Jun 17, 2024  
University Catalog 2023-2024 
University Catalog 2023-2024

The Core Curriculum

Xavier University of Louisiana’s Core Curriculum (the Core) emphasizes Xavier’s identity as a Catholic and historically Black institution and supports the goal that students should achieve both breadth and depth of knowledge in the liberal arts. The Core enriches the undergraduate educational experience by exposing students to integrative approaches in learning and by cultivating nuanced perspectives for engaging in thought and in action the major questions of their lives. Required of all undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences, the 40 credit hours of the Core provide the foundation and, together with the major program of study, contribute to a well-rounded education.

The following Learning Outcomes of the Core Curriculum include skills, knowledge, and values that reinforce Xavier’s mission and its identity as a Catholic and historically Black university.

  1. Students will be able to communicate effectively through writing and speaking.
  2. Students will be able to use quantitative, empirical, and critical reasoning skills to solve problems.
  3. Students will be able to incorporate diverse cultural perspectives in their analysis of issues, from local to global, and to recognize the interconnectivity of human experience.
  4. Students will be able to demonstrate a science-based understanding of the natural world.
  5. Students will be able to interpret and evaluate diverse forms of human expression.
  6. Students will apply socially responsible and ethical principles to promote equity and sustainability in ways that align with Xavier’s mission as a historically Black and Catholic institution.

The Core helps to prepare students for lifelong learning and ethical living. It includes courses that frame an integrative academic experience, support student’s work in their major, and provide the tools to synthesize and apply knowledge, skills, and values. The Core requires students to engage in a continuous search to make meaningful connections by incorporating and applying multiple perspectives and methodologies to find solutions to complex problems. It also includes bookend courses that highlight Xavier’s unique mission. By the time Xavier students complete their course of studies, they are better equipped to exercise global leadership towards the creation of a more just and humane society.

Three skills are embedded throughout the different areas of the Core Curriculum. In practice, the skills of writing, speaking, and critical thinking are all interdependent. Sharpening one of them leads to greater command of the others. The ability to communicate ideas clearly, accurately, ethically, and in an engaging way is essential to success in both academic and professional life.

Oral Communication skills allow students to transmit ideas appropriately in spoken form based on audience, purpose, and context, and to listen with critical and literal comprehension. Integrating Oral Communication across the curriculum enhances students’ ability to analyze and construct messages critically, accomplish communicative goals, and apply ethical communication principles.

Written Communication skills allow students to express ideas clearly and cohesively in multiple written forms to different intended audiences. Integrating Writing across the curriculum enhances students’ ability to produce writing of increasing complexity that has a clear central purpose, appropriate structure, and compelling argument.

Critical Thinking skills allow students to analyze, assess, and reach informed and logical conclusions about different subjects, issues, or concerns. Integrating Critical Thinking across the curriculum enhances students’ ability to investigate increasingly complex questions and produce rational conclusions from multiple perspectives.


Students begin their intellectual exploration during their early years; this will prepare them for more integrated and applied learning as they advance through the curriculum. Students progress through the Core in three distinct stages: 1) Foundations at Xavier; 2) Explorations in the Liberal Arts; and 3) Engagements with Knowledge and Practice.

Special Note:
Courses that fulfill the core may be counted toward majors and minors except as noted for XCOR 3010 /XCOR 3020 .


Foundations at Xavier introduces Xavier students to college-level written and spoken rhetoric, quantitative reasoning, and critical thinking and writing skills necessary for success in school and in life. The Experience courses expand both knowledge and skills, and shape the habits of mind that lie at the heart of what it means to live Xavier’s mission. In addition to promoting general academic skills, these courses help students explore issues of self-identity and foster an examination of their individual roles within larger communities. These Experience courses also offer opportunities to create new communities among students and to develop unique mentoring relationships with professors.


  • XCOR 1000  and XCOR 1011 /XCOR 1012  (4 hours)
  • College Writing (3 hours)
  • Advanced Rhetoric and Composition (3 hours)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (3 hours)


Explorations courses build on the Foundational requirements and foster the breadth of knowledge, skills, and values essential to a well-rounded, liberal arts education within the intellectual space of a Catholic and historically Black university. These categories are not organized by department or discipline, but by areas of inquiry. It is expected that these courses will expand the interconnectivity of different perspectives and blur the lines of disciplinary isolation. The courses in any particular category might come from several disciplines. If an individual course is approved for multiple Explorations categories, students may only count that course to fulfill one of the categories. Although Explorations courses can be taken any time before graduation, it is recommended that students complete these required courses during their first two years so that they are better able to integrate all areas of inquiry into their overall academic experience.

*Students must take at least one course from each area below.

  • African American Heritage and Legacies (3 hours)
  • Creative Expression and Engagement (3 hours)
  • Examined Life (3 hours)
  • Faith and Society (3 hours)
  • Human Behavior (3 hours)
  • Human Past (3 hours)
  • Scientific Reasoning (3 hours)


Engagements courses accentuate integrative and applied learning. Catholic intellectual tradition emphasizes that learning is most meaningful when difficult questions are investigated from a variety of perspectives. The Engagements courses allow students to explore connections between disciplines and provide opportunities to study a “big idea” topic from multiple disciplinary perspectives in order to find solutions to complex problems. The Engagements seminars prepare students to contribute to the promotion of a more just and humane society by enhancing students’ preparedness to assume roles of leadership and service in a global society.