Core Curriculum

The University of St. Thomas’ unique core curriculum offers students entrance into the great conversation unfolding across human history, a conversation about the fundamental questions we must all consider if we hope to live fully human lives.  But it is about more than questions.

The wisdom you discover—animated by faith and reason—and the skills you cultivate prepare you to serve society with conviction and become a leader known for your integrity, insight, and courage. Students who complete the UST Core will have both the skills needed to succeed professionally in life after graduation and a true sense of the greater purpose of that life.

The Goals of the Core

We seek an understanding of ourselves as human persons endowed with intellectual and imaginative capacities and free will, so that we may be empowered to pursue wisdom and to cultivate virtues, in which our humanity is fulfilled. We develop the intellectual skills that shape the life of the mind across multiple disciplines and enable us to grow intellectually toward an integrated vision, becoming more fully the persons we were created to be. These include, without being limited to, the ability to read and interpret, to draw conclusions from principles and data, to formulate accurate definitions, and to persuade others without manipulation or deceit. We build up in our souls a reflective, philosophical habit of mind from the perspective of which the truths of all disciplines, of faith and of reason, can begin to be grasped as an ordered whole unified by underlying principles. This reveals itself in a healthy curiosity and a reverent wonder for truth in all its forms and in a keen interest in the underlying causes of things.

In the Core and as a University, We Are Committed To:

The Catholic intellectual tradition, a tradition that (i) understands human persons as rational, imaginative, free creatures capable of fulfillment through wisdom and virtue, (ii) prizes the intellectual skills formed by the liberal arts that have always been foundational in Catholic universities, and (iii) understands all of created reality as intelligible through principles and causes. The dialogue between faith and reason, which depends upon the reflective, philosophical habit of mind our curriculum fosters. The Basilian core values of goodness, discipline, and knowledge, virtues through which our students’ humanity is fulfilled and which enables students to understand the relationship between the different parts of human knowledge, making possible constructive collaboration across different disciplines. The unity of all knowledge, insofar as the truths of all disciplines can be grasped as an ordered whole unified by underlying principles, forming our graduates to think critically, communicate effectively, succeed professionally, and lead ethically.

Degrees and Certificates

Classes

ARTSC 3301: Art and Contemplation

Art and Contemplation focuses on how works of art—music, painting, sculpture, dance, photography, and film—reveal aspects of reality that surprise, startle, and provoke us to think. The poet, Dante Alighieri, considered art as the grandchildren of God inasmuch as men and women are His creations, and they in turn fashion earthly materials in forms that reflect the beauty of God. Such creation turns our gaze to beauty, and thereby to our Creator God. Students will come to embrace as their own Fyodor Dostoevsky’s famous words, “Beauty will save the world.”

ENGLC 1301: The Classical Tradition

The Classical Tradition lays the foundation for the rest of the core curriculum in English through a writing-intensive introduction to some of the most beautiful and life-altering poems and philosophical works of the Classical world. Students will engage primary texts in a manner that hone their capacity to ask good questions, to interpret carefully, to develop the interior life, and to experience reality in all of its multi-layered richness, realizing the relationship of beauty and ugliness to truth and falsity. Concluding with St. Augustine’s Confessions, the course immerses students in the ties and tension that exist between Christian revelation and classical culture.

ENGLC 1302: Middle Ages and Renaissance

The Middle Ages and Renaissance develops the Core Curriculum in English through a writingintensive introduction to beautiful, life-altering literary and philosophical works of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Students will engage primary texts in a manner that hone our capacity to ask good questions, to interpret carefully, to develop the interior life, and to experience reality in all of its multi-layered richness, realizing the relationship of beauty and ugliness to truth and falsity.

ENGLC 2301: Modern World and American Expressions

The Modern World and American Expressions crowns the Core Curriculum in English through a writing-intensive introduction to beautiful, life-altering literary and philosophical works of modern literature. Students will engage primary texts in a manner that hones their capacity to ask good questions, to interpret carefully, to develop the interior life, and to experience reality in all of its multi-layered richness, realizing the relationship of beauty and ugliness to truth and falsity.

HISTC 1301: History of Western Culture and Ideas

A historical perspective on European culture, society, and politics. This course aims to foster both historical consciousness and the stability and circumspection that results from an awareness of the richness and diversity of the past.

LS 1301: Foundations of Liberal Learning

An introduction to the liberal arts of language: grammar, logic, and rhetoric, accompanied by an explanation of liberal learning itself, its nature and importance. The course is interdisciplinary and may be taught from different disciplinary perspectives, depending on the professor.

MATHC 2301: Quadrivium: The Mathematical Arts

"Quadrivium: The Mathematical Arts" explores the quantitative arts of the quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. As the second stage of a traditional liberal arts education following the qualitative trivium, the quadrivium reveals the beauty and nature of the created universe through the universal language of mathematics.

MATHC 2301: Quadrivium: The Mathematical Arts

"Quadrivium: The Mathematical Arts" explores the quantitative arts of the quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. As the second stage of a traditional liberal arts education following the qualitative trivium, the quadrivium reveals the beauty and nature of the created universe through the universal language of mathematics.

PHILC 2301: Ethics

This course is for students who are studying moral philosophy for the first time. As long as there have been human beings, morality has been a question—its foundations, its nature, its forms, and its very possibility. By studying classic works of philosophy, especially Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, and St. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, students will engage with the most fundamental questions that motivate ethical reflection: What does it mean to be human? What makes for a good life? How shall we live? What is the relationship between morality and happiness? The course will focus particular attention on the riches of the Catholic intellectual tradition and its emphasis on practical reasoning, the dignity of the person, virtue ethics, and the natural law.

POSCC 2301: Politics and Society

An introductory course on the political and social order with an emphasis on the American context, presenting theories and their real-life application. Themes include natural law, civil rights and civil liberties, and forms of social and economic organization.

SCIEC 2301: Quadrivium: The Mathematical Arts

"Quadrivium: The Mathematical Arts" explores the quantitative arts of the quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. As the second stage of a traditional liberal arts education following the qualitative trivium, the quadrivium reveals the beauty and nature of the created universe through the universal language of mathematics.

SCIEC 2301: Quadrivium: The Mathematical Arts

"Quadrivium: The Mathematical Arts" explores the quantitative arts of the quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. As the second stage of a traditional liberal arts education following the qualitative trivium, the quadrivium reveals the beauty and nature of the created universe through the universal language of mathematics.

THEOC 1301: Faith, Reason, and Revelation

An introductory course in fundamental Catholic theology, presenting the basic openness of the human person to divine revelation, the historical veracity of that revelation, and selected major theological themes in the Catholic worldview, with an eye to their coherence with one another and with the human person.