspectives
  • Apply a moral perspective to a complex real life issue
  • Articulate and support their own (personal) moral position