The Bridges Common Learning Experience is Duquesne University's general education curriculum. Every undergraduate student seeking a baccalaureate degree from Duquesne completes the Bridges curriculum. Bridges meets standards set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and Duquesne University's accrediting body, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Through Bridges, Duquesne students complete foundational coursework including courses in Information Literacy, writing, ethics, philosophy, and theology; take seven courses which emphasize six competencies of skill sets; and enjoy opportunities for experiential learning and integrative capstones.

Through Bridges, Duquesne students build knowledge and skills to become life-long, agile learners, succeed professionally, act ethically, and contribute to the common good.

Grounded in Duquesne's Catholic and Spiritan mission, and leveraging our historic expertise in the liberal arts and sciences, as well as Duquesne's other academic strengths, Bridges prepares students who are informed, equipped, inspired, and engaged.

Informed: Duquesne graduates are agile learners and integrative thinkers.

They develop abilities to learn across contexts and integrate information from diverse fields, disciplines, and perspectives. They evaluate information, think critically, integrate and transfer knowledge, persevere and adapt, and demonstrate curiosity.

Equipped: Duquesne graduates are skilled professionals and versatile leaders.

They engage deeply with peers and community members to develop unique solutions to problems and concerns. They communicate effectively, collaborate with others. They recognize, define, and creatively solve problems, using appropriate methods of research, technological tools, and the soft skills that are essential to professional and civic efficacy.

Inspired: Duquesne graduates cultivate lives of purpose and creativity.

Duquesne students contribute to the human search for truth and make original contributions to their professions and communities. They grapple with essential questions and grow in wisdom. They stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones. They generate ideas and motivate others by their example. Formed within Duquesne's Catholic and Spiritan environment, Duquesne students, like our founders, extend our mission across the globe.

Engaged: Duquesne graduates are agents for the common good.

Duquesne students harness their knowledge of local and global communities in order to foster conditions that create respect for human dignity and social justice. They are culturally competent citizens who appreciate and foster diversity. They understand local and global systems. They exercise ethical judgment and navigate moral diversity with confidence. As professionals and as citizens they build equitable and inclusive communities.

For more information on Bridges and a list of approved courses, see

NOTE: In general, students will complete the Bridges curriculum according to guidelines established by their respective schools and in consultation with their academic advisors.


In 2021 Duquesne University launched the Bridges Common Learning Experience, its new general education curriculum for all undergraduate students. This is an overview of the curriculum. More information can be found at Students should consult with their academic advisor regarding additional details that are specific to their majors.

On-Ramp: Welcome to Duquesne University

This optional online course helps set up students for success at Duquesne.


Several common learning experiences nurture fundamental skills for critical thinking, writing, and analysis. Students can select an Essential Questions seminar on a topic of interest. The Introduction to Ethical Reasoning course equips students with vital questions that apply to other courses, careers, and personal life.

Information Literacy (BRDG 100/BRDG 103)
First Year Writing (BRDG 101 & BRDG 102)
Essential Questions (Seminar EQ XXX)
Introduction to Ethical Reasoning (BRDG 105H, BRDG 105P, or BRDG 105T)


The basic structures that make up the Bridges Common Learning Experience include six competencies or skill sets, as well as further writing enrichment and courses in Philosophy and Theology that acquaint students with important ideas and achievements in Catholic intellectual tradition. The interaction among Bridges competencies, majors, and other academic interests might pursue give students a chance to customize Bridges for their academic goals.


Communication and Creative Expression
Quantitative and Scientific Reasoning
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Ethical Reasoning and Moral Responsibility
Social and Historical Reasoning
Cultural Fluency and Responsiveness Mission and Heritage Writing Enrichment

Note: Students take seven courses, touching each of the six Bridges competencies at least once. Courses which are approved for two competencies can count for both, but only count once toward the seven course minimum.

Catholic Intellectual Tradition

Students will complete one Theology and one Philosophy course as part of Bridges. These can be taken as part of their Competency courses, as an Essential Questions Seminar, or as stand-alone courses.
Theology (THEO XXX)
Philosophy (PHIL XXX)

Writing Enrichment

Students will bolster writing skills in in a career-oriented fashion by completing three W courses, at least one which will be in their major.


Duquesne University provides opportunities to learn by doing, whether in labs, study abroad, internships, or engaging our local communities. As students near graduation, a capstone experience supports integrative learning.

Experiential Learning Opportunity
Capstone Experience

Bridges and the Mission of Duquesne University

All curricula at Duquesne University must align with the Dimensions of a Duquesne Education, which translates Duquesne's mission into an organizing framework for academic assessment. The Dimensions link the five pillars of Duquesne University's mission to corresponding academic outcomes. Bridges aligns with these outcomes as follows.


Academic Outcomes

Bridges Elements

Understanding and Knowledge
  • Understand the nature of the human experience through the lens of liberal arts, creative arts, and sciences
  • Know essential ideas, skills, and methodologies required by specific disciplines
Foundational courses

Bridges Competencies

Intellectual Inquiry and Communication
  • Demonstrate effective research and communication skills
  • Apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrate intellectual curiosity
  • Exhibit dedication to continuous growth and to excellence

Foundational courses

Bridges Competencies

Writing Enrichment

Capstone Experience

Ethical, Moral, and Spiritual Development
  • Recognize the importance of faith and spiritual values
  • Apply ethical, moral and spiritual principles in making decisions and interacting with others
  • Practice honesty and integrity in personal, academic, and professional domains
  • Respect the dignity of all persons

Ethical Reasoning

Cultural Fluency and Responsiveness

Experiential Learning Opportunity

Diversity and Global Mindedness
  • Demonstrate appreciation of diverse cultures, religions, and persons
  • Learn from diverse schools of thought and be open to new ideas and perspectives
  • Appreciate the importance of community in local and global contexts
  • Recognize the individual's potential to effect change in organizations, environments, and society at large

Bridges Competencies

Cultural Fluency and Responsiveness

Experiential Learning Opportunity

Leadership and Service
  • Demonstrate the academic and professional expertise needed to be leaders
  • Understand the moral and ethical framework necessary to be a just leader
  • Exhibit leadership and teamwork skills
  • Promote social justice
  • Demonstrate a spirit of service, social responsibility, and personal sense of stewardship for the community

Bridges Competencies

Experiential Learning Opportunity

Capstone Experience