PCS Core Curriculum

As a Jesuit University, Fordham seeks to help students develop the habits of heart and mind that are the hallmarks of liberally educated men and women.

The PCS Core Curriculum assures that your undergraduate education is anchored, as a whole, in the liberal arts. It will enhance your writing and speaking skills, enable you to sample several fields of study, and provide you with a solid foundation for achievement in any of them.

The Core Curriculum consists of 12 courses. Advanced placement credit and college courses taken elsewhere may be considered for core transfer credit.

ENGL 1102: Composition II - one required course
This course will build competence and confidence in the use of language for analytic, dialogic, and expressive purposes, develop basic reasoning skills and skills of close and attentive reading, enrich an appreciation of the power and importance of language, and help students learn sound practices with respect to conventions of citation, quotation, paraphrase and documentation.

Prerequisite: Depending on placement, ENGL 1101-Composition I may be required. To move to ENGL 1102 from ENGL 1101, a grade of C or better is required.

ENGL 2000: Texts and Contexts - one required course
The introductory core course in English literature, which may include literature in translation, will teach the arts of literary interpretation by developing techniques of close reading, an appreciation of the relations among literary works and the contexts in which they are written and read, and an ability to write critically about the interplay between text and context. The sections of this course will offer students choice among thematic and topical foci, which will be specified in each section title and spelled out in the section's description.

Prerequisite: ENGL 1102 Composition II

PHIL 1000: Philosophy of Human Nature - one required course
A philosophical reflection on the central metaphysical and epistemological questions surrounding human nature, which includes discussion of some or all of the following problems: the body/soul distinction and the mind/body problem; the problem of knowledge (relativism, skepticism, the objectivity of knowledge; faith and reason); free will and determinism; and self and society (subjectivity, personhood, sociality, historicity, and tradition). At least 60 percent of each section of the course is devoted to readings from Plato, Aristotle, Augustine or Aquinas, and Descartes. Each section includes some writings by at least one contemporary figure.

THEO 1000: Faith and Critical Reason - one required course
An introduction to fundamental theological issues including the dialectic between religion and modernity that has shaped our cultural heritage, and some of the ways that various cultures and individuals have confronted the pressing questions of meaning in human life. When apposite, comparisons with religious traditions other than Christianity are made.

HIST ****: Understanding Historical Change - one required course
Through the introduction to the discipline of history, students will begin to achieve knowledge of the structure of societies, how they function, and how they change. Each section of the course will consider how to assess evidence, identify and evaluate differing and often contradictory explanations and arguments, and appraise the relative scale and importance of particular changes in the past. Students will be able to choose from different sections of the course each with the title Understanding Historical Change, and a descriptive subtitle such as Ancient Greece, American History, etc.

HIST 1000-Understanding Historical Change: Modern Europe
HIST 1075-Understanding Historical Change: Early Modern Europe
HIST 1100-Understanding Historical Change: American History
HIST 1210-Understanding Historical Change: Ancient Greece
HIST 1220-Understanding Historical Change: Ancient Rome
HIST 1300-Understanding Historical Change: Medieval History
HIST 1400-Understanding Historical Change: Latin American History
HIST 1550-Understanding Historical Change: East Asian History
AFAM 1600-Understanding Historical Change: African History
HIST 1700-Understanding Historical Change: Middle East History
HIST 1750-Understanding Historical Change: Islamic History & Culture
HIST 1800-Understanding Historical Change: Global History

Fine Arts OR Social Science - one required course from either area

Fine Arts Option 
By seeing or hearing visual or musical works and understanding them, students learn to appreciate the non-verbal and how such works are both influenced by and exercise influence on their cultural milieu. The courses take advantage of and encourage students to appreciate the extensive cultural offerings of New York City.

ARHI 1100-Art History Introduction
VART 1101-Urbanism
MUSC 1100-Music History Introduction
MUSC 1101-Opera: An Introduction
THEA 1100-Invitation to Theatre

Social Science Option 
Students will be introduced to the social sciences through introductory courses in anthropology, communications, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology. The courses will usually focus on a substantive concern of the social science and include historical overviews, consideration of the variety of research methods typically used (especially empirical research), reviews of the major theoretical orientations and models, and real world implications and applications to practical problems.

ANTH 1100-Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 1300-Introduction to Archaeology
COMM 1010-Introduction to Communication and Media Studies
COMM 1011-Introduction to Media Industries
ECON 1100-Basic Macroeconomics
ECON 1200-Basic Microeconomics
POSC 1100-Introduction to Politics
SOCI 1100-Introduction to Sociology

Mathematical/Computational Reasoning - one required course 
The aim of this requirement is to develop the fundamental skills involved in mathematical and computational approaches to problem solving, reasoning and an understanding of our world. These skills also form the basis for advanced reasoning in many areas and provide a basis for testing logic, solving problems and evaluating mathematical and computational arguments and evidence in daily life. After completing this requirement, students will be prepared to explore quantitative and computational issues in the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities.

MATH 1100-Finite Mathematics
MATH 1203-Applied Calculus I
MATH 1206-Calculus I
MATH 1700-Mathematical Modeling
CISC 1100-Structures of Computer Science
CISC 1400-Discrete Structures
CISC 1600-Computer Science I
In the Banner system, these courses will have the attribute Math/Computational Reasoning.

Natural Science - one course in physical science or life science 
By exploring the natural sciences, students will gain understanding of scientific methodology and an appreciation of the social responsibility and ethics of science. By understanding how reasoning and experimental evidence lead to scientific conclusions, students will develop scientific literacy-the ability to understand the breakthroughs in science, medicine, and technology as educated, creative, responsible citizens. Students will also develop skills in critical thinking and discernment; qualitative and quantitative reasoning; written and oral communication; and formulation, analysis, and solution of complex problems. With knowledge of the basic principles of science, students will be able to evaluate the legal, moral, and ethical issues that will affect their lives after they graduate. Science courses for non-science majors include Health and Disease; Human Biology; Human Function and Dysfunction; Life on Planet Earth; Physics of Everyday Life; Alchemy to Astrophysics; People and the Living Environment; and Ecology: A Human Approach.

Science majors will fulfill this core requirement through their major courses.

This portion of the Core enables students to deepen and extend their disciplinary study and enrich their major courses, which they will be taking concurrently, through a diverse spectrum of advanced courses, thereby assuring the achievement of intellectual perspective with breadth. The following upper-level courses will build on the knowledge, skills, and methodological foundations of the disciplinary introductions to develop and extend their awareness of questions and approaches outside their majors. Courses at this level will generally be numbered in the 3000 range, and may be taken when students have completed the introductory disciplinary courses in the area.

PHIL 3000: Philosophical Ethics - one required course 
This course involves philosophical reflection on the major normative ethical theories underlying moral decision making in our everyday lives. The principal focus of the course is a systematic introduction to the main normative ethical theories, i.e., eudaimonism, natural law ethics, deontological ethics, utilitarianism, virtue ethics, and feminism. The differences among these approaches are illuminated by studying various moral issues. In each section of the course, at least half the readings will be selected from Aristotle and Kant. Each section will include writings by at least one contemporary figure.

THEO 3100-3724 Sacred Texts and Traditions - one required course 
The second theology course, selected from a group of offerings relating to sacred texts and traditions, builds on the foundation of critical reasoning about traditions in the first theology course through analytical study of one religious textual tradition. The sections of this course will offer students a variety of texts from which to choose. All sections will draw on the disciplines of history, literary analysis, and theology, interpreting religious traditions and texts as both historically embedded and always evolving responses to the experience of the transcendent in human life.

Advanced Disciplinary Course in Literature, History, or Social Science - one required course 
Following the introductory literature, history, and social science courses, this requirement will enable the student to achieve a sharper focus and more detailed knowledge of complex literary, historical, or social methods, materials, interactions, and processes. To fulfill the requirement, one advanced disciplinary course will be taken in one of the following disciplines:


  • an advanced literature course numbered 2000 or above, or
  • an advanced history course numbered 2000 or above, or
  • an advanced social science course numbered 2000 or above

Senior Values Seminar - one required course 
This course will be numbered in the 4000 range, and will cover topics in ethical issues and moral choices through a variety of disciplines.