How do I meet my Christ at the Core (CATC) requirements?
Christ at the Core, Wheaton's innovative general education curriculum designed to foster a distinctly Christian understanding of the liberal arts, is made up of three cores:
- Shared Core (courses that every student takes)
- Core Competency (competencies that every student demonstrates)
- Thematic Core (learning outcomes that every student achieves)
This guide is focused on helping you understand how you will meet your Christ at the Core requirements during your time at Wheaton. For an in-depth exploration of the kinds of learning that the CATC curriculum fosters, visit Christ at the Core: Liberal Arts at Wheaton.
The Shared Core consists of the following courses that every Wheaton undergraduate student takes:
- First Year Seminar – a CORE 101 course taken by all first-year students their first semester. Explore the different topics available and choose one that looks interesting to you!
- Old Testament – either BITH 211, ARCH 211 or BITH 221.
- New Testament – either BITH 213 or ARCH 213
- Christian Thought – BITH 315
- Advanced Integrative Seminar – take any 300-level CORE course. This will also count toward your Thematic Core requirements.
- Capstone – This will overlap with your major requirements and is typically taken during your senior year. (You can recognize it because it's usually the course with the 494 course number in the major requirements.)
Every Wheaton student must meet requirements for the following Core Competencies (note that many students take a course at Wheaton to meet the Core Competency requirements, but there are alternate pathways toward competency):
- First Year Writing – met through ENGW 103 (unless you have transfer credit that meets the requirement). For additional information about meeting the First Year Writing requirement, visit and contact the English department with questions.
- Oral Communication – met through COMM 101 Public Speaking (2 hours) or COMM 252 Argumentation and Debate (4 hours). Students may also meet this requirement by passing the speech competency exam, offered through the communication department; information on how to take the speech competency exam will be sent to you during the fall semester. This requirement does not have to be met your first semester. Visit for more information and contact the communication department with questions.
- Modern and Classical Languages – met through finishing a 4-credit Wheaton College language course at the Intermediate level or through examination or transfer credit. Visit for additional details regarding language course placement and alternate ways of meeting the language competency requirement. Not sure what language to study? Check out this Modern and Classical Languages Matrix to determine what language might fit well with your major. Questions about the language competency requirement can be addressed to the Department of Modern and Classical Languages.
- Wellness – met through taking AHS 101, Wellness (2 hours). Visit for information about meeting this requirement through the Wellness Competency Exam. Questions about the Wellness Competency Exam can be directed to the applied health science department.
The Thematic Core consists of ten themes that must be completed in order to graduate. The ten themes are often referred to by their abbreviations:
- Applied Abstract & Quantitative Reasoning (AAQR)
- Diversity in the United States (DUS)
- Global Perspectives (GP)
- Historical Perspectives (HP)
- Literary Explorations (LE)
- Philosophical Investigations (PI)
- Scientific Issues & Perspectives (SIP)
- Scientific Practice (SP)
- Social Inquiry (SI)
- Visual & Performing Arts (VPA)
- One 4 hour VPA tagged course
- Two 2 hour courses listed as VPAV (visual art), VPAM (music), or VPAT (theater). Pick two of these three tags.
- One 4 hour VPA tagged course
You can find courses in the course schedule that are identified as meeting requirements for one or more of these themes (yes, some courses meet requirements for two themes with one course!) You can see which requirements a course meets in the far right column labeled “attributes" in the course schedule; we like to call these "tags" too (e.g., "PSYC 268 has an AAQR tag.") For more tips on understanding the information in the course schedule, see our Reading the Course Schedule guide.
The Thematic Core requirements can be met with a combination of courses in your major (maximum of 3), courses in your minor (if completing a minor), transfer credit (maximum of 4 themes can be met with transfer credit) and the required Advanced Integrative Seminar course from the Shared Core. Each Major Academic Plan (MAP) notes the CATC Thematic Core courses that are met through the major.
We have a checklist for the we encourage you to use to help track your progress. Please note that , Christ at the Core Checklist Engineering Dual Degree Program 2021-22 and Christ at the Core Checklist Liberal Arts Nursing Program 2021-22 students use a modified version of Christ at the Core and should refer to their separate checklists for requirements rather than the general CATC checklist.