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 courses required of all students. 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 disciplinesan 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 begins before you arrive on campus, with a summer reading assignment for first-year students that illuminates an annual theme and frames a common intellectual experience. For 2019-20, the theme revolves around equity, excellence, community and service. The program’s signature aspect is the Cultural Studies Program (CSP), which consists of small-group seminars focused on introducing students to college-level academic discourse in the form of writing, reading and discussion.