Core Curriculum

The Core Curriculum is an integrated sequence of liberal arts courses in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences that builds a strong intellectual foundation for any undergraduate major.

Centered around weekly lectures and small discussion classes with faculty representing many disciplines and departments at BU, Core invites students to engage with enduring texts, art, and narratives. Core’s pathways through the Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences courses are designed to address questions common to all disciplines and foster intellectual growth. Students will receive BU Hub units in every Core class, and if you choose to complete all of Core’s foundational courses, one of our digital and multimedia classes, and a cocurricular, you will satisfy all Hub requirements.

Core’s eight foundational classes are designed to work together as a distinct curriculum, or, navigated individually, to build your own foundation. First-year students can begin by completing our two-semester humanities sequence CC 101 Ancient Worlds in the fall and CC 102 The Way in the spring. These two courses will establish a firm foundation in critical thinking and successful writing. Students who take our natural sciences sequence CC 111 Origins in the fall and CC 212 Reality, Science and the Modern World in the spring will see the role that science plays in our everyday lives.

Students can navigate a path through Core by completing the Minor in the Core Curriculum, the Minor in Core Independent Studies, or Core Honors (see below), each of which offers a liberal arts foundation to your chosen major. The Minor in the Core Curriculum is a great liberal arts foundation complementary to any major, while the Minor in Core Independent Studies enables students to pursue an interdisciplinary interest of their own while working closely with a faculty advisor. Core Honors allows particularly motivated students to further pursue topics and texts encountered in their Core classes.

Core also provides a springboard for students interested in leadership positions in residential, academic, and program support opportunities. 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 or winter break in Florence, Italy. Students enrolled in Core courses are eligible 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.

Learning Outcomes

Students enrolled in the Core Curriculum should be able to:

  • Demonstrate broad understanding of the essential content and intellectual context of the works and ideas studied.
  • In the Humanities, read, view, or hear the works studied with comprehension, demonstrating understanding of genre, style, and cultural and historical context.
  • In the Natural Sciences, demonstrate an understanding of fundamental scientific principles and methodology and a grasp of laboratory techniques and principles.
  • In the Social Sciences, demonstrate an understanding of fundamental principles and methodology of individual rights and freedom rooted in social theory.
  • Communicate clearly and persuasively, both orally and in writing, regarding the works and ideas studied.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the interrelations of the various disciplines of Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can ordinarily be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major (or minor) as well as through cocurricular activities. Students taking only part of the Core Curriculum should consult the Core websiteBU Hub Bulletin page, or Core Curriculum staff to learn which BU Hub requirements are met by the specific Core Courses they take. The Core academic program consists of eight 4-credit foundational courses: four Humanities courses, two Natural Sciences courses, and two Social Sciences courses. A 2- or 4-credit Digital Multimedia course and cocurricular activities based on art or narrative or editing the Core Journal complete the academic program.

First Year

Semester I

  • CAS CC 101 Core Humanities I: Ancient Worlds (4 cr)
  • CAS CC 111 Core Natural Sciences I: Origins: The Cosmos, Earth, Life, and Human Beginnings (4 cr)

Semester II

  • CAS CC 102 Core Humanities II: The Way: Antiquity and the Medieval World (4 cr)
  • CAS CC 212 Core Natural Sciences II: Reality, Science, and the Modern World (4 cr)

Second Year

Semester I

  • CAS CC 201 Core Humanities III: Renaissance, Rediscovery, and Reformation (4 cr)
  • CAS CC 221 Core Social Sciences I: Making the Modern World: Progress, Politics, and Economics (4 cr)

Semester II

  • CAS CC 202 Core Humanities IV: From Enlightenment and Romantic Revolt to the Modern World (4 cr)
  • CAS CC 222 Core Social Sciences II: Unmaking the Modern World: The Psychology, Politics, and Economics of the Self (4 cr)

Students pursuing a Minor in Core Independent Studies to build on the academic program will also complete the 2-credit capstone course, normally in the second year of study:

  • CAS CC 350 Core Capstone (2 cr)
Other Core Courses
  • CAS CC 220 Multimedia Encounters with Core Texts (2 cr)
  • CAS CC 320 Multimedia Encounters with Core Texts (4 cr)
  • CAS CC 301 Topics in Core Humanities (4 cr)
  • CAS CC 311 Topics in Core Natural Sciences (4 cr)
  • CAS CC 321 Topics in Core Social Sciences (4 cr)
  • HUB CC 181 Cocurricular: The Core Docent Program I (2 cr)
  • HUB CC 182 Cocurricular: The Core Docent Program II (2 cr)
  • HUB CC 192 Cocurricular: Collegiate Publishing Workshop: The Journal of the Core Curriculum (2 cr)

Honors in Core

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 Honors work is not done in the context of a course and is not credit-bearing, so that students may apply for UROP funding if desired. Students may also arrange to do Core Honors work in conjunction with a Directed Study (of either 2 or 4 credits) as appropriate.

Completion of the Core Curriculum with Honors is recognized with an annotation on students’ transcripts.