Goals of a Liberal Education

Creighton University’s College of Arts and Sciences offers a liberal education whose primary goal is encouraging each student to become a free and responsible person. To further this goal, a liberal education defines the natural and human boundaries within which free choice occurs, urges its students to see the need for such choice, and provides them with the means for making that choice responsibly. Creighton’s students are encouraged to be free and responsible through systematic encounter with the various traditional liberal arts and empirical sciences. The College understands this encounter in an explicitly Christian context, one defined by the Catholic Church, enlivened by the contributions of the Jesuit community, and shared by the many other religious and lay faculty and administrators serving the University.

Creighton’s liberal education is and must be eminently practical as an education for life. A liberal education grows with its possessors and helps guide them through a lifetime of free and responsible choices. The student must be a willing, active, and earnest partner in this educational process. The reward of this partnership is a deepened appreciation for life and a strengthened ability to respond to its demands with critical intelligence. Thus, Creighton’s liberal education demands responsible involvement from its students and promises, in return, personal and academic enrichment.

Learning Outcomes

Creighton College of Arts and Sciences recognizes a set of specific abilities that distinguish those individuals who have been educated in the liberal arts within the Jesuit tradition. It believes that such individuals will have learned to integrate academic study into a broader commitment to the life of the mind, heart, imagination, and spirit. The College’s faculty, staff, and administrators have therefore set as their goals that all students graduating from the College will have learned to:

  • Communicate clearly and effectively in written, spoken, mathematical, and artistic languages;
  • Think critically about information, assumptions, and arguments found in multiple forms of academic and cultural discourse;
  • Integrate broad and diverse learning with at least one individually chosen academic discipline or professional field;
  • Appreciate the Christian, Catholic, and Jesuit intellectual traditions in the context of historical, cultural and spiritual concerns;
  • Apply a reasoned approach to effective decision-making according to sound and coherent ethical principles;
  • Demonstrate an active engagement with [and enduring commitment to] Jesuit values of service and social justice; and
  • Demonstrate a historical or contemporary understanding of diverse human identities and cultures in the United States and around the world.

As the means for achieving these goals, the Creighton College of Arts and Sciences requires each student to select a program of courses that combines three elements. The Magis CCAS Core Curriculum assures broad exposure to academic and cultural discourse, the acquisition of communicative and reasoning skills, and the exploration of ethical values within the Christian, Catholic, and Jesuit traditions. Academic majors serve the same broad goals but in the context of bringing added depth and facility in a particular academic discipline or professional field. Academic minors and elective courses foster students’ intellectual curiosity and adaptability and encourage in them an enthusiasm for lifelong learning.

Degrees

The College of Arts and Sciences awards seven different bachelor’s degrees. While the majority of students in each graduating class receive Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees, the College also offers the following programs of study that either provide greater concentration in a specific academic field or serve as a professional credential:

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (BSChm)
Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science (BSEvs)
Bachelor of Science in Physics (BSPhy)
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Structure of Majors

The majors offered in the College of Arts and Sciences differ in the ways in which they structure their requirements, as they must if they are to meet the diverse needs of Creighton students and reflect the widely varying natures of their respective academic disciplines.

Some majors focus on a single sequence of courses. Other programs offer two or more tracks - course sequences, one of which a student must select in order to complete the major. Still others list specializations - optional, alternative or additional sequences of coursework that students may elect in order to focus their major program more narrowly.

Double Majors

Students in the College of Arts and Sciences may complete more than one major. Students completing more than one major are responsible for all the normal requirements, including specified requisite courses, for those programs. Students must choose a primary major. Students in the College of Arts and Sciences do not receive dual degrees. All major programs of study completed are indicated on students’ official transcripts.

Application to and Requirements of Majors

To maintain satisfactory progress toward their degrees, students must apply and be accepted by a major program. Ordinarily, students apply for their major programs during their Sophomore year. Some students may apply for the major earlier, and may do so after completing their first semester at Creighton.

In order to apply, students must have an overall GPA of 2.00 and have satisfied any specific requirements as indicated by the major department in this catalog. Application for major programs is online.

Department chairs and program directors may defer or decline students who do not meet the designated criteria. However, at the time of graduation, any student who meets all the published criteria of the University may request the College to award the degree and major regardless of the prior actions of the department. Such requests should be directed to the Associate Dean.

A 2.00 grade point average in the minimum requirements of the major (not including requisite/supporting courses) is required for graduation.

Majors for Business and Nursing Students

Students in the College of Nursing and Heider College of Business may complete an additional major in the College of Arts and Sciences. The second major is in addition to the BSN or BSBA degree earned; students do not receive a second degree from Arts and Sciences. Nursing students should contact the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in the College of Nursing and business students should contact the Dean of the Heider College of Business for advising and for referral for the application.

Majors, Tracks and Specializations Offered in the College

Following is the list of majors in the College, by degree, together with the tracks and specializations that each allows.

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (BSChm)

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences (BSEvs)

Bachelor of Science in Physics (BSPhy)

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

Bachelor of Arts/Master of Science 5 year Program

Structure of Minors

Minors offer students the opportunity to develop substantial knowledge in areas outside their majors and achieve the second and third College learning outcomes:

  • To think critically about information, assumptions, and arguments found in multiple forms of academic and cultural discourse; and
  • To integrate broad and diverse learning with at least one individually chosen academic discipline or professional field.

Declaration of and Requirements of Minors

A student may not declare a minor until he or she has been accepted into a Major. Students declare minors with the Minor Declaration form online.

Eighteen credits of coursework are required to complete a minor. Students must achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.00 in courses toward the minor. 

Minors for Business and Nursing Students

Students in the College of Nursing and Heider College of Business may complete a minor in the College of Arts and Sciences. Nursing students should contact the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in the College of Nursing and business students should contact the Dean of the Heider College of Business for advising and for referral for the application.

Minors Offered

Degree Requirements

The Creighton College of Arts and Sciences requires each student to select a program of courses that combines three elements: The Magis Common and CCAS Core Curricula, an Academic Major, and Electives (which may include an academic minor and/or or second major).

More specifically, a bachelor’s degree requires:

  • a minimum of 128 credit hours1, including at least 48 credit hours in courses numbered 300 or above
  • a minimum of 48 credit hours must be completed at Creighton University, with 32 of the final 48 completed in residence at Creighton
  • an overall cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.00, based on all courses at Creighton University
  • completion of all applicable requirements of the Magis Common Core Curriculum and the Magis CCAS Core Curriculum
  • completion of at least one major in one of the departments or interdisciplinary programs of the College
  • a GPA of at least 2.00 in the minimum requirements of the major (not including requisite/supporting courses)
1

Elective courses should be chosen in consultation with the student’s academic advisor.

Normally, students register for not less than 12 nor more than 18 credit hours in each semester. The privilege of carrying more than 18 hours is contingent upon the student’s grade point average and requires the written approval of the Dean. Additional tuition may be charged. To reach the minimum 128 hours in four years, a student must average successful completion of 16 credits per semester.

Magis College of Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum

The Core Curriculum is the educational heart of Creighton’s College of Arts & Sciences.  It is the foundation of our students’ liberal education and the chief academic embodiment of its Jesuit, Catholic identity, and as such distinguishes our College from its peers.  The Jesuit tradition of education in the liberal arts and sciences is rooted in a more-than-450-year history.  Over the centuries, this rigorous and many-sided Jesuit intellectual tradition has continued to incorporate the best new discoveries, the best new disciplines, and the best new methods in its constant search for the magis (“the more”), instilling a restless quest for excellence.  This heritage and this quest for excellence imbues this core of our students’ liberal education, which, together with their major and electives, ensures that their education has both the depth and the breadth to engage the world with insight, creativity, and ethical vision.

The Core Curriculum at Creighton University is, first and foremost, a rigorous education in the liberal arts and sciences.  It presses students to seek excellence in all things, to know their world, their nation, their history, their very selves—and do so in a rich variety of ways.  It opens students to centuries-old traditions of wisdom, to a wide and challenging array of truths and beauties and deep life-shaping goods.  The genius of education in the liberal arts and sciences is its multi-disciplinary balance.  As an expression of this educational tradition, Creighton’s College of Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum:

  • requires students to engage the profound questions raised by the search for truth within a wide array of the humanities and the arts, philosophy and theology, social sciences and natural sciences;
  • prepares students to think critically across a variety of disciplinary perspectives, whether literary or scientific, philosophical or societal, psychological or religious;
  • enables students to communicate with precision and clarity, with imagination and empathy, in a variety of media, whether in speech or writing, whether artistic or technological;
  • prepares students for citizenship in a global world by educating them about diverse identities and cultures in the United States and around the world.

The genius of this education is always more than the sum of its parts.  It gives students a rich intellectual “tool kit,” equipping them to address new and unforeseen problems.  It also inculcates a deep tolerance for others, whether individuals or cultures.  It spurs students to be lifelong learners.  It offers profound avenues in the search for wisdom and the pursuit of happiness.

While Creighton’s education in the liberal arts and sciences shares much with the goals and aspirations of other institutions of higher learning, it also has unique textures and perspectives because of its profound rootedness in the centuries-old Jesuit intellectual tradition.  As a Catholic university, Creighton insists on the God-given dignity of each and every human person and on the fundamental hospitality of faith and reason.  It calls on students to grapple with ultimate questions and transcendent values, including their relationship to God.  It also insists that the religious is such an essential dimension of the human person and human culture that no education is complete without a serious engagement with the religious element of human experience.  As a Jesuit university, Creighton insists on bringing an international perspective to all its studies and on engaging ethically to making ours a better, more just world.  It requires students to develop capacities for ethical reasoning and to engage with the Jesuit values of service and justice that they may become men and women for and with others.  One unique element of the Jesuit intellectual tradition is its conviction that all truth is God’s truth, that God may be found in all things, that therefore, even the most secular truth contains a transcendental quality.  Therefore, the Jesuit intellectual tradition rigorously affirms the autonomy of intellectual disciplines, of their unique search for the truth.  It is this quality that has given the Jesuit intellectual tradition its generosity and hospitality, its openness and its deep-seated tolerance.  The power of a Jesuit education is that it unifies and gives a depth of purpose to liberal education: namely, by preparing students to treasure the God-given gift of life, in all its rich endowments, and by preparing them to share that with others by working for a more just world through a life of service.

Magis Common Core Curriculum Requirements

The most up-to-date list of approved courses is available on the NEST Schedule of Classes and Course Catalog.

Foundations Explorations Integrations Designated Courses (1 course each)
Contemporary Composition (3 credits) Understanding Natural Science (2 credits) Intersections (3 credits) Designated Ethics
Critical Issues in Human Inquiry (3 credits) Understanding Social Science (3 credits) Designated Oral Communications
Oral Communication (1 credit) Global Perspectives in History (3 credits) Designated Written Communication
Mathematical Reasoning (2 credits) Literature (3 credits) Designated Statistical Reasoning
Philosophical Ideas (3 credits) Ethics (3 credits) Designated Technology
The Christian Tradition (3 credits) The Biblical Tradition (3 credits)

NOTE: If Magis Core Explorations: Ethics is fulfilled with a THL course, then Magis CCAS Integrations: Ultimate Questions must be fulfilled with a PHL course.

Magis College of Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum Requirements

Foundations Explorations Integrations Designated Courses (1 course each)
Fine Arts (3 credits) Doing Natural Science (4 credits)
Foreign Language Doing Social Sciences (3 credits)
Ultimate Questions (3 credits)

Explorations

Fine Arts (3 credits) – Required of Arts & Sciences students only

The Fine Arts component will provide students with the opportunity to engage in the arts through creative processes as well as through formal study and to explore non-linear modes of thinking, problem-solving, and expression. PREREQUISITE: None.  Consult the Explorations Course List for a complete list of Fine Arts courses.

Foreign Language (4 credits) – Required of Arts & Sciences students only

The Foreign Language component may be satisfied by the demonstration of basic competence in a modern or ancient language. Students of modern languages are introduced to the essential elements of basic communication in the four language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing). Students of ancient languages focus on reading skills while writing, speaking, and listening skills are developed to a much smaller degree. PREREQUISITE: None.  Consult the Explorations Course List for a complete list of Foreign Language courses.

Integrations

Doing Natural Science (4 credits) – Required of Arts & Sciences students only

This component consists of a three-credit lecture course including fundamental concepts and methods of a particular scientific field, with a co-requisite one-credit laboratory in which students have an experience of scientific investigation and communication. PREREQUISITE: Understanding Natural Science course.  Consult the Integrations Course List for a complete list of Doing Natural Science courses.

Doing Social Science (3 credits) – Required of Arts & Sciences students only

The Doing Social Science component is designed to further students’ knowledge of society and human nature within a social scientific discipline. Students will apply their knowledge of social scientific methods (quantitative or qualitative) in order to interpret social science data as related to specific social science questions and to critique social scientific studies. PREREQUISITE: Understanding Social Science course.  Consult the Integrations Course List for a complete list of Doing Social Science courses.

Ultimate Questions (3 credits) – Required of Arts & Sciences students only

This component explores ultimate questions about some of the deepest and most mysterious dimensions of human experience: e.g., the existence and nature of God, the nature and ultimate destiny of the human person, the nature of the cosmos and humanity’s place within it, the search for salvation and the pursuit of holiness, the nature of religion and religious experience. No Jesuit education is complete without such a sustained grappling with these ultimate realities. PREREQUISITES: Philosophical Ideas course, The Christian Tradition course, and The Biblical Tradition course.  Consult the Integrations Course List for a complete list of Ultimate Questions courses. Note that if a Theology course is used to fulfill Magis Core Explorations: Ethics, then a Philosophy course must fulfill the Ultimate Questions component.