2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jun 01, 2023  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog

University Core Requirements - Traditional Programs

Baccalaureate Degrees

Overall Structure

Each degree program consists of the following elements:

  1. The University core is a series of courses required of all undergraduates, except students in the Honors Program.
  2. Degree programs in business (BBA) and science (BS) have a specific set of courses required of all students in the degree program: business core or science core. The degree core for BS programs is adjusted to suit particular majors.
  3. Each major program has a set of courses required of all students in the particular curriculum. The balance of each program is a number of electives chosen by students to complement their major course of study and to complete the minimum credit requirement. These electives may be used to pursue a minor and, in some instances, a second major.
  4. Specific requirements for a degree and for each major are listed in the section of this catalog devoted to the school offering the degree. Unless otherwise specified, a minor in either school requires a minimum of 12 upper level credits in a given discipline beyond those mandated by the University or degree cores.
  5. For the Bachelor of Arts degree, 3/4 of the total number of credits for the BA degree must be liberal arts credits; for the Bachelor of Science degree, 1/2 of the total number of credits for the BS degree must be liberal arts credits; for the Bachelor of Business Administration degree, 1/4 of the total number of credits for the BBA degree must be liberal arts credits.

The University Core Curriculum

(As of Fall 2022 - For Previous Core Curricula, see appropriate catalog year above)

The University Core Curriculum is the program of studies designated by the faculty as essential for providing students with the necessary resources for initiating a lifelong engagement in the study of the liberal arts.  All courses are designed to help Iona students achieve those goals which derive from Iona’s educational philosophy.  In particular, these courses provide students with skills and knowledge that help them to understand and live in the contemporary world.

Mission of the Core Curriculum

The Iona University Core Curriculum commits to the ideals of liberal education through the provision of a common learning experience that prepares students for ethical, engaged citizenship and lifelong learning through the lenses of diversity, sustainability, and a global perspective.  Framed by the values of peace, justice, and service, the content-rich, interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum is cohesively structured and characterized by an emphasis on the skills of critical thinking and literacy in its many forms.  Aspiring to the ideal of full intellectual engagement, the Core Curriculum seeks to facilitate students’ ability to question and challenge accepted wisdom.  Iona University’s dynamic Core Curriculum promotes the use of high impact educational practices designed to foster deep learning experiences that support students in pursuit of the knowledge and skills needed to thrive as citizens and prospective leaders in an ever-changing world.


SLO 1 - BIG IDEAS: Through engagement with “big questions” grounded in the liberal arts, students will demonstrate knowledge of the meaning and complexities of the human experience and its relationship to the natural world.  

SLO 2 - KEY ABILITIES: Through immersion in a nurturing community dedicated to intellectual engagement, students will demonstrate the skills needed to thrive as citizens and prospective leaders in an ever-changing world. Such skills include:

        2A: Critical thinking 

        2B: Written communication 

        2C: Oral communication 

        2D: Quantitative literacy 

SLO 3 - GLOBAL AND CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT: Through a comprehensive curricular experience that emphasizes the values of peace, justice, and service, as well as appreciation for human diversity, sustainability, and civic engagement, students will demonstrate the ability to apply a global perspective and the principles of ethical reasoning.

        3A: Human Diversity 

        3B: Ethical Reasoning 

        3C: Global Perspective 

The University Core consists of 15 courses in 6 areas 

  1. Columba Cornerstone - one course
  2. English Composition - one course
  3. Humanities - five courses (one three-credit course in each area: Fine and Performing Arts, History, Literature*, Religious Studies, and Philosophy) *Literature course may be taught in English or Italian, in a course studying literature.
  4. Social Science and Business - two courses: Students take two three-credit courses in this area, with at least one course taken from Economics, Political Science, Psychology or Sociology. 
  5. Science/Technology/Math - three courses (one course in each area: Computer Science, Mathematics, and lab-based Science)
  6. Diversity, Cross-Cultural, and Global Perspectives - three courses (one three-credit course in language acquisition, one three-credit course in human diversity, one three-credit course in global perspectives or an additional course in language acquisition*) *Second course in language must be the same language as and at a higher level than the first course.

Specific Requirements

The requirements of the University core are ordinarily met by taking the prescribed courses.  In exceptional cases, students may, according to the discipline involved, either substitute a higher-level course or satisfy the requirement by demonstrating accomplishment of the goal of the requirement.  The procedure for applying for an exception is explained in, “Adjustments to the University Core .”

I. The Columba Cornerstone

A First-year Experience

The Core Curriculum provides a common learning experience steeped in the rich tradition of the liberal arts and its foundation is the Columba Cornerstone, Iona University’s first-year seminar. Saint Columba (521-597 CE), an early medieval monk, founded a center of learning, culture and spirituality on the Isle of Iona off the west coast of Scotland. The historic name of the learned Columba invokes the approach to the whole person and the integration of learning in which Iona University seeks to educate its students. Students will develop an appreciation for the interrelatedness among and connections across areas of inquiry early in their Iona experience. These seminars will be a thematically-based gateway to inquiry and engagement.

The Columba Cornerstone course, COL 150 , serves as the foundation for a student’s intellectual engagement as a member of the Iona community. Taken in the first semester, the three-credit, theme-based Cornerstone is linked and integrated with another course to form a learning community in which students will examine the designated theme through an interdisciplinary lens. Structured to promote students’ critical thinking, the Cornerstone course emphasizes reading, writing, speaking and collaboration, and explores the many facets of human diversity. All sections within the particular Cornerstone theme share a common text and an overview of critical thinking. To augment classroom-based learning, each Cornerstone integrates experiential and instructional co-curricular modules that serve as unifying elements across all sections of Cornerstone courses. Students are required to engage in a minimum of two co-curricular activities.

The Columba Cornerstone introduces students to time-honored questions in the liberal arts through the themes of Truth and Equity, Justice and Equity, and Earth and Equity. Using these particular themes, students will explore questions about the nature of knowing, dive deeply into analyses of identities, and probe the many dimensions of human interrelatedness. Grounded firmly in the mission statement of the Core Curriculum, the Columba Cornerstone will introduce students to critical concerns of our time such as diversity and sustainability in a digitally and globally connected world. Motivated by the values and goals of peace, justice, and service, the Cornerstone will utilize classic and contemporary texts, co-curricular engagements, and a variety of pedagogies to consider new approaches to traditional problems and cutting-edge insights for the 21st century.

All sections of the Columba Cornerstone, COL 150 , regardless of theme (i.e., Truth and Equity, Justice and Equity, Earth and Equity) incorporate instruction on essential topics which have been designed to provide a foundation that will support students throughout their Iona experience. These topics include: The Iona Story, Diversity and Inclusion, Information and Digital Literacies, and Critical Thinking.

Newly entering first-time freshmen must take the Columba Cornerstone (COL 150 ) in their first semester as part of a learning community. Transfer students whose University core curriculum requirements have been waived still must take the Columba Cornerstone as a requirement of graduation. These transfer students ordinarily register for a free-standing Columba Cornerstone in their first semester, but must complete the requirement no later than their second semester at Iona University.


II. English Composition

One course in written communication - ENG 120 , ENG 122 , or its approved equivalent

III. Humanities

All Iona University students are required to take one course in each of the following areas:  Fine and Performing Arts, History, Literature, Philosophy, and Religious Studies.


Fine and Performing Arts Core Course Choices

Choose 1

Literature Core Course Choices

Choose 1

History Core Course Choices

Choose 1

IV. Social Sciences and Business

All Iona University students take two three-credit courses in this area, with at least one course taken from Economics, Political Science, Psychology or Sociology.

V. Science, Technology and Mathematics

All Iona University students are required to take one course in each area of computer science, mathematics, and lab science.

VI. Diversity, Cross-Cultural and Global Perspectives

All Iona University students are required to take three courses in the areas of Language, Human Diversity, and Global Perspectives. One course must be in a world language (contemporary or classical) and one course must be in Human Diversity. The third course can either be a language course in the same language, or a course in Global Perspectives. Either the Human Diversity or Global Perspectives course must be from a Humanities discipline (ENG/FLA/HST/PHL/RST). The Human Diversity area will address the complex, rich, and deeply textured manifestations of diversity in our communities and surrounding social contexts. Courses in this area may examine: the history, causes, and consequences of racism of different types; the principles of anti-racism; socio-economic class; religion; disability; ethnicity; and sex and gender, as just a few examples. Courses may also seek to interrogate the structural inequalities that harm people and prevent the full flourishing of human communities and cultures. Courses satisfying the Language area will introduce students to the grammatical and linguistic structures of a language as well as the cultural contexts in which languages work, grow, and change. Courses satisfying the Global Perspectives area will seek to understand major topics, issues, and controversies outside the limits of national borders, and engage students in thinking within and beyond their own experiences to those of communities, identities, and cultural groups around the world.

Human Diversity Core Course Choices

Global Perspectives Core Course Choices

VII. Written and Oral Intensive Course Requirements

All Iona University students are required to complete 2 WI and 2 OI courses as part of their degree requirements (COL 150  and ENG 120  do not fulfill these requirements).

Written Intensive

Oral Intensive

Honors Degree Core Curriculum

The Honors core is required of all students in the honors program and consists of 56-57 credits grouped in 7 areas.

  1. Humanities - Four courses (Honors sequence HON 101 , HON 102 , HON 201 , and HON 202 )
  2. Social Science - Two courses* chosen from the following: ECO 201 , ECO 202 , POL 201 , POL 203 , PSY 201 , PSY 202 , SOC 101 , or SOC 102  .
    * Business students must take ECO 201  and ECO 202 .
  3. Interdisciplinary - Three 300-400 level courses from the following disciplines: English, history, philosophy, religious studies, economics, psychology, political science, or sociology; or BUS 410.  The courses must be from different disciplines.
  4. Mathematics, Science, Technology - Three courses (one mathematics - MTH 231  , one lab science - BIO 101 BIO 125 , CHM 109   or PHY 101 , and one computer science - CS 201 ).
  5. Fine and Performing Arts - One course at the 200-level or above.
  6. Honors Core - Three courses: HON 109 , HON 401 , and HON 402  
  7. Modern Languages** - Two courses in one language (French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Spanish, American Sign Language)
    ** Students seeking to take their high school language must be placed according to skill level and may NOT take intro level of the high school language and receive credit. AP exams in French, German, Spanish and Latin (not Virgil), with a score of 3 or better, may be used to fulfill this requirement.

Foreign Language Substitution Courses

Students with appropriate documentation may fulfill the foreign language requirement through the completion of a sequence of substitution courses. A list of these courses is available from academic advisors and from the Office of the Dean of the School of Arts and Science.

Adjustments to the University Core

As noted above, University core requirements may, in certain instances, be waived or adjusted on the basis of testing or evaluation.

University core requirements may be satisfied through Advanced Placement Program (AP) credits or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits in accord with policies set forth in the “Registration and Academic Procedures ” section of this bulletin. Credits from high school bridge programs are accepted on a course-by-course basis. Normally a maximum of 12 credits from high school bridge courses will be accepted.

In addition, students have the option of pursuing departmental testing or evaluation in order to satisfy the requirement, or by obtaining permission to take more advanced courses in accord with policies established by the department.

All students pursuing adjustments to the University core must file an authorization form with the Office of the Dean of the School of Arts and Science. Transcripts for students will be annotated to reflect adjustments. Students who satisfy requirements through AP, CLEP, or high school bridge credits will have the course equivalent and credits earned entered. For students who qualify for advanced placement in Areas I, II and IV, eligibility for advanced study will be indicated.

Designing a Program of Study

In designing a program of study with their academic advisors, students should use the following guidelines:

  • The minimum full-time semester course load is 12 credits. Ordinarily, students carry 15 credits a semester to complete their degrees in four years.
  • Students must complete prerequisite courses before enrolling for advanced courses.
  • Student schedules should not include a set of five consecutive class meetings.
  • Elective credits should be used to add breadth to the program, rather than an excessive number of credits in the major.
  • In addition to the required major field of study, students may, if their degree program permits, elect to complete a second major or a minor field of concentration. “Double majors” must be approved by the academic dean.
  • Ordinarily, a single course may be used to satisfy no more than one requirement. Introductory level courses may be used to satisfy the University core.

Graduation Requirements

To be eligible for graduation, students must:

  1. Earn a minimum of 120 credits for a BA or BBA. Some BS degrees require more than 120 credits (check the major description for details);
  2. Satisfactorily complete all requirements of the degree program in which they are registered, including the capstone experience which may be set by departments and schools; and
  3. Maintain a minimum average of “C” (i.e., 2.0 cumulative index) computed according to the method indicated in this catalog both in their major and in their overall index. 

To participate in the Spring Commencement ceremony the following requirements must be met:

Baccalaureate Degree Students:

Must have no more than 6 outstanding credits or 2 classes at the end of the spring semester. These final credits must be completed over the summer either at Iona or, with permission from The Center for Advising, in consultation with the Major department, at another college or university. Proof of enrollment for the outstanding credits MUST be presented and verified.