The Foundational Curriculum

HSU’s Educational Mission

“An Education Enlightened by Christian Faith and Values…”

HSU’s Foundational Curriculum seeks to integrate the premise of a liberal arts education and the promise of the Christian life by:

  • Introducing students to disciplines of intrinsic worth that improve the mind and heart, providing not only understanding but the ability to live a humane life, and…
  • Offering opportunities to understand Christ’s promise of liberation and transformation of the mind and way of life.

The curricular exploration of God’s creation– its history and order, its tragedy and wonder– challenges professors and students alike:

  • To expand the boundaries of their faith;
  • To grow in knowledge and ability;
  • To confront the deep richness of human experience;
  • To engage in the creative tension of life lived in an uncertain world.

At HSU, our curriculum prepares students to lead, redeem, and serve in large ways and small the world in which they live. The spirit which integrates faith and learning serves as the foundation of our campus community and gives shape to our curricular goals:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Effective Expression
  • Self-Awareness
  • Community

The Foundational Curriculum courses consist of HSU’s Foundational CORE plus the Foundational STUDENT CHOICE courses.

Chapel + 16 credits/6 courses


All undergraduate students have the opportunity & are expected to attend HSU chapel services.
(Minimum requirement: 80 credits for a 4-year degree; Nursing majors require 40 credits)

*FYSM 1300 First-Year Seminar: Gateway (3 credits / 1 course)

Designed especially for first-semester freshman, this course is the academic gateway to HSU’s Christian liberal arts experience and an important component in connecting to collegiate-level study and to HSU. Peer mentors play an important role as does identifying student strengths. Themes vary depending on instructor(s). To be taken in the student’s first semester at HSU.

Click here to view our First Year Seminar course descriptions.

*HIST 1300 Making History: The Human Experience in America (3 credits / 1 course)

This gateway course helps students answer questions like “Who am I?” and “Who are we?” by examining important moments and themes from American history. Emphasizing analysis of primary documents, the course addresses questions that have animated Americans over time in the context of the collective past. Particular focus is placed upon changing conceptions of freedom, equality, and power. The course is a participatory exercise in asking questions that can aid students in assessing evidence and comparing conflicting interpretations.

*RELI 2345 The Religious Philosophical Life ( 3 credits / 1 course)

Who am I? Who are You (God)? And what about my neighbor? These three big questions will be explored in order to equip students to develop a maturing theology, philosophy, hermeneutics, and ethics that utilizes critical thinking to make good decisions. Prerequisites: at least one completed semester at HSU.

*ENGL 3300 Writing as Discovery: Advanced Writing

Instruction in advanced principles of written communication, this course focuses on developing students’ writing abilities beyond the introductory level by closely examining their own writing as well as that of peers and professional writers. Students will complete a range of writing projects and employ various rhetorical strategies and multiple methods of research. Prerequisites: 3-hour freshman (1000-level) writing; department recommends ENGL 1301 or ENGL 1302 or acceptable variant from another institution; 45 hours at HSU required.

FSSC 1170 Wellness for Life (1 credit / 1 course)

Wellness for Life is designed to introduce students to the principles of lifetime wellness. Including lecture topics such as nutrition, stress management, fitness prescription, heart disease, and other health-related disorders, this course also has an “activity” component where students’ fitness will be assessed, and they will be introduced to general fitness activities.

COMM 1301 Introduction to Communication (3 credits / 1 course)

This Communication course introduces the theory and practice involved in the way we communicate interpersonally, in groups, and when speaking in public. Laboratory experiences are included in self-concept, group interaction, listening skills, public speaking, and verbal and non-verbal behavior.

*Only Transfer Students may use previous coursework for credit. See HSU Catalog for definition of Transfer Student.

Questions? Contact the Dean of General Education at

30 credit minimum. Students should consult individual degree plans.

Choose one 3-hour writing course, usually ENGL 1301 or ENGL 1302 (3 credits / 1 course)
Freshman-level writing courses are designed to strengthen and sharpen skills in written communication, critical reading, and analyses as well as rhetorical and bibliographic skills.

Sophomore Literature:
Choose from ENGL 2301 World Literature, 2302 British Literature, or 2303 American Literature (3 credits/1 course)
Sophomore literature survey reads a wide variety of materials within Western culture to further develop the understanding of the aesthetic and cultural dimensions of the human experience and builds reading, thinking, and research skills in analyzing and evaluating literary works.

Fine Arts:
Choose 3 credit hours from Art, Theatre, or Music
A deeper appreciation for any of these three areas in the fine arts enhances the student’s efforts to interpret meaning in life, enriches his or her aesthetic experiences, and more clearly associates connections between historical events, cultural values, and creative expression.

Choose BIBL 1301 Old Testament or BIBL 1302 New Testament (3 credits / 1 course).
In Biblical study, students examine the roots and principles of Christianity in order to probe the spiritual nature of being and understand the spiritual context in which we live.

Choose 2 additional single-credit hour FSSC activity courses (2 credits / 2 courses)
FSSC activity courses teach skills necessary to promote good health throughout the student’s entire lifespan.

Choose 3 credit hours as defined by major, usually MATH 1310 College Algebra, but consult degree plan (3 credits / 1 course)
Math courses at HSU explore mathematical models and principles, honing logical thinking.

Natural Science:
Choose one course in Biology or Environmental Science (3 credits / 1 course)
HSU science courses provide insights into the nature of life, into the universe, and into human relations to the earth, sources of significant concepts which have impacted other areas of human thought and endeavor. In addition, students experience using scientific technology to confront problems of global concern. Majors in the sciences should consult academic area of the catalog for specific course requirements.

Physical Science:
Choose a course in Physics, Geology, Chemistry, or Physical Science (3 credits / 1 course)
HSU science courses provide insights into the nature of life, into the universe, and into human relations to the earth, sources of significant concepts which have impacted other areas of human thought and endeavor. In addition, students experience using scientific technology to confront problems of global concern. Majors in the sciences should consult academic area of the catalog for specific course requirements.

Choose a 1-credit hour lab for either science
At least one of the science courses a student takes to fulfill the Foundational Curriculum science requirements should have an accompanying lab.

Social Sciences:
Choose at least two courses from Economics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and/or Sociology (6 credits / 2 courses; for BA & BBS must be from outside the major & minor; if degree calls for more than 2 courses, History may be used after the first 6 credits)
Areas of Social Science offer students the opportunity to analyze human interaction, both historical and contemporary, individual and group, in diverse areas, an essential dynamic in liberal arts education.

Technological Competency
(3 credits/1 course)
In order for a student at HSU to be considered technologically competent, he or she must have familiarity with the basic terms, tools, and concepts of information technology and operating systems and have ability to use applications software such as internet browsers, word processing software, presentation software, spreadsheets, and other applications appropriate to the student’s field of study. In many degrees, successfully completing CSCI 1303 will fulfill this requirement. Alternatively, students may use the departmental technological proficiency exam, offered by the Kelley College of Business, to show proficiency in this competency, although no course credit will be awarded. Students still must complete a minimum of 124 hours.

Exceptions include teacher certification programs, which require EDUC 1306; the Department of Art, which requires ART 2321 for Graphic Arts majors; Communication which may use COMM 1310; Criminal Justice, which may substitute CSCI 1306; Computer Science non-business degrees, which require CSCI 1320; the Psychology major which requires PSYC 4335; Music degrees, which require MUTC 2338; and Fitness and Sport Sciences major which requires FSSC 1301. Other exceptions may exist; consult specific program areas to determine the appropriate course in each major for meeting this competency.

As a result of HSU’s faculty-­developed and faculty-­approved Foundational Curriculum, graduates are responsible for and are expected to achieve the following levels of aptitude:

Graduates are expected to write at a C level or higher.

Graduates should have basic analytical and quantitative skills necessary for handling information in mathematical form.

Graduates should be able to think critically and approach religious, philosophical, and aesthetic issues analytically.

Graduates should be acquainted with ideas, information, and modes of inquiry to draw upon in multiple areas of their lives.

Graduates should be able to demonstrate recognition of relationships by applying knowledge, skills, or abilities learned in one discipline to another.

Graduates should demonstrate appropriate psychomotor skills and apply wellness principles through participation in fitness, recreation, or sports activities.

Graduates should be able to demonstrate effective oral communication strategies for a variety of audience needs.