Main Content

TCU Core Curriculum

Dr. Theresa Gaul, Director of TCU’s Core Curriculum

General education at TCU, given shape through TCU’s Core Curriculum, encourages students to make connections across areas of learning, to think critically and solve problems, to explore traditions that shape our present and creatively innovate for the future.

While students’ major and minor areas of study may prepare them for specific career paths or professions, the Core Curriculum emphasizes breadth of knowledge, integrative learning, and the development of the skills requisite to be a rigorous thinker and empathetic citizen in the world today.

The Core Curriculum is the curricular space that encourages students to recognize how a Natural Sciences course speaks to a Humanities course or to see how a Fine Arts course and a a Mathematical reasoning course can come together in an unexpected synergy. An Oral Communications or a Written Communications course provides the platform to synthesize and effectively communicate student learning in other Core classes or majors.

Importantly, the TCU Core Curriculum is guided by principles of equity and inclusion, and students practice skills in cultural diversity and intercultural sensitivity, civic responsibility, and global problem solving.

Before finishing their degrees, students at TCU devote around one-third of their academic study to the Core Curriculum. Many faculty devote most of their teaching energy to Core Curriculum courses. Departments and colleges across the university contribute innovative and engaging courses to its curriculum, ensuring its dynamism.

The Core Curriculum is the foundation of the academic experience of TCU for teachers and learners. Through your participation in the Core Curriculum, I welcome you into the academic community TCU brings into being.

Learn more about Dr. Gaul at and


What is the TCU Core Curriculum?

The educational experience offered by TCU reflects its membership in the worldwide academy of learning. The intellectual traditions of the University, honed by the scholarship and creativity of successive generations of faculty, are founded upon a rational and reflective examination of humanity and its natural and social environments. The essential elements of these traditions are captured in the TCU Core Curriculum requirements.

The liberal arts ethos of Texas Christian University is stated clearly in the Heritage, Philosophy and Goals section of the TCU Handbook for Faculty and Staff:

The University … regards as essential the advancement and communication of general knowledge which enables students to understand the past, to comprehend the natural and social order, to search for the good and the beautiful, and to integrate knowledge into significant wholes.

The TCU Core Curriculum is designed to:

  • Embody the liberal arts ethos of TCU;
  • Facilitate a focus on educational competencies, learning outcomes, and assessment;
  • Show sensitivity to the special needs of students in different schools/colleges and degree programs; and
  • Provide intellectual challenges and opportunities for students and faculty.

The TCU Core Curriculum has three components:

  1. The Heritage, Mission, Vision, and Values Curriculum (18 hours)
  2. The Human Experiences and Endeavors Curriculum (27 hours)
  3. The Essential Competencies Curriculum (12 hours plus 6 hours Writing Emphasis)

All courses in the TCU Core Curriculum may overlay with other requirements of the student’s degree program. The overlay feature provides the flexibility for core requirements to be satisfied in a range between 39 and 63 hours.

The Core Curriculum is assessed every seven years and will be assessed by a committee during 2021-2022.