Skip to main content

Search NYU Steinhardt

Students may find a list of currently offered Steinhardt CORE courses . This page is meant as a resource for faculty wishing to propose CORE courses. 

All undergraduate Steinhardt students are required to complete a significant number of courses in the liberal arts. For students pursuing a B.S., the minimum number of liberal arts course units is 60.  B.F.A. and B. Mus. students must complete 40 units. For the B.A., the minimum number is 90 units.  According to New York State regulations, liberal arts courses “comprise the disciplines of the humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and social sciences,” and are to be distinguished from courses that emphasize applied knowledge, and/or practical, occupational or professional training.  Specifically, “required liberal arts core shall not be directed toward specific occupational or professional objectives.”

Each undergraduate program tailors the liberal arts course requirements to suit the needs of their majors.

Following University-wide guidelines, Steinhardt students complete courses in the following areas, subject to advisement for each program of study. Students take these courses at Steinhardt and the College of Arts and Science. Click a subject area below to view the current CAS definition:

Expository Writing

This foundational writing course is required for CAS, Engineering, Stern, Nursing, Social Work, and Steinhardt incoming undergraduates. Writing The Essay provides instruction and practice in critical reading, creative and logical thinking, and clear, persuasive writing. Students learn to analyze and interpret written texts, to use texts as evidence, to develop ideas, and to write exploratory and argumentative essays. Exploration, inquiry, reflection, analysis, revision, and collaborative learning are emphasized.

Foreign Language

To fulfill the foreign language component of the College Core Curriculum, students must show or attain proficiency in a foreign language through the intermediate level. Ordinarily, this is accomplished by the successful completion of two years of language study in the College, through the second semester of a regular intermediate-level language sequence.

Texts and Ideas

Texts and Ideas is the name for a diverse group of humanities courses that study challenging, influential texts about big ideas: freedom, the nature of the soul, the place of humans in the natural and animal world, beauty, citizenship, morality, the imagination, the use of the past, and many more.  Some courses explore a single theme or a set of closely related ideas; others investigate the relationship between two periods of intellectual history, for example, selected writings in the philosophy and literature of ancient Greece and Rome and their reception in a later era. Texts and Ideas courses also seek to refine students’ ability to write and speak about complex concepts and arguments with clarity, originality, and eloquence.  You will be challenged not only to master the content of some of the world’s most influential philosophical texts and works of literature, but to discuss how the ideas in these works have been debated, developed, appropriated, or rejected over time.

Expressive Culture

Art arouses pleasure, wonder, confusion, curiosity, and many other things.  How is art made, and for what purpose?  How do artworks convey meaning or feelings?  How does social context shape the making of art?  In Expressive Culture, students explore the complexities of artistic expression by focusing on one of five media: sounds, images, words, performance, or film. Each course introduces requisite historical, formal, and critical vocabularies; examines fundamental issues associated with interpretation of the arts; and investigates the complex relations between artistic activity and other facets of social and political life. Our teaching is fueled by our passion for fostering life-long appreciation of the arts, and New York City is the ideal place to experience them in all their variety.  Whenever possible, faculty draw on the rich cultural resources of the city around us.

Cultures and Contexts

Cultures and Contexts prepares students for life in a globalized world by introducing them to the ways humans see themselves as members of social, religious, national, and regional groups. Individual courses focus on political, social, or cultural collectives that are distinct from the dominant traditions of contemporary North America, such as central Asia, Russia, Korea, or ancient Egypt; some courses study diaspora formations and emergent traditions.  Primary texts are central to every course, with some faculty concentrating on historical documents, others on art, film, or literary texts.  Cultures and Contexts courses share a common aim to examine the ways cultures emerge and interact through trade, colonization, immigration, religious proselytization, and representation in various media; how groups define themselves through beliefs, values, and customs; and how the dominant perspective of Western modernity affects comprehension of the ways in which premodern or non-Western peoples experience and imagine their lives.

Societies and Social Sciences

We live in a world molded by massive social, political, and economic transformations, and to be thoughtful, responsible citizens we need to understand them.  From the nineteenth century to today, drawing on earlier movements, thinkers have developed new methods for understanding the complexity of these phenomena by studying societal structures and human behavior. Societies and the Social Sciences is our name for a set of courses offered by social science departments across the Faculty of Arts and Science—Anthropology, Social and Cultural Analysis, Economics, Politics, History, Linguistics, Psychology, Religious Studies, and Sociology.

Physical/Life Sciences

Natural Science I (physical sciences)

Natural Science I describes a range of courses that examine the foundations of the physical sciences—physics and chemistry.  At its core, the physical sciences seek to understand the role of matter and energy in explaining a broad range of phenomena, such as the large-scale structure of the universe and the factors that affect the earth’s climate.  These investigations require the application of mathematical tools to quantify and predict our complex world.  Natural Science I courses examine questions at the cutting edge of scientific investigation:  What fundamental insights do scientists hope to gain from the Large Hadron Collider, the largest and most complex scientific experiment ever performed?  Why have astronomers proposed the unseen existence of dark matter and dark energy?  What do investigations into the Earth’s historical climate reveal about the scope of global climate change in the 20th and 21st centuries?  Do renewable energy sources provide a feasible global alternative to fossil fuels?

Natural Science II (biological sciences)

Natural Science II encapsulates a variety of courses that examine the broad diversity of life sciences—biology, neuroscience, and physical anthropology.  We are currently witnessing an explosion of information in the life sciences, stimulated by the development of new tools such as DNA technologies, computer databases, and brain scanners.  These new insights have thrust science into the forefront of social, ethical, and legal debates on such topics as stem cell research, the evidence for evolution, the preservation of biodiversity, and the neurological basis of decision-making.  Each Natural Science II course uses a thematic approach to introduce students to the foundations and frontiers of scientific investigation in the life sciences.

Quantitative Reasoning

Mathematics is both a curiosity-driven endeavor and a powerful analytical tool.  Mathematics strives to deduce universal rules that govern numbers, geometry, and logic.  When applied to the analysis of data, mathematics allows us to derive conclusions, for example, about the likelihood of random events or the effectiveness of medical therapies.  In today’s data-driven world we are constantly bombarded with numbers, from projections of the national debt to the likelihood of catching the flu, so citizens of the 21st century need an ability to critically evaluate numerical information.  The Core’s Quantitative Reasoning courses provide you with the mathematical foundations and analytical skills to investigate, evaluate, and draw conclusions from numerical evidence.

Steinhardt CORE Curriculum Courses

Current Steinhardt CORE courses meeting the requirements of the CORE curriculum are listed here. These courses are designed with freshmen and sophomores in mind and vary in enrollment from roughly 40 to more than 100. They are all four unit courses.

Proposing a Course for Inclusion into the CORE 

New Courses
Step 1: Faculty: Please submit new courses through the normal Committee on Courses and Programs (CCP) process. The CCP must approve all new courses before they can progress to Step 2.

Existing Courses: 
Step 1: Faculty: Please submit existing courses directly to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness at

All Courses:
Step 2: UAC Review
The Office of Institutional Effectiveness will submit the proposed CORE course to the Steinhardt Undergraduate Affairs Committee (UAC), which is a faculty governance subcommittee. The UAC reviews courses proposed for CORE to determine if they meet the criteria for a liberal arts course at its November and April meetings only. If the UAC cannot make a determination, it will refer the syllabus to one or more subject area specialists for their review and recommendations.

Step 3 (if necessary): Modification and Resubmission
If the UAC or subject area specialists recommend further modifications to the course, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness will forward those recommendations to the proposer for review and resubmission.

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness will inform proposers on the status of the review each step of the way. 

Because of this additional review, please plan on a longer lead time for such courses before they can be offered.

Submission Deadlines

CCP Approval Date: April-October
UAC Review: November
1st Term Course Can Be Offered: Fall


CCP Approval Date: November-March
UAC Review: April
1st Term Course Can Be Offered: Spring