The Core: Critical Thought and Inquiry

The aim of the Core Curriculum program is to prepare students to be both successful and reflective citizens of a global community. Such reflective citizenship demands a broad base of learning skills, a depth of intellectual perspective and ample opportunities to apply both the skills and the knowledge to meaningful and relevant questions that shape modern civilization. Throughout the Core Curriculum, important questions are imbedded within most, if not all, of the courses and provide a unifying theme for inquiry: What is real? What can we know? How should we live? William Jewell’s Academic Core Curriculum, entitled “Critical Thought and Inquiry (CTI),” seeks to equip students in an integrated curriculum that moves through three levels for about 35 credit hours.

Critical Thought and Inquiry is divided into three levels, each designed to equip students to be world citizens and leaders for the 21st century:

  • Introductory Level: The introductory level, beginning with the humanities-based course The Responsible Self and courses in communication and mathematics, bridges the crossing from high school to college learning.
  • Second Level: The second level offers an exciting choice of interdisciplinary courses grouped around four topic areas: Culture and Traditions; Science, Technology and the Human Experience; Power and Justice; and Sacred and Secular. In these courses, students learn how building bridges between the academic disciplines is a necessary part of learning in our fast-changing world.
  • Capstone Level: Finally, the capstone course will build bridges between the program’s previous levels and the student’s study of an academic major by applying questions of responsible, ethical citizenship to critical problems facing our society.

One Major: Nice.
Two majors: Twice as nice.

A double major is twice as nice as one major. Why? Because it shows you’re a serious student who has worked hard to gain the knowledge and skills employers and graduate schools say they want.

But doesn’t a double major mean you have to have two academic areas of interest, such as biology and history, for example? It did . . . until now.

At William Jewell, you can earn a double major by completing the Core + 3. You take the core of courses required of every Jewell student. Then, you add three active learning experiences — one from each of three areas: Reflective Citizenship, Disciplinary Scholarship, and Active Engagement — such as an internship, study abroad, or a research project.

One major for knowledge. A second major for doing.


The Core Curriculum requires each student to take 35 credit hours from a broad selection of courses. It begins with a course titled The Responsible Self, which examines the relationship between the individual and community. A senior capstone course gives students a chance to explore ethically complex, real-world issues. Students have examined such issues as the death penalty, in vitro fertilization, environmental conservation, and tobacco regulation.

For details, visit Core Curriculum or the Course Catalog.


To earn the ACT-In second major, students complete three hands-on experiences, applying classroom learning to real-world challenges. Jewell guarantees each student the opportunity for an internship as well as study abroad. With a faculty actively engaged in scholarship, and a location just half an hour from Kansas City, Jewell also presents many opportunities for research and independent study in business, medicine, government, public service, volunteerism, science, and industry. Of course, the campus is a seedbed of ideas and a laboratory for putting ideas to work.

For details, visit Disciplinary Scholarship, Reflective Citizenship, and Active Engagement.