AdmissionsAcademicsStudent AffairsAlumniDiscover FordhamResourcesAthleticsLibraries
Photo Bar1 Photo Bar2
  • Core Curriculum
Search Fordham with Google  
Undergraduate Bulletin 2012-2014

Core Curriculum


Fordham affirms the value of a core curriculum rooted in the liberal arts and sciences. The University seeks to foster in all its students life-long habits of careful observation, critical thinking, creativity, moral reflection and articulate expression. 
(Fordham University Mission Statement)

Fordham’s Core Curriculum is a central part of its larger mission and identity as a university in the Catholic and Jesuit tradition preparing its students for responsible leadership in a global society. The “core” plays a key role in the undergraduate curriculum as a whole. As students’ majors and electives allow specialization and individualization in their studies, the Core Curriculum assures that every student’s undergraduate education is anchored, as a whole, in the liberal arts. The Core Curriculum provides an ongoing developmental context for students’ studies and a framework for the entire undergraduate education.

Education for intellectual excellence

One purpose of the Fordham University liberal arts core is to enable students to go beyond mere proficiency and achieve a level of excellence in the essential skills of literacy. Excellence in the expressive skills of writing and speaking with logical clarity, that is, eloquentia perfecta, is founded on the arts of reading, listening, observing, thinking, and mastery and thorough understanding of the topic under consideration. The first task of the student of the liberal arts is listening and observation for the sake of understanding. Such observation and listening is not, in essence, passive but rather a supremely active engagement of the mind in a genuine conversation. Students of the liberal arts converse not only with those few who are present in the university halls and those who speak their own language, but also with those in distant places, those who speak other languages, and those who are absent, perhaps even long dead.

Education for freedom

Education in the liberal arts has traditionally been called “liberal” for several reasons, but among them is the fact that these arts engender the ability to form judgments based on sound reasoning, free of prejudice and free of insufficiently examined premises. Such critical and independent thinking demands knowledge of ourselves and the cultures that have shaped us. Learning to think, if pursued according to its most exacting standards and taken to its greatest depths, demands the actualization of our most distinctly human capacities, including the capacity for freedom. A liberal education prepares the student for a creative life, one capable of transforming its own conditions. In this regard, the liberal arts attempt to make learners aware of and aspirant to the greatness of the human.

Education for others and respect of difference

A liberal arts education involves a community of learners. This community, committed to achieving excellence in the practice of the liberal arts, is composed of learners who depend on each other in a task that is too great for any one of them or even any one generation alone. This community of learners forms a republic of learning that transcends any one generation or nationality. The unifying principle of this republic is the preservation and advancement of the arts, the sciences, and wisdom.

The conversation in which Fordham’s core engages its students aims to engender civility, that is, an attitude of respect and openness to the other and to the world. This respect is a foundational virtue both for the university and for modern pluralist societies: for the university because the intelligent conversation at the heart of education is not possible without it; and for pluralist societies because their civic life requires tolerance of differences. Acknowledging and understanding human beings of different historical periods, genders, sexualities, ages, religions, races, ethnicities, and cultures is an intrinsic part of the perspective gained through learning in Fordham’s humanistic Core Curriculum. It invites students to go beyond themselves and the familiar, to understand the world through the eyes of the other, and in so doing, helps prepare them for citizenship in pluralist societies and nourishes the quest for social justice.

Education for leadership

The humanistically educated do not stand by as idle spectators of suffering and strife, but attempt to serve others and the communities to which they belong, that is, their families, their neighborhoods, their countries, and the world. Fordham is not an ivory tower suspended above the world, but a community forming leaders and citizens in the midst of one of the world’s capitals — New York City. Fordham and New York City share a common fate and collaborate in a mission of justice and human welfare that spans from their immediate neighborhoods to the globe.

Education for wisdom

A liberal arts education demands a spirit of inquiry that bars no question in itself and no aspect of life. Fordham’s Core Curriculum requires, therefore, the mastery and questioning of the various ways of knowing demanded by the most diverse subject matters and disciplines. This key part of undergraduate education leads to questions concerning meaning and values, and the nature and purpose of human action in the world, and includes an openness to questions of faith and the transcendent. What begins as a quest for excellence in the practice of writing and speaking leads to a quest for higher things, to a search for the wisdom that transforms life for the better. Socrates insisted at the very beginning of higher education that the eloquent sophist is not the ultimate goal; that in order for higher education to be complete, it must seek wisdom: “We were educated once, and it is indeed taking our whole life to get over it, to cease being astonished at what is” (Phaedrus).

NOTES: GSB and PCS students should refer to their respective chapters of this bulletin to guide their selection of liberal arts core courses.  Students in the Class of 2012 and earlier should refer to the 2010-2012 Undergraduate Bulletin for information regarding the previous core curriculum and core equivalents. 


The initial courses of the core curriculum begin the process of attaining the above goals and objectives with an emphasis on language mastery (English composition and foreign language preparation).

Composition: 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.

ENGL 1102-Composition II

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.

Foreign Language and Literature: One required course

The 2001-level course in a classical or modern language other than English fulfill the language requirement. In order to achieve a level of mastery of a foreign language that will allow students to comprehend a text of average sophistication in its oral and written form and to be able to comment on it orally and in writing in a coherent and correct manner, the courses provide either a critical analysis of selected cultural and literary texts, with composition, conversation, and review of pertinent grammatical structures, or advanced reading in classical authors.

Language skills preparation: 1 - 3 courses. Students in modern languages starting a new language will take an intensive one-semester course (3 class hours, 2 lab hours, 2 tutorial hours; 5 credits) in order to accelerate their progress (1001-Introduction I). This introductory course is followed by 1501/1502-Intermediate I/II and concludes with 2001. Students continuing with a language will be placed in Introduction II (only offered in the Fall), in Intermediate I or II, or in 2001. No student is required to take more than four courses.

Students in classical languages (Greek and Latin) take 1001/1002-Introduction I/II, 1501-Intermediate I, and 2001. Students continuing with a language will be placed in Introduction II, in Intermediate I, or in 2001.

Students seeking a substitution for the foreign language core through the Office of Disability Services must complete the process by the end of their first year at Fordham. Similarly, students with proficiency in a foreign language must provide documentation to the Associate Chair of the Modern Language and Literature Department regarding competence by the end of their first year at Fordham. This documentation may include the equivalent of a high-school diploma from a foreign-language speaking country where the foreign language is the language of instruction or official certification of having attained a B2-level score from the Common European Framework exam or passing the 16-point proficiency exam at NYU

In the Banner system, these courses may be located by searching for the appropriate subject code.

Exemptions. BS and BFA students, and BA students in PCS and those majoring in natural science will not have a language requirement unless required for their major. Psychology majors must complete the language requirement unless they are pre-health.


The second step continues the development of writing and oral expression as well as social awareness in the study of ways of knowing characteristic of liberal arts disciplines.

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: 2 courses in sequence; physical science then life science

Through core science courses, students will gain understanding of scientific methodology as a way of knowing 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. 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. In the science courses, students will develop skills in critical thinking and discernment; qualitative and quantitative reasoning; written and oral communication; formulation, analysis, and solution of complex problems.

Students who are not science majors may take modular or integrated courses on various topics. The physical science section, which is taken first, covers energy (kinetic and potential, electromagnetic, thermodynamics), matter (atomic and molecular structure, chemical bonding), and interactions (strong, weak, electromagnetic, gravitational). The subsequent life science sections cover evolution, genetics and genetic engineering, human biology including nervous and sensory systems, environment, and behavior and learning (classical, operant, and observational). All sections have labs. Alternatively, for those interested in a specific science, this requirement may be met through a two-semester disciplinary introduction with associated labs.

Two-course Disciplinary Sequences
BISC 1403-1404-Introductory Biology I and II
BISC 1413-1414-Introductory Biology Lab I and II
CHEM 1321-1322-General Chemistry I and II
CHEM 1331-1332-General Chemistry Lab I and II
PHYS 1501-1502-General Physics I and II
PHYS 1511-1512-General Physics Lab I and II
PHYS 1601-1602-Introductory Physics I and II
PHYS 1701-1702-Physics I and II
NSCI 1403-1404-General Biology I and II
NSCI 1413-1414-General Biology Lab I and II
NSCI 1423-1424 Concepts in Biology I and II
NSCI 1433-1434 Concepts in Biology Lab I and II
NSCI 1321-1322-General Chemistry I and II
NSCI 1331-1332-General Chemistry Lab I and II
NSCI 1501-1502-General Physics I and II
NSCI 1511-1512-Physics Lab I and II

Two-course Sequence for non-science majors
NSCI 1050-1051 Health and Disease I and II

Prerequisite: Mathematical/Computational Reasoning

Physical Science for non-science majors
CHEM 1104-The Chemistry of Art
CHEM 1109-Chemistry of the Environment
CHEM 1110-Forensic Science
NSCI 1010-Alchemy to Astrophysics
NSCI 1020-Physical Science: Today's World
PHYS 1201-Introduction to Astronomy
PHYS 1203-Environmental Physics
PHYS 1206-The Physics of Everyday Life

In the Banner system, these courses will have the Physical Science Core Req attribute.

Prerequisite: Mathematical/Computational Reasoning

Life Science for non-science majors
ANTH 1200-Introduction to Physical Anthropology
BISC 1001-Human Biology
BISC 1002-Ecology: A Human Approach
NSCI 1030-Human Function and Dysfunction
NSCI 1040-People and the Living Environment
PSYC 1100- Biopsychology

In the Banner system, these courses will have the Life Science Core Req attribute.

Prequisite: Physical Science

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% 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.

PHIL 1000-Philosophy of Human Nature

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.

THEO 1000 Faith and Critical Reason

Fine and Performing Arts: One Required Course

By seeing or hearing visual or musical works and understanding them students learn to appreciate the non-verbal and how such works both are 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

In the Banner system, these courses will have the Fine & Performing Arts attribute.

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. All sections will be offered in the Eloquentia Perfecta format (see below), which emphasizes writing and presentation.

ENGL 2000-Texts and Contexts
(This course may also be offered by COLI, CLAS, MVST and MLAL)

In the Banner system, these courses will have the Texts & Contexts and EP2 attributes.

Prerequisite: ENGL 1102-Composition II

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 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

In the Banner system, these courses will have the Understanding Historical Change attribute.

Social Sciences: One Required Course

Students will be introduced to the ways of knowing characteristic of 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.

Courses at the 1000-level
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

Courses at or above the 2000-level
COMM 2010-Communication and Technology
COMM 2011 Mass Communication: Theory and Research
COMM 2701-Persuasion and Attitude Change
PSYC 2600-Social Psychology
PSYC 2700-Infant and Child Development
PSYC 2710-Adolescent and Adult Development
PSYC 2800- Personality
PSYC 2900-Abnormal Psychology

In the Banner system, these courses will have the Social Science Core Req attribute.


The third phase 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, beginning in sophomore year.

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.

PHIL 3000-Philosophical Ethics

Sacred Texts and Traditions: One Required Course

The second theology course, selected from a group of offerings called 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.

THEO 3100-3724 course with Sacred Texts and Traditions attribute

Advanced Disciplinary Courses in Literature, History, and Social Science: Two Required Courses

Following the introductory literature, history and social science courses, these courses will enable the student to achieve a sharper focus and more detailed knowledge of complex literary, historical and social methods, materials, interactions and processes. To fulfill the requirement, two advanced disciplinary courses will be chosen from two different disciplines:

* an advanced literature course and an advanced history course; or
* an advanced history course and an advanced social science course; or
* an advanced social science course and an advanced literature course.

They will be taken before or simultaneously with the capstone requirements described below.

In the Banner system, these courses will have the following attributes: Advanced Literature Core, Advanced History Core, or Advanced Social Science Core.


The final stage of learning through the core curriculum builds on themes introduced in earlier courses. One course completes the sequence of courses in literature, history, and/or social science, and enables students to recognize interrelations among disciplinary ways of knowing through interdisciplinary study. The second course reflects on the infusion of values in knowledge and human life, thereby forming a broader perspective that will provide a framework for the development of socially responsible wisdom after graduation. Courses at this level will be numbered in the 4000 range, and may be taken when students have completed or are completing the Advanced Disciplinary courses.

Interdisciplinary Capstone in Literature, History, and/or Social Science: One Required Course

For this capstone in the literary, historical and social scientific sequence, courses will use interdisciplinary study to examine the role of disciplines in knowledge formation. Each course will feature at least two disciplines that conceive and study a common topic or problem. The Interdisciplinary courses will be team taught by professors representing contrasting disciplines, or taught by a single individual who has expertise in both disciplines. One discipline featured in each interdisciplinary course must use methods that are literary, historical, or based on a social science, which may include participants from English, history, the social sciences, classics, African and African American studies, modern languages and literature, and interdisciplinary programs. The second or other disciplines in each course must be different from the first, but may be literary, historical, social scientific, or drawn from any other discipline, such as the sciences, fine arts, philosophy or theology.

In the Banner system, these courses will have the attribute Interdisciplinary Capstone Core.

Values Seminar: One Required Course

In these courses, students will learn to identify, take seriously, and think deeply and fairly about complex ethical issues in contemporary and former times. Faculty from all departments in the Arts and Sciences will develop these capstone seminars. These small, writing intensive topical seminars will be offered in the Eloquentia Perfecta format (see below).

In the Banner system, these courses will have the attributes Value Seminar and Eloquentia Perfecta 4.


Eloquentia Perfecta Seminars: Four Required Courses

Eloquentia Perfecta (EP) seminars will dedicate at least one fifth of class time to student writing and oral expression. Students will be expected to take four EP seminars during the undergraduate years. Special sections of disciplinary core classes will be designated as Eloquentia Perfecta 1. These courses are reserved for freshmen students. Upper class transfer students are exempted from EP1. All sections of Texts and Contexts will be designated Eloquentia Perfecta 2. Special sections of core, major and elective courses will be designated Eloquentia Perfecta 3. All Values Seminars will be designated Eloquentia Perfecta 4.

In the Banner system, these courses will have the appropriate Eloquentia Perfecta attribute.

Global Studies: One Required Course

Global studies courses are intended to ensure that students come to respect, understand, and appreciate the significant variations in customs, institutions and world views that have shaped peoples and their lives. Courses with a global focus may be drawn from core, major or elective offerings. They will be applicable both to the Global Studies requirement and to the core and major requirements that a student must complete in the course of his or her college career.

In the Banner system, these courses will have the attribute Globalism.

American Pluralism: One Required Course

American Pluralism courses will afford students the opportunity to develop tolerance, sensitivities, and knowledge of the following forms of American diversity: race, ethnicity, class, religion and gender. American Pluralism courses may be drawn from core, major or elective offerings. They will be applicable both to the American Pluralism requirement and to other core or major requirements that a student must complete in the course of his or her college career.

In the Banner system, these courses will have the attribute Pluralism.

Service Learning

The central goal of service-learning is that students will test the skills and knowledge they acquire in their courses (e.g. in the humanities, language, and sciences) through service to the community outside the University. Students will understand in advance that service hours in the community are required. Each student will be encouraged to take at least one course as an Integrated Service Course, although they will not be required to do so.

In the Banner system, these courses will have the attribute Service Learning.

©2013 Fordham University
Rose Hill Campus Bronx, NY 10458 (718) 817-1000
Lincoln Center Campus New York, NY 10023 (212) 636-6000
Westchester Campus West Harrison, NY 10604