Students engage in discussion on Champlain's campus

Core Curriculum

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Champlain College's Core Curriculum is an innovative, modern update to the liberal arts. This isn't general education—it's specific education.

In addition to teaching you the work of your chosen career field, a Champlain education helps you cultivate all the skills and traits you'll rely on throughout your life. You'll develop your sense of curiosity, learning to formulate the questions that dig into the "how" and "why" of everything.

Balancing the career-focused work of your major with the big-picture experience of Core throughout four years, you'll gain valuable perspective and a deep understanding of the world and your chosen profession.

What makes the Champlain Core Curriculum different?

Instead of requiring a variety of general education classes and hoping you walk away with a better understanding of the world, we help you make important connections across disciplines. In our Core courses, you'll learn new ways of thinking and new ways of engaging with the world around you. 

The Champlain way is to learn by doing.

You'll participate in discussions and projects that encourage you to explore the community, the world, and your own perspectives.

  • One student lived for a week without his glasses and wrote about the experience.
  • Another student shaved her head—a style choice she did not take lightly. (Don't worry, the only transformations we require are metaphysical.)
  • A second-year class studied the history and social contexts of street art and then, spray cans in hand, teamed up with a local artist on a mural.

The hands-on and intellectual work you do in the Core Curriculum is a vital component of your Champlain College education.

We don't leave your learning outcomes to chance.

Our Core Curriculum is designed to nurture Champlain’s College Competencies in each student. These competencies—the essential skills that all Champlain students graduate with—are introduced in stages, starting in your first semester. Throughout subsequent semesters, you’ll further develop these skills and concepts, exploring their complexities and nuances. By the time you graduate, you will be equipped with a well-rounded education to back up your career-specific expertise.

Employers hire you for your industry-specific skills, but they keep you around (and promote you!) for your ability to create solutions, communicate effectively, and stand by your values.

A graphic shows the progression of skills through four years of Core



First Year

Your first year is for getting situated and sparking your curiosity! Learn more about how Core classes can help ease the transition to college and set you up for success.


Second Year

Examine some of the histories and social perceptions that influence our thinking. In year two, you'll consider life from new angles by diving deep into topics that interest you.


Third Year

Spend some time in another country! Whether you study abroad or stay in Burlington, your third year of Core will have you exploring other cultures.


Fourth Year

Focus your senior year on what matters most to you. An important component of your fourth year of Core will be your Capstone project, which brings together your Core learning with the work of your major. 


“Core has helped me to diversify my viewpoints. The discussion-based approach creates a space to form opinions and have my own opinions and beliefs challenged in a healthy way.”
—Tatum Robinson, ‘20 // Environmental Policy

“The philosophical and ethical works we discuss in the Core classes act as a solid base, but the real cultural information and self-reflection comes through the discussions in class.”
—Joshua Walker, '19 // Game Art

“My Core experience has allowed me to change my perspective of myself and the community.”
—Maddy Wailonis, '20 // Computer Information Technology