Belong. Explore. Evolve.

Almost every college and university has a “general education” curriculum for undergraduate students. Usually these courses aim to take you beyond your major and ensure that you have a well-rounded education. But Ƶ aims to do more than that.

Our program will give you the tools and confidence to explore and challenge yourself. They help you develop the skills that employers are looking for. And they prepare you to lead a life of purpose, in work and in life.

Ƶ’ Core Curriculum was intentionally developed to provide you with these opportunities. It blends common courses you’ll take with all your fellow students with opportunities to choose from a range of courses to fulfill particular requirements. 

The First-Year Experience

Our first-year Core Curriculum courses focus on helping you develop the most important academic skills for college success. Skills like conducting research, persuasive writing and speaking, and navigating difficult conversations. Along the way, you’ll build community with other students, explore new ideas, and challenge yourself.

  • First-Year Foundations: What’s Your Story?

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    Four years may seem like a long time, but it goes by in a flash. What do you want to see, do, and learn during your time at Ƶ? Together, we’ll read texts that explore some of life’s big questions: Who am I? Where do I want to go? How will I get there?

    You’ll learn about and connect to resources and opportunities at Ƶ and design a plan for your four-year undergraduate journey.

  • Conflict & Collaboration

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    In our personal and professional lives, having deep conversations about things that matter can be hard. That’s because a villain called Conflict stands in the way of meaningful discussions. We need brave and vulnerable communicators. But taking that first step can feel risky and uncomfortable.

    This course will help you develop a modern super power to improve your relationships, strengthen your decision making, pursue positive social change, and boost your professional success. Constructive dialogue is a form of conversation where people with different perspectives try to understand each other – without giving up their own beliefs – in order to learn, live, and work together.

    • LEARN why our brains are hard-wired for conflict!
    • DEVELOP constructive dialogue skills!
    • PRACTICE your new superpower in a collaborative project with your classmates!

  • Inquiry & Communication

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    In these courses you’ll strengthen your ability to write clearly, speak persuasively, and ask critical questions. Topics range from

    • A History of Poverty
    • Social Media and Social Activism
    • Hidden Messages
    • Contemporary Moral Issues
    • Intro to Video Game Music
    • Conceptions of the Hero
    • Books on the Beach
    • Theories of Color
    • … and many more!

Conflict & Collaboration is just one of the first-year courses that make up Ƶ’ new core curriculum. Above is a scene from first-year presentations at the conclusion of their 2023 January Short Term course experience.

Other Key Ingredients

Essential Literacies

Quantitative Literacy: In these courses, you’ll work on strengthening your ability to understand the world quantitatively and to approach problems with a quantitative lens. You’ll have an opportunity to connect what you are learning to your own life and areas of interest.

World Languages: By learning another language, students come to appreciate the breadth of the human experience and their responsibilities to a global community; practice self-awareness, adaptability, and cultural humility; and come to a deeper understanding of their own culture and language.

Critical Thinking & Communication Across the Liberal Arts

These courses – found across every area of the curriculum – explore different ways of thinking about and seeing the world:

  • Storytelling, Myths, and Narrative
  • Diversity, Justice, and Power
  • Thinking Like a Scientist
  • Creativity & Innovation

No Planet B – Interdisciplinary Course

How can we be responsible stewards of our planet? In this course, you’ll explore environmental sustainability, climate crisis, and the impacts of environmental change on humans on a global scale and from multiple disciplinary perspectives.


In this capstone course available for seniors, you’ll have an opportunity to reflect on your college journey and integrate what you have learned. How has your path evolved? What do you want to do in the world? How do you want to tell your story? This course will also help connect students with programming and resources from the Center for Career and Life Design.

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is the process of learning by doing. Ƶ offers multiple ways for you to complete this requirement, including internships, study away, and research opportunities.

Life Skills Toolkit

In these modules, you’ll have the opportunity to hone essential skills for success at Ƶ and beyond. We have toolkits focused on wellness, technology, financial literacy, and career development.