Columbia Core Curriculum

Your First-Semester Experience

All freshmen are required to enroll in a First-Semester Experience “Big Chicago” course. These immersive courses are designed to help you connect with the city of Chicago in fundamental ways; work with and learn from each other; get to know your classmates through interactive experiences; and take courses led by some of the top scholars and practitioners in their fields.

With courses from Music and Media in Chicago, an exploration of Chicago’s vibrant music scene taught by accomplished journalist Jim DeRogatis, to 50 Years of Civil Rights in Chicago, a public relations examination of civil rights led by Mayor Harold Washington’s press secretary Alton Miller, you’ll understand the city from a whole new lens.

We encourage you to explore new ideas in the First-Semester Experience course by selecting a topic that may not connect to your major area(s) of study. This is an exciting opportunity for your first moments on campus—to explore the city, meet students from across the college, and expand your worldview.

See all Big Chicago Classes