What is the Core?

Core is a community, situated within the College of Arts & Sciences, where students and faculty study and learn together.

Through small, interdisciplinary classes and numerous excursions and activities outside the classroom, Core students explore classic works of the humanities and social sciences and the critical discoveries of the natural sciences. Majors in philosophy and biology, political science and religion—indeed, students from every major in the college and beyond—work with faculty from a rich variety of disciplines, bringing their ideas and skills to bear on the fundamental questions of human life, and the great works and discoveries which bear on these questions.

Its variety of offerings makes Core an excellent path not only for those who have declared a major, but for those who have not yet decided on one, and who wish to pursue a variety of interests before specializing. Together with their professors, Core students learn to think beyond the boundaries of any particular discipline and to develop perspectives that contribute to creative and innovative ways of thinking. Professors throughout the university often tell us that they can recognize Core students by their larger and more penetrating ways of looking at things.

Unique to the Core is the sharing of a common body of classic texts (read, for the most part, in their entirety), fundamental questions, and critical ideas. This shared experience extends the conversation beyond individual classes to Core’s greater learning community, one which includes Core veterans from their first to their final years of college, Core alumni, and faculty throughout the university. On the Core blog, in the Core House or on the freshman Core floor, at the Core Banquet or the Core Alumni Book group, Plato, Dante, Laozi, Mozart and Hobbes are as well-known and often mentioned as the latest lecturer or the most popular hockey player. Core students, as they share a common course of study, often find lasting friendships from within the Core.

This section of our website was created specifically to inform prospective students about the nature and benefits of joining the Core. Please use the menu at top right to learn more; and if you have questions that aren’t answered here, don’t hesitate to contact the Core staff directly.