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What is the Core Curriculum and why is it necessary?

The Core Curriculum is Columbia’s long-established program in the liberal arts. The Core consists of a set of required courses in literature, history, writing, music, art, philosophy, science, language, and cultural studies that are required of students in both Columbia College and Columbia Engineering. For College students, Core classes comprise between one third to one half of their total courses and for Engineers it is approximately one fourth. The Core introduces students to central concerns in human life and civilization as embodied in the literary, philosophical, artistic, and scientific achievements of the West as well as in those of other global cultures. The Core fosters individual and community development through small classes and shared conversation across class years. This communal approach to learning cultivates in students a sense of critical inquiry and historical depth that they will employ long after college. The Core distinguishes a Columbia education from that of its peers and is typically valued by alumni as the most important aspect of their academic experience.

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