The Core Curriculum
Faithful to the core.
Christendom College's academic program is characterized by an exceptionally strong core curriculum. A publication of the National Association of Scholars, The Dissolution of General Education: 1914-1993, documents the loss of academic priorities and rigorous standards within our nation's top baccalaureate granting institutions, especially since the 1960s. "General education" requirements in the culturally foundational disciplines of history, language, literature, and philosophy—not to mention theology—have all but disappeared. In stark contrast, Christendom College's core curriculum consists of 86 semester hours of carefully structured courses in Catholic theology and philosophy, the history and literature of Western civilization, classical and modern languages, political science and economics, and mathematics and science.
Christendom College's core curriculum, unlike the "smorgasbord" general education requirements common in most colleges and universities, is designed to provide the orderly, sequential presentation of fundamental principles of mathematics and natural science, philosophy, and theology in conjunction with the historical and literary knowledge which is foundational for an understanding of our civilization.
An indispensable element in any sound education is learning to distinguish truth from error or distortion, and then to communicate truth accurately, effectively, and convincingly to others. Therefore, Christendom College requires an introduction to the fundamental questions and methods of philosophy, the study of logic, mathematics and scientific thought, and training in the arts of discourse, along with at least four semesters of a foreign language.
The study of a foreign language, particularly of an inflected language such as Latin or Greek, leads the student to an understanding of the nature and structure of language as such, and hence to a true command of language. Furthermore, foreign language study both enhances linguistic skills and enables the student to gain a fuller appreciation of the European roots of American culture, a purpose which is also served by four courses each in the great heritage of Western literature and the history of Western civilization. For these reasons, Christendom College's Core Curriculum includes a foreign language requirement as an essential component of its B.A. educational program. A minimum of two years of college-level work in a single foreign language, classical or modern, is required for graduation from Christendom College. Language competence must be proven by college course work at or above the second-semester Intermediate level. Advanced proficiency in a language achieved through a medium other than college-level courses may exempt a student from lower level courses, although no college credits are granted without college course work. No substitutions for or exemptions from this requirement for proven competency in a foreign language are allowed for the B.A. degree. The language requirement for the A.A. degree is somewhat different from that of the B.A. degree, however.
The transformation of all history by the Incarnation makes a truly Christ-centered study of the past indispensable to any who would understand the present and shape the future. At Christendom College such a study includes a four-semester chronological examination of the formation and disintegration of Christian culture from ancient times to the present. Moreover, to assist students going on to make history themselves, there are courses in political theory and the social teachings of the Church which provide a sound alternative to errors of modern economic systems and ideologies.