The Core Curriculum explores the liberal arts and sciences from a Christian perspective. In core courses students and faculty seek to understand and wisely engage creation and the social order. We investigate diverse aspects of the complexity, coherence and beauty of creation. We interact with historic and contemporary cultures, accepting the longstanding Christian call to seek after truth and beauty, to think critically and constructively, to exercise moral discernment, and to develop habits of just and compassionate action. The curriculum encourages the development of a Christian character that manifests itself in informed and redemptive responses to the world and the needs of the global community.
The Core Curriculum seeks to foster:
- Knowledge of God’s character and purposes as revealed in Scripture and understood in the life of the Church
- Knowledge and stewardship of the creation in all its complexity, coherence and beauty
- Understanding of humankind as created, fallen and redeemed, and an appreciation for various perspectives on human nature
- Understanding of and engagement with global cultures in all their diversity
- Understanding of diverse ways of knowing about nature, humankind and God, and an ability to draw on multiple disciplinary perspectives when confronting complex problems
- Development of Christian character, moral discernment and civic responsibility
- Practice of critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and clear written and oral communication
- Development of aesthetic sensibilities and practices
- Habits of physical, emotional, and spiritual health and wellness
Common Courses (36 credits required)
Common courses are required of all students. They explore topics and cultivate skills that are valuable in the development of a Christian perspective on life and learning. Furthermore, these courses ensure that all students, regardless of their majors, will enjoy some common educational experience.
Additional Common Core Courses
Language Study (8 credits; first-year college level of a language)
Develops appreciation for diversity of God’s creation as revealed through gift of language. Attains intermediate level of communication in second language as key to engage global cultures and to facilitate development of Christian character and responsibility when interacting cross-culturally.
Note: Diagnostic exams available for placement or to validate Core Curriculum requirement. The on-campus test must be taken for placement in appropriate level courses even if SATII Achievement Test, BYU, or Advanced Placement Test scores were submitted. (See Admissions: Language Placement .)
Physical and Outdoor Education (0 credit)
Introduces fitness, recreation and outdoor activities which contribute to lifetime health and fitness.
Two courses from the following should be completed prior to junior year. One transcripted varsity sport may fulfill an activity course requirement; second sport or additional seasons cannot be used. Use of club sports participation requires preapproval by the director of physical education. Armed Forces basic training or R.O.T.C. training may also fulfill one activity with documentation (see Recreation and Leisure Studies for additional information).
Thematic Courses (20 credits required)
Upper-level core courses are categorized by themes that underscore different dimensions of what it means to understand and wisely engage creation and the social order and thus promote not only knowledge but also responsibility. Thematic courses draw upon established disciplines but also explore the relevance of these disciplines for the life of Christian faithfulness and integrity. By completing at least one course in each of the five themes, students become acquainted with a diverse range of content and some of the varied scholarly methods for pursuing knowledge.
At least one thematic requirement must be satisfied with an approved literature course. (See English Language and Literature course descriptions.) Courses provide significant practice in at least one of the following: writing, speech or quantitative reasoning. Lists of courses which fulfill themes are available at www.gordon.edu/core_thematic or in the Registrar’s Office. Thematic courses, which are subject to change, are also identified in departmental course descriptions.
Natural World (4 credits)
Purpose: To deepen student appreciation for constructs and methods of science, explore scientific insights about the natural world, and reflect on responsibilities such knowledge requires of individuals and society.
Human Person (4 credits)
Purpose: To explore many facets of “humanness” including emotional, spiritual, physical and intellectual, both from perspective of self-reflective individual and on larger level of social interaction.
Aesthetic Sensibilities and Practices (4 credits)
Purpose: To enhance understanding, practice and critique of creative expression through study of relationships between meaning, style, experience, and emotional and rational responses.
Civic Responsibility (4 credits)
Purpose: To explore within Christian framework our individual and communal citizen responsibilities to do justice and love mercy in local communities, on national level and in the wider world.
Global Understanding (0–4 credits)
Purpose: To promote responsible living in modern world, enhance understanding of cultural differences, communicate across cultural boundaries, and work for peace and justice among people and nations.
Successful completion of the following is required for all students wishing to use off-campus study or trips to fulfill the Global Understanding theme.