PLU Cornerstones Program

An alternative way to fulfill your PLU General Education Requirements

One of the hallmarks of a world-class PLU education is its emphasis on a broad-based liberal arts and sciences education. Every student, regardless of their major, takes a number of what we call ‘general education requirements’ as a part of PLU’s liberal arts education. Now you have an opportunity to help us continue to define what a liberal arts education could mean at PLU. Thanks to a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we’re launching a pilot program for a group of incoming first-year students to fulfill their PLU general education requirements in a new way.

We’re calling this program the PLU Cornerstones Program.

What's the Andrew M. Mellon Foundation?

Learn More

PLU Cornerstone Program Components:

  • Four “Cornerstones” courses – one class each semester during your freshman and sophomore years. These classes lay the foundation for your PLU education.
  • A Distributive Core of five classes (similar to current general education requirements) provides you the opportunity to explore a variety of liberal arts disciplines within the Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and the Arts.
  • A Minor in Anthropology, English, History, Languages, Philosophy, Religion, or one of our Interdisciplinary Programs. For some students, this minor could develop into a double major.

Cornerstones has an intentional focus on PLU's mission

You may already know PLU’s mission is “to educate students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership, and care, for other people, for their communities, and for the Earth”, emphasizing intersections of diversity, justice, and sustainability.

The Cornerstone courses are carefully designed by professors to emphasize the University’s mission and to support your intellectual development, focused on important questions from multiple perspectives. The program will give you opportunities to apply your interests and passions in ways that help you meaningfully align experiences and coursework.

  • The First-Year Cornerstones classes include a Fall-semester theme-based seminar focusing on academic writing, and a Spring-semester seminar grounded in a particular discipline.
  • The Sophomore-Year Cornerstones classes are two courses linked from Fall to Spring where you will investigate, alongside your professor and classmates, a big question from multiple perspectives.
  • The Distributive Core courses, from a variety of academic disciplines, allow you explore new perspectives and make important connections.
  • The minor gives you even further opportunities to study what you love, and make deeper connections between the different areas you’re studying.

Throughout the program, you’ll reflect and connect your experiences, and provide feedback about the program. You’ll have the chance to impact your own education, as well as the experiences of future Lutes.

Who should apply to the Cornerstones Program:

  • There is no minimum high school GPA or test score required to be a part of this program. You simply have to be admitted to PLU and planning on attending this fall. We want students from all educational backgrounds to be part of this pilot program.
  • Students who care about issues around diversity, justice, and sustainability, and how they intersect with the PLU mission.
  • Students who are interested in completing a minor or second major, or who are open to exploring a different academic area, and how it might complement their major.
  • Students who want to positively influence the academic experience and liberal arts education for future PLU students.

What else you need to know about Cornerstones:

  • This is not an ‘additional’ program, meaning it will not require anything extra of you in terms of credit hours or time it will take to graduate from PLU. This program replaces the general education requirements you would already have to take at PLU, and does not require you take any extra credits.
  • Cornerstones is for students interested in nearly all majors at PLU!
  • You can still study abroad if you’re a part of the Cornerstones program, whether it’s for a semester or J-term.
  • Worried about registering and getting the classes you need? The four cornerstone first-year and sophomore classes are set aside only for program participants, guaranteeing you’ll get into those courses.

Due to the structure of the program, students who are part of the PLU International Honors Program (IHON), who will complete the full International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma, or who completed the Washington State Running Start Program are not eligible for the PLU Cornerstones Program. Additionally, this program is not for students who are planning to major in Nursing, Education, Chemistry, 3/2 Engineering, or who plan to follow the Pre-Professional Health Advisory (i.e. pre-med) track.