The Core Curriculum

This page was last updated on May 18, 2020.

The Core Curriculum is the heart of undergraduate education at Notre Dame. All students, regardless of major, must complete the Core. The Core is designed to integrate with other parts of your curriculum, such as majors and minors, and is not intended to be completed in the first year.

The Core is organized around 11 Ways of Knowing. Courses in these ways of knowing expose students to diverse modes of thought for approaching, analyzing, and understanding different aspects of our lives and our world. Each course forms a complementary part of the larger whole, bringing individual students closer to attaining the intellectual capacities and practices that fulfill the overall goals of a Notre Dame education.

The requirements of the University's Core Curriculum are grouped in four categories:


General Liberal Arts

  1. Quantitative Reasoning

  2. Science and Technology

  3. Quantitative Reasoning or Science and Technology

  4. Art and Literature, or Advanced Language and Culture

  5. History or Social Science

  6. Integration or Way of Knowing not yet chosen from 4 or 5


Exploring Explicitly Catholic Dimensions of the Liberal Arts

  1. Foundational Theology

  2. Developmental Theology

  3. Introductory Philosophy

  4. Philosophy elective or Catholicism and the Disciplines



  1. University Seminar*

  2. Writing and Rhetoric or other writing-intensive course


Moreau First Year Experience

  1. Moreau: One two-semester course


*A University Seminar may be double-counted to fulfill both the USEM requirement and one of the other liberal arts requirements.

All students must take the required writing course(s) and the Moreau First Year Experience in the first year. Students with AP or IB credit for Writing and Rhetoric can take another writing-intensive course after their first year and do not have to complete Writing 2 in the first year. Other Core courses may be taken in any year, although some majors require Quantitative Reasoning and/or Science and Technology courses to be taken during the first year.