Any education can teach you how to find an answer. An Oxy education will teach how to ask the right questions.

Occidental's approach to the liberal arts is embodied in its Core Program, an interdisciplinary set of requirements that all students complete. Core courses provide the intellectual foundation for Oxy’s commitment to its Mission of equity, excellence, community and service. They explore the big questions that we believe all students should address in order to participate fully in their college education, vocations and lives.

Taken as a whole, Core Program courses encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, effective communication and productive engagement with issues of difference, diversity and community. They will empower you to understand and navigate the different modes of creating knowledge across disciplines—an essential part of a 21st-century liberal arts education. The intent of the program is to produce culturally competent individuals who are civically engaged, both locally and globally.

The Core Program’s signature component is the First-Year Seminars (FYS) Program (formerly the Cultural Studies Program), which consists of a diverse selection of courses focused on introducing students to college-level academic discourse in the form of critical thinking, writing, reading and discussion. These seminars are small in size and limited only to first-year students. 

In addition, the Core Program offers an annual series of exciting events themed around different elements of the College’s Mission.