Core Curriculum

The Core Curriculum of University of the Incarnate Word is, as the name implies, the heart or center of the undergraduate educational experience. The Core Curriculum is an integrated and sequenced course of study dictated by the traditional concept of liberal arts education. It includes a carefully devised study of rhetoric (intelligent reading and correct writing), philosophy, theology, literature and the arts, mathematics and the natural sciences, history, the behavioral and social sciences, language, and wellness.

Unique to the University’s approach to the liberal arts, however, is a conscious emphasis on integrating their content elements. This emphasis is rooted in the experience of the academic community that knowledge is not acquired in isolated elements and that wisdom derives from an exploration of truth in all its aspects. A whole person is an organism of body, mind, emotions, and spirit and comes to know truth by way of the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and aesthetic exploration of reality.

In addition to the content of the liberal arts and their integration, the Core Curriculum addresses itself to the major processes identified as requisites for success as an effective participant in the contemporary world, namely, critical thinking and learning, social interaction, wellness development, values formation, and ethical decision making. Because its mission, founded in the Catholic tradition, is based on the premise of a sound faith relationship between the creature and the Creator, the University of the Incarnate Word includes in its Core a study of religion.

The core is a common experience for all UIW students and represents a major vehicle for transmitting the mission values of the University. The Core and Major (specialized curriculum in a particular field of study) are intended to assure that every student accomplishes ten broad educational goals. Objectives under each goal specify learning outcomes to be developed by all undergraduates who complete a degree at UIW. Students are expected to develop knowledge, attitudes, skills, and values in each of the following goal areas:

  1. Critical and Creative Thinking: to analyze information logically and to utilize and transform knowledge in fair-minded, purposeful, and imaginative ways.
  2. Effective Communication: to write and speak clearly and persuasively and to convey meaning effectively in non-verbal contexts.
  3. Media/Technology: to understand the benefits and limitation of technology and media and how to use them in socially positive ways.
  4. Research: to synthesize the gathering, evaluating, and interpreting of data in a study or creative work that can be shared with a community of scholars.
  5. Global and Historical Consciousness: to analyze the historical forces that shape the diversity of the human experience as influenced by geographical location, ethnicity, cultural and religious traditions, gender, and class.
  6. Aesthetic Engagement: to perceive, analyze, evaluate, and respond creatively to aesthetic qualities and values in the myriad contexts where they are experienced.
  7. Quantitative/Scientific Analysis: to use mathematical reasoning and the scientific method to address issues in an increasingly complex, technological world.
  8. Social Justice: to evaluate the nature and consequences of past, present, and potential social injustices, as well as to develop strategies to overcome and prevent them.
  9. Professionalism: to develop leadership qualities that help achieve personal goals and contribute to the good of society through work.
  10. Integration/Spirituality: to understand the importance of developing as a whole person who is spiritually mature and dedicated to being a productive and responsible citizen.

Appropriate assessment strategies will determine student success in achieving the outcomes under these goals and demonstrate that UIW is accomplishing its educational mission. By this means, UIW offers its students the opportunity to grow as self-fulfilled human beings and competent professionals dedicated to service.

The Core Curriculum is comprised of specific courses from designated disciplines, a Community Service component and demonstrated computer competence. The requirements for each are described below.