Office of Academic Services

Core Curriculum

coreThe School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) requires that all students complete a goal-based Core Curriculum, as well as an approved major and an approved minor for students who are not pursuing credit-intensive majors.

The distinctive SAS Core Curriculum is structured as a set of core liberal arts and sciences learning goals. All are framed as activities students will be able to do at a foundational level by virtue of meeting the specified core goal. Courses may be counted as meeting multiple learning goals; students generally will complete the core in 10 to 14 courses of 3 or 4 credits each. A course used to meet core goals may also be used to fulfill a major or minor requirement. Only graded degree credit-bearing courses worth at least 3 credits and certified by the SAS faculty may be used to meet core goals. For lists of courses certified as meeting each goal, see below. These lists are also available in the Rutgers online degree audit system, Degree Navigator, which students use to track their progress in completing the Core Curriculum.

What courses count as Core courses?

Only a special, limited group of courses is certified by the faculty as meeting Core Curriculum goals. To be certified, the course must put the specific Core Curriculum goals front and center in its design and regularly assess student achievement of the certified Core goals.  Only courses that have committed to this process of certification, Core assessment, and continuous improvement are certified as Core courses. This is why some particular courses are certified while other courses that may seem to have a similar or analogous focus are not. This assures that all students develop the foundational liberal arts and sciences capacities the Core promises.


Students must take two degree credit-bearing courses that meet one or more of these goals.

  • Analyze the degree to which forms of human difference shape a person's experiences of and perspectives on contemporary issues.
  • Analyze a contemporary global issue from a multidisciplinary perspective.
  • Analyze the relationship that science and technology have to a contemporary social issue.
  • Analyze contemporary issues of social justice.

The Contemporary Challenges Learning Goals must be fulfilled by taking classes at Rutgers-New Brunswick; transfer and AP courses are not certified to meet these learning goals.

Students must take two degree credit-bearing courses that meet one or both of these goals.

  • Understand and apply basic principles and concepts in the physical or biological sciences.
  • Explain and be able to assess the relationship among assumptions, method, evidence, arguments, and theory in scientific analysis.

Students must take two degree credit-bearing courses and meet both HST and SCL, as follows:

Historical Analysis [HST] (3 credits)

Students take one degree credit-bearing course (at least 3 credits) and meet at least one goal.

  • Explain the development of some aspect of a society or culture over time.
  • Employ historical reasoning to study human endeavors, using appropriate assumptions, methods, evidence, and arguments.

Social Analysis [SCL] (3 credits)

Students must take one degree credit-bearing course that meets one or both of these goals

  • Understand different theories about human culture, social identity, economic entities, political systems, and other forms of social organization.
  • Employ tools of social scientific reasoning to study particular questions or situations, using appropriate assumptions, methods, evidence, and arguments.

Students must take two degree credit-bearing courses and meet at least two of these goals.

  • Examine critically philosophical and other theoretical issues concerning the nature of reality, human experience, knowledge, value, and/or cultural production. [AHo]   
  • Analyze arts and/or literatures in themselves and in relation to specific histories, values, languages, cultures, and technologies. [AHp]  
  • Understand the nature of human languages and their speakers. [AHq]   
  • Engage critically in the process of creative expression. [AHr]

Students must take three degree credit-bearing courses, and meet both WCR and WCD as follows:

  • All students must take Expository Writing 01:355:101 or its equivalent.

Students receiving a score of 4 or above on the AP English composition or literature tests are exempted from Expository Writing 01:355:101, and for such students the writing and communication goals become a two-course requirement: WCr and WCd. Transfer credits from courses taken in high school will not meet the WC learning goal, even if they appear on a college transcript.  The Revision-Based Writing and Communication Learning Goal [WCr] must be fulfilled by taking a class at Rutgers-New Brunswick; transfer and AP courses are not certified to meet this learning goal.

Students must take one additional credit-bearing course focused on revision that meets this goal:

  • Communicate complex ideas effectively, in standard written English, to a general audience, and respond effectively to editorial feedback from peers, instructors, &/or supervisors through successive drafts & revision. [WCr]

Students must also take one additional credit-bearing course focused on writing in a specific discipline that meets this goal:

  • Communicate effectively in modes appropriate to a discipline or area of inquiry; evaluate and critically assess sources and use the conventions of attribution and citation correctly; and analyze and synthesize information and ideas from multiple sources to generate new insights. [WCd]

Students must take two degree credit-bearing courses and meet both of these goals.

  • Formulate, evaluate, and communicate conclusions and inferences from quantitative information. (includes various quantitative methods courses as well as 640 courses). [QQ]
  • Apply effective and efficient mathematical or other formal processes to reason and to solve problems. (includes 640 courses and formal reasoning courses). [QR]

Transfer credits from courses taken in high school will not generally meet these requirements.

Students must take one degree credit-bearing course that meets one or both of these goals.

  • Employ current technologies to access and evaluate information, to conduct research, and to communicate findings.
  • Understand the principles that underlie information systems.

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