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Core Curriculum



Santa Clara University’s Core Curriculum explicitly integrates three traditions of higher education. The interrelationship of these three traditions encourages informed and ethical decisions characteristic of citizens and leaders who are motivated by competence, conscience, and compassion.

The Structure of the Undergraduate Core Curriculum

The Santa Clara University Core Curriculum consists of three phases of academic work:

  • Foundations and Explorations are designed to deepen knowledge, habits of mind and heart, and experiences engaging with the world that students bring with them to their undergraduate studies. Many course requirements in these phases overlap with requirements for majors. Other requirements introduce students to new areas of study.
  • Integrations is designed to help students reflect more deeply on connections among courses in the Core and between the Core and their major.

Core Curriculum Learning Goals

The Core Curriculum affirms the following central learning goals—Knowledge, Habits of Mind and Heart, and Engagement with the World—which often overlap and reinforce one another.


Informed engagement in society requires that you comprehend what has shaped the world you have inherited; the evolving ways of understanding it; and how you might transform it for the better. To that end, the Core deepens your knowledge of the most profound ideas and ways of knowing that emerge from the arts, humanities, and natural and social sciences.

Habits of Mind and Heart

Contributions to a rapidly changing, complex, and interdependent world require that you develop ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that foster passionate, purposeful learning for the rest of your lives. By attending to the cognitive and affective dimensions of human experience, the Core enables you to think more deeply, imagine more freely, and communicate more clearly.

Engagement with the World

Meaningful engagement includes opportunities to explore and refine self-knowledge, in relation to others. The Core enhances your understanding of the integrity of your own life and the dignity inherent in the lives of others, especially the impoverished, suffering, and marginalized.

Catholic Values

As a Catholic university, Santa Clara is rooted in pursuing an understanding of God through the free exercise of reason.

Jesuit Values

As a Jesuit university, Santa Clara provides a humanistic education that promotes an ethical engagement with the world.

University Values

As a comprehensive North American university committed to liberal education, Santa Clara fosters academic excellence and responsible, creative citizenship.