Santa Clara University

Pathways Overview

Pathways, clusters of courses with a common theme, provide an opportunity to choose a Pathway theme; to study that theme from a number of disciplinary or methodological perspectives; and to perceive connections, complexities, and relationships among ideas and your educational and life experiences.

Pathways also provide opportunities for undergraduate research experience and for deepening links with the Residential Learning Communities and Centers of Distinction, such as the Center for Science, Technology & Society, the Ignation Center for Jesuit Education, and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Freshman Year:

  • Think about your interests—Pathways provide an opportunity to discover your passions and to see how different disciplines approach the same issue, theme, or problem. Pick something that excites you. It might be helpful to read over the stories of some SCU Seniors about how they approached their Pathways.
  • If you take any Pathway-related courses this academic year, save your work in case you declare that Pathway. (Use Digication, dropbox, your own computer and thumb drive to store your work.)

Sophomore Year:

  • Narrow your interests and start planning ahead. Begin using your upcoming courses to explore the Pathways you've identified.
  • Select your Pathway! Declare it through eCampus. Find links with your Pathway and upcoming major, minor and Core courses. Continue to save your work!

Junior Year:

  • Continue taking your Pathway courses, saving your work.

Senior Year:

  • Complete your Pathway reflection essay after reaching 100 units and before applying to graduate, referencing the prompt and rubric on the Pathways web site
  • Upload your reflection essay and sample assignments from each class in your Pathway to the online system via the eCampus link, “Submit Pathway Assignment”
  • Receive confirmation of your Pathway Reflection Essay passing and completion of your required number of Pathway courses, therefore fulfilling the Pathway Core requirement, as noted on your degree audit (eCampus)
  • If your essay requires a Revise/Resubmit, please refer to your marked rubric to make the necessary changes; visit the HUB and resubmit via eCampus link.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the audience for the Pathway Reflection essay?
Students should write their reflection essays as if any educated adult is the audience. Do not assume that the reader is familiar with the subject matter of the courses. Include enough detail for readers to see what is distinctive about the student’s Pathway and reflection.

Can Pathways courses be part of my major?
Yes. Students can use courses required for their major provided that they follow the general Pathway requirement of no more than two courses in the same subject.

Can I finish my Pathway in my freshman year?
No. The Pathway reflection essay can only be submitted after students complete 100 units. Only one course in a Pathway may be a “Foundations” course (normally taken the first year).

Can I complete more than one Pathway?
No. Some courses will be appropriate for more than one Pathway, but students will complete only one Pathway.

OK, so I’ve read the Pathway overview that specifies what I need to do each year of my college career.  I still don’t understand exactly what I need to do to complete the CorePathway requirement.  Please explain.
You may find it useful to look at the Pathway requirement as two pieces:

1) completing the necessary number of courses/units. For students in the College of Arts & Sciences or the School of Business, four Pathway courses, or 16-units, are required.  For students in the School of Engineering and Transfer students who transferred in 44 or more units, three courses, or 12 units, are required.  Courses/units counting towards the Pathway are monitored/verified through the degree audit, accessible via ecampus.

2) connecting learning in the completed courses with the theme of the Pathway through a two-three page reflection essay.  After completing 100 units but before you petition to graduate, you will upload the reflection essay, along with sample materials from two pathway courses, to a web submission system accessible via ecampus.  The faculty member who evaluates your essay will send you an email message letting you know your score on the four categories of the rubric. If you do not earn a pass or exemplary pass on all four categories of the rubric, you will be asked to revise and resubmit.  

*Please note the degree audit identifies the first three-four courses completed in the declared Pathway.  Additional courses completed will not be identified by the degree audit, but students may choose to write about learning in these Pathway courses by noting them in the web submission system when uploading their pathway materials.

How do cross-listed courses affect the general pathway requirement of no more than two courses in the same subject?
As cross-listed courses are listed in multiple subject areas, these courses are exempt from the two course rule.  Courses that are inherently interdisciplinary such as courses in: ENVS, ETHN, LBST, PHSC, and WGST are also exempt from the two course rule.

Who can I contact for information on Pathways issues?
Email with any Pathway-related questions.