The university core and general education curriculum engages students in the liberal arts tradition of transcending department and major by exploring new ways to understand their place in a complex world. All freshmen are required to take the university core curriculum. The standard general education curriculum, included on this page, is part of most degree programs offered. However, some schools, departments, degrees, majors or minors may require variations.
The core curriculum provides the foundation of every Samford undergraduate student’s liberal arts education. These courses of 22 credits total require students to read challenging works and place them in conversation with each other, to write and speak confidently and persuasively, to recognize the depth of biblical scholarship and tradition, and to pay attention to overall health and wellness. In short, the core courses transcend any one department or major. The core grew out of many interdisciplinary discussions and explorations of Great Books programs at Columbia University, University of Chicago, and others, and also out of best practices for student learning in critical skills, as recognized by the American Association of Colleges and Universities. The core also reflects the Christian mission at the heart of the university. The core has been a significant part of every entering freshman’s academic experience since 1997.
Core Texts is a two-semester course sequence taken by all Samford University students. Here students survey great works of literature, philosophy, history and theology. Students also learn why these works matter for the 21st century. Fall semester in University Core Texts I, students are introduced to great thinkers from Greece, Rome, Early Christianity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Spring semester University Core Texts II takes them through the Protestant Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment and the ideological conflicts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The goal is to equip students with an intellectual narrative that illuminates important thinkers from the past so that they are better equipped to navigate the complicated marketplace of ideas today.
If students are to succeed in life, they must be able to write and speak effectively. Employers consistently rate good communication skills among the most desirable qualities of their employees. Core Writing courses are designed to help students develop and refine these vital skills.
Students will meet the following course objectives:
- Conceive, outline and produce written assignments in an academic style.
- Research, identify, summarize, analyze and synthesize scholarly resources for implementation in written assignments.
- Adapt purpose/argument, structure and language in written work to various assignment objectives.
- Demonstrate metacognitive awareness of writing processes.
- Develop and deliver oral presentations using academic language and rhetorical style.
- Structure and adapt presentations according to various assignment objectives.
- Create and engage multimedia presentations for use in oral presentations.
Biblical Foundations is a one-semester course that reflects the biblical basis of Samford’s core values and provides a foundation for understanding the place of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures in human culture. Knowledge of these Scriptures is the foundation of Christian thought and action.
Professors guide students in an exploratory journey of the Christian Scriptures, including their contents, their historical backgrounds, literary genres, and theological and ethical themes. The course stresses the relevance of the Bible for contemporary Christian faith and practice.
Concepts of Fitness and Health
Concepts of Fitness and Health emphasizes the components of a healthy lifestyle. The principles of fitness including cardiovascular health, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition are discussed and applied through classroom and physical activities. Other topics such as nutrition, weight management and injury management are discussed. Individuals registered with Disability Services will meet with the appropriate individuals for activity consideration.
In addition to the core curriculum, every Samford student takes courses distributed over a number of disciplinary areas. These courses sustain the intellectual growth begun in the core by introducing diverse approaches to exploring our shared humanity, our relationships with each other and the creation that is our home. They invite students to learn new ways to understand their places in a complex world while encouraging them to apply the results of their academic inquiries to larger questions of meaning and value. Each course selected for inclusion in these distribution areas is not simply a foundation for further study but an initiation into a way of thinking intrinsic to a discipline.
The standard general education distribution curriculum requires eight credits in the natural and computational sciences, three credits in fine arts, and four credits each in mathematics, humanities, and social sciences. It also requires study of a second language and culture through the intermediate level. Some schools, departments, degrees and majors may require variations to this standard. The general education requirements for each program may be found in the Samford University catalog.
Natural and Computational Sciences
These courses emphasize the use of scientific methods to solve problems encountered in the natural world through laboratory or other active, investigative work. The scientific method covered in these courses includes the collection of data, the organization and analysis of data to reveal patterns, the application of statistics to determine the significance of conclusions drawn, the methods used by scientists to communicate their results, and ethical issues pertinent to scientific investigation.
These courses introduce students to the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to understand human behavior individually and within larger social and cultural contexts. They address both the regularities and variations of human behavior at individual and group levels. The courses explore major theories and findings regarding human behavior and social institutions, perspectives and methods employed by the social and behavioral sciences, and the social and ethical issues concerning individuals and social institutions.
These courses develop students’ quantitative literacy. This includes equipping them with a confidence and ease with the applications of quantitative methods; an understanding of the nature and history of mathematics and its importance for comprehending issues in the public domain; the ability to interpret data and mathematical results within a real-world context; the desire and ability to use logical reasoning techniques to analyze arguments, detect fallacies and evaluate risks; the habit of using mathematics in making decisions and solving problems in everyday life; the accurate intuition about the meaning of numbers in measuring things; and an adeptness with algebraic symbols and their proper syntax.
Literacy in a Second Language and Culture
These courses enhance the core curriculum by providing a dimension of depth to the breadth of material covered in both Communication Arts and Core Texts. Just as students in UCCA increase their proficiency in their first language by honing their oral and written communication skills, so students in world, ancient and biblical language courses develop complementary skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing in their chosen second language. In similar fashion, these students draw on the broad knowledge gained in their Core Texts core classes as they study in depth the civilization and culture of one of the world’s major linguistic zones. Students are encouraged to do at least a portion of their language study at one of our affiliate centers abroad, where they can live both the language and the culture on a daily basis.
Most students take Arts in Society. This course builds upon Core Texts by providing students with a working knowledge of the meaning and importance of the arts as a product of the creative imagination in a dynamic interaction with society.
These courses build upon the foundation of Core Texts by increasing students’ awareness of cultural, historical, literary, philosophical and religious influences upon the development of civilization. In these courses students will become more acquainted with works concerned with human culture and experience, particularly humanity’s quest for meaning and value. These courses cultivate the arts of reading, writing, speaking and critical thinking and engage texts and their contexts with critical comprehension.