Columbia College Chicago

LAS Core Curriculum

Liberal Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum

At Columbia, we believe a solid foundation in the liberal arts and sciences is essential to any creative career. That’s where the LAS Core Curriculum comes in. Every undergraduate must complete the requirements of the Core, which consist of courses in four general areas:

Within these rubrics are 10 content areas where there are classes to complete the Core. You won’t find large, lecture-hall courses with hundreds of students in the Core. Instead, you’ll find classes that speak to your intellectual and creative interests. And for those students seeking additional challenge in their Core classes, there is the Honors Program.

Foundations of Communication: Knowledge and Practices

First-Semester Experience

First-Semester Experience “Big Chicago” courses are designed to help students connect with the city of Chicago in fundamental ways, work and learn with each other, engage in student activities, and access courses led by some of the top scholars and practitioners in their fields.

Although individual courses have course-specific learning outcomes associated with understanding Columbia College Chicago’s urban setting, all of the courses share the same expectations for the student learning experience. In the first-semester experience course, students will:

  • Gain an understanding of the city of Chicago as a site of questioning and exploration.
  • Identify frameworks for new and/or deeper ways of thinking for understanding the urban context and communities that surround Columbia College Chicago.
  • Participate actively in different learning environments, such as large-scale presentations, team learning activities (face-to-face and online), and instructor and peer-mentor interactions.
  • Experience aspects of the city of Chicago firsthand and reflect on those experiences with a cohort of student peers.

Students are encouraged to explore new ideas in the First-Semester Experience course and, if possible, should not select a course that appears to be connected to their designated major areas of study.

Learn more.

Culture, Value, and Ethics

Humanities (HU)

The Humanities curriculum at Columbia College Chicago is where you study the human experience in its many forms—its languages, philosophies, religions, art and history. You’ll have access to faculty members who will challenge you to explore—and think critically about—the issues and topics that most interest you. Learn more

Literature (HL)

No matter your major, the Literature courses deepen your critical and creative thinking, your problem-solving skills, and your ability to write and communicate clearly. You will investigate the many ways writers use language to represent and explore human experience in different times and cultures. Many of the courses that fulfill the literature requirement are unique to Columbia and cannot be found elsewhere. Learn more

Sample classes

  • 52-1670 Mythology and Literature
  • 52-2636 The Vietnam War in History, Literature and the Arts
  • 52-2655 Queer Literature

Social Sciences (SS)

Social Science courses at Columbia help you examine identities of self and other, creativity and arts, constructions of social institutions and cultural traditions, the individual's place in society, and overarching social phenomena like political and economic systems. Our faculty will guide you as you explore the human condition, whether it's that of the individual psyche, the socio-cultural group, or the abstract collective. Learn more.

Sample Classes

  • 50-1510 Social Problems in American Society
  • 50-2311 Human Rights
  • 50-2312 Media, Politics and Intervention
Historical Narratives And Civic Consciousness

History (HI)

One of the principles of Confucianism is “study the past if you would define the future.” At Columbia, the history curriculum offers you classes that focus on many significant historical periods from different areas of the world. Many classes also speak to the research and scholarly interests of our faculty members, offering you the chance to go deeper into studying the periods, events and issues that most interest you. Learn more.

Sample Classes

  • 49-1501 Middle East History: To Muhammad
  • 49-2639 Baseball in History and Literature: A Contested Narrative
  • 49-2642 Women in U.S. History: Since 1877
The Physical And Material World

Mathematics (MA)

Mathematics empowers you with tools for solving the problems you will face as a citizen and a professional. It aids you in discovering hidden patterns in data, while revealing the beauty of structures and relationships. In our math courses, you will learn methods for analyzing information from a variety of sources in order to better understand the world around you. As part of the LAS Core, mathematical reasoning will be a valuable component of your education at Columbia. Learn more. [link to science and mathematics.

Sample Classes

  • 56-1723 Liberal Arts Mathematics
  • 56-1724 Geometry in the Arts
  • 56-1725 Math in Art and Nature

Science (SC)

Science helps us discover the universe and understand how it works. Scientific progress is driven by our curiosity in search for new knowledge, which is both exciting and useful. In our science classes, you will use critical-thinking skills to formulate and test hypotheses, identify and evaluate evidences, and assess the credibility of general interest publications. These skills will enhance your talents by expanding the way you think about—and experience—the world. Learn more.

Sample Classes

  • 56-1117 The Biology of AIDS: Life of a Virus
  • 56-1420 Animal Behavior
  • 56-1837 The Origin and Fate of the Universe 

Science with Lab Component (SL)

Scientific progress is driven by our curiosity in search for new knowledge, which is both exciting and useful. Our lab science courses provide a sense of discovery through exciting hands-on laboratory experience. You will learn how to formulate and investigate testable scientific questions followed by observation, measurement, data collection, and analysis. These proficiencies are a significant part of the broad and deep education offered at Columbia. Learn more

Sample Classes 

  • 56-1220 Chemistry and Art: Textiles and Dyes
  • 56-1226 Chemistry of Photography
  • 56-1280 Crime Lab Chemistry: Solving Crime Through Analytical Chemistry

LAS Core Objectives

Students should be able to:

Core Requirements

The number of LAS Core credits you must complete in order to earn your degree depends on the type of degree you are getting. Bachelor of Arts students must complete 42 LAS Core credits; BS students must complete 39 LAS Core credits; BFA and BMus students must complete 36 LAS Core credits. (BFA and BMus students are required to complete 12 total credits within Culture, Values and Ethics by taking either 3 credits in the Humanities and 6 credits in the Social Sciences OR 6 credits in the Humanities and 3 credits in the Social Sciences.)

Additionally, degree candidates must complete:

RUBRICCREDITS
Foundations of Communication: Knowledge and Practices BA BS BFA,
BMus
First-Semester Experience (FE) 3 3 3
Writing and Rhetoric I and II (EN) 6 6 6
Oral Communication (SP) 3 3 0
Culture, Values, and Ethics
Humanities (HU) 6 6 6/3*
Literature (HL) 3 3 3
Social Sciences (SS) 6 6 6/3*
Historical Narratives and Civic Consciousness
History (HI) 6 6 6
The Physical and Material World
Mathematics (MA) 3 3 3
Science (SC) 3 0 3
Science with lab component (SL) 3 3 3
Total LAS Core Credits 42 39 36

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