Prospective Students

What is the Core?

The Core is a broad set of courses that lays the foundation for a liberal arts education. These courses are sometimes called General Education graduation requirements. The Core is designed to sharpen your academic skills and allow you to explore the various modes of inquiry in the liberal arts.

FYE Program

FYE is the First-Year Experience. The transition to college life is challenging, but also a lot of fun. FYE is designed to ensure a smooth transition. Before school starts, you'll have the chance to have some fun and meet new friends on an outdoor adventure in the Voyages program. During Orientation, you'll be introduced to both the academic and social life that will be yours for the next four years.Then your first course in the Core will be the First-Year Seminar. At Pacific, the First-Year Seminar is more than an introduction to the College and its resources; Humanities 100 is taught by experienced professors who will challenge you to think and re-think some of your basic values and how to apply them to contemporary issues.

The Core

The liberal arts portion of the core has two parts, one for basic college-level skills and the other for broad exposure to different areas of liberal arts. The skills portion includes courses to ensure a foundation in math, writing, and foreign language. The liberal arts area requirements consist of four divisions of study: the Arts, the Humanities, the Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences. The Core requires you to take at least one course in each of the areas.

Focal Studies

Each student must complete two interdisciplinary focal studies. A focal study is a set of three related courses. You will be able to compare how different disciplines approach the same issue. Many options are available in the catalog, such as "Environmental Stewardship," Science and the Philosophy of the World," "The Landscape of Self-Identity," "Analysis of Creative Expressions" and more.


The Pacific Cornerstones are four building blocks of the Core that reflect the basic values of Pacific University and its mission. Pacific Cornerstones include: Civic Engagement, International and Diverse Perspectives, Research and Creative Achievement and Future Focus.

Senior Capstone

Your last Core requirement in your senior year is the Capstone project. For this project, you will work closely with your professors in your major field of study. You will integrate what you have learned in the last four years into a high quality written paper, artistic performance, or creative work that you will present to a live audience on Senior Projects Day.