The Core Curriculum in the College of Arts & Sciences is a liberal arts learning community for students who love books, ideas and intellectual discussion.

In 1989, faculty at BU embarked on an “experiment” to introduce students to “classic works in literature and the arts, great ideas in science, and the significant social events of the modern world.” Now, 30 years later, this experiment has become a distinguished BU tradition.

How does it work? 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 stories. The program introduces students to ideas, aesthetics and experiments of foundational works in the liberal arts—works that have shaped our world. We believe that building a learning community requires many voices and perspectives, and we strive to foster a learning environment where students from all backgrounds, majors and specialties can contribute to the conversations.

What is the curriculum? Core’s eight foundational classes work best together and we encourage first-year students to begin by completing our two-semester humanities sequence CC101: “Ancient Worlds” in the fall and CC102: “The Way” in the spring. These two courses establish a firm foundation in critical and creative thinking, and successful writing. Students who take our natural sciences sequence—CC111: “Origins” in the fall, and CC212: “Reality, Science and the Modern World” in the spring—will see the role that science plays in our everyday lives. Students are able to take singular classes in the Core, but will find a more enhanced experience by taking them together.

How can I navigate the Core? Core’s pathways through the Humanities, Natural Science, and Social Science courses are designed to address questions common to all disciplines and foster intellectual growth. Students will receive Hub units in every Core class including our new digital and multi-media approaches to great books. Students complete their path through Core by having the opportunity to achieve either the Core Minor, the Independent Core Minor, or Core Honors, each of which offers a liberal arts foundation to your chosen major. The Core Minor is a great liberal arts foundation complementary to any major, while the Core Independent Minor 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.

What else does the Core offer? Core also provides a springboard for students interested in leadership positions in residential, academic and program support opportunities.

Come and find your people in Core!

If you’re an incoming student new to BU, and you’d like to let us know about your interest in joining the Core community, click here to visit our online form where you can request a reserved seat in Core classes next semester.

Spring Core Courses

Check out our academic offerings for the coming spring

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