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Core Classes

LizfromHollywoodLizfromHollywood Registered User Posts: 379 Member
@hellojan and others who are already attending,

how do the core classes work as far as scheduling? will my first semester be exclusively core classes?

I am a huge fan of the core curriculum, i am just confused as to how they distribute core classes vs major specific classes. From what i could gather on their website, a lot of the scheduling is more or less set in stone... at least for freshmen... is that an accurate statement? is is similar for GS transfer students?
Post edited by LizfromHollywood on

Replies to: Core Classes

  • hellojanhellojan Registered User Posts: 1,632 Senior Member
    Yes, one of my favorite topics!

    For freshman in the college and SEAS, yes. Their first year is pretty well planned out for them.

    GSers have much more wiggle room with scheduling but are, overall, just as married to the Core as the other schools. You're expected to have taken University Writing by the end of your first year. You have to take Art Humanities, Music Humanities, etc. But you should take those when you can fit them in your schedule, keeping in mind that these Core classes fill quickly and are often difficult to land. Therefore, you should prioritize accordingly.

    Some requirements are more flexible - cultural diversity, etc. But, you should just plan on taking a Core class every term to be able to graduate on time. Some terms you'll inevitably take more. But, you'll sit with your dean and go through all of this in more detail.

    In short, the Core rule is simple: you should take these courses when you can get them and at intervals regular enough that you can graduate when you want.

    I'm really pleased to hear that you're looking forward to all of this. The Core is a lifestyle and your immersion in it, though it can be a drag sometimes, can be super super cool.

    Let me know if you have any questions about the individual requirements.
  • tsar10027tsar10027 Registered User Posts: 242 Junior Member
    Hey Hellojan, I'm currently in my first semester here at GS (actually I'm sitting in Butler finishing up my research paper for UW), I enrolled into both Art and Music Hum. for the Fall. Do you think it's a mistake to take both in the same semester? How is the work load?
  • hellojanhellojan Registered User Posts: 1,632 Senior Member
    I think the workload varies a great deal from instructor to instructor. Generally speaking, however, both art hum and music hum are considered the lighter courses of the hum cohort (lit hum, art hum, music hum).

    My guess is that you won't have any trouble taking both at once. Enjoy!
  • LizfromHollywoodLizfromHollywood Registered User Posts: 379 Member
    THANK YOU SO MUCH! you have been so helpful over these last few months!

    i am super excited about the core. as a humanties major, these core classes are the courses i would WANT to be taking anyways, even if i didn't have too.

    i am planning a trip to NYC after my semester ends to have an "acadmeic planning session" and hopefully get more accainted with the city itself (i have never been north of D.C.).

    @hellojan, did you take one of those "how do succeed at columbia" classes i have heard of? i am actually interested. i am open to humbly accepting any guidance that i can get ahold of...
  • hellojanhellojan Registered User Posts: 1,632 Senior Member
    "i am open to humbly accepting any guidance that i can get ahold of... "

    That's a great perspective to have on the whole thing. Sadly, no. I didn't. In fact, I didn't even know it existed until my second semester.

    Since I began volunteering at orientations, I've paid a lot of attention to the advice that the advising deans and faculty members give students. It's all extraordinarily good but, like a employee handbook you get on your first day of work, it comes across as jargon-heavy and nonsensical. So, I always suggest that new students take notes and revisit the advice you get on that day with some regularity.

    This is exactly the same advice I give people enrolled in university studies - the "how to succeed at Columbia" class. If you have to take it, take great notes and invest yourself in it. Like anything else, your return is based on your effort. Sounds to me like you're going to do exceedingly well here, Liz.
  • hellojanhellojan Registered User Posts: 1,632 Senior Member
    Just a few quick thoughts on the Core:

    I know it gets a lot of heat. Plenty of people view it as sort of being part of the price of admission, a necessary evil. But, I challenge two points regularly made by the Core-haters:

    1. "It's largely irrelevant to life post-Columbia."

    I think that these arguments are typically a little knee-jerk or reactive. You got a C on your lit hum paper? When are you ever going to need to know that stuff anyway? Nobody at your i-banking internship ever talks about Thucydides at lunch? Oh well.

    We have, consciously or otherwise, constructed a reality based on the ethics, interactions, ideas, and entertainments in books by Thucydides, Herodotus, St. Augustine, etc. The architecture of the way you and I think has vestigial elements of these books, poems, and treastises. But, it also has living, vibrant pieces of them, too.

    The construction of our ordinary thought processes are, to no small extent, shaped by the Western literary canon. This includes music and architecture, too. Being able to move through the world, and seeing how its parts sum to create the living whole, is, at least I think so, an advantage in any field.

    2. "We shouldn't have to take these classes if we're [applied science major here] majors."

    If the first argument hasn't done anything for you, consider this: it's a language. The Columbia Core is a shared tongue between you, me, and EVERY SINGLE living Columbia graduate.

    That recognition of the constructed thought process, plus specific examples, make for a conversational exchange that's perfectly unique. The other night, during a dodgeball match, my team launched into a discussion of the battle at Thermopylae. If I sat down on a plane next to someone who took lit hum in 1945, I could do the same. Two semesters from now I'll be able to do the same with you.

    Who doesn't want that?
This discussion has been closed.