The Core

The Core Requirements

When today’s GS students enroll in Core courses, they know they are taking part in one of the University’s longest standing educational traditions. With courses focusing on philosophical inquiry, artistic expression, and scientific investigation, the Core transcends disciplinary boundaries and asks students to pursue themes across national frontiers and historical epochs. It provides the foundation for a traditional liberal arts degree, assuring that students develop their critical and analytical skills by exposing them to a broad range of requirements from multiple disciplines. Flexibility within the Core allows students to choose from several departments to fulfill specified core requirements in science, literature, humanities, foreign language, quantitative reasoning, and social sciences, thereby encouraging them to explore new areas of inquiry, develop their intellectual interests, and situate their knowledge within traditions of Western and global thought.

General Guidelines

  • Only courses of 3 or more points taken for a letter grade can fulfill core requirements.
  • Courses used to satisfy a core requirement must be completed with a letter grade of D or above; courses graded “Pass” do not fulfill core requirements.
  • Independent study cannot be used to fulfill a core requirement.
  • AP credit cannot be used to fulfill a core requirement, except for foreign languages.
  • GS Academic Advisors determine whether a transfer course satisfies a core requirement. For more details about transfer credit toward the Core Curriculum, visit the Transfer Credit page.
  • GS Academic Advisors must approve all courses, including summer-term courses, used to fulfill a core requirement.
  • No single course may be used to satisfy more than one core requirement, with the following exceptions:
  • Courses in computer science, mathematics, and statistics may be used to fulfill both the science and quantitative reasoning requirements
  • Students may count two courses from their major department toward the fulfillment of the core requirements; the limit on overlaps is two, even if a student is a double major. Courses counted toward a departmental concentration may simultaneously fulfill core requirements as long as the total number of overlapping classes from the major and/or concentration counted to the core does not exceed two.
  • No more than two courses from any one department may be used to fulfill core requirements.
  • Students must take at least one course toward fulfillment of core requirements each semester until the core requirements are completed.
  • Students may not drop the University Writing, Contemporary Civilization, Literature, Art, or Music Humanities courses after the end of the Change of Program Period without a special petition to the GS Committee on Academic Standing. Students who wish to discuss the petition process should consult their GS advisor. Students will be billed for courses dropped after the Change of Program Period deadline—the second Friday of each semester—at the full-tuition rate.

Resources on The Core

Core Requirements Checklist
The Core Pre-Summer 2012
Distribution Requirements Before 2003