Core Curriculum

Frequently Asked Questions for Students About Butler's Core Curriculum


1. What is the Core Curriculum?

Butler's Core Curriculum is divided into two parts - a relatively structured set of common Core elements and a more varied set of general Core elements in which students have a broader choice of courses within areas defined by specific learning objectives. In all of our Core elements, we are committed to courses structured by learning objectives rather than disciplines. We seek to have Core courses taught by the whole University community. We espouse Butler's mission that claims our students' learning ought to proceed by creating and fostering a stimulating intellectual community built upon interactive dialogue and inquiry among faculty, staff and students.

To that end, students enroll in two common elements: First Year Seminar and Global and Historical Studies, a sophomore-year sequence of courses. They, then, successfully complete courses in six general areas of inquiry:

  • Analytic Reasoning
  • The Natural World
  • Perspectives in the Creative Arts
  • Physical Well-Being
  • The Social World
  • Texts and Ideas

Butler students also complete Writing Across the Curriculum and Speaking Across the Curriculum requirements, as well as two experiences designed to connect them to the campus community: the Indianapolis Community Requirement and the Butler Cultural Requirement.


2. How many courses and credit hours do I take in the Core?

The common Core elements:
The First Year Seminar: Self, Community and World (6 credit hours)
The Sophomore Requirement: Global and Historical Studies (6 credit hours)

The general Core elements are as follows:
Analytic Reasoning (3 cr. hrs)
The Natural World (5 cr. hrs)
Perspectives in the Creative Arts (3 cr. hrs)
Physical Well-Being (1 cr. hr)
The Social World (3 cr. hrs)
Texts and Ideas (3 cr. hrs)

In addition to the common and general Core elements:
The Butler Cultural Requirement (8 events)
The Indianapolis Community Requirement (1 course)
The Speaking Across the Curriculum Requirement (1 course)
The Writing Across the Curriculum Requirement (1 course)


3. Can I be exempt from any Core courses?

FYS: First Year Seminar (6 cr. hours)

No exemption

GHS: Global and Historical Studies (6 cr. hours) 

Exemption for 1 semester (3 hours) after successful completion of 9 or more credit hours of coursework while studying abroad in a Butler-approved program. In addition, all International students automatically receive a 1-semester (3 hours) exemption for GHS.

AR: Analytical Reasoning (3 cr. hours)

Exemption after successful completion of at least 5 hours of mathematics or computer sciences courses above algebra and pre-calculus; students in professional colleges (COPHS or COB) with college mathematics requirements.

NW: The Natural World (5 cr. hours lecture + lab)

Exemption after successful completion of at least 8 hours of laboratory science.

PCA: Perspectives in the Creative Arts (3 cr. hours)

Exemption after successful completion of at least 9 hours in the arts, including art; dance; theatre; music; digital media production; recording industry studies; or creative writing.

PWB: Physical Well Being (1 cr. hour)

No exemption

SW: The Social World (3 cr. hours)

Exemption after successful completion of at least 9 hours in the social sciences, including anthropology; education; international studies; journalism; organizational communication & leadership; media, rhetoric & culture; strategic communication; political science; sociology; economics; psychology; STS; or communication sciences & disorders.

TI: Texts and Ideas (3 cr. hours)

Exemption after successful completion of at least 9 hours in the humanities, including most English; history; philosophy; religion; or literature courses taught in classical and modern languages.

C: Speaking Across the Curriculum

No exemption

W: Writing Across the Curriculum

No exemption

ICR: Indianapolis Community Requirement

No exemption

BCR: Butler Cultural Requirement (8 events prior to graduation)

No exemption

Students should check their Advisement Report to see whether they have completed, or been exempted from, the various CORE curriculum requirements.  Log on to, click on Self Service, and then from the dropdown under Other Academics, select Academic Requirements and click the blue button with the double right arrows.

4. How do I receive credit for the Indianapolis Community Requirement (ICR)?

Students must take one course in any part of the University that involves active engagement with the Indianapolis community.  Look for courses with the "I" designation, which signals the course will carry credit for the ICR.  Courses with an "S" designation also satisfy the ICR requirement.

For more information, visit


5. What is the Butler Cultural Requirement (BCR) and how do I receive credit for it?

Butler University has a rich set of cultural activities in the form of artistic performances, seminars and public lectures that collectively comprise one of our most remarkable educational resources. The aim of the Butler Cultural Requirement is to engage students in these most valuable and exciting learning opportunities, and to encourage students to develop habits of participation in artistic and cultural events that will lead to lifelong engagement with the creative arts and public intellectual life. 

Beginning with students entering in fall 2010, all Butler students must attend eight or more BCR events as part of their graduation requirements. Transfer students must complete at least one BCR credit for each semester enrolled at Butler University.

At each event designated as carrying BCR credit, students should look for the BCR student staff with the BCR symbol. In order to receive BCR credit for attending the event, students must have their ID card scanned by the BCR representative prior to the start of the event and after the event (within 15 minutes of the event's ending). Credit will only be given for attending the entire event. Each student may only scan their own ID card.

For more information, visit /core/key-components/cultural-requirement.

BCR symbol


6. How do I register for Core courses?

Students register for Core courses at the same time they register for their other classes.  Use the drop-down menu in course search to look for specific courses and talk with your faculty advisor about Core courses.


7. Will Core course offerings change?

Yes, new Core courses are added each semester.


8. How do I request a course from another institution be counted as a Core course?

Complete the application form, available on the Records & Registration website:


9. Can I receive Core credit for Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate?

AP and IB courses may transfer as elective credit.


10. Can Core courses ever "double-count" with other requirements?

It depends-for the most up-to-date information, students should check with their advisor in their field of study.


11. When do I have to finish the Core curriculum?

Completion of the Core curriculum is a graduation requirement, and so must be completed prior to graduation.  Core curriculum classes, with the exception of the First Year Seminar and Global and Historical Studies, can be completed during any year.