Core Courses


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.

The Great Conversation: Foundations in Thinking, Reading and Writing

Introduces Christian liberal arts tradition through reading, discussing and writing about works and ideas of some of the greatest writers of all time. Develops disciplines of listening and reading, speaking and writing, with emphasis on developing writing process through engaging multiple forms and drafts, and giving and receiving feedback.

Old Testament History, Literature and Culture

Examines Old Testament history and teaching against cultural, geographical and literary background of Ancient Near East. Addresses archaeology, comparative history and literature, and key theological themes foundational to New Testament and Western culture.

New Testament History, Literature and Culture

Examines history and teachings of New Testament in political, social and religious contexts. Highlights important theological themes such as sin, grace, justification by faith and Kingdom of God.

Christian Theology

Introduces key ideas, traditions and people who have shaped the development of Christian theology from antiquity to the present. Considers importance of theology as foundation for Christian thought, as guide to the Church, and as a primary resource for living reflective lives and engaging broader world with the gospel.

The Examined Life

Introduces important historical and thematic issues about what it means to be human: our place in the natural world and in the broader cosmos; theories about nature and limits of our knowledge; conceptions of beauty and art; what it means to live well as individuals and in community; and perspectives on our relationship to God.

Historical Perspectives on Culture, Belief and Civilization

Examines culture building, development and change, and interaction of diverse peoples across a broad swathe of history. Explores Christianity from its Middle Eastern roots through Renaissance/Reformation to global cultures of contemporary world in political, technological, social and cultural contexts. Investigates Christian traditions, missionary endeavors, reform movements, and relationships between adherents of different world religions. Introduces critical evaluation of historical evidence.

The Scientific Enterprise

Explores characteristics of natural science, studies theories related to fundamental concepts such as matter and energy to help understand patterns and processes in nature. Stresses relevance of science to contemporary issues and a Christian worldview.

Language Study

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.  

Physical Education

Introduces fitness, recreation and outdoor activities which contribute to lifetime health and fitness.


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 as well as some of the varied scholarly methods for pursuing knowledge.


At least one thematic requirement must be satisfied with an approved literature course. Courses provide significant practice in at least one of the following: writing, speech or quantitative reasoning. Lists of courses which fulfill themes are available by clicking on each heading.

The Natural World

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.

The Human Person

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

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

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

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.   Learn more about Global Understanding through study abroad.

For course descriptions and additional information about core requirements, please check the Academic Catalog.