Core Overview

The University of Chicago College curriculum has three components: general education requirements, a major, and general electives. Credit for 4200 units (42 100-unit courses) is required for the undergraduate degree. Of total credits earned, at least 3800 units (38 100-unit courses) must be earned via course enrollment.


General education at the University of Chicago – often referred to as "the Core" – is the foundation for all later study in the College. In these courses you will learn the skills of critical inquiry, argumentation, and analytical thinking in both quantitative and qualitative settings. Accordingly, you are meant to complete these requirements in your first two years in the College. The Core is a quintessential element of the UChicago experience for all students and has helped shape countless thinkers over time.

In total, the Core is satisfied by 1500 units of credit (15 courses). These requirements are broken down into three components: Humanities, Civilization Studies, and the Arts; Social Sciences; and Natural and Mathematical Sciences. Students are also required to satisfy a language competency requirement by demonstrating linguistic proficiency equivalent to one year of college-level study.

Summary of Core Requirements

600 units Humanities, Arts, and Civilization Studies +
300 units Social Sciences +
600 units Natural and Mathematical Sciences +
Language Competency =
1500 total units



As you move through this guide, you'll get a better sense of your options for satisfying each of these requirements. Let's get started by looking at the one subject all 1st years are required to begin in their first quarter: Humanities.