Greetings from University Core

At Fairleigh Dickinson University, we believe the goal of a college education is preparation for lifelong learning and a lifetime of thoughtful living. The interdisciplinary University Core Curriculum, required of all undergraduate students, is the cornerstone of a thoughtful and reflective education. Our program has received national recognition for its innovative approach to general education. The American Association of Colleges and Universities honored the FDU Core by making it one of nine programs in the United States to serve as a model for other educational institutions, and individual University Core courses have received prestigious national awards.

The four-course CORE sequence strongly emphasizes global learning and personal/professional development learning outcomes and objectives. Students typically complete it during the first and second years at FDU to provide a foundation for more advanced studies. The CORE sequence helps students explore their intellectual and creative strengths in order to draw on these while preparing for a fulfilling professional and personal life. It also assumes that when students need clarity to set goals or guidance to achieve them, the faculty and professional staff at FDU are collectively able to support students with knowledge pathways and intellectual skills early in their college careers.

The CORE courses express the University’s global learning mission: To prepare students for responsible citizenship in the global community and for professional success in the global economy.

In addition to promoting general academic and professional skills such as critical thinking and information literacy, the small class size and seminar-style setting of the University Core courses facilitate identity exploration and development, which are fundamental to being a college student. They foster growth from an identity as a college student to an identity as a professional as well as cultural identity and identity as a global citizen.

The University Core program is designed to achieve three aims:

  1. to foster international and intercultural perspectives that offer students critical ways of looking at the world as well as at their own countries and communities;
  2. to promote understanding of individual, societal, and global perspectives; and
  3. to inculcate an appreciation for the interrelationships among bodies of knowledge generated in individual disciplines.

Academic regulations

No more than one Core course may be taken in any one semester. All students should consult with an academic adviser before preparing their schedules in order to make certain that they are scheduled for the appropriate University Core course and that they have satisfied all prerequisites.

University Core sequence

This sequence of Core courses is required of all students entering the university in Fall 2015 or thereafter:

Students who started prior to 2015 should see their advisor for information.


Students must complete UNIV 1001 before taking UNIV 1002; students must take UNIV 1001 and UNIV 1002, as well as either ENGW 1001 College Writing or ENWR 1101 Academic Writing or ENGL 1101 English Composition I or ENGL 1111, before taking either UNIV 2001 or UNIV 2002. Students must complete UNIV 2001 before taking UNIV 2002.

Transfer students and adult learners

Students entering the University with 30 or more credits will be exempt from taking Transitioning to University Life (UNIV 1001). Students entering the University with 45 or more credits will be exempted from taking Preparing for Professional Life (UNIV 1002). Transfer students may request a waiver from the Campus Core Director based on their academic record and professional experience. Adult learners will be exempted from taking UNIV 1001 and UNIV 1002. All students must take Cross-Cultural Perspectives (UNIV 2001) and Global Issues (UNIV 2002) regardless of the number of transfer credits.


There is no substitute for UNIV 1001. Some majors integrate the learning goals of UNIV 1002 Preparing for Professional Life into other coursework. These courses serve as substitutes for UNIV 1002. Every semester in the course offerings on Webadvisor, courses that have been authorized as substitutes for UNIV 1002 will be listed, indicating which major(s) they are associated with. All other students, including undeclared majors, should take UNIV 1002.

Withdraws and closed sections

Withdraws from a section of the Core requires the permission of a Core director. Permission to join a closed section also requires the permission of a Core director. Each campus has a Core director who administers the program for that campus.

Student grade appeals/procedure

While it is recognized that faculty hold the right and responsibility to grant a grade, a student who receives a grade that he or she believes to be unwarranted may appeal that grade by engaging in the following process:

  1. Within the first three weeks of the start of the following full semester (fall or spring) in which the grade is received, the student shall have informally appealed the grade to the instructor. If no resolution of the matter results to the student’s satisfaction, the student may initiate the following formal appeal process. In the case of a student who is being kept from either graduating or registering because of the grade in question, the process should begin immediately upon receipt of the grade report. If either the instructor or department chair is unavailable, the student may proceed directly to the dean.
  2. The student shall request in writing a meeting with the respective Core Director concerning the grade in question.
  3. The Core Director shall report to the student on the resolution of the appeal within two weeks of that meeting.
  4. If the issue is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student has one week to appeal in writing to the Vice Provost of International Affairs in which the course is taught.
  5. The Vice Provost shall review the entire matter with the student, the faculty member and/or the chairperson involved.
  6. If the Vice Provost feels there is no basis for a grade change, that determination is final and should be conveyed to the student in writing within two weeks of receipt of the student’s appeal.
  7. If the Vice Provost believes that an erroneous grade exists, the Vice Provost shall attempt to resolve the issue with the instructor.
  8. If, however, resolution is not achieved, the Vice Provost’s decision is final and shall be conveyed to all parties involved, in writing.

Core abroad

Complete your Core requirements while studying in China, England or Canada. Download the Core Abroad brochure to learn more.

Academic credits

The University’s calculation of credit hours for all credit-bearing courses and degree programs follows rules established by the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education, which are consistent with the US Department of Education’s definition of a credit hour.

Section 9A:1-1.2 of the New Jersey Administrative Code provides that

“Semester credit hour” means 50 minutes of face-to-face class activity each week for 15 weeks (or the equivalent attained by scheduling more minutes of face-to-face class activity per week for fewer weeks in the semester) in one semester complemented by at least 100 minutes each week of laboratory or outside assignments (or the equivalent thereof for semesters of different length).

Administration contact information

Each campus has a University Core Director who administers the program for that campus. Online and off-campus programs are also administered by a University Core Director. These directors are responsible for enforcing Academic Regulations for the University Core program. The Core Directors report, as a group, to the Vice Provost for Academic and International Affairs.