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Philosophy of the Jesuit Core

core curriculum

Since the founding of the Society of Jesus in 1534, the Jesuits have always been deeply committed to rigorous education that connects the life of the mind with one’s heart and spirit and that engages the whole person in the world. In earlier centuries, Jesuit education was based on the ratio studiorum—a developmental humanistic education that moved from Latin and Greek to classical authors, rhetoric, and poetry to mathematics, physics, and philosophy to theology.

In the twenty-first century, students no longer are required to take Greek and Latin, and Theology is not something to study only in one’s senior year. Nevertheless, a commitment to rigor, integration, and holism remain essential to the Boston College Core Curriculum. The Core rests at the heart of a liberal arts education in our Jesuit, Catholic context. It connects intellectual rigor with student development and formation, engaging students’ minds, hearts, and imaginations. The Core thus provides an integrative foundation oriented by the traditions of the past, engaged with the realities of our present, and open to the possibilities of the future.

As the September 2014 Vision Animating the Boston College Core Curriculum states:

“A meaningful life is found neither solely in knowledge nor in action, but in the reflective interplay of what one understands and believes and how one acts, especially in the service of others: Why does studying this material contribute to better understanding what it is to be a person? Who am I becoming as I engage this material? How does my study of this material contribute to my better understanding of the world in its wholeness? … The Core Curriculum thus furthers the development of the intellectual, reflective, ethical, and creative habits of mind that will enable students to become lifelong learners, to seek meaning in their lives, and to work toward constructing a more just and human world.”