University Core Curriculum

At Fairleigh Dickinson University, we believe the goal of college education is preparation for lifelong learning and a lifetime of thoughtful living. The interdisciplinary University Core Curriculum, required of all undergraduate students, is the cornerstone of a thoughtful and reflective education.  Our 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.

The four-course CORE sequence strongly emphasizes global learning and personal/professional development. Students typically complete it during the first and second years at FDU to provide a foundation for more advanced studies. The CORE sequence 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.

Summary of University Core Requirements and Policies

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; and (3) to inculcate an appreciation for the interrelationships among bodies of knowledge generated in individual disciplines.

Academic Regulations

No more than one Core course may be taken in any one semester. 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 and that they have satisfied all prerequisites.

University Core Sequence

This sequence of Core courses is required of all students entering the university in Fall 2015 or thereafter: 

UNIV 1001 First Semester

UNIV 1002 Second Semester

UNIV 2001 Third or Fourth Semester

UNIV 2002 Fourth or Fifth Semester

Students entering the university prior to Fall 2015 will complete FRSH 1000, UNIV 2001 (CORE 2003), and UNIV 2002 (CORE 3004). Students who have not taken CORE 1001 and/or CORE 2002 may request substitutions from their academic advisor.  Approved substitutions for CORE 2003 will remain in effect through AY 2015-16.


Students must complete UNIV 1001 before taking UNIV 1002; students must take UNIV 1001 and UNIV 1002, as well as either ENGW 1001 College Writing or ENWR 1101 Academic Writing or ENGL 1101 English Composition I or ENGL 1111, before taking either UNIV 2001 or UNIV 2002. Students must complete UNIV 2001 before taking UNIV 2002.

Transfer Students and Adult Learners

Students entering the University with 30 or more credits will be exempt from taking Transitioning to University Life (UNIV 1001). Students entering the University with 45 or more credits will be exempted from taking Preparing for Professional Life (UNIV 1002). Transfer students may request a waiver from the Campus Core Director based on their academic record and professional experience. Adult learners will be exempted from taking UNIV 1001 and UNIV 1002. All students must take Cross-Cultural Perspectives (UNIV 2001) and Global Issues (UNIV 2002) regardless of number of transfer credits.


Some majors integrate the learning goals of UNIV 1002 Preparing for Professional Life into other coursework. These courses serve as substitutes for UNIV 1002. Every semester in the course offerings on Webadvisor, courses that have been authorized as substitutes for UNIV 1002 will be listed, indicating which major(s) they are associated with. All other students, including undeclared majors, should take UNIV 1002.

Withdraws and Closed Sections

Withdraws from a section of the Core requires permission of a Core director. Permission to join a closed section also requites the permission of a Core director. Each campus has a Core director who administers the program for that campus.

Grade Appeals

If you would like to appeal your grade for a Core class, please follow this procedure:

  1. Within two weeks of receiving your final course grade, you may appeal to the course instructor. Provide your instructor with a detailed letter explaining why your grade should be reconsidered and what outcome you seek.
  2. If you are unsatisfied with the course instructor’s decision, you may appeal to the Core director for your campus. Within two weeks of receiving the course instructor’s decision, provide the Core director the letter sent to the instructor, the instructor’s response, and relevant supporting materials (e.g., copies of papers).
  3. If you are unsatisfied with the Core director’s decision, you may appeal to the Vice Provost for Academic and International Affairs. Within two weeks of receiving the Core director’s decision, provide the Vice Provost with your original letter, the instructor’s response, the Core director’s response, and relevant supporting materials. The Vice Provost’s decision is final.

Core Abroad

Complete your Core requirements while studying in China, England or Canada. Download the Core Abroad brochure to learn more.

three overseas campuses


Each campus has a University Core Director who administers the program for that campus. On-Line 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 Vice Provost for Academic and International Affairs.

Dr. Kiron Sharma
University Core Director, Florham Campus
Core Office: Hennessy Hall, Lower Level
Faculty Office: Zen Building, Rm. 250

Dr. Benjamin Freer
University Core Director, Metropolitan Campus
Faculty Office:Williams Hall

Dr. James Gifford
University Core Director, Vancouver Campus
Core/Faculty Office: CAMB, Rm. 118

Dr. Michele Barto
University Core Director, Online and Off-Campus Programs
Core Office: Dickinson Hall, Rm. 1182

Dr. Jason Scorza
Vice Provost for Academic and International Affairs
Office: Dickinson Hall, Rm. 1182

View the Core Concepts Powerpoint

University Core Courses


Transitioning to University Life
View Syllabus


Preparing for Professional Life
View Syllabus


Cross-Cultural Perspectives
View Syllabus


Global Issues
View Syllabus