The Catholic Core | Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • The Core Curriculum

    Goals of the Franciscan University Core Curriculum

    1. Foster understanding of the unity of all truth, natural and revealed, in the one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
    2. Develop understanding of the charism of St. Francis and the Franciscan contribution to the world and the Church.
    3. Encourage attainment of foundational knowledge in the core disciplines of the liberal arts tradition.
    4. Strengthen mastery of skills foundational to reasoning well and communicating effectively.
    5. Foster recognition of one’s place in relation to nature, other persons, the state, and God.
    6. Develop understanding of intellectual and moral virtues and their importance in human life.

    About the Franciscan University Core Curriculum

    The core curriculum is a common educational experience shared by all undergraduate students at Franciscan University. This core, newly revised and implemented since 2013, reflects our ongoing commitment to academic excellence and the integration of faith and reason. Based on the Western intellectual tradition, our Franciscan educational heritage, and the Catholic mission of Franciscan University, the Core purposefully exposes our students to the fundamental knowledge, critical authors, scientific findings and processes, and diverse learning experiences they need to become well-educated Catholics and citizens of the world.

    The Franciscan University Core is inspired by the vision of Catholic education laid out by St. John Paul II in Ex Corde Ecclesiae, a document that calls Catholic universities creatively to disseminate and inspire in students a love for knowledge that serves the good of all people. Ex Corde also challenges Catholic universities to become instruments of cultural transformation and progress. To be such an instrument, a Catholic university must foster an interested, caring, and dedicated relationship with the Church and be willing to honor its Catholic mission and identity. A primary way that Franciscan University expresses its commitment to the idea of Catholic higher education described in Ex Corde is through its Core. Ultimately, the Core seeks to arouse students’ love of knowledge, their appreciation for the unity of all truth, and courage to live an authentic Christian life in which they witness to Christ in whichever vocation to which they are called.

    The Core is comprised of 45 credit hours for Bachelors of Arts degree-seeking students, and 42 credit hours for Bachelors of Science degree-seeking students. In the Core, students will take courses that teach them about how to understand the human person from a Catholic and Christian perspective, as well as how to discern what it means to live an upstanding life in response to the call to goodness. They will encounter ideas that encourage a deeper sense of wondering and marveling at reality and that foster an appreciation of the unexpected depth, richness, and mystery of the world around us. Students will read and learn how to analyze epic, drama, and lyric masterpiece texts; they likewise will be able to describe how works of art reveal theological and philosophical truths and simultaneously are the handmaids of those truths. Through the Core experience, students will engage in a holistic study of the past by examining all aspects of a culture including religion, intellectual ideas, politics, society, military history, and economics. In keeping with the Franciscan identity of the University, students will learn about and be able to describe the Franciscan Order and its unique founding, history, and influence on the world. Finally, students will be exposed to the natural and social sciences, in addition to mathematics and economics, which will enable them to articulate the nature of scientific and social scientific theories, analyze how scientific issues impact the world, and understand the limits of the scientific method when examining some social phenomenon; they will be able to apply mathematical reasoning to mathematics and a variety of other disciplines.

    Please view the Undergraduate Catalog for a detailed guide to the Franciscan University Core Curriculum.

Academically Excellent Passionately Catholic

1235 University Boulevard

Steubenville, Ohio 43952

(740) 283-3771


Franciscan University of Steubenville is no ordinary university, and a Franciscan education is no ordinary education. Rather, it's an education as rigorous and demanding as it is faithful--an education that challenges you intellectually, forms you professionally, and feeds you spiritually.


You can help Franciscan lead the way in providing a faithfully Catholic education!