The Four Core Courses

Fairleigh Dickinson University believes the goal of a college education is preparation for lifelong learning and a lifetime of thoughtful living. The interdisciplinary University Core Curriculum is the cornerstone of a thoughtful and reflective education. The 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. More recently, the University Core program has been awarded grants by the U.S. Department of State and the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Foundation to support study abroad options for Core courses.

The four-course Core program 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 program 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 University Core courses are:

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.
  3. To inculcate an appreciation for the interrelationships among bodies of knowledge generated in individual disciplines.

Academic Regulations and Prerequisites

No more than one Core course may be taken in any one semester without special permission from a University Core director. 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, or approved substitutes and alternatives, and that they have satisfied all prerequisites.

  • Students must complete UNIV1001 Transitioning to University Life before taking UNIV1002 Preparing for Professional Life.
  • Students must take UNIV1001 Transitioning to University Life and UNIV1002 Preparing for Professional Life, as well as WRIT1002, before taking either UNIV2001 Cross-Cultural Perspectives or UNIV2002 Global Issues.
  • UNIV2001 and UNIV2002 may be taken in either order although it is recommended that UNIV2001 be taken prior to UNIV2002.

Substitutions and Alternatives

There is no substitute for UNIV1001 Transitioning to University Life.

Some majors integrate the learning goals of UNIV1002 Preparing for Professional Life into other coursework. These courses serve as substitutes for UNIV1002 Preparing for Professional Life. Every semester in the course offerings on Self-Service, courses that have been authorized as substitutes for UNIV1002 Preparing for Professional Life will be listed, indicating which major(s) they are associated with. All other students, including undeclared majors, should take UNIV1002 Preparing for Professional Life.

Students entering FDU in Fall 2021 may fulfill General Education requirements for Knowledge of Global Issues and Cross-Cultural Understanding either with UNIV 2001 Cross-Cultural Perspectives and UNIV 2002 Global Issues or with other courses explicitly identified in Self-Service as approved alternatives. For more information, see General Education.

Exceptions for Adult Learners and Transfer Students

Adult learners are exempt from taking UNIV1001 Transitioning to University Life and UNIV1002 Preparing for Professional Life although they may choose to take one or both of these courses as electives.

Transfer students entering the University with 30 or more credits are exempt from taking Transitioning to University Life (UNIV1001).

Transfer students entering the University with 45 or more credits are exempt from taking Preparing for Professional Life (UNIV1002).

Transfer students entering the University with an associate of arts or associate of science degree earned from a New Jersey or New York community college are exempt from all FDU general education requirements, including Cross-Cultural Perspectives and Knowledge of Global Issues. For more information, see General Education.

Withdrawals and Closed Sections

Withdrawals from a section of the Core require 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 Core director.
  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.
  5. The vice provost shall review the entire matter with the student, the faculty member and/or the Core director 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, a resolution is not achieved, the vice provost’s decision is final and shall be conveyed to all parties involved, in writing.

Core Abroad

Students can complete UNIV 2001 and/or UNIV 2002 while studying in China, England, or Canada. Download the Core Abroad brochure to learn more.

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 Associate Provost for Academic Affairs.

  • Florham Campus: Kiron Sharma, Professor, Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Vancouver Campus: James Gifford, Professor of English, Director of the University Core, Vancouver Campus
  • Metropolitan Campus, Online and Off-campus: Michele Barto, Senior Lecturer, School of Hospitality, Sports, and Tourism Management
  • Patty Keefe Durso, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs