This site showcases colleges and universities that maintain strong core curriculum requirements. The "Hidden Gems" institutions all receive "A" or "B" grades, and several distinguish themselves further by additional core requirements beyond the seven core subjects of What Will They Learn?TM. Schools are featured on this webpage on a rotating basis. Please check it frequently to see new profiles of institutions with outstanding general education programs.
Colorado Christian University
The General Education program at Colorado Christian University integrates foundational studies in the liberal arts with a strong grounding in Christian theology. In addition to courses in six of ACTA's core categories, Colorado Christian also requires students to take classes in Biblical Studies, Philosophy, Theology, Fine Arts, Public Speaking, and Western Civilization. The university clearly states its commitment to helping its students become well-informed and thoughtful American citizens who can take an active role in the public life of their country.
The oldest university in Texas, Baylor is an institution with a rich history and a strong commitment to the liberal arts. Notably, the university's foreign language requirement may be fulfilled by either studying one modern language or two of an impressive array of classical languages, which includes not only Latin, Greek, and Hebrew but also Akkadian, Aramaic, Syriac, and Ugaritic. Baylor’s core curriculum also includes required courses in Theology and Fine Arts.
Virginia Beach, VA
Founded by American evangelist Pat Robertson in 1978, Regent University maintains a strong Christian identity and mission. Accordingly, the university writes that "the general education core curriculum is intended to foster students' personal, spiritual, and academic growth as Christian leaders who can change the world." Regent’s curriculum not only requires the six subjects necessary to earn an “A” rating from ACTA, it also includes coursework in Public Speaking, Philosophy, the Biblical Worldview, Christian Leadership, and Fine Arts.
Tuition: $22,444 annually
Morehouse is the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It requires every student to study U.S. history, literature, English composition, mathematics, natural sciences, and a foreign language; students with this level of preparation will be well-equipped to succeed in the global economy and to be informed citizens.
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
Tuition: In-state, $3,744 annually; Out-of-state, $8,904 annually
In-state students at this small public liberal-arts college pay less than $4,000 annually. In return, they experience an impressive core curriculum that integrates writing, math, science, and the humanities. The university’s core comes with a clear and confident educational vision: "USAO eschews the menu approach to general education, in which students choose from many courses that have been pieced together into broad categories. Instead, all USAO students take the same sequence of courses, building a common experience that binds together current students, faculty and alumni. This common set of courses is structured to lead students through a logical sequence of learning."
University of North Carolina – Asheville
Tuition: In-state, $4,729 annually; Out-of-state, $17,501 annually
Students at the University of North Carolina—Asheville take an impressive three-semester humanities core which covers Eastern and Western texts—from Homer, Confucius, and Bhagavad Gita, through Sei Shonagon and The Muqaddimah, to modern writers like Eliot and Tanizaki. Asheville also requires its students to study composition, mathematics, and natural science. Its core requirements are far stronger than those at the flagship campus at UNC Chapel Hill.
California Polytechnic Institute – San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, CA
Tuition: In-state, $6,480; Out-of-state, $17,640
Cal Poly proves that traditional liberal arts are still relevant to a 21st-century education. This technical institute’s innovative curriculum emphasizes hands-on "learning by doing" in fields like engineering, architecture, and agriculture. However, it still requires students to study—in addition to significant amounts of mathematics and natural science—literature, English composition, U.S. history, and economics. It’s no surprise, then, that the Wall Street Journal named Cal Poly graduates among the "best to hire" in business and engineering.
University of Dallas
This small Texas university is one of only three schools to receive credit for every requirement in What Will They Learn?TM. In addition to the What Will They Learn?TM curriculum, Dallas students read classic works of philosophy and theology, take a great-books sequence in Western history, and study the fine arts.
University of Georgia
Tuition: In-state, $8,736; Out-of-state, $26,946
This storied and prestigious public university is the only state flagship to receive an "A" grade for its core curriculum. As a "public ivy," it has a core curriculum that outshines all of the actual ivies. Students at UGA take a two-semester sequence that integrates composition and literature; they also study foreign languages, American history and the U.S. Constitution, mathematics, and the natural sciences.
United States Coast Guard Academy
New London, CT
The Academy describes its curriculum as "heavily oriented toward math, science, and engineering"—and it is. Nevertheless, students are required to study economics, U.S. history and government, and great works of literature, because the Academy views study of the traditional liberal arts as an important component of preparation for leadership.
Boiling Springs, NC
Tuition: $22,410 annually
Gardner-Webb is a small university with big expectations for its students. Students study composition, literature, a foreign language, mathematics, and the sciences; they also study U.S. history and culture as well as the heritage of the West.
Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi, TX
Tuition: In-state, $6,294; Out-of-state, $13,432
"The Island University," as it is known, is doing a lot right in undergraduate education. Corpus Christi receives an "A" in What Will They Learn?TM for requiring its 10,000 students to study six out of seven core subjects, including composition, literature, mathematics, and the natural sciences. Corpus Christi also requires both U.S. history and U.S. government, and is one of only 5% of schools in What Will They Learn?TM to require economics.
Tuition: In-state, $5,051; Out-of-state, $10,411
Brooklyn College has been called "the poor man’s Harvard"—and deservedly so. Brooklyn has an impressive record of keeping tuition affordable for all students, and its rigorous, integrated core curriculum earns it an "A" in What Will They Learn?TM. It is renowned for the number of its graduates who have gone on to earn doctoral degrees, and its alumni include a 1986 Nobel Laureate.
Kennesaw State University
Tuition: In-state, $5,042; Out-of-state, $14,618
Kennesaw State is one of three Georgia schools to receive an "A" in What Will They Learn?TM for requiring at least six of the seven core subjects. And Kennesaw State accomplishes that goal while charging quite reasonable tuition.
While over one-third of the colleges and universities in What Will They Learn?TM fail to set a requirement for a college level mathematics course, this liberal arts university ensures that every student has at least some amount of calculus in the general education curriculum. In addition, Fairfield earns a high "B" by requiring all students to take English composition, two semesters of literature, two semesters of foreign language at the intermediate level, and two semesters of natural science. The requirements do not end there: all students also take two semesters of philosophy and two semesters of visual or performing arts.
Sewanee: The University of the South
In 1940, Sewanee voluntarily left the Southeastern Football Conference, when it demanded that the university build a new, larger football stadium. Sewanee has kept its focus squarely on strong academic standards. It requires English composition, literature, two foreign language courses at the intermediate level, mathematics, and natural science. In addition, it has requirements for philosophy, Western civilization, and fine arts. Sewanee has set a high standard, too, for putting students first: responding to the recession, it lowered its tuition rate by 10% for 2011-2012.
Pepperdine students complete an integrated core curriculum which addresses important skills like writing and mathematics as well as traditional liberal-arts disciplines and the natural sciences. They also have the option to take a four-semester great-books sequence, which is integrated into the core curriculum and introduces students to great works, from Homer and the Bible to the present day.
James Madison University
Tuition: In-state, $7,860; Out-of-state, $20,624
James Madison students master English composition, literature, U.S. history, mathematics, and natural science, and they do so at a very reasonable price.
University of Toledo
Tuition: In-state, $8,491; Out-of-state, $17,611
A research institution doesn’t need to neglect strong undergraduate education, as the University of Toledo illustrates. This Ohio public university expects every student to gain familiarity with English composition, literature and the arts, foreign language, mathematics, and the natural sciences.