Welcome to The First-Year Experience Program
at The Catholic University of America
All students entering The Catholic University of America take a group of introductory courses organized by The First-Year Experience Program in which they read and study fundamental books in the philosophical, theological, and imaginative literature. These books constitute the backbone of our culture and, as such, were decisive in shaping who we are both as a people and as individuals. The FYE Program is inspired by the guiding principle of Liberal Education, namely the continuous search for self-knowledge. The study of our intellectual tradition is the best way to honor that principle and to considerably accelerate that life-long learning process. Moreover, our core curriculum favors both the critical ability and free thinking of our students. Not only are they in better shape for the challenges of citizenship and morality, but also for all their subsequent academic work in the major of their choice. By helping students cultivate their intellect, we greatly increase their chances of professional success. These are the reasons why some exposure to philosophy, theology and writing courses should be part of the education of every undergraduate student.
The courses of The First-Year Experience are: The Classical Mind and The Modern Mind, Faith Seeking Understanding, and Writing: Logic and Rhetoric. These courses are not only meant to constitute a Core Curriculum, but are also designed to give the student a sense of an integrated learning experience. As such, they are related in three fundamental ways. The First-Year cohort is divided in what at CUA we call Learning Communities. Students in the same LC share the same instructors and advisors throughout the year. Secondly, all three courses put a strong emphasis on essay writing, which in turn receives a more detailed attention in the English sections. Finally, at CUA catholicism is not restricted to the School of Theology; all FYE courses address crucial elements of our Catholic intellectual tradition, either from a moral, aesthetic or metaphysical perspective.
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