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 at BU.

Core’s shared undertaking is to translate the tradition of great works into important conversations that meet the challenges of our present moment. Centered around weekly lectures and discussion classes capped at 16 with faculty representing many disciplines and departments in the College of Arts & Sciences at BU, Core’s pathways through the Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences are designed to address questions common to all disciplines and foster intellectual growth. Students will receive BU Hub requirements in every Core class and can complete six of Core’s eight foundational courses for a liberal arts Core minor.

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 would begin by completing our two-term humanities sequence CAS CC 101 Ancient Worlds in the fall and CAS CC 102 The Way in the spring to establish a firm intellectual foundation and receive Hub requirements in the First-Year Writing Seminar and Writing Intensive Course, among others, by completing both courses. Students who take our natural sciences sequence CAS CC 111 Origins in the fall will complete the CAS lab requirement, as well as other Hub requirements, and CAS CC 212 Science, Reality, and the Modern World in the spring will demonstrate to students 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 liberal arts foundation complementary to any major, while the Minor in Core Independent Studies enables students to pursue an interdisciplinary interest of their own. Core Honors gives motivated and curious students the opportunity 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 experiential learning programs including excursions in Boston and beyond, opportunities for travel to New York; Florence, Italy; and in spring 2025, London, England. 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 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 Advising page or Core Curriculum faculty to learn which BU Hub requirements are met by the specific Core Courses they take. 

First Year

Term I

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

Term II

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

Second Year

Term I

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

Term II

  • CAS CC 202 Core Humanities IV: Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Modernity (4 units)
  • CAS CC 222 Core Social Sciences II: Unmaking the Modern World: The Psychology, Politics, and Economics of the Self (4 units)

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

  • CAS CC 350 Core Capstone (2 units)
Other Core Courses
  • CAS CC 220 Multimedia Encounters with Core Texts (2 units)
  • CAS CC 318 Public Speaking (4 units)
  • CAS CC 320 Multimedia Encounters with Core Texts (4 units)
  • HUB CC 181 Cocurricular: The Core Docent Program I (2 units)
  • HUB CC 182 Cocurricular: The Core Docent Program II (2 units)
  • HUB CC 192 Cocurricular: Collegiate Publishing Workshop: The Journal of the Core Curriculum (2 units)

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 requires close work with a Core faculty advisor on a major research paper or project bridging two Core courses or Core and a related CAS course. Core Honors work is not done in the context of a course and is not unit-bearing, so 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 units) as appropriate.

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