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Core Curriculum FAQs

Students are responsible for ensuring successful completion of all degree requirements, including the Core. While students work closely with their faculty advisor to stay on track with their academic program, it is recommended that students meet regularly with their faculty advisors to discuss their degree audit, and they should review their academic program requirements in the Academic Guidebook and the Undergraduate Catalog.​ Additionally, when students withdraw or unsuccessfully complete a course, they need to work closely with their faculty advisors to ensure they are making the appropriate progress towards their degree.

Frequently Asked Questions ​​​​​​​ ​

How do Core courses relate to a student’s major?

The core curriculum, as well as study in majors and concentrations, prepares students to connect what they learn at Providence College to life beyond the College and help them to understand and appreciate the complexities of the world and their role in it.​  Students’ selection of core courses helps to complement their major by further developing the skills and intellectual habits that are acquired from a liberal arts education in the ​Catholic and Dominican tradition. ​​​

Is the Development of Western Civilization requirement the same for transfer students?

Transfer students who enter as second-semester freshmen are required to complete DWC 101, DWC 102, and DWC 202. Transfer students who enter with first-semester sophomore status or higher are required to complete DWC 101 and DWC 202. As DWC 101 currently is only offered in the fall semester, transfer students who begin matriculation in the spring need to delay enrollment in DWC until the following fall semester. Students should complete the DWC requirement in sequential order, with DWC 101 as the introductory foundation course and the DWC 202 Colloquium as the final course in the program.

What is the Development of Western Civilization Colloquium?

DWC 202 is the final semester of the Development of Western Civilization Program and is a team-taught colloquium. Students choose from a variety of colloquia according to their interests. Building upon the other semesters, the advanced colloquium focuses on a specific, contemporary issue in the context of western tradition.

Why are some students required to take a Physics-based Natural Science Core requirement?

Students who did not complete a high school physics course will be required to complete a physics-based natural science core course. Those who have already completed a high school physics course will be permitted to complete either a standard natural science core course or a physics-based natural science core course.

When should students plan to complete the Quantitative Reasoning requirement?

Some majors require that students enroll in specific math courses during their first semester. For others, students may choose when to complete their quantitative reasoning requirement. If a student is not interested in a major that requires a specific math course, it is recommended that students defer taking a quantitative reasoning core course until a major is determined. Students may have future opportunities to fulfill the quantitative reasoning requirement through a required course in their major (e.g., PSY 202 “Research Design and Statistical Analysis II” for psychology majors), and such courses are typically not taken in the first semester. All new students enrolling in the fall semester are expected to complete the math placement exam during the summer prior to enrollment.

What is the Core Focus requirement (only applies to the Class of 2020)?

Students are required to take two additional courses in a Core Foundation area or two courses in a specified theme, both of which are outside or beyond their major requirements. The Core Focus can be fulfilled in two different ways: concentration in a discipline or a thematic concentration of two linked courses. Discipline concentrations consist of two courses in a foreign language, science (physical or biological), social science (e.g., psychology, anthropology, sociology, economics), fine arts (e.g., art, art history, music, theatre, creative writing), or quantitative reasoning (math or statistics), as designated by the specific academic department or program. To encourage depth in the concentration, both courses must be from the same department. Students also may fulfill this requirement by completing a thematic concentration.​ Courses used to fulfill this requirement may not be used toward Core Foundation requirements.

How can students fulfill proficiency requirements?

Students are encouraged to fulfill proficiency requirements within their major, Core Foundation, Core Focus (only applies to the Class of 2020), or free elective courses. Students should work closely with their faculty advisors to include courses that meet proficiency requirements in their course schedules, overlapping with other requirements when possible. This will allow students greater flexibility with free elective courses.​

Are there any prerequisites for Writing Proficiency courses?

Students who demonstrate an academic need will be required to enroll in and complete successfully a special writing lab course (WRT 100. 1.5 credits) prior to enrolling in an Intensive Writing I proficiency course. These students will be notified of this additional requirement by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies by email in August.

Does a study abroad experience satisfy the Diversity proficiency requirement?

A study abroad experience by itself does not satisfy the Diversity proficiency requirement. However, an approved study abroad course may meet the requirement.

Does the Core Curriculum allow students to complete double majors or one or more minors?

In addition to completing the requirements for their chosen major and the Core Curriculum, students may choose to complete a second major or one or more minors. However, in most instances, students should expect to do extra work and to complete credits beyond the minimum needed to complete a single degree program.

Is there a Foreign Language requirement?

A foreign language requirement is not part of the Core Curriculum, though it may be required as part of a student’s degree program. Some students may elect to complete two semesters of a foreign language to fulfill their Core Focus and/or minor (if applicable) requirements. Students should check the Undergraduate Catalog for their major requirements or talk to their academic advisor.

What happens to a student’s Core Curriculum requirements if they switch majors?

If a student switches majors, the core courses they previously completed will still fulfill their core requirements, but it is important that they consult with the academic advisor in their new major to review their major specific requirements. One exception is the Core Focus (only applies to the Class of 2020) requirement but for more information about the Core Focus, students should consult their advisor.

Can students use Core Curriculum courses to count towards more than one requirement?

Yes, for some majors and minors, students can use their Core Foundation courses to fulfill their major and/or minor requirements. Additionally, students can use their Proficiency courses to fulfill their Core Foundation, Core Focus (only applies to the Class of 2020), and possible major and minor requirements. However, courses used to fulfill the Core Focus requirement may not be used toward Core Foundation or Major requirements. For further information on the ability to use one course to complete more than one requirement students should consult their academic advisor.

Where can students find additional information regarding the Core Curriculum?

Additional information regarding the Core Curriculum can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog