Columbia Core Curriculum

Columbia Core Curriculum

At Columbia, we believe a solid foundational education is essential to any creative career. That’s where the Columbia Core comes in. Every undergraduate must complete all requirements of the Columbia Core in order to graduate.

In the Core, 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.

You'll need to complete a total of 42 credit hours and the requirements for both areas in the Columbia Core, outlined below.

The Columbia Experience (9 credits)

Students take nine credits in the Columbia Experience section of the Columbia Core (one "Big Chicago" course, one Creative World course, and one course in Communication, Business, and Technology)

  • "Big Chicago" (First-semester Experience): Connect with the city of Chicago in fundamental ways while working with a cohort of student peers-led by some of Columbia's top scholars and professionals.
  • Creative World: Explore creativity from multidimensional perspectives. Creative World courses also include an intentional focus on written and other communication competencies that build upon the community engagement principles in the "Big Chicago" courses.
  • Communication, Business, and Technology: Learn the advanced business, technological, and entrepreneurial skills necessary to create a portfolio that demonstrates your professional preparedness and adaptability.

Students can speak with their academic advisor for more specific information on fulfilling these requirements.

Essential Liberal Arts and Sciences (33 credits)

The Essential Liberal Arts and Sciences classes include writing and rhetoric, history and social science, literature, math, and science.

Among these courses, you’ll have the opportunity to choose a Pathway. A Pathway is a cluster of courses connected by a common theme, similar to a minor. As you complete the Core, you’ll study the pathway theme from a number of different disciplines and perspectives.

In the Liberal Arts and Sciences, students take 33 credits. These courses are closely aligned with the curricular objectives of the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI). The specific breakdown includes:

Writing and Rhetoric I and II 6 credit hours
History and Social Sciences 9 credit hours
Humanities and Literature 9 credit hours
Mathematics 3 credit hours
Science and Science with Lab 6 credit hours

Additionally, you must complete:

  • Nine Columbia Core credit hours at level 200 or higher
  • Six credit hours with a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) designation
Students can speak with their academic advisor for more specific information on fulfilling these requirements.

Columbia Core Outcomes

The Columbia Core prepares you to fulfill important student learning outcomes, as identified in Columbia's Strategic Plan

If you started at Columbia prior to the Fall 2019 semester, you must fulfill the requirements of the LAS Core Curriculum.