Jesuit Heritage

As a Jesuit university, John Carroll values the essential principles of Ignatian pedagogy. While the entire Core Curriculum addresses elements of Ignatian teaching, this component of the curriculum underscores fields of study traditionally part of the Jesuit heritage in higher education:

  • Philosophy

  • Theology and Religious Studies

  • Issues in Social Justice

  • Creative and Performing Arts

Given the centrality of the Jesuit Heritage component in the Integrative Core Curriculum to our university mission, students who bring in 0-44 credits to JCU may apply no more than 6 transfer credits to the Jesuit Heritage portion of the Core. No more than 3 credit hours may count toward fulfilling the Philosophy requirement; no more than 3 credit hours may count toward fulfilling the Theology and Religious Studies requirement.


Philosophy provides students the opportunity to reflect on the most fundamental questions of our lives that often go unexamined. Courses in philosophy acquaint students with the intellectual and moral traditions of world civilizations and aim to develop the critical thinking skills necessary to question assumptions, to weigh propositions fundamental to personal responsibility, and to consider the ethical implications of their decisions. An understanding of philosophy is one of the hallmarks of Jesuit education. Students take two courses in Philosophy, one from the Knowledge & Reality category (PLKR), and one from the Values & Society category (PLVS). PLKR courses explore fundamental questions of nature, existence, and understanding, while PLVS courses explore fundamental questions of humans’ relationship to one another and to the world. They also focus on questions of ethics. Taking a course from each ensures that students experience a broad range of areas, major themes, and problems within philosophy.

Students must successfully complete a single course in each of the PLKR* and PLVS* realms of Philosophy (6 credits total). Semesterly Philosophy course offerings are available via the Banner Self-Service Schedule Search.

Students may transfer in only one Philosophy course (3 credits) to count towards the Integrative Core requirement.

Theology and Religious Studies (TRS)

Courses in Theology and Religious Studies provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for the analysis of religion; for investigation of the historical development and contemporary practice of particular religious traditions; for critical reflection on personal faith as well as sympathetic appreciation of the beliefs of others; and for resources to understand and respond to the religious forces that shape our society and world. Because of the University’s commitment to its Catholic and Jesuit heritage, particular attention is paid to the Roman Catholic tradition.

Students must successfully complete two TRS courses (6 credits total), at least one of which must be taken at the 300 level. There are no prerequisites for lower-level (100s and 200s) TRS courses. EN 125 is a prerequisite for 300-level TRS courses.

Students may only transfer in one TRS course (3 credits) to count towards the Integrative Core requirement.

Additional details about TRS courses can be found under the course description section of the Theology & Religious Studies department*. Semesterly TRS course offerings are available via the Banner Self-Service Schedule Search.

Issues in Social Justice (ISJ)

With its emphasis on currency, relevance, care for the learning of each student, and discernment, the Integrative Core Curriculum highlights essential principles of Ignatian pedagogy. The Issues in Social Justice component asks students to consider important questions about justice, diversity, and ethics. Students are expected to be engaged learners who bring new knowledge into being through study and collaboration, realizing that knowledge has the capacity to raise ethical questions and that these questions are meaningful and liberating. In these courses, students learn to understand and interrogate concepts of inclusion and empowerment and to analyze systems and structures of oppression and marginalization. These courses pose questions about equality, access, multiculturalism, economic and social barriers, or discrimination based on gender, sexuality, class, race, and/or ethnicity. These courses challenge students to recognize institutional impediments or de facto assumptions that result in individuals or groups having less than full voice and participation in societies. Issues in Social Justice courses may focus on historical issues, contemporary problems, or both.

Students successfully complete one Issues in Social Justice course. ISJ courses* are offered in several academic departments. Semesterly ISJ course offerings are available via the Banner Self-Service Schedule Search.

Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA)

From their beginnings, Jesuit colleges and universities were distinguished by their attention to the arts and architecture, painting, sculpture, music, theatre, dance, and poetry as methods of religious communication. The practice of any art form gives students a new mode of expression, a new voice. To fulfill this requirement, students may take a variety of courses, including creative writing, screenwriting, playwriting, theatre performance, photography, music, and dance.

Students must successfully complete one Creative and Performing Arts course, which may be 1 or more credits. Semesterly CAPA course offerings are available via the Banner Self-Service Schedule Search.

*Note: The Core Committee reviews and approves all new core courses. While the course attributes noted on each course in this Bulletin are accurate when the Bulletin was released, it cannot reflect changes made since that time. Verify Core Designations online during the registration process by seeking the relevant course codes (QA, EGC, ISJ, etc.) in the Banner registration program.