Advice on Selecting Your Classes
Program of Study Guidelines
Students in the College of Arts and Science complete all five components of the College Core Curriculum:
The First-Year Seminar Program
The Expository Writing Program
Study of a foreign language
Foundations of Contemporary Culture (FCC)
Foundations of Scientific Inquiry (FSI)
Outside of CAS, participation in the Core varies by school and program. Students in
other divisions should therefore consult their academic advisers for specific information
about how the Core pertains to them.
The Core affords students flexibility in a number of ways. It permits a choice of different
tracks in each component, the satisfaction of some courses by examination or Advanced
Placement credit (foreign language, FSI), and the substitution of departmental courses
and exemptions based on major and minor courses of study (FSI, parts of FCC).
Given this flexibility, students in CAS work individually with advisers to plan course
schedules that take into account their past preparation, current interests, and longer-term
goals. While there is no prescribed schedule of courses that will be appropriate for every
student, the following broad guidelines should be kept in mind.
As an incoming student, you should normally aim to complete your Core courses by
the end of sophomore year. This will leave you free in your junior and senior years to
focus on your major and to take elective courses. Some science and social science majors,
engineering students, prehealth students, and students placed in the International Writing
Workshop sequence may have to delay starting, and thus finishing, a part of the Core for
a semester or more. Students who study away from New York may also need to delay
completing their Core courses beyond sophomore year.
In designing the Core, the faculty sought to assure that all students would receive a
broad exposure to the liberal arts early in their college careers. With this wide academic
horizon, the Core encourages students to discover new intellectual interests outside their
intended areas of specialization and to pursue those interests with elective courses outside
their majors in their later undergraduate years.
First-Year Seminar: See the First-Year Seminar website for complete details.
Expository Writing: Students must complete Writing the Essay (EXPOS-UA 1)
during their first year. Those placed into the Liberal Studies Writing or International
Writing Workshop sequences must begin in their first semester and must register for their
remaining writing course(s) in the semester(s) immediately following.
Foreign Language: See the foreign language section of this website for complete
Foundations of Contemporary Culture: During their first year, students normally
complete a class from Texts and Ideas (CORE-UA 4xx) and one from Cultures and
Contexts (CORE-UA 5xx), in either order. In the sophomore year, students chose classes
from Societies and the Social Sciences (CORE-UA 6xx) and from Expressive Culture
(CORE-UA 7xx), again in either order. Student who complete a designated major or minor
program in the social sciences are exempt from Societies and the Social Sciences. Those
who complete a designated major or minor program in the humanities are exempted from
Expressive Culture. Students who complete majors in each area, who complete a joint
major designated in both areas, or who complete a major in one area and a minor in the
other, may satisfy both components. See the Exemptions, Substitutions, and Proficiency
Exams section of this website for a list of the area designations of major and minor
programs in the College.
Foundations of Scientific Inquiry: Students choose one course in Quantitative
Reasoning (CORE-UA 1xx), followed by one in the physical sciences from Natural
Science I (CORE-UA 2xx), and then one in the biological sciences from Natural Science
II (CORE-UA 3xx). Completion of or exemption from Quantitative Reasoning is a
prerequisite for both Natural Science I and II. It is recommended that students complete
Natural Science I before Natural Science II. See the Exemptions, Substitutions, and
Proficiency Exams section of this website for information about satisfying parts of the
FSI with Advanced Placement credit or through the substitution of departmental courses.
Advice on Selecting Your Core Classes
Tips from students about choosing your courses:
Find out all you can about the faculty member teaching the class. Although Core classes
are non-departmental, faculty members obviously each have a particular disciplinary or
methodological bent. Look at the instructor’s course evaluations (available in the Student
Center on Albert) and departmental affiliation (included with the course descriptions
on this website). Also, check out his or her faculty profile.
Read the course description. Look at the reading lists for different sections, especially in
Texts and Ideas, to find the class that most appeals to you.
Check out the course syllabus before registering. It is often possible to consult a sample
syllabus or a syllabus from the last time a faculty member taught his or her Core class.
Where available, copies of syllabi are included with the course descriptions on this
Recitations and laboratories are an integral part of all FCC and FSI courses; they are not
optional. Plan accordingly, keeping in mind that you must reserve space in your class
schedule for two lectures and one recitation or lab section per week.
Because of the intensive nature of Core classes and the time needed to schedule
recitations and labs, students should not register for more than one FCC or more than one
FSI course at a time.
The Core is intended to provide students with a core experience in the liberal arts at
the very beginning of their college careers. In general, student should therefore have
completed the Core before undertaking study away from New York. Opportunities to
fulfill parts of the Core away from New York are limited: Some of the University’s
global sites offer departmental courses that can be substituted in satisfaction of the Core
(FSI, FCC Societies and the Social Sciences). Sections of the FCC course Cultures and
Contexts are regularly offered at some study away sites; sections of the FCC course
Expressive Culture are offered away on a limited basis. See the course listings on this
website for each semester’s offerings.
Substitution of courses to and from NYU-Abu Dhabi is also available on a limited
basis. See the NYU-AD articulation on this website for more information.