The Undergraduate Core

As its name suggests, the Core is at the center of your Pacific University liberal arts experience.

While a major is designed to give you deep knowledge within a discipline, the core is designed is give you a broad set of knowledge and skills that are considered to be the cornerstone of a successful and meaningful life. In short, we believe the core makes you a better person.

The core also gives students considering graduate studies the opportunity to complete coursework, such as writing and math, that is commonly required for admittance to most graduate schools.

Pacific revised its undergraduate core requirements for the 2018-2019 academic year. The goal of this revision was to make the core more flexible for students while maintaining its academic rigor and alignment with Pacific's mission and values. We also wanted to make the core simpler for students to understand and recognize how it combines with their major, minor, and electives to form a complete and empowering educational experience.Diagram of the parts of the Pacific University Bachelor's degree

Students are encouraged to complete as much of the core as possible by the end of their sophomore year. However there is no requirement for how quickly, or in what order, the core is fulfilled, as long as it's complete by the end of your senior year! There's a good chance that courses in your major will also fulfill certain core requirements. We call this a "double dip"!

A grade of "C-" or better must be acheived for the course to count towards the Core requirement.

The undergraduate core has three parts.


We consider this coursework to form the basis for success in college and in the increasingly diverse world we all belong to.

*FYS is required for incoming freshmen. Transfer students replace FYS with 2.68 or greater credits of English Literature or select Philosophy courses. Please speak with an advisor about FYS if you are a freshmen with an approved transfer degree


This section of the core lets you discover the different ways that academic disciplines approach the world and solve problems. You'll be introduced to the methodologies, vocabularies, and practices of the following six modes of inquiry. Each one requires the successful completion of 4 credits from a list of approved courses.


Time to put that knowledge into practice! These three requirements let you apply your disciplinary (major) and interdisciplinary (core) knowledge to social issues and your own self-designed research project.

Transfer Courses to fulfill Core Requirements

It is possible to fulfill core requirements by transferring in coursework from another regionally accredited institution. Please consult with Academic & Career Advising to learn more about how your credits will transfer to Pacific University

Note: Core requirements do not apply to the following professional programs: Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Health Science, Dental Hygiene, Bachelor of Applied Vision Science and Bachelor of Science in Vision Science.