Common Curriculum

The Common Curriculum includes nine required courses. These courses are designed to help you develop critical academic skills, to understand and engage our multicultural and complex world, and to embrace the Christian story as you become biblically and theologically literate.

Each of the courses in the Common Curriculum includes common texts and objectives to ensure common learning. A Senior Capstone course in your major rounds out the Common Curriculum.

If you enter SPU as a first-year SPU student, you will begin the Common Curriculum in autumn quarter of your freshman year by taking the 1 credit UCOL 1000 University Colloquium. (Transfer students are exempt from UCOL 1000.) The word colloquium means conversation, and the University Colloquium is a place where you can enter into our academic community by studying and conversing about an interesting problem or academic topic with a faculty instructor and student peers.

In your first year you will also complete the first of the three* required University Foundation courses. The three foundation courses are centered in the foundations of faith. 

  • In UFDN 1000: Christian Faith, completed during the freshman year, you study and reflect on the Christian life, how our faith is formed, and what it means to live in Christian community.
  • In UFDN 2000: Christian Scriptures, completed during the sophomore year, you will study the Bible and how the diverse collections of the Old and New Testaments narrate the story of God’s redemption, reconciliation, and restoration of creation. (Note that students who enter SPU with 90 or more credits complete the upper-division version of this class: UFDN 3001.)
  • In UFDN 3100: Christian Theology, during your junior or senior year, you will learn about the doctrines that are important to Christians and the ways they influence Christian thought and life.

*Note: Students who enter SPU with junior or senior standing are not required to take UFDN 1000. These students complete UFDN 3001, an upper-division version of Christian Scriptures, followed by UFDN 3100.

The first year is rounded out by our two academic writing (WRI) seminar courses.

  • WRI 1000: Academic Inquiry and Writing, taught by English faculty, provides an introduction to academic inquiry. Its central purpose is to immerse you in the types of reading, writing, and critical thinking that will be required of you as a university student. Students must earn a minimum C- (1.7) in this course in order to fulfill the WRI 1000 Academic Writing requirement.
  • WRI 1100: Disciplinary Research and Writing Seminar, taught by faculty across campus, builds on the skills acquired in WRI 1000 as you learn to research complex and important questions in a disciplinary context. Students must earn a minimum C- (1.7) in this course in order to fulfill the WRI 1100 Academic Writing requirement.

Two additional Core courses, taken after the freshman year, complete the Common Curriculum. These courses look at the intersections of Christian faith with contemporary society and thought.

UCOR 2000: The Emergence of the Modern Global System explores how the modern global system was formed, with special emphasis on the history and patterns of human inequality that mark today’s societies. The course asks how we as Christians should live in a world that is both deeply divided and globally interwoven. You will study how the Christian vision for equality has broken through patterns of injustice, by introducing reconciliation into contexts of inequality.

UCOR 3000: Faith, Philosophy, and Science explores challenging questions for the Christian faith that arise from science and modern philosophy, while teaching you to articulate responses to such questions in thoughtful, informed, rational, and charitable ways.

The Senior Capstone course is a part of each academic major. 

Notes: If you are admitted to the Professional Studies Program, you follow an alternative curriculum: the Curriculum for Special Programs. Students in the Honors Program who complete the Honors Liberal Arts major will fulfill most of their General Education requirements through that major.

If you completed a Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) associate's degree or recognized equivalent, in place of the regular General Education curriculum, you are required to complete only UFDN 3001, UFDN 3100, and the Senior Capstone course in your major—as well as UCOL 1000, if entering directly from high school.

Common Curriculum (36 credits)

University Colloquium

Academic Writing (WRI)

      • To fulfill the Academic Writing requirement, you must earn a grade of C- (1.7) or better in your academic writing course(s).
      • If you enter SPU with junior or senior standing, you are required to complete only 5 credits of academic writing. Students who have not completed this requirement through transfer courses may take WRI 1100 or ENG 3301; approval for these courses is required.

      University Core

      University Foundations

      • If you enter SPU with freshman or sophomore standing (fewer than 90 transferable credits), you must complete UFDN 1000, UFDN 2000, and UFDN 3100. 
      • If you enter SPU with junior or senior standing (90 transferable credits or more), you are required to take only UFDN 3001 and UFDN 3100.

      Graduation checklist

      2022–23 graduation requirements checklists

      Refer to your 2022–23 checklist to ensure that you’re taking the required courses and credits you need to earn your degree in a timely manner.

      Time Schedule


      Time Schedule

      Course planning: Suggested course sequences