Academic Curriculum

Core Curriculum

In keeping with the Jesuit educational philosophy, the PCS Core Curriculum is designed to provide the student with a broad humanistic background. 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 PCS core enables 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 is founded on the arts of reading, listening, observing, thinking, and mastery and thorough understanding of the topic under consideration. 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. The PCS core enables the student to sample a range of academic disciplines and fields of study, and provides a solid foundation for achievement in any of them.

The Core Curriculum consists of 12 courses. Advanced placement credit and college courses taken elsewhere may be considered for core transfer credit.

ENGL 1102 Composition II: 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. Prerequisite: Depending on placement, ENGL 1101 Composition I may be required. To move to ENGL 1102 Composition II from ENGL 1101 Composition I, a grade of C or better is required.

ENGL 2000 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. Prerequisite: ENGL 1102 Composition II

PHIL 1000 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 percent 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.

THEO 1000 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.

HIST ****: 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.

The following courses have the HC (Understanding Historical Change) attribute:

Course Title Credits
AFAM 1600Understanding Historical Change: Africa3
CLAS 1210Understanding Historical Change: Ancient Greece3
CLAS 1220Understanding Historical Change: Ancient Rome3
HIST 1000Understanding Historical Change: Modern Europe3
HIST 1075Understanding Historical Change: Renaissance to Revolution in Europe3
HIST 1100Understanding Historical Change: American History3
HIST 1103Understanding Historical Change: Fighting for Equal Rights in American History3
HIST 1200Understanding Historical Change: Ancient History3
HIST 1210Understanding Historical Change: Ancient Greece3
HIST 1220Understanding Historical Change: Ancient Rome3
HIST 1240Understanding Historical Change: The Ancient World3
HIST 1300Understanding Historical Change: Medieval3
HIST 1400Understanding Historical Change: Latin America3
HIST 1450Understanding Historical Change: South Asian History3
HIST 1550Understanding Historical Change: East Asian History3
HIST 1551Understanding Historical Change: Representations of China and The West3
HIST 1600Understanding Historical Change: Africa3
HIST 1650Understanding Historical Change: The Black Atlantic3
HIST 1700Understanding Historical Change: Mideast3
HIST 1750Understanding Historical Change: Islamic History and Culture3
HIST 1850Understanding Historical Change: Jews in the Ancient and Medieval World3
HIST 1851Understanding Historical Change: Jews in the Modern World3
HIST 1925Understanding Historical Change: Science and Technology3

Fine Arts OR Social Science: One Required Course from Either Area

Fine Arts Option

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.

Course Title Credits
ARHI 1101Introduction to Art History: Europe3
MUSC 1100Introduction to Music History3
THEA 1100Invitation to Theatre3
VART 1101Urbanism3

Social Science Option

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.

Course Title Credits
ANTH 1100Introduction to Cultural Anthropology3
ANTH 1300Introduction to Archaeology3
COMM 1010Introduction to Communication and Media Studies3
COMC 2329Introduction to Media Industries3
ECON 1100Basic Macroeconomics3
ECON 1200Basic Microeconomics3
POSC 1100Introduction to Politics3
PSYC 2600Social Psychology4
PSYC 2700Infant and Child Development4
PSYC 2710Adolescent and Adult Development4
PSYC 2800Personality4
PSYC 2900Abnormal Psychology4
SOCI 1100Introduction to Sociology3

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.

The following courses have the MCR (Mathematical/Computational Reasoning) attribute:

Course Title Credits
CISC 1100Structures of Computer Science3
CISC 1400Discrete Structures4
CISC 1600Computer Science I3
MATH 1002Beats, Vibration and Harmony; a Musical Playbill to Mathematics3
MATH 1100Finite Mathematics3
MATH 1203Applied Calculus I3
MATH 1206Calculus I4
MATH 1700Mathematical Modelling4

Natural Science: One Course in Physical Science or Life Science

By exploring the natural sciences, 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. Students will also develop skills in critical thinking and discernment; qualitative and quantitative reasoning; written and oral communication; and formulation, analysis, and solution of complex problems. 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. Science courses for nonscience majors include Health and Disease; Human Biology; Human Function and Dysfunction; Life on Planet Earth; Physics of Everyday Life; Alchemy to Astrophysics; People and the Living Environment; and Ecology: A Human Approach.

Science majors will fulfill this core requirement through their major courses.

Advanced Disciplinary Study

This portion of the core 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..

PHIL 3000 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..

Sacred Texts and Traditions: One Required Course

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

The following courses have the STXT (Sacred Texts and Traditions) attribute and count toward this requirement:

Course Title Credits
HPLC 2811Honors Sacred Texts3
HPRH 1052Medieval Philosophy and Theology3
THEO 3100Introduction to Old Testament3
THEO 3102Book of Genesis4
THEO 3105The Torah3
THEO 3120The Prophets3
THEO 3200Introduction to New Testament3
THEO 3207The First Three Gospels3
THEO 3212Gospel of John3
THEO 3250Jesus in History and Faith3
THEO 3310Early Christian Writings3
THEO 3314St. Augustine of Hippo3
THEO 3316Byzantine Christianity3
THEO 3320Augustine, Aquinas, and Luther3
THEO 3330Medieval Theology Texts3
THEO 3332Christians, Muslims, Jews in the Medieval Period3
THEO 3340Christian Mystical Texts3
THEO 3345The Book of Revelation3
THEO 3350Apocalyptic Literature: Ancient & Modern3
THEO 3360Reformation Texts3
THEO 3361Protestant Texts3
THEO 3371The American Transcendentalists: Spirituality Without Religion3
THEO 3375American Religious Texts and Traditions3
THEO 3376Spirituals, the Blues, and African-American Christianity3
THEO 3380US Latinx Spiritualities3
THEO 3390Church in Controversy3
THEO 3542Catholic Social Teaching3
THEO 3546The Bible and Social Justice3
THEO 3610Christ in World Cultures3
THEO 3611Scripture and the Struggle for Racial Justice3
THEO 3620Great Christian Hymns3
THEO 3655The Journey of Faith: Autobiography as Sacred Text3
THEO 3711Sacred Texts of the Middle East3
THEO 3713Classic Jewish Texts3
THEO 3715Classic Islamic Texts3
THEO 3720Hindu Literature and Ethics3
THEO 3724Classic Buddhist Texts3
THEO 3725Buddhism in America: A Multimedia Investigation3
THEO 3728Buddhist Meditation3
THEO 3731Japanese Religions: Texts and Arts3
THEO 3733Chinese Religions3
THEO 3785Spiritual Exercises and Culture3
THEO 3882Comparative Mysticism3
THEO 3884Sufism: Islam's Mystical Tradition3

Advanced Disciplinary Course in Literature, History, or Social Science: One Required Course

Following the introductory literature, history and social science courses, this requirement will enable the student to achieve a sharper focus and more detailed knowledge of complex literary, historical, or social methods, materials, interactions and processes. To fulfill the requirement, one advanced disciplinary course will be taken in one of the following disciplines:

  • an advanced literature course numbered 2000 or above, or
  • an advanced history course numbered 2000 or above, or
  • an advanced social science course numbered 2000 or above

Senior Values Seminar: One Required Course

This course will be designated as a Senior Values Seminar, in the 4000 range, and will cover topics in ethical issues and moral choices through a variety of disciplines.