Undergraduate Core Curriculum

Chestnut Hill College’s Core Curriculum, approved by faculty in 1999, is designed to provide students with a meaningful education that is rooted in the College’s Mission. Steeped in the liberal arts, the curriculum recognizes the impact of the information-age revolution and addresses career demands of the twenty-first century. The Core Curriculum consists of (I) Fundamental Requirements, (II) Ways of Knowing perspectives, (III) proficiencies, and (IV) free electives. Students also take a variety of non-academic credits as part of the core requirements at CHC. In addition, students fulfill all of the requirements specified in a major program of study.


(I) Fundamental Requirements (18 credits)

All students must complete courses in the four areas of fundamental requirements (Core seminars, Writing, Religious Studies, and Foreign Language):


  1. Core seminars: Every student will participate in two core seminars. These seminars are interdisciplinary and provide opportunities for experiential learning.

    ILA 101— Introduction to the Liberal Arts – usually taken in first yearThis course serves both as a second-level writing course and as an introduction to various disciplines within the Liberal Arts. The course helps students to develop the skills introduced in the first-level writing course, with a focus on research and the techniques associated with academic writing. While the course is offered in sections with unique emphases, the general writing requirements and grading policy are universal. ILA 101 takes advantage of our location in Philadelphia by using museums and other sites in the city as part of the overall course experience. Students are expected to make at least two (2) site visits during the semester. ILA does not fulfill the writing intensive requirement. Prerequisite: English 101 or 105.

    GS 201 – Global Awareness Seminar – taken after the first yearThis course explores the economic, political, social, environmental, and cultural roots of global conflicts, the risk of catastrophic confrontations, and the potential of peaceful resolutions. Topics in this course vary depending on the expertise of the teaching faculty and the world situation. Students read world press and literature, are introduced to global theorists and scholars, and communicate with other students and organizations through global communications available through emerging technologies. Experiential learning is incorporated in the course. This includes a visit to the United Nations and a service project. Prerequisite: ILA 101 


  1. Writing: Every student will take two courses that focus on developing vital writing and communication skills:  

    English 101/105 or Interdisciplinary Honors 200

    These courses are designed to introduce students to college-level writing and research. As English 101 (See page 93) is a Core requirement, a prerequisite for many classes and also the course that provides students with their fundamental college writing and research skills, students must earn a C- or higher.  

    One course designated as Writing Intensive (designated by a “W” in the course listings). This course may also fulfill a Way of Knowing, a course in the major or minor, or a free elective. Prerequisites for all Writing Intensive Courses: ENGU 101 or 105 and ILA 101.

    The Writing Intensive Course is a prerequisite for Senior Seminar. 


  1. Religious Studies: Every student will take two courses in Religious Studies: Religious Studies 104, followed by a course at the 200 level.

  2. Foreign Language: All students are required to take one course at 104 or above to fulfill the language requirement. If they place below this level, they must either complete 103 and 104 (Intermediate) with a passing grade, or take a course below 104 and pass the Proficiency exam in the same language at a level of Intermediate mid, according to the ACTFL Proficiency guidelines. 


(II) Ways of Knowing Perspectives


Focused on six perspectives (Historical, Literary, Artistic, Scientific, Behavioral, and Problem-Solving and Analysis), the Ways of Knowing component of the Core Curriculum is designed to introduce students to different learning methodologies and strategies for interpreting and understanding the world in which we live.


A student may fulfill one Ways of Knowing category by virtue of Major course work. This applies whether the Ways of Knowing requirement is 1 or 2 courses. See each Major for particulars.


A student may use no more than two courses with the same course prefix to fulfill additional Ways of Knowing perspectives.


  1. Artistic (designated by an “A” in the course listings) Courses in this category will enable students to become aware of, experience, develop, analyze and/or interpret the products of the human imagination in the fine arts. (one course)
  2. Behavioral (designated by an “B” in the course listings) Courses in this category will provide students with an understanding of the psychological, sociological, economic, political and cultural dimensions of human behavior. (two courses)
  3. Historical (designated by an “H” in the course listings)Courses in this category will evoke an awareness of the development of human societies, examining their political, social, economic, and cultural evolution through the ages. (two courses) 
  4. Literary (designated by an “L” in the course listings)Courses in this category may cover any of the literary genres and periods and teach students to perform literary/critical analysis of primary texts. (one course) 
  5. Problem-Solving/Analytical (designated by an “P” in the course listings) Courses in this category will focus primarily on developing skills in systematic analysis. Courses will provide students with the basic ability to reason with conceptual and/or quantitative data to assess the basic conceptual and/or statistical aspects of an argument. (one course)
  6. Scientific (designated by an “S” in the course listings) Courses in this category will examine how scientific knowledge is obtained as well as the implications and applications of that knowledge. Emphasis is on how scientists perceive and attempt to understand the natural world. (A minimum of six credits; two science courses with laboratory experience) 

(III) Proficiencies


Students are required to demonstrate established proficiency levels either by exam or coursework in computer literacy (approved Spring 2002), foreign language (approved Fall 2000), oral communication (implementation in process), and mathematics (approved Fall 2000) and a Swim Test.


Students who do not demonstrate proficiency in one or more of these areas will be required to follow a specified program until the proficiency level is achieved. Courses numbered 100 or lower (except for ENGU 100) will not apply to the credits required for graduation.


(IV) Free Electives


Free electives are those courses that are not used to fulfill any major or Core Curriculum requirements. Free electives provide the student with a degree of flexibility in the curriculum. They may be used to pursue personal interests or a minor. The number of credits available for free electives is dependent upon the number of credits that are required by the major, the fundamental requirements, the Ways of Knowing courses, and proficiencies.