Core Requirements

The liberal arts curriculum at the Georgetown University College of Arts & Sciences cultivates the intellectual skills of perception, analysis, interpretation, and expression, which sustain a life of curiosity, creativity, and responsiveness to the needs of both individuals and communities.

Note: The core is integrated with most major tracks in the College, as the introductory courses for almost every major will fulfill one of the core requirements.

Some students also enter the College with advanced credit that may fulfill part of the core requirement.

The Georgetown University College of Arts & Sciences core requirements include:

Every Georgetown student will take one writing course, WRIT-015 Writing and Culture Seminar, which provides students with opportunities to connect their writing with critical reading and thinking, inquiry, and analysis. The Writing and Culture Seminar approaches writing through three interrelated frameworks: writing as a tool for inquiry, writing as a process, and practice writing in different rhetorical situations. Each section focuses on a cultural theme, with readings and assignments that engage students with compelling questions and problems.

Students are encouraged to complete this course during their first year at Georgetown.

Every student will take one course in the Humanities: Arts, Literatures, and Cultures (HALC). Literature and the visual and performing arts deepen our understanding of expressive media, past and present, and the realities they aim to present. Through reading, writing, and creative practice, students acquire the intellectual and practical tools to interpret and critique the world.

Students explore ancient and modern civilizations, gain insight into the value of other cultures and critically examine their own. They learn to see, evaluate, interpret, and communicate human experience through literary texts, artistic creations, material objects, and critical concepts.

Courses fulfilling this requirement are identified with the HALC attribute (“HALC – Hum, Art, Lit, Cul”) in the Schedule of Classes.

The study of history exposes students to both the recent and the more distant past, so that they may explore changes and continuities in all spheres of human endeavor and understand the human experience as a process of long-term dynamic evolution. The core requirement in history is a two-semester sequence.

One of each of the following two types of courses must be taken to fulfill the requirement (in any order):

HIST-099: a course designed to expose students to the discipline of history through focused study of particular historical events, periods, or themes.

A second history course, which will focus on the historical developments in various world regions. The courses that will fulfill this portion of the requirement are:

HIST-007 Intro to Early History (World, Europe, or Atlantic World)
HIST-008 Intro to Late History (World, Europe, or Pacific World)
HIST-106 Atlantic World
HIST-107 Pacific World
HIST-111 or 112 (Africa I and II)
HIST-128 or 129 (South Asia I and II)
HIST-158 or 159 (Latin America I and II)
HIST-160 or 161 (Middle East I and II)

Note: Arabic majors are encouraged to take HIST-160 or 161 as their second history course. Chinese, Japanese, and Russian majors are permitted and encouraged to substitute an appropriate country-specific history course as their second history course: HIST-122 or 123, History of China I or II, for Chinese majors; HIST-124 or 125, History of Japan I or II, for Japanese majors; and HIST-170 or 171, History of Russia I or II, for Russian majors.

In keeping with the Jesuit tradition, Georgetown believes that students should reflect on their relationship to the world, their fellow humans, and whatever manifestation of God they believe in. The Department of Theology and Religious Studies is committed to fostering an awareness of the religious dimension of human existence and students reflect on their own experience in that context.

Students must take two courses in order to fulfill the requirement.
Students may begin with either THEO-001 The Problem of God or THEO-011 Introduction to Biblical Literature.

The second half of the requirement can be fulfilled with any intermediate-level theology course (001-199; THEO-011 can serve as an intermediate course for students who begin with 001) or any course in another department that is cross-listed with Theology and Religious Studies.

The core requirement in philosophy promotes students’ personal growth as human beings in search of meaningful lives, fosters their development as responsible citizens, and serves as an introduction to the academic discipline.

The core requirement in philosophy includes two courses: one in general philosophy and one with an explicit focus on ethics. The first half of the requirement is filled by taking one of the introductory course in the two main tracks of philosophy, PHIL-020 Introduction to Philosophy or PHIL-010 Introduction to Ethics. The second course must be a bridge level course (100–199) in the opposite area.

Every student in the College must complete a course in the department of mathematics or the department of computer science. Engagement in these disciplines helps students develop quantitative literacy, facility with data and statistics, symbolic and visual representations, numeracy, and related capacities that are essential when navigating the data-rich environments in the world today. Problem-solving and logical reasoning are greatly enhanced by work in these fields; acute sensitivity to quantitative methods and reasoning is essential to informed citizenship and ethical leadership.

The core requirement in math or computer science may be fulfilled by completing one course in either of these departments, excluding MATH-029.

Every student will take one course to satisfy the Science for All requirement. These courses, identified by the “Science for All” attribute in the schedule and varying by semester, aim to illustrate, in the context of a scientific discipline, how scientific understanding is developed, tested, and revised. Science For All courses will help and encourage students to understand better the significant role that science plays in their daily lives, and will include examples of the use of scientific methods in addressing complex social problems and of the ethical issues that science can raise.

The natural sciences, and the technologies that they enable, are woven deeply into the fabric of our lives and are central to many of the important political and social challenges that we face.  They are also pinnacles of intellectual accomplishment in humanity’s ancient and ongoing quest to understand the world in which we live. Thus we believe that to function as liberally educated, ethically responsible citizens, stewards of the planet, and as effective leaders, all Georgetown students should understand scientific modes of thought and concepts, both in the abstract and as they are exemplified in at least one major area of scientific inquiry. The Science For All core requirement is grounded in these beliefs.

The core requirement in Science for All may be fulfilled by completing a course with the “Science for All” attribute in the Schedule of Classes.

The core requirement in social science introduces students to the study of human society from the perspective of the disciplines of anthropology, economics, government, linguistics, psychology, and/or sociology.

The core requirement is fulfilled by taking any two courses in the same discipline/department, generally starting with an introductory course in the chosen discipline. Note that the requirement may also be fulfilled by taking PPOL-300 and one social science course from another department.

Below is a list of introductory courses in the social science disciplines. It is recommended that students begin with one of these courses before moving on to a second course in a given discipline.

ANTH-001 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
ECON-001 Principles of Microeconomics
ECON-002 Principles of Macroeconomics
ECON-003 Principles of Economics: Macro and Micro
GOVT-020 U.S. Political Systems
GOVT-040 Comparative Political Systems
GOVT-060 International Relations
GOVT-080 Elements of Political Theory
LING-001 Introduction to Language
PPOL-300: How Public Policy Works
PSYC-001 General Psychology
SOCI-001 Introduction to Sociology

Note: In addition to courses offered by the Department of Linguistics, advanced foreign language courses with a focus on linguistics can count toward the social science requirement as linguistics courses. Please see the core section of the Undergraduate Bulletin for a list of foreign language courses that fulfill the second half of the social science requirement in linguistics.

B.S. degree candidates majoring in a program in the department of biology, chemistry, or physics are exempt from the social science requirement, although they are encouraged to take courses in the social sciences.

The study of a language, literature, and culture other than one’s own enables one to understand the world better, to identify commonalities, and to respect cultural differences.

All students in the College must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language (ancient or modern) through the intermediate level. During New Student Orientation, proctored placement exams are offered in most languages. Students who place above the intermediate level on a language placement exam have fulfilled the foreign language requirement. Students who do not place above the intermediate level on a language placement exam must complete language coursework through the intermediate level in order to fulfill the requirement. Students are strongly encouraged to begin language coursework as early as possible and to complete the language requirement no later than the end of their sophomore year.

Some languages (Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, modern Greek, and Russian) are offered only on an intensive track, which requires enrollment in a six-credit course. Others (French, German, Spanish) are taught on both the intensive and non-intensive tracks.

Languages taught on the intensive track require differing lengths of study to achieve intermediate mastery: Students beginning French, German, Italian, modern Greek, Russian, or Spanish at Georgetown need one year of intensive study to complete the language requirement, whereas students beginning Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean at Georgetown need two years of intensive study to complete the language requirement. Most languages taught on the non-intensive track require four semesters of study to reach the intermediate level and fulfill the language requirement.

The following courses are considered “exit courses” and complete the language requirement:

Arabic ARAB-112
Chinese CHIN-112 or 114
French FREN-022 or 032
German GERM-022 or 032
Greek (Ancient) CLSG-101
Greek (Modern) GREE-111
Hebrew HEBR-022
Italian ITAL-032
Japanese JAPN-112
Korean KREN-112
Latin CLSL-101
Persian PERS-012
Polish PLSH-102
Portuguese PORT-032
Russian RUSS-012
Spanish SPAN-022 or 032
Turkish TURK-022

The engaging diversity requirement will prepare students to be responsible, reflective, self-aware and respectful global citizens through recognizing the plurality of human experience and engaging with different cultures, beliefs, and ideas. By fulfilling the requirement, students will be better able to appreciate and reflect upon how human diversity and human identities shape our experience and understanding of the world.

The  two “engaging diversity” courses ensure the opportunity to engage with diversity issues in two different contexts: One domestic and one global. Courses fulfilling this requirement are indicated with the DIVG (global) and DIVD (domestic) attribute tags in the schedule of classes.

Note: Many courses that meet the diversity requirement also meet other curricular requirements (e.g., core, major, minor) in each school. Please note that while some courses may carry both tags (i.e., global and domestic), students are still required to take two engaging diversity courses in total.

Additional Core Requirements Information

Students typically fulfill core requirements during the first and second years. To encourage exploration and diversity, students may not take two courses in the same discipline in the same semester during the first two years.

The sections above offer a brief description of each core requirement as well as a non-exhaustive list of possible courses. Additionally, students can search for courses that fulfill specific core requirements by visiting the Schedule of Classes.

Students should consult their MyDegree audit for a list of their core requirements. The audit monitors progress toward completion of core requirements (as well as requirements for major and minor programs), and it also provides detailed information about which courses fulfill specific requirements. This is especially useful during preregistration when students are choosing their schedules for the next semester.

Please note that the Undergraduate Bulletin for the academic year in which the student matriculated is the ultimate authority on all degree requirements.