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​Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements of the new core curriculum?

Effective with the Class of 2016, students will need to complete the following core curriculum requirements:

Development of Western Civilization (16 credits, 20 credits for Liberal Arts Honors)

Core Foundation (24 credits)

  • Theology Requirement: one 200-level and one 300-level (6 credits)
  • Philosophy Requirement: one ethics and one non-ethics (6 credits)
  • Natural Science Requirement* (3 credits)
  • Social Science Requirement (3 credits)
  • Quantitative Reasoning Requirement (3 credits)
  • Fine Arts Requirement (3 credits)

Core Focus (6 credits)**

Proficiencies (May be fulfilled through other requirements)

  • Intensive Writing Proficiency I     
  • Intensive Writing Proficiency II
  • Oral Communication Proficiency
  • Diversity Proficiency
  • Civic Engagement Proficiency

*Students who have not taken physics in high school must complete the natural science requirement with a physics-based course.

** Liberal Arts Honors program students fulfill the Core Focus requirement through successful completion of the Liberal Arts Honors curriculum. Students enrolled in the 3-2 engineering and 3-4 NECO optometry programs fulfill the Core Focus by virtue of completing the degree program.  All secondary education and music education majors are considered double majors for this purpose and may fulfill the Core Focus through completion of appropriately designated courses in the second (Core Foundation area) major.

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. 

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, it is recommended that transfer students who begin matriculation in the spring 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.

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?

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 language (modern or classical), 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, 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. A list of approved themes is expected to be available in the Course Registration Booklet. 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 in the major, Core Foundation, Core Focus, or free electives. 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.

Selected Writing I (composition/writing) and Oral Communication (public speaking) transfer courses may be articulated as equivalent to Providence College courses that meet these proficiency requirements. All other proficiencies must be met through successful completion of designated Providence College day courses unless authorized through student petition.

Are students required to complete an English proficiency requirement before enrolling in courses designated Intensive Writing I or II for the Writing Proficiency requirement?

Students are not required to complete an English proficiency requirement for the new Core Curriculum.  However, 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.

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.

What are the graduation requirements under the new Core?

Students are required to complete a minimum of 120 credits hours, earn a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and a 2.0 major GPA (some majors have a higher cumulative GPA), satisfy all major and Core requirements, and complete the minimum 8 semesters of full-time residency. Transfer students’ residency requirement is determined by their class standing at the time of acceptance. 

Coursework may vary in credits per course. For example, a student may complete a 1.5-credit music course to count toward the 120-credit requirement.

How many courses should students enroll in each semester?

In general, students will be expected to complete four (4) courses in their first semester and then five (5) courses in each succeeding semester to reach the 120 credit hour graduation requirement. Some majors & programs (for example, the science and business majors as well as the Honors Program) have additional credits (i.e. four credit courses or additional one credit courses) included in the major/program requirements that may help students to reach the 120 credit hour requirement in a variety of ways. Therefore, it is extremely important that students consult with their advisor and the Academic Program Planning forms regarding the number of courses to be taken each semester.

Does the new 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 perform extra work and to complete credits beyond the minimum needed to complete a single degree program.

Are some class sizes smaller than others?

Yes.  Students can expect smaller class sizes in the Development of Western Civilization seminars (15-18 students) and team-taught colloquia (approximately 30 students). In addition, the Intensive Writing I and Intensive Writing II proficiencies (18) and the Oral Communication proficiency (20) normally have lower enrollment limits.

Who is involved in the oversight and implementation of the Core?

The overarching Core Curriculum Administrative Implementation Team (CCAT) is responsible for general oversight of the implementation of the new Core, provision of resources to support the Core, consideration of policy issues, and for its timeline. The Core Curriculum Committee (CCC) is charged with the review and approval of all course and curricular issues, and with the development and oversight of course approval forms. The CCC also oversees several subcommittees focused on the review of courses for specific Core requirements. The Development of Western Civilization Program Committee (DWCPC) has several program responsibilities, including approval of DWC colloquia.

What role should academic department chairs and program directors play in the implementation of the new Core?

As the new Core Curriculum requires ownership and responsibility across the College, chairs and directors play a critical role in Core implementation. Chair/director responsibilities may include:

  • Encouraging department/program faculty to modify existing courses and/or develop new courses that may be submitted for approval to meet specific Core requirements
  • Facilitating department/program discussions about how Core requirements, specifically Core proficiencies, may be embedded into one or more major requirements; this can aid in providing greater scheduling flexibility for students in the major
  • Reviewing and updating advising-related curricular materials, including degree audits, Academic Guidebook program plans, and sample sequences for the Undergraduate Catalog
  • Permitting and encouraging faculty to teach in the new Core, and in particular, in the new DWC Colloquium
  • Identifying courses that may be used to fulfill the Core Focus concentration requirement for the discipline (where applicable)
  • Encouraging faculty to collaborate with colleagues in other disciplines to develop Core Focus thematic concentrations

What role should faculty advisors expect to play in the implementation of the new Core?

Faculty advisors are critical in helping students to navigate the Core Curriculum. Advisors should be prepared to assist students with the selection of courses that may fulfill major, Core, and elective requirements, thus ensuring appropriate progress toward the degree. Faculty advisors should seek to guide students to complete their Core requirements efficiently, suggesting courses that may fulfill a combination of major and Core requirements when possible. Faculty advisors also should be aware that only students in the Classes of 2016 and beyond follow the new Core requirements. All preceding classes are expected to complete the requirements of the former Core Curriculum.

Do students have responsibility for the new Core?

Ultimately, students are responsible for ensuring successful completion of all degree requirements, including the Core. Students should plan to meet regularly with their faculty advisors to discuss progress toward the degree, and they should review their academic program requirements in the Academic Guidebook and the Undergraduate Catalog.

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