The Core Curriculum

The University of Chicago's Core curriculum provides all College students with a challenging, common academic program that serves as a foundation for coursework in major fields of study—and for a lifetime of intellectual inquiry.

Students sit on the grass in the quad under trees with gothic buildings in the background.

About the Core

As the cornerstone of the College’s transformative curriculum, the Core teaches undergraduates how to think critically and how to approach problems from multiple perspectives. The Core encourages students to explore complex ideas and processes, and to discuss them with faculty and peers. The goal is to cultivate in students a range of insights, habits of mind, and scholarly experiences. This expansive engagement not only enriches students’ academic activities and intellectual pursuits, but it fosters an enduring dedication to reflection and learning.

Looking South through Hull Gate at Autumn leaves on the quad.

Core Overview

History of the Core

Since 1931, the Core has undergone six different iterations. Learn more about each. 

A large gothic room, the Harper Reading Room, shows students studying at tables with lamps.

Writing and Language in the Core

Effective written expression is critical in all fields of study. All students, regardless of their intended major, receive formal writing instruction in their Humanities and Social Sciences Core classes. This training prepares them for upper-level course work. It also helps them use writing as an essential tool for deepening their own understanding of complex ideas and difficult problems.

To enable students to express themselves effectively in a globalizing world, the Core also requires competence in a language other than English.