Christ at the Core


Liberal Arts at Wheaton College

A distinctive general education experience marked by academic excellence and grounded in the person of Jesus Christ and his truth as revealed in the Scriptures.

Starting in the fall of 2016, Wheaton began offering a new general education curriculum – Christ at the Core – that fosters a distinctly Christian understanding of the liberal arts. Students will enjoy more freedom and flexibility in course selection and they will be challenged to develop their mind, strengthen their character, and prepare for a lifetime of vocation and service in the process.


A Tradition of Excellence

Since 1860 Wheaton College has pursued academic excellence in service of Jesus Christ and for the sake of God's kingdom. The new Christ at the Core curriculum affirms Wheaton College's historic commitment to Christ-centered and academically rigorous study of the liberal arts. The new core curriculum also addresses the new challenges students face in the 21st century while boldly and clearly affirming our distinctive identity as a Christian liberal arts college. Studying at Wheaton College cultivates the whole person to think and live well as a faithful servant of Jesus Christ.

Christ at the Core Distinctives

Christ at the Core builds upon our enduring strengths while offering a more cohesive educational experience. This new curriculum's most significant innovations are the creation of the Shared Core (common courses), and the Thematic Core (common outcomes).

Christ at the Core:
Liberal Arts at Wheaton College

(common courses)
(common outcomes)
  • First-Year Seminar: Enduring Questions
  • Old Testament Literature and Interpretation
  • New Testament Literature and Interpretation
  • Christian Thought
  • Advanced Integrated Seminar
  • Capstone Experience: Disciplinary Questions and Vocational Challenges
  • Applied Abstract and Quantitative Reasoning
  • Diversity in the United States
  • Global Perspectives
  • Historical Perspectives
  • Literary Explorations
  • Philosophical Investigations
  • Scientific Practice
  • Scientific Issues and Perspectives
  • Social Inquiry
  • Visual and Performing Arts
First Year Writing         Modern/Classical Language         Oral Communication          Wellness


Shared Core Innovations

The Shared Core encourages developmental learning with a series of three liberal arts courses and three biblical and theological foundations courses that all students will experience regardless of their majors. This shared curriculum deepens the experiences of students outside their classes and encourages intellectual and spiritual growth. Students continue to take our Biblical and Theological sequence of Old Testament, New Testament, and Christian Thought courses, foundational courses that give students the biblical and theological skills that anchor the learner in the eternal truth of God’s Word and encourage its application to all of life. In addition to the Biblical and Theological sequence of Old Testament Literature, New Testament Literature and Christian Thought, all students take:

  • First Year Seminar: Enduring Questions. This seminar introduces students to the Christian liberal arts by engaging enduring questions in a theologically informed way. Common material will include essential biblical and theological content that grounds investigation of enduring questions, the liberal arts, vocation, and character formation.
  • Advanced Integrative Seminar. This mid-career seminar builds upon the work of the First Year Seminar and fosters advanced skills in Christian liberal arts learning. These courses focus on a complex topic that requires interdisciplinary and integrative perspectives and models a sophisticated approach to bringing biblically-grounded, informed, thoughtful Christian faith into dialogue with the best of human learning.
  • Capstone Experience: Disciplinary Questions and Vocational Challenges. The Capstone Experience encourages students to pursue deep integration of their major and the concepts they have explored throughout the entire Christ at the Core curriculum. Students will also consider in their Capstone Experience how the First Year Seminar, the Advanced Integrative Seminar, and course work in their major prepares them for their vocations after Wheaton.

Read about information literacy in the Shared Core.

Thematic Core Innovations

The Thematic Core provides students more freedom to design unique educational experiences that draw from their personal interests while connecting the Christian liberal arts to the demands of our world.

  • Deepens Wheaton College's focus on faith and learning and encourages students to develop a distinctly Christian understanding of creation, culture, and the pursuit of truth.
  • Moves general education requirements away from a checklist of required courses to a new core model that includes a Shared Core of common courses, a Thematic Core that allows students to take an array of courses designed to satisfy educational outcomes, and Core Competencies.
  • Draws upon the strengths of the faculty's academic expertise while also allowing for multidisciplinary and creative course offerings.
  • Offers students the potential to reduce their general education hours while inviting students to actively shape their learning experience through greater choice and broader, more imaginative course selection.

Educating the Whole Person

In combination with studies in their major, Wheaton graduates benefit from a breadth of training that enables them to apply their liberal arts learning to a wide variety of callings over a lifetime. Studying the liberal arts at Wheaton College shapes the whole person for faithful living. Christ at the Core provides students a broad exposure to the arts and sciences while helping student form essential skills of critical thinking and Christian habits for life after college.

Christ at the Core also encourages students to develop a vision for vocation. This deepened focus on vocational issues within the setting of a vibrant Christian community provides students with highly marketable skills and a passion for service. Learning and living within a Christ-centered community makes Wheaton College a holistic experience that shapes the whole person for life.

Read more about the value of a Wheaton education >