Core Curriculum

Developed in part through funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the core curriculum at Manhattan College was introduced in 1986 to provide a common learning experience for all students in the School of Liberal Arts. Many of the courses form a shared core curriculum with the students in the School of Science.

The objectives of the core are:

  • To develop in our students the verbal, cognitive and mathematical skills necessary for serious scholarly activity.
  • To explore various civilizations and cultures from an interdisciplinary point of view, and to learn to apply this understanding to contemporary problems.
  • To enhance our students’ understanding of the natural world, the scientific method and the impact of science and technology on society.
  • To extend our students’ understanding of the self, the relationship between self and society and the way societies interact.

We expect every graduate of the school of arts to be able to read analytically, to write effectively, and to communicate intelligently. Towards these goals, the courses that comprise the core are writing-intensive, part of the school’s commitment to the importance of writing. Class sizes are kept small to encourage active and regular class participation. Students are expected to be active participants in their learning experience.

The Core Foundation

Foreign Languages

Our students engage in a year’s study of Arabic, Chinese, French, Irish, Italian, Japanese or Spanish at a level appropriate to the skills of the individual student. Russian, advanced Japanese, Classical Greek and Classical Latin are available through our cooperative agreement with Lehman College. These courses develop proficiency in the language and provide deeper insight into a particular foreign culture, thus broadening a student’s international understanding.

Mathematics and Computer Science

Our students usually take MATH 102: Modern Mathematics or Math 211: Elementary Statistics. Courses such as calculus may be substituted with the approval of the student’s advisor. These courses are usually taken in the first year.


Since the core requires a great deal of writing, the students are prepared in a one-semester intensive study of and practice in writing college-level prose. One of these seminars should be taken in the first or second semester of the freshman year: ENGL 110: College Writing or ENGL 210: Exposition and Argumentation (by invitation only).


Through classroom lectures and laboratory experiences, students focus on the intersection of science and contemporary life. Three science courses are usually taken in freshman and sophomore years, selected in consultation with the school of arts academic advisor.

Religious Studies

Three courses in religious studies form a shared educational experience across the five schools of Manhattan College. All first-year students take RELS 110: Nature and Experience of Religion. Usually in their second year students take a course in Catholic studies, selected from a wide variety of 200-level classes. In the third or fourth year, students take an elective course in global studies and contemporary issues.


Two courses from the total required for graduation must focus on global and/or non-western topics.

The Arts Core

In addition to the foundation courses that meet Manhattan College’s general education requirements, arts students take a set of courses intended to provide cultural and historical backgrounds for understanding disciplines in the humanities and social sciences and their contributions to the contemporary world. In their first year, arts students are required to take two of these courses as First-Year Seminars, one in fall semester and one in spring semester. These seminars are limited to fifteen students and emphasize extensive writing, active discussions and critical analysis.

See course descriptons of all Fall 2016 Liberal Arts Core 150 sections here.

Classical Origins of Western Culture

A multi-disciplinary course, LLRN 102: Classical Origins of Western Culture, explores Greek and Roman contributions to western culture and is usually taken by first-year students.

Roots of the Social Sciences

The core social sciences courses provide critical examinations of contemporary social issues from the perspective of the particular social science discipline. Students elect three and usually take these in their first or second year.

ECON 150 – Roots of Social Science: Economics
GOVT 150 – Roots of Social Science: Government
SOC 150 – Roots of Social Science: Sociology
PSYC 150 – Roots of Social Science: Psychology

Roots of the Modern Age

The humanities component of the core allows students to explore selected literary, historical and philosophical texts, as well as major artistic and musical works, all that contribute to an understanding of today's world. Students take history, literature and philosophy, and may choose between art and music. These four courses are usually taken in the first, second and third years.

ENGL 150 – Roots of the Modern Age: Literature
HIST 150 – Roots of the Modern Age: History
PHIL 150 – Roots of the Modern Age: Philosophy

ART 150 – Roots of the Modern Age: Art
MUSC 150 – Roots of the Modern Age: Music