According to an email sent out by Dean Awn, General Studies is undergoing changes to its Core Curriculum in order to “bring about closer alignment between the GS Core and the Columbia College Core.” These changes include the adoption of Literature Humanities, Contemporary Civilizations, and the Global Core. The changes go into effect for students entering in the fall, and are listed in more detail here.

Dear Students,

I am excited to let you know about an exciting change to the GS Core Curriculum that will bring about closer alignment between the GS Core and the Columbia College Core.

The GS Core Curriculum

Contemporary Civilization Requirement
Columbia’s Contemporary Civilization course was forged between 1917 and 1919 as a course on questions of war and peace.  Today, it works to inform students about how human beings forge communities – be they political, social, moral, or religious.  GS is adopting the “Contemporary Civilization” requirement (COCI F1101 and COCI F1102)   while still allowing for approved substitutions.   Approved substitutions for the “Contemporary Civilization” requirement will be two social science courses.

Literature/Humanities Requirement
Established in 1937, Literature Humanities (HUMA F1001 and HUMA F1002)   is one of the foundations of the Columbia Core.  GS is adopting the Literature Humanities requirement (while still allowing for approved substitutions). Approved substitutions for this requirement will be two literature classes, or one literature class and one humanities course.  As was previously the case, one literature class must be completed at Columbia.

Global Core Requirement
The Global Core is one of the most recent additions to the Columbia Core, and it seeks to educate students about areas that are not the primary focus of either Contemporary Civilization or Literature Humanities.  The Global Core consists of two courses from the approved list of Global Core courses. At GS, the Global Core requirement will replace the current Cultural Diversity requirement.  (N.B.: Courses taken for the Global Core will not “double-count,” as is the case with our Cultural Diversity requirement.)

Who Is Affected

New Students

The new policy applies to students accepted to GS for or after the summer term of 2012.

Continuing Students

If you have met the Cultural Diversity requirement, you need not take the Global Core – although you may do so if you wish.

If you have not yet met the Cultural Diversity requirement, you will have the option of fulfilling either the Cultural Diversity requirement or the Global Core requirement.  You will need to decide which program you will complete before the start of the spring 2013 semester.  Students who opt to complete the new Core requirements will complete the Global Core, Literature Humanities, and Contemporary Civilization/Social Sciences requirements as noted above.

You should check with your GS academic advisors to clarify any questions or concerns you may have about these upcoming changes and give some thought as to which option you wish to pursue going forward.

Please join with us in acclaiming these new academic policies, developed so that all undergraduates at Columbia can share the same educational experience.


Peter J. Awn