University Core | University of Portland

University Core

Engaging constructively with diverse people and ideas; using scientific thinking to solve problems; working toward the common good; thinking globally and historically; drawing on imagination and aesthetic inquiry; and confronting ultimate questions with an understanding of religion, faith, and ethics—these are the habits of heart and mind students cultivate through the University of Portland’s Core Curriculum.

The University Core Curriculum is the set of shared classes and learning experiences that underlie a University of Portland education for all undergraduate students regardless of major. The Core is designed to offer the breadth of the liberal arts, to build off the distinct mission of UP, and to address the needs of the world.

Rooted in the Liberal Arts

The liberal arts, in contrast to the vocational arts, put a particular emphasis on the intrinsic value of knowledge through the lenses of academic disciplines in the arts and sciences that have stood the test of time. This emphasis is critical to preparing students for lives that are both meaningful and productive, allowing the Core to enrich academic majors and allowing students to adapt over time as their lives and work evolve.

Distinct to the Mission and History of UP

As a Catholic comprehensive university guided by the Congregation of Holy Cross, the University of Portland draws on diverse academic offerings, Catholic intellectual traditions, the Holy Cross charism, the particular character of the Pacific Northwest, and a careful attention to teaching and learning. The Core is the shared space where UP enacts and develops these characteristics as part of our academic identity. This means, among other things, a concern for ethics, human dignity, and the common good, careful integration of theological and philosophical perspectives, consideration of the human and physical geography around UP, and special attention to educating the whole person within an inclusive community.

Addressing the Needs of the World

As American society becomes more diverse, as global society becomes more interconnected, and as the workplace becomes more dynamic, colleges have a moral and practical responsibility to  engage diverse students while offering pathways toward meaningful and remunerative careers. The Core takes on this responsibility by exposing students to a broad range of intellectual traditions, providing timeless and timely skills for thinking, communicating, and working together toward a better future. 

The Core was revised and revitalized with new requirements beginning in Fall 2021 for new first-year and transfer students. Students who entered UP before fall 2021 will fulfill the Core requirements as described in the 2020-2021 Bulletin.