Fulfilling Core Curriculum Course Requirements

Foundation Courses

Augustine and Culture Seminar (ACS) Sequence (2 courses)
ACS focuses on the question: Who am I? The first seminar (ACS 1000 Ancients) contains readings from Hebrew and Christian scriptures, Greek and Roman antiquity, Augustine, and the High Middle Ages, and is dedicated to understanding the foundations of our shared intellectual tradition. ACS 1001 Moderns continues to address the question of identity with texts from the Renaissance to the modern era.

The two-semester ACS course sequence must be taken by all students during the first year of study. Because it is important that students take the Augustine and Culture seminars early in their college careers, students are permitted to drop or withdraw from the courses without academic penalty only under special circumstances. Requests to drop or withdraw must be made to the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Students. If a student receives permission to drop or withdraw, he or she must take the course at the next possible opportunity.

Theology and Religious Studies (1 course)
THL 1000 involves students of every religion, culture, and worldview in examining the Augustinian vision of “understanding what we believe” (On Free Choice of the Will 1.4). Students investigate Christian and non-Christian religious practices, beliefs, and traditions that have developed over time in diverse cultural and religious contexts as they explore faith, reason, and culture in their many, textured relationships.

The course may examine Catholicism theologically, historically, and culturally (Catholic Studies track); explore Christian theological traditions in their cultural contexts (Faith, Reason, and Culture track); or survey religiosity in general and global religions, including Christianity, in particular as well as their commonalities, differences, and cultural expressions (Global Religious Experience track).

With these foci, the course introduces students to the sources and major thinkers that have shaped responses to the fundamental human questions that underlie all religions and shape the human search for meaning. Students engage religious truth claims, themes, values, and witness as resources for analyzing and critically evaluating contemporary cultural challenges.​​​​​​​

Philosophy (1 course)
Knowledge, Reality, Self (PHL 1000) explores the philosophical responses to the questions of how we can know, what is real, and what is the nature of the human person.

Ethics (1 course)
The Good Life: Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems (ETH 2050) provides critical reflection on distinctive and viable visions of the moral life, with particular focus on Christian, especially Roman Catholic, Augustinian accounts, and explores the significance of different visions through an examination of various contemporary moral questions. ETH 2050 is the capstone of the foundation courses. Normally students should take ETH 2050 by the end of their junior year, after taking the other four foundation courses.
 

Language Requirement (Proficiency) 

Language proficiency is required either: 1) through the intermediate level in French, Italian, Spanish, or Latin; or 2) through the introductory level in Ancient Greek, Arabic, Chinese, Irish, Japanese, or Russian. Students who are already proficient in other languages may petition for an exemption from the Core Curriculum Language Requirement subject to the conditions under F below.

Students may satisfy the Core Curriculum Language requirement in one of the following ways:

Option A: Advanced Placement Examination
Students may satisfy the requirement by attaining a score of 4 or 5 on the applicable Advanced Placement exam. Exams that fulfill the requirement and the course equivalency are listed on the Advanced Placement table in Part III of this handbook.

For any language not offered at Villanova (such as German), students will not receive course credit for the AP exam in that language. As with other languages, however, students who attain a score of 4 or 5 will satisfy the language requirement. Students who satisfy the requirement without receiving course credit may need to take additional free elective courses to meet the required number of credits for degree completion. Any questions regarding Advanced Placement credit should be directed to the Office for Undergraduate Students in SAC 107.

Option B: Comprehensive Examination (Proficiency exam)
Students may satisfy the requirement through satisfactory performance on a proficiency exam administered by the appropriate department. Proficiency exams are administered on specific dates and students must register in advance. Students deemed proficient by achieving a grade of C or better on the proficiency examination may need to take additional free elective courses to meet the required number of credits for degree completion.

Option C: Credit by Exam
Students who would like to pursue credit for language fluency may do so through the Credit by Exam program for any language taught at Villanova other than their native language. Students must meet all conditions in place through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to be eligible for the Credit by Exam program. There is an associated fee per credit. Arrangements for Credit by Exam should be made in the Office for Undergraduate Students in SAC 107. Information about Credit by Exam is available under the policies section of this handbook.

Option D: Latin Alphabet Languages – Latin and Romance Languages (French, Italian, Spanish)
Students selecting this option must take courses through the intermediate II level in the language they have chosen. Students who studied French, Italian, Latin, or Spanish in high school must complete an online language placement exam (French, Italian, Spanish) or questionnaire (Latin) to be placed into the appropriate level. Because placement tests provide only a rough indicator of a student’s level, students who are placed into the intermediate II level or higher must complete the course to fulfill the requirement. Students who are placed directly into an intermediate II course or higher may need to take an additional course to meet the required number of credits for degree completion. 

Option E: Non-Latin Alphabet Languages - Irish And Critical Languages (Ancient Greek, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian)
Students selecting this option must take courses through the introductory II level for the language they have chosen. These courses are typically four to six credits and meet four to five days per week, depending on the language. Students should contact individual departments with any questions regarding placement in these languages. Because placement tests provide only a rough indicator of a student’s level, students who are placed into the introductory II or higher must complete the course to fulfill the requirement. Students who are placed directly into an introductory II course or higher may need to take an additional course to meet the required number of credits for degree completion. 

Option F: Petition for Exemption Due to Documented Language Proficiency
Students who are fluent in languages for which no proficiency exam is offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences may petition for an exemption from the Core Curriculum Language requirement by submitting the Petition for Core Language Requirement Exemption in MyNOVA along with documentation of proficiency from an accredited institution. International students may submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores as documentation of proficiency for the purposes of the petition process. Students deemed proficient through the petition process may need to take additional courses to meet the required number of credits for degree completion.

NOTES: 

  • Placement tests are used to place students only and are not to be confused with a proficiency exam. 
  • Students seeking accommodations for documented learning disabilities should contact the Office of Learning Support Services in Falvey 212. 
  • Additional questions regarding the Core Curriculum Language requirement should be addressed to a student’s faculty advisor or to the Office for Undergraduate Students in SAC 107. 
     

Mathematics or Statistics (1 course) 

Students must take one course in either Mathematics or Statistics. Any course offered by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics fulfills the Core Curriculum requirement. Certain courses offered by other departments (e.g., Computer Science and Philosophy) also fulfill the requirement. These courses are designated by the Mathematics A & S Core attribute.

 

Natural Science (2 courses with laboratory)

Non-science majors meet the Core Curriculum Natural Science requirement by taking two semesters of Mendel Science Experience (MSE), thematically-based lecture/laboratory courses designed for non-science majors; or two semesters of lecture/laboratory courses designed for science majors.

Science (AST, BIO, BIOC, CHM, CBN, CSC, ENV, MAT, PHY - B.S. only, PSY - B.S. only) majors meet the science requirement through the regular program of study in their major. 

 

Literature and Writing Seminar (1 course) 

All students take a thematic literature and writing seminar course. Courses designated with the Core Lit & Writing Sem attribute fulfill the requirement. 

 

History (1 course) 

This requirement is met by taking a specifically designed course designated by the Core History attribute. 

 

Social Sciences (2 courses)

Students satisfy the requirement by taking two courses designated by the Core Social Sciences attribute.

Students majoring in Criminology, Economics, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology fulfill the Core Social Science requirement through the regular program of study in their major. 

 

Fine Arts (1 course)

The requirement is met by taking a course that focuses either on the creative processes that go into making a work of art, or on analysis and interpretation of the products of that artistic creativity. All courses designated with the Fine Arts Requirement attribute fulfill the Core Curriculum requirement.

 

Theology and Religious Studies - Upper Division (1 course)

The upper division Theology and Religious Studies Core Curriculum requirement develops the theme of faith seeking understanding, engaging culture from a specific disciplinary perspective. Students must take THL 1000 before taking an upper division course designated by the Core Theology attribute. 

 

Diversity Requirement (2 courses)

Consistent with the University’s Mission Statement and its implementation of the new Core Curriculum in the College of Arts and Sciences, students will take at least two courses designated as “diversity.” Learning to see through the eyes of other peoples and cultures is essential to becoming a citizen of the world. Beyond introducing students to the contextual study of diverse groups, diversity education must foster understanding of how individuals are affected within systems of power, oppression, deprivation, marginalization, and privilege.

 

Students are required to select two courses, covering two out of the three areas below:

Diversity 1: Courses that focus on populations (often named as non-dominant, minority, or impoverished groups) in the U.S. or Western Europe, and the systems or mechanisms that give rise to the experiences of power, privilege, and marginalization.

Diversity 2: Courses that focus on women’s experiences and/or highlight the relationship between gender, culture, and power.

Diversity 3: Courses that focus on the culture, economics, politics or ecology of societies and nations other than those of Western Europe and the United States and that emphasize power, privilege, and marginalization or a critical analysis of how these cultures define and express themselves. 

 

NOTES: 

  • Service-learning courses, internships, and other experiential or community-based learning courses may be applied toward the Diversity requirement, provided they include a significant reflective component and have been pre-approved for diversity course credit. 
  • Study abroad courses may be applied toward this requirement; such courses will be assessed the same way as Villanova courses. 
  • Although some courses have more than one Diversity attribute, all students must take two different courses; a single course with multiple attributes may not be used to fulfill both Diversity course requirements.
  • The Diversity Requirement cannot be fulfilled by independent study or a senior thesis. 
  • Language courses cannot fulfill the requirement, although literature courses in another language may fulfill the requirement if they are designated with a Diversity attribute.  
  • A student may fulfill one Diversity course requirement (DIV 1) by taking three 1-credit IGR workshops.