Core Curriculum

The Core Curriculum is an integrated sequence of eight courses in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences that serves as a strong intellectual foundation for any undergraduate major or professional pursuit. CAS students who choose Core often take two Core courses in each of their first four semesters, thereby fulfilling all general education requirements in CAS plus the writing requirement. Spreading Core coursework over three or four years is also possible as long as the courses are taken in sequence. Students can also take individual parts of the program to fulfill Divisional Studies or other liberal arts and sciences requirements in their degrees. Core courses are open to students from all BU schools and colleges.

What we study is part of what makes the Core Curriculum special and distinctive: great books, enduring works of music, art and social thought, difficult questions, bold ideas, and groundbreaking discoveries that, over the course of millennia, have formed our contemporary world and how we understand it. Core makes studying this material all the more exciting and relevant by emphasizing connections across centuries, cultures, and disciplinary boundaries. We start putting it all together in the paired courses CAS CC 101 and CC 111, where first-semester students explore humanity’s endless fascination with “origins” in accounts from ancient civilizations and present-day scientific research.

Core courses are taught in small discussion-based seminars led by some of the University’s most enthusiastic teachers, with supplementary lectures by distinguished scholars from within and outside BU. Students get to know each other and their professors as members of a stimulating and supportive community that also includes peer mentors, graduate writing fellows, and dedicated alumni. Beyond the classroom, Core sponsors a full calendar of cultural and social events on campus, excursions in Boston and beyond, and even opportunities for summer study in Greece. Students enrolled in Core courses can apply to live with other Core students from a variety of majors and class years in the Core House, or on the Core Floor of Warren Towers.

Completion of the Core Curriculum (all eight course for humanities and social science majors, or the four humanities and two social science courses for natural and computational science majors) is recognized with an annotation on students’ transcripts.

Students who complete Core with a grade of B+ or higher in all of their courses may apply to do Honors in Core. Generally completed in the junior year, Core Honors entails close work with a Core faculty advisor on a major research paper or project bridging two Core courses or Core and a related course.

Core Equivalencies

Along with Divisional Studies requirements, students who complete CAS CC 102, after taking CC 101, satisfy the CAS WR 100 requirement. Students who complete CAS CC 201, after taking first-year Core Humanities, or who complete CAS CC 211 after taking CC 112 (Core Social Science) satisfy the CAS WR 150 requirement.

Students who complete CAS CC 111, the first Natural Science course, satisfy both a Divisional Studies requirement 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

All courses are 4 credits.

First Year

Semester I

  • CAS CC 101 Core Humanities I: The Ancient World
  • CAS CC 111 Core Natural Science I: Origins

Semester II

  • CAS CC 102 Core Humanities II: Antiquity and the Medieval World
  • CAS CC 112 Core Social Science I: Religion, Social Thought, and the Roots of Community

Second Year

Semester I

  • CAS CC 201 Core Humanities III: The Renaissance
  • CAS CC 211 Core Social Science II: Power, Political Forms, and Economics

Semester II

  • CAS CC 202 Core Humanities IV: From the Enlightenment to Modernity
  • CAS CC 212 Core Natural Science II: Science and the Modern World