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.

Every year, the Core Program’s annual theme revolves around the four cornerstones of the Mission of the College: equity, excellence, community and service. For 2020-21, the theme is "The struggle for/the struggle against." The program’s signature component is the CSP, which consists of small-group first-year seminars focused on introducing students to college-level academic discourse in the form of critical thinking, writing, reading and discussion.