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Proposing a Course for the Global Core or Science Requirement

In order to receive the Bachelor of Arts degree, all Columbia College students must complete the five shared courses that make up the central Core Curriculum, as well as other general education requirements that include a two-semester Global Core requirement and a two-semester science requirement. School of General Studies students must also take two semesters of Global Core classes, as well as three semesters of science courses, while Columbia Engineering students often take Global Core classes to fulfill their non-technical elective requirements. Courses that are approved to fulfill either the Global Core requirement or the science requirement can attract a wide range of students who are seeking to fulfill the breadth requirements of their academic programs.

Because these requirements are so important to the full complement of liberal arts coursework that students will take, the Committee on Instruction (COI) relies on two advisory committees to oversee these requirements: the Committee on the Global Core and the Committee on Science Instruction. If you would like for your new course considered by either committee, please follow these directions.

The Global Core Requirement

General Information

The two-semester Global Core requirement asks students to build on their engagement with western civilization through the study of primary texts by pursuing similar study of non-western civilizations. Courses in the Global Core explore the cultures of Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Middle East in an historical context through the study of primary materials produced in these traditions, such as texts and other forms of media,  as well as from oral sources or performance, broadly defined.

Global Core courses often fall into two categories, or can sometimes be a hybrid of the two types:  

  • courses with a comparative, multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary focus on specific cultures or civilizations (and may include in part Europe and/or the U.S.), tracing their existence across a significant span of time; and

  • courses that address a common theme or set of analytic questions comparatively (and again may include in part Europe and the U.S.).

The Global Core requirement consists of courses that examine cultural traditions that are distinct from the primary focus of “Literature Humanities” and “Contemporary Civilization”. Like the traditional Core classes, however, Global Core courses should still be broadly introductory, interdisciplinary, and temporally and/or spatially expansive.

The Committee on Global Core uses the following guidelines when considering a course for inclusion into the Global Core list:

  • Courses that fulfill the Global Core requirement must contain primary materials throughout the course, preferably every week.

  • A Global Core course should place a significant emphasis on student participation in discussions of primary materials, either in a seminar class, in a small lecture class or in a required discussion section of a large lecture class. Like its more long-standing counterparts in the Core Curriculum — Literature Humanities, Contemporary Civilization, Art Humanities and Music Humanities—Global Core courses should be open to all students and should expect no prerequisites (except in courses taught in languages other than English).

  • The courses are intended to be, first and foremost, an undergraduate experience. Consequently, the List of Approved Courses contains mostly courses at the 1000-, 2000- and 3000-level courses, although some 4000-level courses with a predominantly undergraduate enrollment are included as well.

  • Just as the interdisciplinary nature of Literature Humanities, Contemporary Civilization, Art Humanities and Music Humanities inspires instructors to stretch beyond their specific areas of expertise, instructors of Global Core courses are encouraged approach their classes in creative ways — perhaps by re-imagining their existing courses to include primary materials, re-imagining or creating courses that open up new areas of study for the faculty member, or by team-teaching.

  • Because of this unique set of criteria that make a course suitable for the Global Core requirement, the ideal Global Core course is often designed with the Global Core requirement in mind. However, when this criteria aligns with the goals of a course within a particular department or program, Global Core courses may also be departmental courses that count towards the major or concentration.

We are pleased to advise faculty during the process of developing new courses, or re-shaping existing courses, for the Global Core requirement. Instructors who have questions related to the Global Core should contact Victoria Rosner. dean of Academic Affairs for the School of General Studies.

Proposing a Course for the Global Core Requirement

To submit a course for the consideration of the Committee on the Global Core, instructors provide responses to an additional Global Core Course Checklist and then must follow one of two processes:

  • If the course is a new one that requires the approval of the Committee on Instruction, there is a section of the online CIM Form where an instructor or department can indicate an interest in having the new course considered for the Global Core requirement.

  • If the course has been approved by the COI at an earlier stage, instructors can submit the course separately to the Committee on Global Core at globalcore@columbia.edu.

Global Core Course Offerings

A comprehensive list of all currently approved Global Core courses may be found in the Columbia College Bulletin.

To ensure that the list of approved Global Core courses is useful to students in their course selections each year, the College follows the following practices:

  • Courses that have not been taught in five years or more will be removed from the list of approved Global Core courses. If the instructor would like to teach the course again and have it listed among courses approved for the Global Core requirement, a new course proposal should be submitted to the CC-GS Committee on Instruction with a request to forward the course to the Committee on the Global Core.

  • Courses that are offered explicitly on a one-time basis (e.g., a course taught by a visiting professor) will be removed from the list of approved Global Core courses once the term of instruction concludes.

The Science Requirement

General Information

The two-semester science requirement asks students to build on their initial engagement with scientific phenomena and thinking in Frontiers of Science by asking students to consider what questions asked about nature, how hypotheses are tested against experimental or observational evidence, how results of tests are evaluated and what knowledge has been accumulated about the workings of the natural world.

Proposing a Course for the Science Requirement


To submit a course for the consideration of the Committee on Science Instruction, instructors should submit (1) a course syllabus and (2) a rationale for why the course provides students with the foundations of science education (as articulated above) to cc-academic@columbia.edu.

Science Requirement Course Offerings

A comprehensive list of all currently approved science requirement courses may be found in the Columbia College Bulletin.