The curriculum at St. Edward's University is heavily influenced by the institution's mission statement. In particular, the mission statement commits us to a balanced education that stresses critical and creative thinking, moral reasoning, communicating, problem solving, and assuming social responsibility.  

We believe that the skills, knowledge and understanding our graduates derive from this education will enable them to make long-lasting contributions to a rapidly changing world.  They will leave St. Edward's as productive, independent and open-minded members of society, committed to using their education to solve problems and improve the quality of human life.  

There are two general components of a St. Edward's education: a broad study of the liberal arts and an in-depth study of a major discipline selected by the student.  For an understanding of how and where essential mission learning outcomes are achieved in the general education curriculum, visit our Common Threads in General Education page.  For a graphical representation of how the commitments of the mission statement are addressed in the general education curriculum, click here.

General Education

The general education component consists of 57 credit hours spanning all four years.  At the core of this component is a series of courses, several of them interdisciplinary, called Cultural Foundations.

In the freshman year, students reflect upon their identity and their relationship to the rest of society in Freshman Studies.  in this course freshmen choose a section of Introduction to the Liberal Arts (FSTY 1310), which is linked to a writing class (FSTY 0307, 0308, 1311 or 1313, depending upon their English placement or transfer credits).  Writing classes use small-group and workshop approaches to help students reflect upon and write about issues introduced in FSTY 1310.  Students who have not transferred in college writing credit will complete a second writing course in their first year.  In addition, College Mathematics, Computational Skills and Oral Communication are recommended for freshmen.

In the sophomore year, students study American history and culture from two different perspectives.  In the American Experience, they investigate American history from the viewpoint of racial and ethnic pluralism.  In American Dilemmas, they employ the methods of economics, political science and other social sciences as they investigate the problems facing American society and as they formulate solutions to those problems.  The sophomore year is an appropriate time to study the natural sciences, first in depth in a science of the student's choice and then in breadth in Science in Perspective. Click here for a description of Cultural Foundations courses.

In the junior year, students take two courses that will ensure they achieve a significant amount of global experience and understanding.  They learn the history and evolution of global processes focusing on global economics, global politics and cultural issues in a global society.  Then they investigate contemporary world issues and their impact on non-U.S. areas of the world.  Concurrent with these studies of global issues, students examine moral reasoning in a general ethics courses or in an ethics course that is applied to their major area of study. Click here for a description of Cultural Foundations courses.

In addition to the courses already mentioned, each St. Edward's student is required to take at least six credit hours in a modern language, three credit hours in Philosophy or Religious Studies, and a minimum of one literature course and one course in the arts.

The general education curriculum culminates in the Capstone Course, taken after completion of 75 hours, in which students are required to investigate a controversial issue in society, analyze the different sides of that issue, propose a resolution to it, communicate the results of the investigation both orally and in a major paper, and, finally, participate in a civic engagement activity supporting their conclusion.

Cultural Foundations Courses
  • CULF 1318 - Literature and the Human Experience
  • CULF 1319 - Understanding & Appreciating the Arts
  • CULF 1320 - The American Experience
  • CULF 2321 - American Dilemmas
  • CULF 3330 - History and Evolution of Global Processes
  • CULF 3331 - Contemporary World Issues​