Preamble to the Core of Common Studies

According to its mission statement, "Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university dedicated to serving God by serving (its) students and contributing to the advancement of knowledge." Marquette enriches the tradition of liberal learning by proclaiming that the human person is, even before the awakening of self-knowledge, called into being by a loving God. Marquette University's core of common studies addresses itself to the whole person — intellect, will, imagination and emotions — and proclaims that the human person is freed through service to others and the world.

This preamble locates the core of common studies within the mission and principles of Jesuit university education at Marquette.

I. The Purpose of Marquette as a Jesuit University

Jesuit education is grounded in a Catholic, Christian understanding of God, the human person and society. As such, it is inclusive of all who share our mission and seek the truth about God and the world. This vision is framed by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

A. Excellence

Jesuit education calls students to an ever greater knowledge and love of God who is revealed in all aspects of human life. It includes and sees all academic disciplines as fundamentally sacred because of their final goal and purpose, which is finding God in all things.

B. Faith

Jesuit education confirms students' faith, challenging them to entrust their lives to God with gratitude, especially by serving their neighbor and promoting a just society. Thus, it proceeds from the motto of the Society of Jesus, "For the greater glory of God" — ad majorem Dei gloriam.

C. Leadership

Jesuit education forms leaders. It challenges students to acknowledge our weakened human nature, to embrace the redeeming power of God's love, and to become women and men for others, both examples to and responsible for the world. In doing so, they are drawn toward the magis, "the more" — an ever greater faith in God and service to others.

D. Service

Jesuit education guides students to a greater love and service of their neighbor, especially the poor, the oppressed and those in need. Its scholarship and educational programs prepare students to promote justice for individuals and within the very structures of society. In everything it fosters cura personalis, "care for the whole person."

II. The Traditional Jesuit Core Curriculum

In the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius states that, "since the purpose of the Society (of Jesus) and of its studies is to aid our fellow human beings to the knowledge and love of God and to the salvation of their souls, and since the subject of theology is the means most suited to this purpose, in the universities of the Society the principal emphasis ought to be placed on (theology)" (IV.12.1). In turn, says Ignatius, the study of theology (scriptural, historical and systematic) requires knowledge of (1) the humanities (grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history and classical languages), (2) the natural sciences and (3) philosophy (logic, metaphysics and ethics), "since they dispose the intellectual powers for theology and are useful for the perfect understanding and use of it, and also by their own nature help toward the same ends." The 1832 revision of the Jesuit Ratio Studiorum

(Course of Studies) opened the way for including more recently developed disciplines into this curricular structure of Jesuit universities.

III. The Jesuit University Today

The Ignatian approach to learning is grounded in the conviction that all human beings are created for knowledge and love of God and that God speaks through faith and justice to individuals and communities. Jesuit education calls for more than mere schooling in received wisdom. It demands mutual engagement of faculty and students in a continual and common search for truth and justice.

Jesuit education for the 21st century continues the pursuit of the goals of Excellence ("Finding God in All Things"), Faith ("All for the Greater Glory of God"), Leadership (the Ignatian magis) and Service (cura personalis). It reaffirms the mission and work of the Society of Jesus: the service of faith and the promotion of justice in dialogue with the multiplicity of cultures and religions. Curriculum attentive to the contemporary human situation enables students to reflect critically upon their roles within the framework of each discipline. Thus, an appropriately ordered sequence of courses, informed by philosophical and theological principles, moves students toward the goal of a truly Jesuit education: the development of an integrated vision of humanity and of the world entrusted to us by a gracious God.

The knowledge areas of Marquette's core of common studies builds on this tradition. They furnish students with the skills in thinking, writing and speaking necessary for effective communication. They challenge students to explore persons and societies through appreciation of literature and artistic expression. They offer students an understanding of the dynamics of history. They introduce students to the complexities of individual and social behavior, the richness of diverse cultures, and the intricate and ordered worlds of mathematics, science and nature. Finally, they engage students in philosophical and theological reflection on the human condition. Thus, through these knowledge areas, the curriculum encourages Marquette students to internalize a knowledge and love of God and of God's creation. Throughout a student's life, a Jesuit education remains an experience of genuine human encounter, recognizable as an opportunity to live a life founded on ethical principles and to seek God in all things.

The faculty and staff of a Jesuit university create and maintain this kind of education. They offer students examples of inquiry, dedication, generosity, empathy, understanding, and vision. They set high expectations for each and every student. They acknowledge that students learn as unique individuals situated within their particular culture or cultural heritage and God's loving presence. A core curriculum is one element in a Jesuit education. Equally important is the exchange of ideas and life experiences among faculty and students. The mutual respect and honest interaction of this scholarly community fosters in students an awareness of transcendent human dignity, of human solidarity and of God's personal presence.

The core of common studies at Marquette University articulates the Jesuit tradition. It fosters the growth of its faculty and students. Through the evolution of the core, Marquette ensures that its courses and programs of study continue to serve the mission of Jesuit higher education.

Approved by the Core Curriculum Review Committee, Nov. 6, 2002
Approved by the Academic Senate, Nov. 11, 2002


Student studying on campus


"The core of common studies at Marquette University articulates the Jesuit tradition. It fosters the growth of its faculty and students. Through the evolution of the core, Marquette ensures that its courses and programs of study continue to serve the mission of Jesuit higher education."

From the Preamble to the Core of Common Studies.