Institute for Core Studies

The Institute for Core Studies (ICS) is designed to help first-year students in their academic transition to University Life. As a unit, the three courses comprising the ICS, Writing Composition, Scientific Inquiry, and Discover New York assist first-year students in becoming their own intellectual “gatekeepers” of the large amounts of information from a wide variety of sources to which they are subjected each day. The ICS has five basic educational goals: (1) helping students to develop critical thinking and information literacy skills; (2) familiarizing students with the evidentiary bases of scientific knowledge, the use of quantitative and qualitative research skills, and the distinctions between correlation and causation in the transmission of knowledge; (3) assisting students in developing the writing capabilities and oral communication skills necessary to express their own thoughts and feelings and questions about the world around them; (4)encouraging student understanding of and an appreciation for the uniquely multi-cultural nature of the New York City Metropolitan area; (5) actively engaging students in the University’s Vincentian mission of service to the community by emphasizing Academic Service Learning.

The ICS mission is grounded in the Mission of St. John’s University. The program’s emphasis on the critical importance of science in the modern world and its recognition that scientific reasoning can be fully compatible with religious faith are classically Catholic.  The ICS mandate for Academic Service Learning, with its emphasis on the interpersonal connections and mutual responsibilities shared by all members of the human community, is notably Vincentian.  And the program’s focus on New York City as the primary American venue of culture, art, intellectual activity, and social diversity, coupled with its emphasis on scientific reasoning and the importance of communication through written expression, is unmistakably metropolitan in nature.

Each of the three classes comprising the ICS plays a distinct but ultimately interrelated part in achieving these goals.