Core Requirements

Requirements by Discipline

Area I: Mathematics and Natural Sciences

  • (2) semesters of mathematics. At least (1) semester must include a course containing some calculus. MA 11 does not fulfill the core mathematics requirement.
  • (2) semesters of a natural science. Any (2) courses in any of the natural sciences, as well as AY 110 and PY 261, fulfill this requirement. Note: Psychology majors cannot use PY 261 to fulfill this core science requirement.

Area II: History and the Behavioral and Social Sciences

  • (2) semesters of history. HI 10 plus one 200-level course. CL 115-116 (Greek and Roman Civilization) may be used to fulfill this requirement.
  • (2) semesters of anthropology (except for AY 110), communication (CO 100 and CO 130 only), economics, politics, psychology, or sociology. Both courses may be in the same department or they may be in (2) different departments. Also includes ED 241 for Certificate students only.

Area III: Philosophy and Religious Studies

  • (2) semesters of philosophy. PH 101 is required followed by a 200-level course.
  • (2) semesters of religious studies. RS 101 is required followed by a 200-level course.
  • (1) additional course in philosophy, religious studies, or applied ethics.

Area IV: English and Visual and Performing Arts

  • (3) semesters of English. EN 11 and EN 12 are required, plus (1) semester of a 100-level English literature course. Writing courses (EN/W) do not fulfill the core literature requirement. Selected courses offering literature in translation may also fulfill this requirement - see listings under classical studies as well as modern languages and literatures.
  • (2) semesters of visual and performing arts. (1) semester must be in the area of art history; music history; theatre history; or film, television, or media arts history. The other semester may be selected from any of the 3-credit course offerings in art history, music, film, television, media arts, studio art, and theatre.

Area V: Classical and Modern Languages

  • (2) semesters at the intermediate level of any language listed among the offerings of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures or the Classical Studies Program.

Diversity Requirement: U.S. and World Diversity

  • (1) course designated as a U.S. Diversity course and (1) course designated as a World Diversity course. A course used to fulfill the diversity requirement may also count a second time - toward a core, a major, or a minor requirement.

Requirements Overview

Most core courses are taken within the first (2) years at Fairfield University. However, precisely when students should take various core courses depends, in part, upon their major. The faculty advisor will assist students in selecting a schedule that meets all core requirements. Normally, English (EN 11 and EN 12), mathematics, and foreign languages are included in the student's first-year schedule.

core_advising1Core courses are organized into 2 groups:

1. In general, the first (10) courses form a common experience for all students, and provide a foundation to help situate work in the major and minor curricula. These (10) semester-long courses should, if possible, be completed before the end of the sophomore year.
2. The second set of (10) semester-long courses is required from particular disciplinary areas, but students are encouraged to make choices among particular departments and topics to fit their unique curriculum plans.

In addition, students must take (2) courses that focus on diversity, (1) on diversity in American society and (1) on diversity in a global and international context. These courses can satisfy core, major, or minor requirements, or can be free electives.

Many core courses can be "double counted" towards fulfillment of core requirements, and towards fulfillment of major and minor requirements. In this way, all core courses provide students with the opportunity to build a broad educational foundation across an interesting array of ideas, skills, and methods, and also with the opportunity to drill down into the more specific study of a discipline that leads to meaningful engagement and interdisciplinarity.


  • Students with majors in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business are required to take specific courses as part of their core curriculum. See the Dolan School of Business core section for such course details. Business students in the Classes of 2015 and 2016 need to take only (2) semesters of a language at any level (elementary or intermediate).
  • School of Nursing students take specific courses as part of their core curriculum and are required to complete either the visual and performing arts or the foreign language requirement.
  • School of Engineering students are exempt from the foreign language requirement.

Related Information

Core Pathways | About the Core | Planning Your Core | Requirements

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