The Core Curriculum 

ODU's Curriculum, taken by all undergraduates, is a series of courses that provide a unifying academic experience throughout each student's academic journey.

The liberal arts Curriculum, unique to Ohio Dominican, includes four CORE seminar courses and the liberal arts degree requirements. In the Core seminars, students draw from all of their courses to engage in thought-provoking interdisciplinary discussions, readings and experiences. 

Undergraduates take one seminar each year in a four-year academic career.
  • First-year Seminar: What Does it Mean to be Human?
  • Second-year Seminar: What is the Common Good?
  • Third-year Seminar: What is Justice?
  • Fourth-year Seminar: What Truths have we Learned?

By emphasizing lifelong learning, critical thinking, effective writing and ethical judgements, the Core Curriculum provides students with a solid foundation for careers and life experiences. It is this foundation that will make students valuable and competitive in today's changing job market. 

See CORE Curriculum Summary below for more details.


The CORE Curriculum at ODU includes a series of four seminars, each thematically based on the Dominican intellectual and religious tradition: 

  • First Year: What does it mean to be human?
  • Second Year: What is the Common Good?
  • Third Year: What is Justice?
  • Fourth Year: What Truths have we learned? 

These seminars ensure that both students and faculty continuously reflect on aspects of ODU’s mission statement and Dominican values throughout the undergraduate curriculum. The first-year seminar, functions as an introduction to student life at Ohio Dominican University (ODU) and serves as an interdisciplinary seminar devoted to the university’s mission. The second- and third- year seminars are more discipline focused, while the fourth-year seminar serves as a senior capstone experience to both the CORE curriculum and the student’s major.  

Students in all sections of each seminar study one or more common texts. The first three seminars approach the questions from the point of view of different content areas and are taught by faculty from different disciplines. The fourth seminar is a capstone course taught by faculty in the student’s own major area. The seminars collectively provide students with a distinctively Dominican education. They exemplify the university’s rich history and mission and are inspired by the four pillars of Dominican life: prayer, community, ministry, and study.   

In the first-year seminar students study humans as embodied, social, spiritual, emotional, rational beings. The Gospel of Matthew is used in the first-year seminar, specifically due to the fact that St. Dominic himself carried it with him on his journeys, providing students the opportunity to connect with and follow in the footsteps of the founder of the Dominican order. 

In the second-year seminar students study community and the common good as they examine the role of individuals belonging to multiple and diverse communities. Students have the opportunity to translate knowledge into action through a community service project.  The common good is defined as the sum conditions of social life which allow social groups (or communities) and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to fulfillment of their basic human needs and rights.   

In the third-year seminar students study the role of justice in providing each person what he or she is due. Courses may include the following forms of justice among others: divine, distributive or social justice, retributive or corrective justice, compensatory, utilitarian and restorative justice.  

In the final year the seminars extend the discussion of human nature, the common good, and justice to raise the question of what truths we have learned. The common texts include the New Testament Book of Matthew and The Idea of the University by Cardinal Newman. 

Each year, the university chooses the theme of one of the seminars as the focus point for the year. An all-campus reading is chosen and a speaker series is planned around the annual theme.  

The university-wide Core Conversations program, supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, extends the exploration of the Core Seminar concepts to the entire campus community and the public by developing programming for one theme per year. Previous speakers/books include: 

  • Wil Haygood, The Butler: A Witness to History (September 2013)
  • John Dear, Practicing Nonviolence in a World of War (April 2014)
  • Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (September 2014)
  • Conor Grennan, Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal (February 2015)
  • Timothy Shriver, Fully Alive: Discovering What Matters Most (September 2015)
  • Wil Haygood, Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court (February 2016)
  • Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human (November 2016)
  • Father Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion (February 2018)   

In addition, the core seminars foster student development as ethical, global citizens. This is supplemented by the completion of courses which focus on diversity. ODU’s foundation as a Catholic Dominican institution plays out in the requirement of undergraduate philosophy and theology courses as well. All students complete a strong liberal arts core in addition to a major course of study. 

Students generally take one seminar a year in numeric order. The first three years incorporate and are relevant to all academic disciplines. In the fourth year, students take a capstone course in their major.

CORE 179 asks the question: what does it mean to be Human. Here’s a sample of some of the CORE 179 topics:

  • Gods, Beasts or In-Between
  • Virtue &  Vices
  • Know Thyself
  • Borders and Transitions

CORE 279 asks the question: what is the Common Good? Here’s a sample of some of the 279 courses from multiple disciplines:

  • Nonviolent Social Change
  • Leadership and the Common Good
  • Ethical Issues of Sex and Marriage
  • Interpersonal Negotiation and Mediation

CORE 379 asks the question: what is Justice? Here’s a sample of some of the 379 courses from multiple disciplines:

  • Causes of Collective Violence: Genocide, Terrorism & War
  • Global Ethnic Relations
  • Slavery & Freedom
  • Justice, Art & Politics

CORE 479 asks the question, what is Truth? Here is a sample of some of the 479 courses taken in the major discipline for each student:

  • Strategic Management
  • History Matters
  • Current Issues in Psychology
  • Literature Theory and Practice

The Core seminars make learning interactive, integrative and relevant.With the problem-solving and strong communication skills developed in the Core, students will be prepared for careers, professional training, graduate school and life.

CORE Curriculum Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree (B.A.) are listed on page 97 of the 2018-2019 ODU Catalog. Click below to link directly to that page.

View Requirements


Course and Disciplines Credits
ENG 110  College Writing I  3
ENG 111  College Writing II  3
Complete three semester credits in Math courses above MTH*110 (except MTH-185). The mathematics course and/or level may be determined by a student’s major program. 3

Freshman Seminar—CORE: What Does it Mean to be Human? 3
Sophomore Seminar—CORE: What is the Common Good? (3)
Junior Seminar—CORE: What is Justice? (3)
Senior Capstone Seminar—CORE: What Truths have we Learned? (3)

Either or both of the Sophomore and the Junior Seminars may satisfy area studies and/or major requirements. The Sophomore and Junior Seminars must be selected from different academic disciplines. The Senior Seminar is the capstone course for the major.

Transfer students, readmitted students, and students changing major programs will enter the series of seminars at the appropriate tier based on the number of credits transferred and/or completed:

Number Of Transfer Credits Seminar Entry Point
17 or less Freshman
18–49 Sophomore
50 or more Junior

Philosophy and Theology
Six semester credits in philosophy and six semester credits in theology with at least one course in each area at the 200-level or higher. PHL 101 does not fulfill any part of the philosophy requirement in the core curriculum.
Language Studies—Foreign Language 111 level or above | 3 credits
Arts and Ideas—Three semester credits chosen from each area listed below. 
Art (ART)/Music (MUS)/Theatre (THR) | 3 credits
History (HST) | 3 credits
Literature (ENG) | 3 credits
Natural Sciences
Choose from the following disciplines: Biology (BIO), Chemistry (CHM), Environmental Studies and Science (ENV), Physics (PHY), or Science (SCI). 
Social and Behavioral Science
For students majoring in disciplines outside the social and behavioral sciences, courses must be selected from two different disciplines. Courses that fulfill this requirement are those courses offered in criminal justice (CRJ), economics (ECN), geography (GEO), political science (POL), psychology (PSY), social work (SWK) and sociology (SOC). For students majoring in the social and behavioral sciences, as well as economics, courses must be selected from two different disciplines, which are not the discipline of the major. 
Within the core curriculum, three semester hours must address diversity, global, or multicultural issues. See the course listings for the courses meeting this requirement. (3)
Major specific requirements
See your program of interest for specific requirements.


Freshman Core Seminar: Core 179 - What Does it Mean to be Human?

View Course Descriptions

Sophomore Course Seminar: Core 279 - What is the Common Good?

View Course Descriptions

Junior Core Seminar: Core 379 - What is Justice?

View Course Descriptions

 Senior Core Seminar: Core 479 - What Truths Have We Learned?

View Course Descriptions

Dr. Kelsey Squire
Associate Professor of English
Core Program Director

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