Jun 13, 2024  
2014-2016 Undergraduate Catalog 
2014-2016 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The Curriculum

Special Undergraduate Academic and Co-Curricular Programs


The values and beliefs expressed in Rockhurst’s mission statement are central to all of the University’s educational endeavors. The curriculum is the organizing framework by which the development of the human intellectual capacity for the pursuit of this mission is most effectively realized.

The curriculum stands at the center of students’ college experience as the structure around which they select their courses, clarify their interests and goals, and earn their degrees.

Earning an Undergraduate Degree at Rockhurst University

Requirements for all degrees offered by Rockhurst University are as stated in the appropriate section of this Catalog. Undergraduate degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Graduate and Professional Studies, Helzberg School of Management, and Research College of Nursing require that the student successfully complete 128 semester hours of courses with a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.00. These credits must include the liberal core requirements as well as the coursework required by the academic major the student is pursuing.

The Liberal Core Curriculum

All undergraduate degree-seeking students, regardless of major or program of study, complete the core curriculum as part of their graduation requirements. The core curriculum reflects the Jesuit ideal of a well-rounded education and the development of inquisitive, life-long learners. By introducing students to fundamental intellectual skills and methods, or modes of inquiry, employed in the pursuit of knowledge, the core curriculum aims to cultivate a broad range of student intellectual abilities. The Rockhurst core curriculum includes required courses in seven modes of inquiry, as well as courses in three academic proficiencies and one academic requirement that support the modes.

The Seven Classical Modes of Inquiry

The modes of inquiry—that is, the methods or systems by which the human intellect pursues some essential knowledge, truth, or aspect of truth—give structure to the core curriculum (that set of required courses taken by all degree-seeking undergraduate students) in a way that encourages the full development of students in various aspects of their humanity. As methods or systems, each mode suggests the appropriate kinds of questions to be asked in its study, organizes the steps by which study is furthered, and measures what counts as progress in its particular sphere.

  • The Artistic Mode of Inquiry. This is the exploration through study and practice of the imaginative expression of the human condition through objects and processes that communicate by non-verbal as well as verbal means. By studying and participating in at least one form of the fine or performing arts, students learn to understand and articulate the relationship between artistic form and expression. They come to understand that the formal and expressive language of the arts can transcend cultural barriers, thus enlarging our understanding of our world. Students must successfully complete three hours of level-one approved coursework in art, music, cinema, or theatre.
  • The Historical Mode of Inquiry. This is the systematic recollection and analysis of significant past events. Our collective memories, given shape and discipline by methods designed to explore the past, provide the experience from which we define the present and consider the future. The human past and human cultures are understood not in isolation, but in the context of broader trends and developments. When we pursue the historical mode of inquiry, we add chronological perspective, persuasive stories, and analytical skills to raw human memory. Students must successfully complete at least one approved three-hour level-one course in the history of civilization. They must also successfully complete at least one approved three-hour level-two course in either the historical or the literary mode of inquiry.
  • The Literary Mode of Inquiry. This mode of inquiry explores the imaginative expression of human experience through the various aspects of language. The process of expressing ourselves through language shapes our knowing and organizes our experience. The employment of language to provide identifiable symbols and images creates an understanding of truths and ideas; it also gives structure and meaning which clarify our ideas in our own expression and in the written work of others by comprehending and analyzing the figurative significance found in the literal statement. Familiarity with languages and cultures other than one’s own further expands the student’s entry into the literary mode and extends the invitation to compare and experience different views of the world. Students must successfully complete at least one approved three-hour level-one course in literature. They must also successfully complete at least one approved three-hour level-two course in either the literary or the historical mode of inquiry.
  • The Scientific-Causal Mode of Inquiry. Scientific modes of inquiry are logical systems of principles and procedures developed to discover the shape, form, properties, and behavior of the constituent parts of nature. This mode requires rigorous tests of hypotheses and confidence statements about causality, and the explanations that result have as their ultimate goal the falsification or confirmation of theories. This mode of inquiry relies on controlled scientific experiments that can reveal causal relationships. Students must successfully complete at least one approved four-hour level-one course in science. This course must have a laboratory component. Students must also successfully complete at least one approved level-two three-hour course in either the scientific-causal or scientific-relational mode of inquiry.
  • The Scientific-Relational Mode of Inquiry. The various forms of the relational mode of inquiry seek to describe the naturally occurring variation of individuals, social groups, species, or objects. This mode of inquiry is grounded in the systematic collection, organization, and classification of observations that are measured either qualitatively or quantitatively. Such inquiry may be either descriptive or relational, and may lead to theories that explain observed relationships and generate testable hypotheses. Students must successfully complete one level-one course and one level-one or level-two course in a social or behavioral science. Two different disciplines must be represented. Students must also successfully complete at least one approved level-two three-hour course in either the scientific-relational or scientific-causal mode of inquiry.
  • The Philosophical Mode of Inquiry. This mode of inquiry makes claims about knowledge regarding ourselves and the world, and critiques such claims. It seeks to acquaint students with an organized body of knowledge based on moral experience, and to show the student how to critically evaluate the grounds for judging human conduct. It seeks ways to improve logical techniques in identifying, explaining, and evaluating assumptions, concepts, and arguments. It seeks ways of distinguishing philosophical understanding from other ways of knowing, and it imparts skill in identifying and critiquing the assumptions of other disciplines. Students must successfully complete at least one approved three-hour level-one course in philosophy, and at least one approved three-hour level-two course in ethical theory. They must also successfully complete at least one approved level-two three-hour course in either philosophy or theology.
  • The Theological Mode of Inquiry. Theological inquiry is a critical, methodic, ongoing exploration, examination, and development of the content of any religious faith in an attempt to understand and to express the content of that faith in the most adequate and appropriate concepts and language available. Thus in the case of Christianity this mode of inquiry seeks to express the meaning and significance of Christian religious faith for the whole lives of individuals and communities committed to that faith so that they can realize it as fully as possible, and also, so that those external to Christianity have the best opportunity for understanding the intellectual and existential aspects of that religious faith. In so doing, theological inquiry attempts to articulate an adequate and appropriate religious vision of existence which spells out an intellectually compelling understanding of itself and, concomitantly, a holistically satisfying account of the significance and destiny of human life in all its complexities within that particular vision, whether Christian or other. A religious studies approach, with its excluive attention to human beings and the systems in which they operate, enriches and complements this mode of inquiry. Religious studies methods are often an important part of theological inquiry. Students must successfully complete both one lower level TH course (1000-2000) and one upper level TH course (3000-4000) with one of them being in the field of Christianity. They must also successfully complete at least  one approved three-hour level-two course in either theology and religious studies, or philosophy.

The Proficiencies

  • Proficiency in Oral Communication. This proficiency involves skill in critical listening and oral communication. Students become proficient through regular, sustained, intensive practice. They learn to recognize, identify, and analyze interpersonal, public, cross-cultural, verbal, and nonverbal communication; and they learn to apply these skills in a variety of situations. Students must successfully complete at least one approved three-hour course in college-level oral communication.
  • Proficiency in Written Communication. Proficient writing is the process of selecting, combining, and developing ideas in effective sentences, paragraphs, and longer units of discourse. Writers must cope with many variables: method of development, purpose, tone, possible audiences, mode of composition, and copy-editing. Learning to write at the college level involves developing skill in using and combining these variables to shape appropriate messages for various situations. Generally, students must successfully complete two approved three-hour courses in college-level composition. Advanced students may satisfy the proficiency in written communication by one approved advanced composition course.
  • Proficiency in Mathematics. People who are mathematically proficient have well-developed skills in deductive reasoning and the ability to apply those skills in an informed manner. Mathematics is a natural vehicle for building critical thinking skills because it involves postulation, logical reasoning, and symbol manipulation. The ability to propose an idea, construct a logical sequence of supporting statements, and capture the characteristic features of the idea in symbolic form are central features of critical thought. Proficiency in mathematics also equips students with an ability to understand and participate in a highly technical society. Students must successfully complete at least one approved three-hour course in college-level mathematics.

The Requirement

  • Global Perspectives Requirement. In becoming global citizens committed to service in the contemporary world, Rockhurst students develop knowledge of, and appreciation and respect for, world cultures and a commitment to global, lifelong learning. They learn to apply critical thinking skills that foster development of the competencies and behaviors required to live in a global community. Students must successfully complete at least one approved three-hour, upper-division course with a Global Perspectives designation. Students can also fulfill this requirement with two semesters of the same college-level second language.


Summary of the Liberal Core Curriculum

Some of these courses have Honors equivalents. The Integrated Humanities sequence can satisfy several core requirements. Many core courses can also be applied to major requirements. For transfer equivalencies, consult the Registrar’s Office.

Proficiencies (9-13 semester hours)

Oral Communication:


  • 3-4 semester hours of approved college-level mathematics

Modes of Inquiry (39-41 semester hours)

Artistic Mode:

  • 3 semester hours of approved coursework in art, music, theater, and/or French or Spanish film
Additional Information:

  • In addition, one approved 3-hour Level II course from either the Historical or Literary Mode.
  • The Literary Mode includes courses in English, French, and Spanish Literature.

Theological Mode:

Level II:

  • Any course in the 3000s or 4000s.
  • At least one Level I or Level II course must be in the field of Christianity.
Additional Information:

  • In addition, one approved 3-hour Level II course from either the Philosophical or Theological Mode.

Scientific-Causal Mode:

  • 4 semester hours of physical or biological science, including laboratory

Scientific-Relational Mode:

  • 6 semester hours in two different social or behavioral sciences
Additional Information:

  • In addition, one approved 3-hour or 4-hour Level II course from either the Scientific-Causal or the Scientific-Relational Mode.

Global Perspectives Requirement:

  • 3 semester hours of a designated global perspectives course, or two semesters of the same college-level second language.

Coding Scheme for the Core Curriculum

Courses approved for inclusion in the core curriculum are noted as such in this Catalog and in the Course Schedules available on the Rockhurst University website, www.rockhurst.edu. Faculty and students should consult either of these documents to determine which courses meet liberal core requirements. The notations that appear beside the course name indicate where it fits into the core:

“OCP” – course that satisfies the oral communication proficiency
“WCP” – course that satisfies the written communication proficiency
“MTP” – course that meets the requirements of the mathematical proficiency
“GPR” – course that meets the global perspectives requirement

Courses that fit the requirements of the modes of inquiry may be recognized by the abbreviations:

“AR” – Artistic Mode of Inquiry
“HS” –
Historical Mode of Inquiry
“LT” –
Literary Mode of Inquiry
“SC” –
Scientific-Causal Mode of Inquiry
“SR” –
Scientific-Relational Mode of Inquiry
“PL” –
Philosophical Mode of Inquiry
“TH” –
Theological Mode of Inquiry

The Roman numeral beside the abbreviation indicates whether the course is at level-one (“I”) or level-two (“II”).