What is the undergraduate core curriculum at Columbia like?

I’d love to hear more about this core curriculum and how it works?

Hey Curious.George! Happy to answer this for you.

Essentially, the Core is a grouping of common courses that all undergraduates at Columbia take, regardless of what major they choose to pursue. This is an essential part of Columbia’s liberal arts experience and is often cited by Columbia students as a key part of the undergraduate curriculum. These classes include:

  • Contemporary Civilization
  • Literature Humanities (Masterpieces of Western Literature and Philosophy)
  • University Writing (there are a few options here, including topics related to Gender Studies, American Studies, Data Science, etc.).
  • Art Humanities (Humanities UN1121: Masterpieces of Western Art)
  • Music Humanities
  • Frontiers of Science

There are 4 key requirements as well, including:

  • Science (fulfilled by Frontiers of Science)
  • Global Core (must take two courses)
  • Foreign Language
  • Physical Education

It’s good to note that other schools have similar “core” liberal arts curricula as well, including Harvard (General Education Program) and UChicago’s Core. Hope that is helpful!