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Core Requirements

The faculty of St. John Fisher College believes that the liberally educated person is one who is free from a narrowness of interest, which results from excessive specialization. A central aim of the College is to introduce its students to and cultivate their respect for the principal areas of learning.

Subjects differ in their role in the academic experience. Some contribute to a broadening of the student’s perspective, some cultivate the independent, thinking adult, and others bring the student face to face with contemporary problems. Therefore, some subjects are deemed especially worthy of being studied by the majority of students at the College. The faculty recommends to students, whatever their degrees or major fields of interest may be, the Core of subjects listed below as a first step in a college-level liberal arts experience. The Core curriculum establishes the centrality of the liberal arts in the academic experience by creating a common foundation of intellectual and practical skills introduced in the first years of study. The Core experience complements all other academic experiences of students by helping them to develop skills and perspectives that are enhanced and applied through study within the major.

Core courses address specific goals for student learning. Many departments offer courses within each Core area, but all courses within each area meet the same goals for student learning.

The Core curriculum consists of 15 courses, which students must successfully complete to graduate from St. John Fisher College. The Core is comprised of two tiers of study: Foundations courses and Perspectives courses.

The Foundations Tier courses are designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in college. There are five courses in the Foundations Tier.

  • Learning Community* (LC): Students learn about a topic and engage issues related to that topic from at least two disciplinary perspectives, improving their writing, reading, information literacy, and group work skills. (Two linked courses.)
  • Research-Based Writing (RW): Students learn the basics of writing an academic research paper. Emphasis is on including more than one perspective on an issue, elements of persuasive argumentation, proper use and documentation of sources, revision, and oral presentation. (One course.)
  • Scientific and Quantitative Literacy (SQ): Courses in this core area explore the nature of science and mathematics and their role in helping us understand the world. The goal is to investigate the question: In what ways can quantitative and scientific thinking help me make more informed decisions? This approach to learning about the world encompasses the following: testable and falsifiable questions/ideas, objective conclusions based on observations, and predictive theories. (One course.)
  • Cultural Contrasts (CC): Students study and reflect on cultural differences and develop the tools necessary for becoming engaged citizens in a multicultural world. Communication, cooperation, and collaboration between individuals of diverse backgrounds and respect and understanding of others are prerequisites for successful advancement in our ever-changing world. (One course.)

*In the case where a student fails one or both courses in his or her Learning Community, that student must arrange, in consultation with the associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, to successfully complete the Learning Community (LC) requirement. Successful completion of the LC core requirement is necessary to remain in good standing at the College and ultimately, to graduate from St. John Fisher College.

The Perspectives courses are designed to provide a wide range of experiences with fundamental academic perspectives on human nature and the world. Tier Two contains ten courses, two from each of five different perspectives.

  • Perspectives in the Arts (P1): Students will learn to appreciate the depth and scope of creative expression found in the literary and visual arts. Students will describe and interpret art in terms of its formal composition and cultural and historical significance. Courses will require students to demonstrate their knowledge through written arguments and/or creation of original works of art.
  • Philosophical and Religious Perspectives (P2): Students engage in the critical exploration and appreciation of ethical and religious perspectives within a variety of historical and cultural contexts. Students will reflect on the social, political, and cultural implications of the course material studied and within the framework of personal and civic responsibility.
  • Sociocultural Perspectives (P3): These courses provide students with the opportunity to learn ways of understanding, explaining, and interpreting patterns of human behavior based on the methodologies of the social sciences.
  • Explorations of the Natural And Technical World (P4): These courses are intended to explore specific scientific, mathematical, and technical topics and relate them to historical and contemporary developments. These courses will illustrate how mathematics and the sciences are constantly changing as a result of their interactions with each other and their applications, which are usually interdisciplinary in nature.
  • Intercultural Perspectives and Languages (P5): Students prepare to function in a multicultural society as globally educated citizens through engagement with other persons or texts from other cultures.

Courses that fulfill the College Core Requirements carry a two-character designation in the course title.

LC Learning Community
RW Research-Based Writing (199 courses)
SQ Scientific and Quantitative Literacy
CC Cultural Contrasts
P1 Perspectives in the Arts
P2 Philosophical and Religious Perspectives
P3 Sociocultural Perspectives
P4 Explorations of the Natural and Technical World
P5 Intercultural Perspectives and Languages

These courses will also be identified with an attribute that will allow for a web-based search at the time of registration.

Foreign Language Requirement: All B.A. candidates, including transfer students, must demonstrate completion of an appropriate two-course sequence in a single foreign language for graduation. Students may continue in a language studied in high school, or they may begin anew with another foreign language. B.A. students may fulfill this requirement by completing a two-course sequence in a single language at Fisher (which may also satisfy the P5 Core Requirement), by participating in a Fisher summer language program abroad (in France, Italy, or Mexico), or by established transfer credit policy. AP (Advanced Placement) scores of 4 and above are accepted as two college-level language courses and IB (International Baccalaureate) scores of 5 and above on the higher-level exams are accepted as two college-level language courses, thus fulfilling the requirement.

Alternate mechanisms to satisfy the foreign language requirement:

  • Students who have successfully completed a semester in an approved foreign language-based study abroad program fulfill the requirement. This option validates the immersion experience in another culture as addressing the spirit of this requirement.
  • International students who have graduated from college-preparatory high schools in non-English speaking countries are exempt from the foreign language requirement.

College Core Course Requirements

  Foundations Perspectives (may be taken at any time)
Usually taken How many credits? Which course? How many credits? Which course?
Fall semester,
Freshman year
Two courses:
minimum 6 credits
Learning Community (LC) Two courses:
minimum 6 credits
Perspectives in the Arts (P1)
Spring semester,
Freshman year
One course;
minimum 3 credits
Research-Based Writing (RW) (DEPT 199C) Two courses:
minimum 6 credits
Philosophical and Religious Perspectives (P2)
Sophomore year One course;
minimum 3 credits
Scientific and Quantitative Literacy (SQ) Two courses:
minimum 6 credits
Sociocultural
Perspectives (P3)
Sophomore year One course;
minimum 3 credits
Cultural Contrasts (CC) Two courses:
minimum 6 credits
Explorations of the Natural and Technical World (P4)
      Two courses:
minimum 6 credits
Intercultural Perspectives and Languages (P5)*

*B.A. students must take two foreign language courses in sequence in the same language.

Core Tracking Worksheet

Learning Community (LC)
1.___________________________ 2.___________________________

Research-Based Writing (RW)
1.___________________________

Scientific and Quantitative Literacy (SQ)
1.___________________________

Cultural Contrasts (CC)
1.___________________________

Perspectives in the Arts (P1)
1.___________________________ 2.___________________________

Philosophical and Religious Perspectives (P2)
1.___________________________ 2.___________________________

Sociocultural Perspectives (P3)
1.___________________________ 2.___________________________

Explorations of the Natural and Technical World (P4)
1.___________________________ 2.___________________________

Intercultural Perspectives and Languages (P5)*
1.___________________________ 2.___________________________

*B.A. students must take two foreign language courses in sequence in the same language.