Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Frequently Asked Student Questions

core curriculum

How many Core courses must I take? Which classes count for Core?

The Boston College Core Curriculum is comprised of fifteen courses.

When should I take my Core requirements?

There is no one path to fulfilling the Core. The Core is meant to be a foundational experience for underclassmen and women as they pursue their education at BC. It is not something to “get out of the way” -- it is what makes a BC education deep and distinctive. For some, taking most Core courses in their first years at BC makes sense. A broad foundation will make the specialization of a major richer and more satisfying. For others, especially those whose majors follow a clear path of requirements beginning their first year, it makes sense to take Core classes along the way; they establish breadth and balance the demands of a major. The key question is not when you take your Core requirements, but how you see them providing the heart of a liberal arts education in a Jesuit setting. As a practical matter, you will also have more flexibility in choosing your Core courses if you start early, rather than if you attempt to cram several last-minute credits in during your senior year. If you are concerned about managing your schedule in concert with the needs of your major, school, or pre-professional program, you should speak with your advisor and/or class dean.

I have a question about a specific Core requirement or a Core class in a particular department. Whom do I contact?

Contact the relevant department Core representative or, in the case of Cultural Diversity substitution credit, the Office of the Associate Dean for the Core. Their names and e-mail addresses are available online.

Can I apply for a class to count for Core credit?

No. Core courses can only be approved by a university-wide committee, and only the faculty member can apply for the class to receive Core credit. The Associate Dean has no authority to approve BC courses for Core credit on an ad hoc basis and cannot grant any substitutions for students.

What is the Cultural Diversity requirement?  Can it be satisfied by an elective or major requirement?

The Cultural Diversity requirement can be satisfied by a Core class, an elective, or a major requirement. All courses that meet the Cultural Diversity requirement are designated so in Course Information and Schedule in Agora (search for “cultural diversity” in the search bar). The purpose of the requirement is to enable the student to see human experience from the point of view of others “who encounter and interpret the world in significantly different ways.” The one-course Cultural Diversity requirement can be fulfilled by approved courses on: a) Asian, African, Middle Eastern and Latin American cultures, b) courses on minority cultures of the United States derived from these cultures, c) courses on Native American cultures, or d) courses that address the concept of culture from a theoretical and comparative perspective either separately or in the context of the courses listed in a), b) and c).

What are “Renewed Core Pilot courses”?  Can I take one?

Renewed Core Pilot Core courses – Complex Problems and Enduring Questions – are restricted to first-year students. Learn more about these courses.

Can a study abroad class substitute for a Core requirement?

If you are interested in studying abroad, you should contact both your advisor and the Office of International Programs (OIP) as soon as possible. Certain courses have been pre-approved for Core credit by OIP, and in some cases, you may apply for Core substitution credit for other courses. See the OIP guidelines.

Note: With the exception of pre-approved classes, for Core substitution credit you will need to contact the relevant department Core representative or, in the case of Cultural Diversity substitution credit, the Office of the Associate Dean for the Core. Instructions and deadlines for study abroad classes are available online.

Can a summer class substitute for a Core requirement?

Sometimes a summer class can count for Core substitution credit. you will need to contact the relevant department Core representative or, in the case of Cultural Diversity substitution credit, the Office of the Associate Dean for the Core. Instructions and deadlines for summer classes are available online.

Can I use Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and other similar equivalent exams to meet a Core requirement?

Yes. More information on Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, etc. is available online.

Can an on-line course be taken for Core credit?

Almost never. Only under extreme special circumstances can an on-line course be taken. For more information, please contact your dean:

Morrissey College of Arts & Sciences

Seniors: William Petri –

Juniors: Michael Martin –

Sophomores: Clare Dunsford –

Freshmen: Rory Browne –

Carroll School of Management Students

Richard Keeley –

Connell School of Nursing Students

Sean Clarke –

Lynch School of Education Students

Audrey Friedman –

What if a Core class isn’t showing up correctly on my degree audit?

If you believe a Core class is not appearing in the correct spot on your degree audit, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that the course counts for Core credit. Look up the course on the Course Information & Schedule on Agora. All Core courses should be marked as fulfilling specific Core requirements on the course schedule. If the course is not marked as fulfilling a Core requirement and you believe it is a Core class, please contact the relevant Core representative.
  2. If you are in a “pilot” Core Renewal class (either Complex Problems or Enduring Questions) and it is not appearing correctly on your degree audit, please contact our office at
  3. If you are certain that a course counts for Core credit and is still not appearing correctly on your degree audit, please visit the Office of Student Services on the first floor of Lyons Hall and request that they manually move the class into the proper slot on your degree audit.

Is a foreign language requirement part of the Core Curriculum?

No, there is no foreign language requirement as part of the Core Curriculum. However, students in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences and the Carroll School of Management are required to demonstrate intermediate-level proficiency in a foreign or classical language in order to graduate from Boston College. More information can be found in the Policies and Procedures section of the Undergraduate Catalog. Students in the Lynch School of Education and the Connell School of Nursing do not have a language requirement.