Santa Clara University


Learning Goals & Objectives

Each Core area has learning goals and objectives associated with it. These guide course development, student learning activities, and assignments. Click on each Core area to view its learning goals and objectives.



  • iconCritical Thinking and Writing 1 & 2

    Critical Thinking and Writing 1 & 2 is a two-quarter "Foundations" sequence in which students are introduced to academic discourse, rhetorical analysis, information literacy, research, and critical thinking. Students develop an intensive practice of writing as a method of inquiry, reflection, and communication.


  • iconCultures and Ideas 1 & 2

    Cultures and Ideas 1 & 2, a two-quarter "Foundations" sequence" considers the nature and development of human cultures and ideas and provides a foundation from which students explore the complexities of human societies.Students are introduced to the study of significant texts, ideas, issues, and events in their historical context, while considering how they resonate for us in the contemporary situation.


  • iconSecond Language

    Communication in a second language is an essential skill in the globalizing world. Training in additional languages provides students experience of the different perspectives that the use of another language affords. Jesuit education has always promoted the study of second languages to facilitate intercultural understanding.


  • iconMathematics

    Mathematics is a basic building block of contemporary society and, over the centuries, has had a profound impact on the natural sciences, technology and the social sciences. This requirement develops competencies in mathematics, both as a pure discipline and as an important tool in problem solving.Mathematics develops both analytical and logical reasoning, as well as the capacity to think abstractly about a wide range of theoretical and practical problems.


  • iconReligion, Theology and Culture 1

    Religion, Theology & Culture 1 is the first in a third part series of courses designed to promote a critical engagement between faith and cultures and exemplify a commitment to academic excellence and freedom. The first course aims to enhance critical reflection on religious belief and practice.It introduces students to the basic approaches by which scholars seek to understand what religion reveals about human beings—their societies, traditions, convictions, and aspirations.




  • iconEthics

    The Jesuit character of the university promotes sustained attention to moral philosophy as applied to the problems of contemporary life. A course in this area helps students to understand how major ethical theories construe ideals such as justice, happiness, virtue, dignity, rights, and equality.It helps students apply these theories to questions of how individuals and institutions should act in the world.


  • iconCivic Engagement

    The health of any democratic community depends largely on the ability of its members to participate in and contribute actively to community service, philanthropy, and the political system.Fostering civic participation is a vital part of all universities' missions and a central goal of Jesuit education. Courses in this area deepen students' understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizens in relation to selected institutions and issues, but also cultivate civic skills and dispositions needed for active citizenship.


  • iconDiversity

    Diversity courses directly address and help fulfill the university's mission of working toward a more humane and just world. The courses deepen students' knowledge of diverse human experiences, identities, and cultures.In this area, students will analyze the relations between peoples or social categories that are associated with differences in power and privilege, such as race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, citizenship, religion, class, sexual orientation, physical ability, and so on.


  • iconArts

    The education of the whole person requires that students encounter and explore artistic ways of knowing humanity and the world. Creating and interpreting aesthetic forms symbolic of deep human feeling encourages students to consider how knowledge and understanding grown in ways other than discursive reasoning. From the beginning of the Jesuit educational experience, study of the arts has been employed to cultivate humanity, encourage growth in virtue, and school the body in the ways of verbal and physical eloquence.


  • iconNatural Science

    Students need a deeper understanding of the natural sciences in order to make informed choices as citizens, as professionals, and as individuals. Courses in this area familiarize students with some of the most important scientific ideas, with the fundamental assumptions and ways of thinking in the sciences, and how scientists acquire new knowledge. Students should understand the power, beauty, and limits of knowledge produced by scientific methods of inquiry.


  • iconSocial Science

    Everyday indicators of human well-being—from the unemployment rate to the crime rate—are not self-evident, but the product of social scientific choices about how to think about and measure social life.To make well-informed decisions in their civic and professional lives, students will rely heavily on social scientific theory and data about human behavior and societies. Students will need to understand how the social sciences produce knowledge in distinct ways and gain experience in assessing theory and evidence in at least one branch of the social sciences.


  • iconReligion, Theology and Culture 2

    The second course in RTC invites students to deeper engagement with the study of religion through the application of multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary approaches to complex religious phenomena, past and present.By providing multiple, integrated perspectives, this course seeks to enrich students' appreciation for the diversity of human religious expression.


  • iconCultures and Ideas 3

    Students build on their intercultural competence from the foundational exposure to cultural analysis from C & I 1 and 2 by deepening their knowledge and critical thinking about the complexities of global cultures and societies. Focusing on thematic or theoretical approaches to global topics and issues, the third course considers examples and case studies drawn primarily from outside the United States and Western Europe.


  • iconScience, Technology & Society

    Science and technology increasingly exert profound effects on the natural and social worlds, including our economy, politics, health, environment, and our understanding of ourselves as human beings. This calls for further study of the science and technology that underpin debates over a wide range of topics relevant to contemporary life. To make informed decisions, students will need to grasp scientific and technological developments, how they emerge, and their social impact.


  • iconReligion, Theology & Culture 3

    Building on the first two courses, the third course in RTC applies insights from the study of religion to difficult, open-ended questions of vital interest to contemporary societies. From historical or current perspectives, this course takes critical engagement to a creative level either in theory or practice.




  • iconExperiential Learning for Social Justice

    Courses with an ELSJ component will help students develop a disciplined sensibility toward the causes of human suffering and misery, and a sense of responsibility for addressing them. Students will engage in a social or cultural setting outside the university's walls, where experience, subject to rigorous reflection, can become a source of knowledge that moves students toward an ongoing engagement with the world in a spirit of service.'


  • iconAdvanced Writing

    Building on the Critical Thinking & Writing sequence, students in Advanced Writing courses will deepen their familiarity with the values, genres, and conventions within a discipline-specific context. Advanced Writing helps students gain increased sophistication in critical reading and writing with a purpose, including addressing diverse audiences through a range of styles and voices.


  • iconPathways

    Pathways, clusters of courses with a common theme, promote integrative and intentional learning. More specifically, they cultivate the ability to make intentional and reflective educational choices; to study a theme from a number of disciplinary or methodological perspectives; and to perceive connections and relationships among ideas.


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