What is the Elon Core Curriculum?

The Elon Core Curriculum complements your major and your community experiences, providing the liberal arts and sciences so important to Elon’s mission and so vital for globally engaged citizenship in a democratic society. It is an opportunity to explore ideas and expand your worldview. In the process, you will gain the lifelong benefits of complexity of thought, personal fulfillment, economic opportunity and global awareness. 

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First Year Foundations

The First Year Foundations includes three courses that launch the Elon Core Curriculum. The Global Experience (COR 110) introduces you to global issues ranging from immigration to humanitarian aid to our environment, and asks you to view these issues from varied perspectives, including those of your new classmates. In Writing: Argument and Inquiry (ENG 110)  you will develop your writing voice to communicate effectively in multiple platforms. General Statistics (MTH 110) will prepare you to critically analyze and evaluate data. 

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Student Perspectives on the First Year Foundations

Students answer the questions:

“How did ENG 110 improve your ability to communicate your thoughts to different audiences?
How is this course different from a high school English course?”

COR 110
Focus on International Economics

Sam Jones, Class of 2015

I took the Global Experience course with Greg Lilly and over the course of the semester we explored the economics of Burundi. The Gross Domestic Product of Burundi has now made its way into several papers throughout my college career, and I was definitely inspired by our common reading, Creating a World Without Poverty. If we invest in those that are less fortunate we could help them create a better life while still recuperating 100 percent of the investment. How could we not support that?

COR 110
Focus on the Culture of India

Matt Peery, Class of 2017

In my particular Global Experience class my professor focused mainly on India because she was Indian and had expertise in that subject. We discussed the culture, some of the history, and the religion aspect because much of India and its neighboring countries have been shaped by the conflict of religion from the Hindu, Islam, Sikh religions. She really made us think about how the intersection of those religions plays a part in what’s going on now, what happened 50 years ago, what happened a thousand years ago, and how that affects the country’s economy and other aspects of the culture.


“How did the Global Experience course change your worldview?

What did you gain from this course?”

MTH 110
General Statistics

Isis Malone, Class of 2015

Looking back now, I didn’t realize how important the General Statistics course was to my Psych major. After that semester, a good chunk of my psychology classes covered similar material. Taking this class made my tougher classes run smoother because it was the foundation that connected all the difficult pieces together. Just remember to keep your notebook; it’s a great study tool.

COR 110
The Global Experience

Desiree Porter, Class of 2015

As a first-year student I took COR 110 (The Global Experience) and that class really forced students to think of different realities that people outside of Elon face. It helped me to break through the Elon bubble and understand the issues beyond what I experience here.


Experiential Learning

The Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR) prepares you for a life of meaningful work and service. The five opportunities to complete your ELR include Internships, Study Abroad and Study USA, Research, Service-Learning, and Leadership. Integrating knowledge and experience, the ELR fosters an understanding and life-long appreciation for learning. Each experience is an opportunity for intellectual development. Where will the ELR take you? 

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Student Perspectives on Experiential Learning


Affording Study Abroad

Kyle Keith, Class of 2014

When I started college, I had never really considered studying abroad, much less in a small, tropical country like Costa Rica. However, once I got on Elon’s campus, the international culture and emphasis on study abroad was contagious. I think that many students can be discouraged from spending a semester abroad because of the perceived financial burden, but thanks to the Global Education Center, I was able to apply for a Gilman Scholarship, which paid for the majority of my expenses while I was abroad. Whatever you do at Elon, make sure you incorporate some type of international experience. You’ll be better for it.

Service Learning

Rachel Lewis, Class of 2015

I've taken a number of Service Learning courses throughout my time at Elon, each one involving a partnership with a different community organization. These experiences were the ones at Elon that best prepared me to work in a professional environment and that taught me the value of clear communication, and of true, collaborative partnership. Service learning is about really getting to know a partner and understanding their needs, and how their needs match up with your skills, but it's also about gaining really fantastic "real-world" experience. Service learning also connects students to their community, which is hugely valuable in terms of identity building and the gaining self-awareness.

Undergraduate Research

Desiree Porter, Class of 2015

My research has definitely been a transformative experience for me because I never thought I’d do research when coming to Elon. I got excited about my topic and I was passionate about giving students a voice. We brought our results to faculty members and explained all the experiences that go along with being an engaged college student, and this helped them develop methods to better advise students. My research was a catalyst; it’s changed my career path because I found something that meant so much to me.

Study Abroad:
Be a Tourist & a Local

Kate Schefer, Class of 2015

You’ve put money, time, and energy into going to a different country, so dare to immerse yourself in that culture and make the most of your time abroad. Act like a tourist–so you don’t have to admit you never saw the Eiffel Tower or attended Oktoberfest–but get acquainted with local shops, sights, and people, too. You’ll transition more smoothly if you feel like you belong there. Take advantage of student deals, free events, and university-sponsored activities and trips. Don’t turn something new down just because it’s slightly out of your comfort zone–you’re already 1000 miles away from your comfort zone!

Returning from Study Abroad

Omolayo Ojo, Class of 2015

Elon’s study abroad preparation is great, but my study abroad experience wasn’t all peaches and roses; even the semester after studying abroad is a big adjustment . But I wouldn’t trade any of my experiences. Sometimes it’s the tough things that really make you grow and that’s what we’re at school to do! Make the most of every experience, good or bad.

Elon in LA

Sam Jones, Class of 2015

I completed my ELR by studying in Los Angeles for the Spring semester. As an Acting major, the experience interning at a reputable talent agency and networking with successful, working members of the entertainment industry was invaluable. From hiking the Hollywood sign to filming an original movie at Malibu, the Elon in LA program provided me the opportunity to explore the city I will be moving to (in a little over a year) in order to begin my professional career as an actor.


World Languages

Learning another language will encourage engagement with other cultures and enhance your ability to participate meaningfully in local, national, and international settings.  Students at Elon study Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Latin and Spanish.  Advanced proficiency in a second language also deepens your understanding of worldviews and historical perspectives. 

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Student Perspectives on the World Languages

World Language:

Isis Malone, Class of 2015

I took two semester of Italian, and they were some of my favorite courses I had the pleasure of taking at Elon. I studied abroad later in Italy, and I wouldn’t have appreciated the experience as much without these courses. My Italian Professor taught us not only the language but also about the culture, and it helped me embrace the culture. Italy is beautiful on its own but it’s a whole different level of appreciation when you can understand passersby and the meaning behind the places we studied. The natives were even nicer to those who attempted to speak their language because it showed respect and appreciation for their culture.

World Language:

Laura Todd, Class of 2017

My Spanish classes in my minor have been my favorite at Elon so far. One of my Spanish classes really opened my eyes because it was a very political class which I was not expecting. We talked about issues along the border of Mexico and women’s rights issues, and we worked on learning the language and speaking conversationally.


Arts & Sciences

Studies in the Arts and Sciences courses will allow you to explore different approaches for understanding the world. You will learn to think through the lenses of different disciplines and use diverse bodies of knowledge in pursuit of a thoughtful, meaningful life. Who says your passion for animals, alternative music or your curiosity for Greek myth can’t contribute to your intellectual experiences?

Students will take courses in four different areas of the Arts & Sciences: Expression, Civilization, Society, and Science. For a full list of courses that fall under each area, check the Academic Catalog

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Students will also take Advanced Studies courses at the 300- and 400-level. These courses provide you the opportunity to pursue depth in the arts and sciences outside your major.  You can use these courses to complete a minor, a double major, or a semester study abroad experience. 

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Student Perspectives on Arts & Sciences

The Point of Liberal Arts

Omolayo Ojo, Class of 2015

The point of a liberal arts education is for you to be able to engage in conversations with different people in different fields, that you’re not set into just one way of thinking. You’re able to bring together ideas from different perspectives and disciplines and incorporate them into your conversation and into your daily life.

Be Purposeful and Adventurous

Lori Schachle, Class of 2015

These are not just requirements to check off a list; enjoy them! Be purposeful and adventurous in your selection, and these courses will open your eyes and spark passion in unexpected areas. You get so much more out a class when you are actually curious about the subject.


Interdisciplinary Capstone Seminar

After all of these transformative experiences and challenging courses, you are now ready to bring it all together. The Interdisciplinary Capstone Seminar allows you to reach across disciplines and challenges you to draw connections, integrating what you’ve learned at Elon.  With dozens of course options for the Core Curriculum capstone class, you can explore an old passion or a new interest through a interdisciplinary approach.

Examples of COR capstones:
  • COR 370 Interdisciplinary Zen
  • COR 384 Kennedy Assassination in Film
  • COR 387 Pride Humility & the Good Life
  • COR 388 Baseball Statistics
  • COR 389 Hero in German Culture
  • COR 438 The Science of Happiness
  • COR 447 The Music of Miles Davis

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