A Welcome from the Director

“I was simply putting off the trouble of climbing; but no one’s wit can alter the nature of things, and there is no way to reach the heights by going downward.”
Petrarch, “The Ascent of Mount Ventoux” (CC201)

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, 34 years later, this experiment called the Core Curriculum has become a distinguished BU tradition.

Centered around weekly lectures and small discussion classes, “The Core” introduces students to enduring and transformative texts, art, and ideas that help them engage critically with the world. While many of the texts have not changed since 1989, the range of discussions and our students certainly have. In Core, we believe that building a learning community requires many voices and perspectives, and we aim to foster a learning environment where students from all backgrounds, majors, and specialties can contribute to the conversations. 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. Core is a learning community where books, teachers, and students come to grow and learn together. In Core, we help students learn to learn, and to plant ideas that can be cultivated in your major.

Students can elect to have Core classes fulfill all of their Hub requirements, and Core’s pathways enable students who fulfil six Core courses to receive a Core Minor. For students who are enthusiastic about developing interdisciplinary viewpoints beyond Core courses, the Minor in Core Independent Studies enables students to design a creative or thesis-based project through independent study. Core Honors enables students to pursue a non-credit bearing research paper or project that may be eligible for funding. See some of the projects that students have worked on here and here.

Core’s intellectual community is not limited to the classroom and we thrive on experiential learning. Student conversations continue in museums, at the theater, in dorm rooms, through shared meals, and in our lively office in CAS. The Core experience is complex, absorbing, satisfying, and sometimes difficult, but it will ground your experiences at BU. We invite you to begin your journey with us.

Kyna Hamill
Director and Assistant Dean, Core Curriculum