bust of Plato

Columbia College celebrates a century of dialogue and debate through a year of festivities and conversation.

The Core Curriculum

Since 1919, the Core Curriculum has been the centerpiece of the undergraduate intellectual experience at Columbia College. 

The Core Curriculum consists of five courses that all students at the College take, four of them on important books and works of art and music in the Western tradition, and one on scientific inquiry and discovery. In addition to these courses, students have a two-course Global Core requirement and take a course in University Writing (formerly Logic & Rhetoric). The Core is meant to prompt students to grapple with fundamental questions of human existence and to think deeply about how the contemporary world has been shaped by the past, while also honing students’ skills of analysis, clear and cogent argumentation, and persuasive exposition.

The content and organization of the Core Curriculum are guided by the view that the ultimate ends of a liberal education necessarily reflect a vision of the ultimate ends of a human life. The conversations across disciplines and specializations that sustain the Core Curriculum as a non-disciplinary requirement for all students also give it its vitality and force. They represent an exercise in the complex arts of consensus-building, compromise, and honest debate—liberal habits of mind that we hold as fundamental to the education we aim to provide and to the intellectual communities we wish to foster.

Our Community

The Core is a journey that has shaped hearts and minds through 100 years of debate, inquiry and discovery.  Every student, faculty and alumnus/a who has experienced the Core is a member of this vibrant intellectual community and helps give voice to its lasting impact.

Young Alumni Community enjoying conversation
illustration of a tree

Together we are celebrating 100 years of the Core Curriculum.

Civil and respectful dialogue amongst differing groups!

Adam Yeloushan

What I love most about the Core is the common knowledge that all Columbians have.

Dina Kotkin Feivelson

Life-changing, uplifting, timeless

Rita Zhang

History of the Core

Support the Core

For 10 decades, the Core Curriculum has cultivated our students’ curiosity and thirst for deep inquiry. Support the next century of this distinctive experience by supporting us in our Centennial year and beyond.

illustration depicting people holding up the Core Centennial logo