The core curriculum plays a key role in an undergraduate education that is steeped in the Dominican ethos, promotes liberal learning through foundations, breadth, depth, and integration, and prepares students for responsible global citizenship. In distinctive ways, the core curriculum helps students meet the learning goals outlined in the Vision for Undergraduate Education (see Academic Information ).
The core curriculum consists of:
- Foundations: courses that equip students with basic skills fundamental to all other facets of the undergraduate course of study;
- Liberal Arts and Sciences Seminars: courses that apply multiple perspectives to the “big” questions and help students integrate what they are learning elsewhere
- Area Studies: courses that introduce students to area studies or “disciplines” practiced by scholars as they explore materials and apply methods of inquiry particular to their academic field; and
- Multicultural Course: engagement of diverse cultures in the United States or beyond its borders.
Before graduation each student must demonstrate:
- The ability to read with understanding and to communicate in writing. This requirement may be met by placement examination or by completing with a C- or better Dominican’s ENGL 102 (students with transfer credit will be required to take a writing placement exam and may be required to complete ENGL 190 at Dominican);
- The ability to understand and use mathematics. This requirement may be met by placement examination or by completing with a passing grade college-level course work equivalent to MATH 130 , MATH 150 , MATH 160 , or MATH 170 ;
- The ability to understand the connections between human languages and specific cultures and the ability to interact appropriately with people of another culture. This requirement may be met by placement examination or by completing with a passing grade a foreign language course at the level of 102. Foreign nationals educated abroad at the high school level are exempt from the requirement;
- The ability to find, evaluate, and use information effectively; that is, to acquire information literacy. Introduction to these skills will take place in ENGL 102 , where students will learn the basics of library research, including the ability to locate both print and electronic resources by searching library databases for articles and books. They will also learn how to use the internet for academic purposes, how to evaluate information critically, and how to use information ethically and legally. Students who do not take ENGL 102 at Dominican University will be required to complete an Information Literacy Workshop during their first semester at Dominican; and
- The ability to understand and use computers and their applications. This requirement may be met by a proficiency examination or by completing with a passing grade CIS 120 or its equivalent.
Liberal Arts and Sciences Seminars
Each year, students must enroll in and complete with a passing grade an integrative seminar. According to their class standing, they may choose from a wide variety of seminars that have some elements in common but that are offered by instructors representing alternative approaches to the general topics listed below. Seminars invite students to integrate multiple perspectives on personal, social, and philosophical issues by reading, discussing, and writing about the seminar topic.
- Freshman Seminar: The Examined Life
- Sophomore Seminar: Life in Community
- Junior Seminar: A Life’s Work
- Senior Seminar: The Good Life
All entering freshmen enroll in the freshman seminar during their first semester; the seminar instructor is their academic advisor for the first year. Transfer students begin the seminar sequence at the point at which they enter the university (i.e., students who transfer as sophomores must complete a sophomore, a junior, and a senior seminar; junior transfer students must complete a junior and a senior seminar). A student is classified as a sophomore if 28 semester hours have been completed, as a junior if 60 semester hours have been completed, and as a senior if 90 semester hours have been completed. For purposes of determining the point of entry to the seminar sequence, however, transfer students who enter with total semester hours within seven of a higher classification begin the seminar sequence at that higher classification (i.e., students entering the university with 21 hours begin the sequence with the sophomore seminar; students entering with 53 hours begin the sequence with the junior seminar; students entering with 83 hours are required to complete only the senior seminar). However, transfer students must have reached the necessary classification level in order to enroll in that first seminar (e.g. a transfer student with 53 transfer hours may begin the seminar sequence with a junior seminar, but the student is not eligible to enroll in the junior seminar until the student has earned 60 or more total hours).
Students studying abroad for a full academic year are exempt from that year’s seminar requirement.
A description of individual seminars can be found under Liberal Arts and Sciences Seminars .
As a means of developing a comprehensive intellectual framework vital for liberal learning, students are required to enroll in and complete with a passing grade one course of at least 3 semester hours in each of the areas listed below. Courses that fulfill these area studies requirements are indicated both in the departmental course offerings listed in this bulletin and in each year’s schedule of classes.
Courses that meet the philosophy requirement consider philosophy as part of a reasoned pursuit of wisdom in one’s life. Such courses focus on student acquaintance with some of the “big questions” philosophers typically deal with (such as What makes something “true” or “good”? Is relativism avoidable? Do human beings have free will? Is there more to us than our bodies? What’s real? Does life have meaning? etc.); acquaintance with some of the philosophical positions regarding these questions; and serious opportunities to discuss these questions and positions openly and reasonably within the context of one’s life, professionally, or as a member of one’s community.
Courses that meet the theology requirement engage students in a critical study of the methods and sources proper to theological and religious reflection, so that students will be able to describe specific ways that religious traditions, especially Catholic Christianity, raise and attempt to answer questions of ultimate meaning and value. In addition, students will be expected to articulate a theologically informed position on one or more key questions regarding the transcendent meaning and value of human existence and experience.
Courses that meet the history requirement are designed to help students develop a sense of historical perspective as understood by historians. Such a perspective involves an understanding of the ways societies may change over time and of the importance of sequential occurrence, as well as awareness of complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty as intractable conditions of human society—awareness gained through study of the interactions of diverse forces and circumstances on situations in past societies.
Courses that meet the social sciences requirement provide students with some of the conceptual tools necessary to think independently about social, economic, psychological, or political phenomena and acquaint them with a methodology used to analyze such phenomena. Study in disciplines particularly concerned with analysis of the behavior of individuals, groups, or institutions and their interactions helps students form a sophisticated—informed, complex, and thoughtful—response to contemporary problems.
Courses that meet the literature requirement help students understand and respond to works of literature. Such an understanding includes awareness of relationships between authors and their cultural and historical contexts as well as critical appreciation of ways found by writers to express feelings and ideas through language.
Courses meeting the fine arts requirement help students understand and respond to works of fine or performing arts. Such an understanding includes an awareness of relationships and interactions between artists and their cultural contexts, and an appreciation of ways in which the fine arts express feelings and ideas through various media. This understanding may be gained through personal experience of the creative processes or through the study of works of art; thus, some studio courses and appreciation courses meet this requirement.
Courses that meet the natural sciences requirement acquaint the student with scientific thought and inquiry. In the process, such courses help students understand fundamental concepts and methodologies of the sciences.
Cultural diversity, both within the United States and beyond its borders, provides an important context for the educational mission of pursuing truth, giving service, and contributing to a more just and humane world. Thus in meeting the requirements of the core curriculum, each student must elect one course of at least 3 semester hours that:
- focuses on the culture or analysis of society or civilization in Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, and/or Asia; or
- focuses on the experience, traditions, beliefs, arts, or thought of African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, or Native American cultures.
Honors and Distinction Programs
Bachelor of Arts With Honors or Bachelor of Science With Honors
Socrates challenges us with the claim that the unexamined life is not worth living. The university’s honors program contributes to the mission of the university by attempting to provide talented and self-motivated students with the tastes and skills they will need to become lifelong learners.
Honors students are expected to be active members of the honors community and the larger Dominican community. All students will be asked to make an effort to attend regular social, cultural, and scholarly activities.
Students who accept this challenge are awarded with the degree of Bachelor of Arts With Honors or Bachelor of Science With Honors on the recommendation of the Honors Committee and upon completion of the requirements for one of the two paths described below: Honors Through Project or Honors Through Course Work.
Entering the Program
The Honors degree program is open to full-time students of superior ability. The Honors Committee sets the standards for admission to the program, annually reviews the progress of the students in the program, and recommends the awarding of the degree of Bachelor of Arts With Honors or Bachelor of Science With Honors. Interested students should consult the director of the honors program for current-year policies and guidelines.
All students intending to pursue an honors degree must complete the following requirements:
- Complete four honors seminars including the freshman honors seminar.
Honors students will complete the honors seminars to fulfill the liberal arts and sciences core curriculum seminars requirement. While the form and substance of the honors seminars are subject to approval and change by the Honors Committee, current seminar topics are:
- Freshman Honors Seminar: Thoughts and Passions
- Sophomore Honors Seminar: Human Being and Citizen
- Junior Honors Seminar: Human Being and Natural Being
- Senior Honors Seminar: Wisdom and Power
For more detailed information, students should consult the current list of Honors Seminars .
Exemption from the honors freshman seminar for students admitted to the Honors program in their sophomore year or acceptance of honors course work at another institution in place of the freshman and/or sophomore honors seminars is possible with the written approval of the honors director. Honors students who follow a full-year study abroad or other academic off-campus program may choose to take the seminar missed that year or to read the common text(s) of that seminar, write a paper about the text on a subject proposed by the Honors Committee, and give a presentation to the Dominican University community on the academic and cultural elements of their study abroad experience.
- Maintain a designated GPA
A cumulative grade point average of 3.30 and a grade point average of 3.00 in all honors seminars are required for continued participation in the program.
- Complete additional requirements, choosing one of the following paths:
- Honors through course work: This path has the following requirements:
Four courses designated as honors
Three courses designated as honors and one study abroad course
Two courses designated as honors and language through the intermediate level
- Honors through a project: The requirements for this path are good standing in the honors program and the completion of an honors project, which is a substantial, independent distinction project approved by the Honors Committee—distinction projects are detailed below under Bachelor of Arts With Distinction and Bachelor of Science With Distinction.
Students in this path are required to complete the honors seminars but are not required to take other honors course or to fulfill the intermediate language requirement.
Bachelor of Arts With Distinction and Bachelor of Science With Distinction
Students not in the honors program may elect to pursue a degree of Bachelor of Arts With Distinction or Bachelor of Science With Distinction by completing a distinction project. This project is designed to give such students in their junior and senior years the opportunity to complete a distinctive and substantial scholarly or creative work in their major field.
Students who accept this challenge are awarded the degree of Bachelor of Arts With Distinction or Bachelor of Science With Distinction on the recommendation of the Honors Committee and upon completion of the distinction project.
All students intending to pursue an honors or a distinction project will need to complete the following requirements:
Declaring Intent and Finding Readers. Generally, students attempting the degree with distinction begin working on the distinction project in the first semester of their junior year. The faculty in the discipline approves the project, and the student’s first and second readers recommend the project to the Honors Committee in early March. A project in an interdisciplinary major or one which is interdisciplinary in emphasis is submitted with prior approval from faculty from the most relevant disciplines. A student majoring in a discipline in which Dominican has only one full-time faculty member should seek approval of both project and proposal from a second faculty member who is a member of the major department or from a related discipline in another department, whichever is more appropriate for the project.
GPA. Students must meet the following requirements to be eligible: junior status, a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 or higher in the field of the distinction project, an overall grade point average of 3.30 or higher.
Course Work. If the student’s proposal is accepted, the student must take ENGL 345 - Advanced Academic Writing as a part of the project. Exemption from this requirement is possible at the discretion of the course instructor.
Public Presentation. After the final draft is approved, the student will be required to give a public presentation on his or her project.
Deadlines and guides for writing a distinction proposal and project guides for both students and faculty mentors are available from the honors director, or on the Blackboard at the Departmental Honors Project site.
Students who decide not to complete their project must send a statement of their reasons to the Honors Committee. Students who do not make satisfactory progress may be required by the Honors Committee to withdraw their project.
Additional information regarding both the honors and distinction programs is available from the honors directors or from the Rosary College of Arts and Sciences Office of Academic Advising.