Core Curriculum

The Core Curriculum is an integrated sequence of eight courses in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences that satisfies all general education requirements in CAS plus the writing requirement.

Core courses also can be taken individually to satisfy particular Divisional Studies requirements in Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences.

Core also serves as a strong intellectual foundation for future work in a major.

Core courses are taught in small, discussion-based seminars where students work together with experienced faculty from various departments to explore the enduring ideas and questions that are the foundation of a liberal arts education. Core seminars are supplemented by lectures delivered by some of the University’s most outstanding scholars.

Core Humanities focuses on the close study of classic works of literature, philosophy, religion, music, and art from both Eastern and Western traditions. Core Natural Sciences classes examine major discoveries and methods in the physical and life sciences, including the development of the universe, quantum mechanics, and the evolution of living species. Core Social Sciences coursework traces the development of contemporary social thought from its origins to the present, with special attention paid to the question of inequality.

Core equivalencies:

Along with Divisional Studies requirements, students who complete CAS CC 101/102 (first-year Core Humanities) satisfy the CAS WR 100 requirement. Students who complete CAS CC 201/202 (second-year Core Humanities) or CC 203/204 (Core Social Sciences) satisfy the CAS WR 150 requirement.

Students who complete CAS CC 105/106, the full Natural Sciences sequence of the Core Curriculum, satisfy both Divisional Studies and the College of Arts & Sciences laboratory requirement.

Individual Core courses also count as equivalents for gateway courses in various departments. For more details, see our up-to-date list of Core equivalencies.

Schedule of Core Courses

Freshman Year


CAS CC 101 Core Humanities I: The Ancient World (4 cr)

CAS CC 105 Core Natural Sciences I: The Evolution of the Physical Universe and of the Earth (4 cr)


CAS CC 102 Core Humanities II: Antiquity and the Medieval World (4 cr)

CAS CC 106 Core Natural Sciences II: Origins (4 cr)

Sophomore Year


CAS CC 201 Core Humanities III: The Renaissance (4 cr)

CAS CC 203 Core Social Sciences I: Foundations of the Social Sciences (4 cr)


CAS CC 202 Core Humanities IV: From the Enlightenment to Modernity (4 cr)

CAS CC 204 Core Social Sciences II: The Problem of Inequality (4 cr)