Calvin University Core Curriculum
Calvin University’s core curriculum is inspired by our vision of being a Christian liberal arts university with an expanded global influence.
At Calvin, we have long defined our conception of a liberal arts and sciences education in terms of our key commitments to God’s world in all its diversity—across domestic, global, and natural environments. The core curriculum incorporates these commitments as crucial threads, which are woven throughout the core program and framed by the disciplinary breadth afforded by study of the arts and humanities, the natural and social sciences—all intended to prepare students for lives of Christian service.
Beginning in the Community and Commitments course, students explore how our Reformed intellectual heritage uniquely informs our community’s commitments to justice, reconciliation, and renewal, including our dedication to environmental sustainability, our celebration of God’s gifts in global regions and cultures, and our affirmation of diversity and difference. Subsequent courses provide opportunity for students to explore and deepen their understandings of these commitments within specific academic disciplines, to learn core competencies, and to develop broad understanding of the world, its inhabitants, and ourselves. These exposures to the breadth of the liberal arts and sciences, coupled with the in-depth study within majors, prepare students to engage in a cross-disciplinary exploration of a contemporary challenge or enduring question as a culminating liberal arts experience.
To provide disciplinary breadth, all students are required to complete eight courses from the Knowledge and Understanding section of the core. Students in B.A. programs complete eight of nine courses in this section, while students in B.S. and professional program complete eight of ten courses in this section (with the tenth course being an additional course in natural sciences). The overall core size of 40 to 50 semester hours is the same for all programs; however, the effective size of the core will be smaller for most students, since major program or cognate requirements may overlap with core requirements. Additionally, AP and transfer credit may satisfy some core requirements, and exemptions are available for some requirements.
The Core Curriculum
Community and Commitments
Transfer credit not accepted for Community and Commitments.
Foundations of Christianity I
Students must take one religion core at Calvin University.
Foundations of Christianity II
Take one course from any of the following disciplines. The discipline used for Foundations of Christianity II must be different than those chosen for the Humanities requirement. Students must take one religion core at Calvin University.
Health and Movement (Personal Fitness)
A student participating in a varsity sport for two full seasons is exempt from Health & Movement: Personal Fitness.
Health and Movement (Leisure, Sport, and Skills)
World Languages I
High school exemption from World Languages I is possible. To obtain a high school exemption from WL I, a student must have three sequential years in the same language with a B or better for each semester. (Near) native speakers of a language other than English are exempt from both World Languages I and II.
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
All students may waive one course from the Knowledge and Understanding core classes. Students in Bachelor of Science or other professional programs (BCS, BFA, BSA, BSE, BSN, BSOT, BSTR, BSW, speech pathology, and all education programs) may substitute a second science course for one additional Knowledge and Understanding core course.
World Languages II
Take a language course numbered 201 or higher OR complete 101-102 in a different language from those completed for World Languages I.
Arts and Rhetoric
Take two or three courses that total at least 5 credit hours. Courses in this category must be taken in different disciplines.
Take one course from two of the following disciplines. Disciplines used for Humanities courses must be distinct from Foundations of Christianity II.
Students in BS and professional programs (BCS, BFA, BSA, BSE, BSN, BSOT, BSTR, BSW and all education programs) may substitute a second science course from a different discipline for one of the Knowledge & Understanding courses. At least one course must include a laboratory.
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Take one course from two of the following disciplines.
Engaged Citizenship Commitments
Students must complete at least one tagged course in all three areas.Engaged Citizenship Commitment courses may overlap with other core requirements.
Diversity and Difference (Tag)
Environmental Sustainability (Tag)
Global Regions and Cultures (Tag)
Contemporary Challenges and Enduring Questions