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As a Jesuit university, John Carroll values the essential principles of Ignatian pedagogy. While the entire Core Curriculum addresses elements of Ignatian teaching, this component of the curriculum underscores fields of study traditionally part of the Jesuit heritage in higher education: philosophy, theology and religious studies, issues in social justice, and the creative and performing arts.

Philosophy (PL)

Philosophy provides students the opportunity to reflect on the most fundamental questions of our lives that often go unexamined. Courses in philosophy acquaint students with the intellectual and moral traditions of world civilizations and aim to develop the critical thinking skills necessary to question assumptions, to weigh propositions fundamental to personal responsibility, and to consider the ethical implications of their decisions. An understanding of philosophy is one of the hallmarks of Jesuit education.

Requirement: Students take two courses in Philosophy to complete their Core requirement. One course must be from the Knowledge & Reality category, and one course must be from the Values & Society category. Taking a course from each of these categories ensures that students experience a broad range of areas, major themes, and problems within philosophy. Knowledge & Reality courses explore fundamental questions of nature, existence, and understanding. Values & Society courses explore fundamental questions of humans’ relationship to one another and to the world; and these courses also focus specifically on questions of ethics. Courses in each category are at the 200 and 300 level; the courses have no prerequisites, and students are not required to take a 200-level course before a 300-level course.

Theology & Religious Studies (TRS)

Courses in Theology and Religious Studies provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for the analysis of religion; for investigation of the historical development and contemporary practice of particular religious traditions; for critical reflection on personal faith as well as sympathetic appreciation of the beliefs of others; and for resources to understand and respond to the religious forces that shape our society and world . Because of the University’s commitment to its Catholic and Jesuit heritage, particular attention is paid to the Roman Catholic tradition.

Requirement: Students take two courses in Theology and Religious Studies to complete their Core requirement, at least one course must be taken at the 300 level.

Issues in Social Justice (ISJ)

With its emphasis on currency, relevance, care for the learning of each student, and discernment, the Integrative Core Curriculum highlights essential principles of Ignatian pedagogy. The Issues in Social Justice component asks that students consider important questions about justice, diversity, and ethics. Students are expected to be engaged learners who bring new knowledge into being through study and collaboration, realizing that knowledge has the capacity to raise ethical questions and that these questions are meaningful and liberating. In Issues in Social Justice courses, students learn to understand and interrogate concepts of inclusion and empowerment and to analyze systems and structures of oppression and marginalization. These courses pose questions about equality, access, multiculturalism, economic and social barriers, or discrimination based on gender, sexuality, class, race, and/or ethnicity. These courses challenge students to recognize institutional impediments or de facto assumptions that result in an individual or group having less than full voice and participation in societies. Issues in Social Justice courses focus on historical issues, contemporary problems, or both.

Requirement: Student take one Issues in Social Justice course. These courses are offered by several academic departments.

Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA)

From their beginnings, Jesuit colleges and universities were distinguished by their attention to the arts and architecture, painting, sculpture, music, theatre, dance, and poetry as methods of religious communication. The practice of any art form gives students a new mode of expression, a voice. To fulfill this requirement, students may take a variety of courses, including creative writing, screenwriting, playwriting, theatre performance, photography, music, and dance.

Requirement: Students take one Creative and Performing Arts course, which may be 1 or more credits.