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Columbia College Chicago
LAS Core Curriculum
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LAS Core Curriculum

LAS Core Curriculum

Columbia College Chicago offers undergraduate students educational opportunities in the visual, performing, media, and communication arts within the context of a comprehensive liberal education. At Columbia, this liberal education is housed in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences' (LAS) Core Curriculum—which is required of all undergraduate, degree-seeking students.

The LAS Core seeks to foster a community of teachers, learners, and leaders that is complementary to a student's major field of study. The courses in the LAS Core are distributed through four rubrics: Foundations of Communication: Knowledge and Practices; Culture, Values, and Ethics; Historical Narratives and Civic Consciousness; and The Physical and Material World. (To learn more about these four rubrics scroll to the bottom.)

Our Courses

We offer a range of courses in the LAS Core, from the traditional (such as "Introduction to Psychology," "Introduction to Literature", and "Biology") to courses that speak to the diverse and unique research interests of our faculty and the creative interests of our students. What you will not find in the LAS Core at Columbia College Chicago are large, lecture-hall courses with hundreds of students. Our maximum class size is typically 25 students, and many sections are far smaller.   

Sample Courses in the LAS Core
Below is brief sample of the kinds of courses we offer in the LAS Core.

: "Cartoons and Satire in U.S. History," "History of Chicago," and "Oral History: The Art of the Interview"
Social Science:
"The Psychology of Women," "Ethnographic Films," and "The Anthropology of Tourism"
: "Literature and Gaming," "Literature and Visual Culture," and "The Blues as Literature"
: "The Simpsons as Satirical Authors," "Urban Images in Media and Film," and "Peace Studies"
: "Crime Lab Chemistry," "Physics for Filmmakers," and "The Chemistry of Art and Color"

Requirements and Total Credit Hours
The number of LAS Core credit hours an undergraduate student must complete in order to graduate depends on the type of degree he or she is getting. BA students must complete 42 credit hours; BS students must complete 39 credit hours; and BFA and BMus students must complete 36 credit hours. Below is a table that outlines the LAS Core requirements.


Foundations of Communication:
Knowledge and Practices
12 (9 for BFA and BMus)
First-Year Seminar (FY) 3
Writing and Rhetoric I and II (EN) 6
Oral Communication (SP) 3 (not required for BS, BFA, or BMus) 
Culture, Values, and Ethics 15 (12 for BFA and BMus)
Humanities (HU) 6
Literature (HL) 3
Social Sciences (SS) 6

(BFA and BMus students may reduce
either the Humanities or the
Social Sciences requirement
to 3 credits.)

Historical Narratives
and Civic Consciousness
6 (required for all)
History (HI) 6
The Physical and Material World 9 (required for all)
Mathematics (MA)
Science (SC) 3 (Not required for BS students) 
Science with Lab Component (SL)

Additional Notes on the LAS Core

  • All students must complete at least six of their LAS Core credits at the 2000 level or higher.
  • All students must complete at least one course carrying the Global Awareness designation. Global Awareness course content focuses on areas outside the United States.
  • All students must complete at least one course carrying the U.S. Pluralism designation. U.S. Pluralism course content focuses on diverse communities within the United States.


Foundations of Communication: Knowledge and Practices:
Students read for comprehension and pleasure while developing their critical thinking skills. They learn how to write and speak persuasively and how to make effective use of both academic and non-academic writing styles and formatting conventions. Most importantly, they develop an informed perspective on the relationship between the liberal arts and sciences and fields within the fine, performing, and media arts.

Culture, Values, and Ethics:

Students become acquainted with the diversities of human behavior and social institutions. They examine basic ethical questions that confront humankind, as well as various approaches that attempt to answer those questions. They also develop textual literacies and awareness of literary issues by reading, analyzing, and writing poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction.

Historical Narratives and Civic Consciousness:

Students develop foundational knowledge of the historical periods they study by being exposed to research methodologies commonly employed by historians, and by learning to critically consider diverse sources to arrive at conclusions and support various theses. Students also develop an appreciation for historiography and how it impacts their ability to think critically about current events.

The Physical and Material World:

Students understand and practice the scientific methods of questioning, analysis, testing, and "proving." They come to appreciate the cumulative nature of advances in the sciences while developing a level of computational literacy sufficient to function responsibly and effectively in society.

If you have a question about the LAS Core Curriculum, please contact Dr. Neil Pagano at npagano@colum.edu, or at 312.369.8218.