Core Curriculum

The Core draws on the diversity and cultural wealth of the world’s traditions and spans the content and methodologies of 21st-century disciplines across the Arts and Humanities, Engineering, Science, and Social Science. It fosters modes of thinking and habits of mind central to well-rounded intellectual development. It offers Core Competencies that will help students address major global challenges, including the pursuit of equality, justice, peace, health, sustainability, and a rich understanding of humanity. In doing so it prepares graduates for lives of global citizenship and leadership.

The Core also serves as an intellectual gathering spot for faculty across the university. Coming from all the divisions, the Core faculty frame fundamental questions about the human condition, the natural world, and major challenges facing global society. Courses approach these fundamental questions in a variety of ways, but the new Core structure — adopted by all incoming freshmen in the Class of 2020 and by most of the rising sophomores in the class of 2019 — allows for two main types of Core courses: Core Colloquia and Core Competency courses.

What core courses should emphasize

Core courses all should emphasize effective communication. Colloquium courses should require 18-20 pages of writing, inclusive of drafts. Competency courses should require a similar amount of material, though the format may vary from discipline to discipline or course to course. In either case, faculty should set aside specific time and assignments for cultivating effective communication. The Core is not suited to one or two long research papers. Students should write or complete other communication exercises throughout the course.

  • Core Writing Guidelines explain the approach to writing in the Core and suggest models for meeting the writing requirement.
  • Writing Lexicon provides key concepts and terms to use in responding to student writing.
  • Core Faculty Meetings focus on underlying conceptual goals of the Core Curriculum and allow for faculty to collaborate across the university to produce transformative courses for our students. Faculty teaching in the Core each semester are obligated to attend these meetings; others are welcome to join as topics may appeal.
  • Writing Workshops are available for faculty teaching in the Core

Additional Resources