Core Degree Requirements

Mission and Goals

The Core Curriculum is the foundation of the Catholic, liberal arts education students receive at Carroll College. The Core engages students in a broad spectrum of quantitative, scientific, aesthetic, and humanities disciplines. By drawing connections between these disciplines, it prepares students to analyze topics from multiple perspectives and make sound, critical, creative judgments. The Core progressively equips students with the skills, knowledge, experiences, and habits of mind needed to lead intellectually and spiritually fulfilling lives. The Core thus complements the major fields of study in ensuring that Carroll provides “for the expansion of the intellectual, imaginative, and social awareness of its students” that they may achieve the “dual goal of vocation and enlightenment.” (Carroll College Mission Statement).

Drawing on its identity as a Catholic, liberal arts College and mindful of the needs of students in the 21st Century, Carroll College through its Core Curriculum seeks to educate students proficient in:

  • Critical and Integrative Thinking 
  • Quantitative and Scientific Analysis 
  • Oral and Written Communication 
  • Theological Literacy 
  • Ethical Reasoning
  • Intercultural and Global Understanding

Degree Requirements

Expand below for a more detailed explanation of core degree requirements. Each academic program have their own requirements in addition to the core curriculum. You can find a list of academic programs on our academic programs page.

To earn the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science* degree from Carroll College, the following requirements must be met:

  1. Completion of the Carroll College Core Curriculum (the Core) for the bachelor’s degree*;
  2. Completion of all program requirements in the major and minor (if one is taken);
  3. Completion of 122 semester credits*, only 2 of which may be physical education activity courses (LAS 102); and
  4. Achievement of a minimum cumulative 2.0 grade point average in
    1. All courses taken,
    2. The requirements in the major, taken as a unit,
    3. The requirements in the minor, taken as a unit, and
    4. The Core, taken as a unit.
*Notes:
  • The only Bachelor of Science degrees offered at Carroll College are in Nursing and Civil Engineering.
  • Postbaccalaureate students who have earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution prior to enrolling at Carroll College have special Core Curriculum requirements. Because they have already earned a baccalaureate degree, postbaccalaureate students are not required to have 122 completed credits posted to their record in order to earn a bachelor’s degree from Carroll College. At a minimum, 60 elective credits will be considered waived for all postbaccalaureate students, meaning that these students will enter Carroll with junior level class standing or higher.
  • Transfer students who have earned an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree from a regionally accredited institution prior to enrolling at Carroll College have special Core Curriculum requirements; this special policy does not apply to students with an AA or AS degree who matriculate to Carroll as first-year students (who earned their degree via dual-enrollment) or re-admit students.

Residence Requirements

Of the final 45 credit hours earned toward the degree a minimum of 30 credit hours must be earned at Carroll College with at least one-half of the credits required in the major and minor taken at Carroll. For postbaccalaureate students, of the credit hours earned toward the second degree a minimum of 30 credit hours must be earned at Carroll College with at least one-half of the credits required in the major and minor to be taken at Carroll.

Expected Time to Completion

All Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree programs at Carroll College are designed to be completed in four years (eight full-time semesters) or equivalent, depending on incoming transfer credits. Sample four-year plans are available through the Academic Advising office, and students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor(s) regularly about course planning, progress, and degree completion.

Mission and Goals 

The Core Curriculum is the foundation of the Catholic, liberal arts education students receive at Carroll College. The Core engages students in a broad spectrum of quantitative, scientific, aesthetic, and humanities disciplines. By drawing connections between these disciplines, it prepares students to analyze topics from multiple perspectives and make sound, critical, creative judgments. The Core progressively equips students with the skills, knowledge, experiences, and habits of mind needed to lead intellectually and spiritually fulfilling lives. The Core thus complements the major fields of study in ensuring that Carroll provides “for the expansion of the intellectual, imaginative, and social awareness of its students” that they may achieve the “dual goal of vocation and enlightenment.” (Carroll College Mission Statement).

Drawing on its identity as a Catholic, liberal arts College and mindful of the needs of students in the 21st Century, Carroll College through its Core Curriculum seeks to educate students proficient in:

  • Critical and Integrative Thinking 
  • Quantitative and Scientific Analysis 
  • Oral and Written Communication 
  • Theological Literacy 
  • Ethical Reasoning
  • Intercultural and Global Understanding 

Student Learning Outcomes

To this end, students who complete the core curriculum at Carroll College will meet the following learning outcomes:

I. Critical and Integrative Thinking 
(a) Practice critical thinking across disciplines by questioning assumptions, assessing sources of information, investigating historical context, and evaluating solutions to problems. 
(b) Demonstrate facility with argument and the use of supporting evidence. 
(c) Transfer information and insights across disciplines to furnish interdisciplinary perspectives. 
(d) Engage in creative production to further their imaginative capacities. 
(e) Plan, enact, and reflect on an experience that substantively integrates their academic formation with the concerns of the broader world.

II. Quantitative and Scientific Analysis 
(a) Apply empirical research methods, including design, data analysis, and interpretation. 
(b) Understand standards of scientific verifiability and hypothesis testing. 
(c) Apply and communicate quantitative methods for representing information, modeling phenomena and solving problems.

III. Oral and Written Communication 
(a) Demonstrate the ability to listen effectively and create messages appropriate to audience, purpose, and context in speech and writing. 
(b) Use appropriate language, syntax, grammar, and structure to explore ideas, develop arguments, and convey understanding in speech and writing. 
(c) Demonstrate facility in communication in interpersonal contexts.

IV. Theological Literacy 
(a) Articulate the respective roles of faith and reason in the pursuit of truth, especially as practiced in the Catholic intellectual tradition. 
(b) Understand Catholic theological perspectives within their cultural and historical contexts.

V. Ethical Reasoning 
(a) Critically evaluate moral positions and assumptions using appropriate standards (including, but not limited to: distinguishing empirical and normative claims, defining principles, and showing awareness of moral complexity). 
(b) Apply ethical concepts (including the principles of Catholic Social Teaching) to problems and understand the implications of their application.

VI. Intercultural and Global Understanding 
(a) Understand the interactions of multiple forms of human diversity (including cultural, social, economic, political, ideological, and religious), so as to assess their actions in a global framework. 
(b) Thoughtfully and empathetically engage worldviews not their own.

I. Central Sequence

  1. Introductory Courses (semesters 1-3):
    1. CORE-110 First Year Writing Seminar (3 cr.)
    2. Oral Communication Course (3 cr.): CO-101 or foreign language course approved for Oral Communication credit, with level depending on initial placement
    3. Theological Foundations Course (3 cr.): TH-101
    4. Philosophical Reasoning Course (3 cr.): PHIL-1XX or 2XX, approved for introductory Philosophical Reasoning credit 
  2. Intermediate Courses (semesters 3-5):
    1. Cultural Diversity Course (3 cr.): one 3-credit course approved for Cultural Diversity credit 
      Prerequisite(s): CORE-110 or Oral Communication course must be taken prior or concurrently 
      Note: An approved foreign language course not applied toward Oral Communication may fulfill this requirement
    2. Intermediate Writing Course (3 cr.): one 3-credit course approved for Intermediate Writing credit 
      Prerequisite(s): CORE-110 and Oral Communication course must be taken prior; Theological Foundations course and Philosophical Reasoning course must be taken prior or concurrently
    3. Integrative Learning Course (4 cr.): ILC-2XX or ILC-3XX, approved for Integrative Learning credit 
      Prerequisite(s): Intermediate Writing or one Cultural Diversity course must be taken prior or concurrently 
      Note: ILCs may fulfill two distribution requirements with one course; students will only be allowed to enroll in one ILC 
  3. Advanced Courses (semesters 5-8): 
    1. Ethical Reasoning Course (3 cr.): PHIL-2XX/3XX or TH-2XX/3XX, approved for Ethical Reasoning credit 
      Prerequisite(s): Philosophical Reasoning course and one Cultural Diversity course must be taken prior; Intermediate Writing and Integrative Learning courses must be taken prior or concurrently
    2. Advanced Writing Course (3 cr.): one 3-credit course approved for Advanced Writing credit
      Prerequisite(s): Intermediate Writing course must be taken prior.
      Note: most students will fulfill this requirement through a required course in their major 
    3. CORE-400 Core Capstone: Vocation and Enlightenment (1 cr.) 
      Prerequisite(s): Ethical Reasoning and Advanced Writing courses must be taken prior or concurrently
Courses may not fulfill more than one requirement within the sequence; however, courses taken with the central sequence may be applied to additional Core Distribution Requirements, and/or major or minor requirements.

II. Distribution Requirements

  1. Arts and Letters (9 cr.): 
    1. Three credits of fine arts (ART, MUS, THT) drawn from courses approved for Core credit (3 cr.) 
    2. One history (HI) course approved for Core credit (3 cr.) 
    3. One literature (ENLT or foreign language literature) course approved for Core credit (3 cr.) 
  2. Faith and Reason (6 cr.). Note: Ethical Reasoning course in Central Sequence will fulfill one of these two courses
    1. One philosophy (PHIL) course beyond Philosophical Reasoning course in Central Sequence (3 cr.) 
    2. One theology (TH) course beyond Theological Foundations course in Central Sequence (3 cr.)
  3. Natural Science with Lab (3-4 cr.): One astronomy (AS), biology (BI), chemistry (CH), earth science (EAS), environmental studies (ES), or physics (PHYS) course approved for Core credit 
  4. Quantitative Analysis (3 cr.): One data science (DS) or mathematics (MA) course approved for Core credit 
  5. Social Science (6 cr.): Two courses in two different disciplines, approved for Core credit, from anthropology (AN), anthrozoology (ANZ), communications (CO), economics (EC), gender studies (GNDR), political science (PO), psychology (PSY), and sociology (SO).
    Note: Communications course must be beyond CO-101 course in Central Sequence 
  6. Cultural Diversity (6 cr.): Two courses in two different disciplines, approved for Core credit. 
    Note: The first course will be fulfilled by the CD course in the central sequence; the second may be fulfilled by a second CD course drawn from the central sequence, or by another Distribution Requirement, as long as it is from a second distinct discipline
Courses may include those that also fulfill the Core Central Sequence and/or major or minor requirements.

III. Sed Vitae Experience

An experiential learning requirement where students plan, enact, and reflect on an experience that substantively integrates their academic formation with the concerns of the broader world. All options for fulfilling this requirement will include at least 42 contact hours and will be preceded by a formal application process which defines learning outcomes.

The Sed Vitae requirement may be fulfilled in any one of the following ways:

  1. Study Abroad program, approved by Global Learning (CORE-ABROAD) 
  2. Internship, approved by Career Services (CORE-INTERN) 
  3. Practicum (including Nursing Clinical or Student Teaching) approved by designated departments in consultation with the Core Curriculum Director (CORE-PRAC) 
  4. Undergraduate Research Experience approved by designated departments in consultation with the Core Director (CORE-RSRCH) 
  5. Service Learning Experience, approved by Hunthausen Center for Peace and Social Justice (CORE-SRVLRN) 

Note: Experiences with academic credit attached will be recorded separately on the transcript 

Other Requirements

Core requirements cannot be fulfilled through elected pass/fail grading.

Core Curriculum Credits at a Glance

Average Core Credit Load: 42 credits
Number of Credits in Central Sequence: 29 credits
Number of Credits in Distribution Requirements: 33-34 credits
Average Number of Distribution Credits fulfilled through Central Sequence or Major Requirements: 21 credits*

*Assumes that (1) one Cultural Diversity and one Faith and Reason course are satisfied in the Central Sequence (a given for all students), (2) the second Cultural Diversity course counts towards other distribution or major credits, (3) the ILC counts towards six distribution or major credits, and (4) the Intermediate and Advanced Writing courses count towards other distribution or major credits.

Note: Members of the Honor Scholars Program (HSP) have unique course requirements and fulfill 15 of their Carroll College Core Curriculum credits by participating in HSP seminars. See the Honors Scholars Program for HSP and more information on specific Core courses for HSP students.

Core Curriculum 2020 for Postbaccalaureate Students and Transfers Students with an Earned AA or AS Degree

Postbaccalaureate students who have earned a Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution prior to enrolling at Carroll College, as well as transfer students who have earned an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree from a regionally accredited institution prior to enrolling at Carroll College, must complete the following courses to satisfy the Carroll College Core Curriculum for the bachelor’s degree:

  1. The Central Sequence Advanced Courses in Ethical Reasoning, Advanced Writing, and Core Capstone;
  2. The Faith and Reason Distribution Courses in Philosophy (3 credits) and Theology (3 credits); 
  3. The Sed Vitae Experience.
Notes:
  • The new Core Curriculum 2020 requirements are waived for postbaccalaureate students who earned their degree from Carroll College under the previous Core Curriculum.

  • This special policy for transfer students with an earned AA or AS degree does not apply to students who matriculate to Carroll as first-year students (who earned their degree via dual-enrollment) or as re-admit students.

  • The Ethical Reasoning course in the Central Sequence will fulfill one of the two Faith and Reason distribution courses; previously completed transfer credit in these subjects may also fulfill these distribution courses. 

All students must elect a standard major or develop a self-designed major. Ordinarily, students decide on a major by the end of the sophomore year.

At least half of the credits required in the major field for the bachelor’s degree must be taken at Carroll College. Exceptions require the approval of the major department chairperson and the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Students are not automatically accepted into all major programs of the College. A number of departments require that certain standards be met and that a formal application be filed. See specific requirements as listed in the academic programs of this catalog. To qualify for acceptance into the major department, the student must meet college standards as outlined in this catalog.

A specific minor is not required for graduation except in those cases where a student wishes to graduate under certain teacher education options. Any student may obtain a minor by fulfilling the departmental requirements for the minor as set forth in this catalog. At least one-half of the credits required for a minor must be taken at Carroll College.

Mission and Goals

The purpose of the multi-disciplinary major (MDM) is to permit students in good academic standing to fulfill their personal academic objectives and complete their degree at Carroll College through an integrated program of study that is not possible through an existing major. The program should draw on the curricula of two or more disciplines and create a coherent academic focus. The student who wishes to pursue an MDM will choose a principal advisor and two additional faculty who will work with the student to plan coursework that will provide breadth and depth in the chosen disciplines.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students completing the multi-disciplinary major will define outcomes in consultation with their faculty advisory committee.