The Core Program is a liberal arts curriculum based on the study of the global great works. Students are introduced to the history, literature, art, philosophy, and politics of the world's leading cultures from antiquity to today. The curriculum also includes electives and courses drawn from NYU’s other undergraduate colleges, allowing students to explore various major options during their first two years at NYU. Upon successful completion of the Core Program, students will have identified a major program of study and transitioned to the appropriate degree program at NYU, met the liberal arts requirements for many of NYU’s bachelor’s degree programs, and completed 64 credits toward their degree.

All courses in the Core Program take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of foundational works that have shaped or been shaped by cultural traditions and social movements around the world. Interrelated courses connect ideas and materials from across the humanities and across historical periods. Students study many original works rather than textbooks, and the faculty integrates visits to surrounding cultural sites—museums, theaters, libraries—to complement classroom learning.

Core Program students build a comprehensive background in the liberal arts and sciences that will serve as a strong foundation for further study in their major program. Small writing-intensive, discussion-based classes encourage Core Program students to think analytically, read critically, and write effectively. These are the skills that every student needs to excel at NYU and, beyond that, to become successful in his or her chosen profession or with graduate studies.