The Goshen Core

Director, S. Ehst

What we call “the Goshen Core” (sometimes called “general education” at other schools) is the set of courses and requirements that apply to all students no matter what major they choose. A Bachelor’s Degree at Goshen consists of 120 credit hours. For most students, the Goshen Core curriculum is 41 credit hours. See for more detailed information about the Core for traditional programs. For the Goshen Core in non-traditional programs, see details in the Adult and Graduate Programs section of this catalog or its website.

Core Curriculum

We designed the Goshen Core with the college’s core values in mind. Goshen College embraces the five values of passionate learning, Christ-centeredness, compassionate peacemaking, servant leadership, and global citizenship. In order to express these values through our curriculum, we developed a set of Student Learning Outcomes and then created a program with three main parts:

  1. Three “threads” of course work:

    • Foundational Coursework, which develops students’ fundamental academic skills and introduces them to the college’s core values
    • Global Education, which prepares students for the increasingly global world of the 21st century
    • Disciplinary Perspectives, problem-based courses that help students see how knowledge is constructed in multiple areas of study
  2. Other requirements: convocation and chapel, prerequisites.
    Students at GC are required to attend and participate in convocation and chapel events that foster intellectual exploration and faith formation. We also require that students demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to two semesters of college-level study.

Foundational Coursework

First-year courses

See course descriptions in the undergraduate courses section of this catalog. Transfer equivalents are listed below. Note: students transferring fewer than 17 credits are required to complete Core 100 and Core 104 at Goshen College.

  • Core 100, Identity, Culture and Community 3
  • Core 104, Career and Calling1
  • Core 110, The Academic Voice 3-4
  • Core 115, Wellness for Life 1
  • Core 120, Engaging the Bible 3
  • Core (various), Research and Writing3
    Research and Writing also meets one of the five Perspectives requirements (see below)
  • Quantitative Literacy (various)3

Communication Skills in the Goshen Core

Must be completed by fall of second year
Students are placed in one of the following communication courses in the first semester based on test scores, high school grade point average, or college-level credits:

  1. Core 110, Academic Voice (3 cr., prerequisite to Research and Writing)
    • EBRW score of 540 or higher
    • ACT English score of 20 or higher
    • Advanced Placement score of a 3 or an International Baccalaureate score of 3 or 4
    • High school GPA of 3.5
  2. Core 110, Academic Voice (4 cr., prerequisite to Research and Writing)
    • EBRW score below 540
    • ACT English score of 19 or lower
    • High school GPA below 3.5
    • Students who would like extra writing support may also opt into the four-credit section of Academic Voice.
  3. Research and Writing (final Core writing course; also meets a Perspective requirement)
    • AP English composition score of 4 or 5
    • IB SL English score of 5, 6, or 7
    • College credit that meets Core 110 learning outcomes, passed with a B- or higher
    • Students who enter with an IB HL score of 5, 6, or 7 or transfer credit in two college composition classes are encouraged to take a Research and Writing course, but may choose to take a fifth perspective course instead.

CORE (various nos.), Research and Writing (3 credits)

A research and writing course designed to help students think broadly about complex problems, shape capacity for research and reinforce communication and information literacy skills. Each Research and Writing course also meets one of the Disciplinary Perspective course requirements in the Goshen Core. Prerequisite: Core 110, The Academic Voice (or equivalent).

Quantitative Literacy

Quantitative literacy courses require students to interpret, create, and value quantitative information in personal, professional, and/or societal contexts. Students use quantitative data to solve problems, understand phenomena, draw conclusions, and make decisions. Students should consult with their academic advisors and reference the course descriptions to select the best course for them.


  • Bus 190, Personal Finance
  • Cosc 206, Computational Thinking
  • Math 105, Practical Math Concepts
  • Math 115, Applied Algebra
  • Math 170, Functions, Data, and Models
  • Math 211, Calculus I
  • Soc 154, Statistical Literacy

Foreign Language

Two-semester foreign language proficiency is a requirement for all students.

Global Education

One of the five core values at the foundation of Goshen College is global citizenship, so intercultural study is an important component of the Goshen Core. There are three basic ways to meet the global education requirement, listed below. All are described in more detail in the Global Education section of the catalog and at

Three global education study paths

1. Semester Study-Service Term (SST)

  • GLST 250 Study Service Term 13
  • GLST 305, SST integration capstone 2

Immerses groups of students in a significantly different culture for a semester, with a faculty leader. Includes study of language and culture, a service-learning placement, and homestays with host families. Prerequisite is language competence equivalent to one semester of college-level study; the second language course is taken on SST. Other semester options include taking the first half of the semester on campus and the second half in a location within the US for immersive experience.

2. Sequential Study-Service Term (SST)

  • Four courses detailed below12

Students must take the following courses within a sequence unified by a common theme. Language requirement for graduation can be completed by taking any world language at the 102-level, a placement test, course credit, or CLEP exam.  For nursing majors, the community health clinical course counts as the foundations course. Students must take the following 4-course sequence to complete SST.

  • GLST 241, Foundations3
  • GLST 251, Cultural Perspectives3
  • GLST 271, Community Engaged Learning3
  • GLST 300, Global Issues 3

3. Study with other global education programs
See details in the Global Education section of the catalog.

Disciplinary Perspectives courses

These courses take a complex problem or issue and probe it through the lenses of the arts, sciences, social sciences, religious studies, and peacemaking. Students take one course in each of five categories. The Research and Writing course meets one of the five requirements, and some students will meet an additional perspective through their major requirements. Descriptions of individual courses are in academic department pages.

Perspectives courses are designated on the printed and .pdf course offering lists with RW, SW, NW, AW or PX. For a list of current Perspectives courses, see the Registrar’s Office homepage at

Artistic World (AW) – 3 credit hours

Forms of human thought, movement, imagination, and innovation. Options:

  • Core 181, Research & Writing: Writing about Home
  • Core 184, Research & Writing: Are We Still Human?
  • Core 187, Research & Writing: The Poetry of Hip Hop
  • Art 201, Art and the Sacred
  • Comm 215, Turning the Lens on Documentary Film
  • Comm 216, Race, Class, and Pop Music
  • Comm 230, Inside-Out: Storytelling
  • Engl 235, Comics and Graphic Novels
  • Mus 206, Music Theater: Story and Song
  • Thea 201, Theater for Social Change

Natural World (NW) – 3 credit hours

The natural created order, including the earth and its systems.  Options:

  • Core 160, Research & Writing: Energy and Environment
  • Core 162, Research & Writing: Investigating Epidemics
  • Biol 205, Pollinators in Peril
  • Biol 207, Roots of Environmental Crisis
  • Chem 103, Chemistry and Health
  • Phys 154, Descriptive Astronomy
  • Phys 215, Climate Change

Peacemaking (PX) – 3 credit hours

The factors that create and sustain frameworks for the essential relationships between and among humans, God, and the natural world. Options:

  • Core 192, Research & Writing: War, Peace and Nonresistance
  • Nurs 309, Healthcare Ethics
  • PJCS 201, Violence and Nonviolence
  • PJCS 202, Spiritual Path of Peacemakers
  • PJCS 210, Transforming Conflict and Violence
  • Sowk 315, Child Welfare
  • WGS 205, Gender Conflict and Violence

Religious World (RW) – 3 credit hours

Introduction to the study of religious traditions; studies of the Christian faith within the context of the broader religious world. Options:

  • Core 172, Research & Writing:  Religion & Politics
  • Core 173, Research & Writing: World Christianity
  • Core 176, Research & Writing: Amish, Mennonite, and American Religion
  • Hist 204, What is the Good Life?
  • Hist 218, Anabaptism in a Global Context
  • Phil 203, Living Ethically
  • Rel 205, Religion in America
  • Rel 206, Religion and Sports
  • Rel 214, Sustainability and the Sacred
  • Rel 286, Creation and Evolution

Social World (SW) – 3 credit hours

Values and histories underlying cultures, societies, and religious traditions and the relationships between them. Options:

  • Hist 211, Revolution!
  • Hist 212, Thinking About the Dead
  • Hist 214, American Culture Wars
  • Psyc 217, Multicultural Psychology
  • Soc 216, Youth in Society
  • Sowk 221, Human Behavior
  • Sowk 320, Aging in U.S. Society

Convocation and chapel

Convocation and chapel programs gather the Goshen College campus community together for shared learning experiences and for worship, usually in the church-chapel sanctuary. Students are asked to attend a set number of events each semester.

The purpose of chapel is to tend to the Christian spiritual formation of our gathered community. Sometimes chapels feature an invited speaker and sometimes they are planned and led by the student ministry team. Convocation provides opportunities for personal, intellectual, and social growth. In convocation, we explore complex problems and contemporary issues. Some convocations celebrate students’ learning and accomplishments. There are also campus-wide events that can be attended for convocation credit as a way of encouraging students to engage with various lecture series and other academic events. These events will be advertised as “bonus convos.”

Transfer equivalents for Core requirements

  • Core 100, Identity, Culture and Community/Core 104, Career & Calling4
    (required for transfer students with fewer than 17 credit hours, excluding high school dual enrollment courses)
  • Core 110, The Academic Voice: Speaking & Writing 3
    (college speech and/or composition course, upon review of the registrar)
  • Core 115, Wellness for Life 1
    (holistic health and fitness course)
  • Research and Writing3
    (second college composition course upon review of the registrar)
  • Core 120, Engaging the Bible 3
    (New Testament, Old Testament or Bible survey)
  • Quantitative Literacy 3
    (Mathematics, statistics, or finance course)
  • Religious World perspectives course 3
    (religion, philosophy or ethics)
  • Peacemaking perspectives course 3
    (peace, justice, or conflict studies)
  • Artistic World perspectives course 3
    (literature, art, music or theater appreciation; history of art, music or theater)
  • Natural World perspectives course 3
    (biology, chemistry, physics, geology or astronomy)
  • Social World perspectives course 3
    (history, psychology, political science, economics, geography, sociology or anthropology)
  • Global engagement, on-campus option courses 3-6
    (international or U.S. minority: culture, literature, history, art, music, politics, or religion)

Modified Core requirements for students with an associate degree (A.A. or A.S.)

In recognition that associate degree programs have general education requirements which differ from Goshen’s distinctive Core, students transferring to Goshen College with an associate degree in arts or science have a modified Core requirement. The Goshen Core requirements for these students are listed below. In addition, convocation requirements must also be met. After matriculation at Goshen College, remaining Core requirements must be met at Goshen. Note: these modified requirements do not apply to A.A.S. (associate of applied science) degrees.

  • Choice of one (must be taken at Goshen) 3
    Core 120, Engaging the Bible
    Religious World perspectives course
    Peacemaking perspectives course
  • Global education (two options) 6-19
    1. Sequential SST (6-10):
      One semester of foreign language or equivalent (0-4)
      GLST 251 Cultural Perspectives or GLST 271 Community Engaged Learning (3)
      GLST 300, Global Issues (3)
    2. Semester SST (14-19):
      One semester of foreign language or equivalent (0-4)
      Study Service Term semester (14-15)

Student learning outcomes

The “Core Curriculum” is aptly named, as it is the core of the Goshen College degree. The student learning outcomes are rooted in our institutional values, the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition, and the liberal arts. These classes allow students to share common learning experiences that enhance their various majors, develop foundational academic skills, and provide a breadth of knowledge to complement the depth of the major. The following learning outcomes are integrated into the Core courses and are reinforced through students’ major and minor programs.

Passionate Learning

In keeping with this core value, all Goshen College students will…

  1. Explore the lenses through which academic disciplines investigate, comprehend, and marvel at the world.
  2. Strengthen their oral, written, quantitative, and information literacy skills.
  3. Apply disciplinary knowledge to probe complex problems, make well-reasoned arguments, and craft original work.

Christ-Centeredness and Compassionate Peacemaking

In keeping with these core values, all Goshen College students will…

  1. Reflect on their own identities, gifts and privileges in relationships with other people and communities.
  2. Articulate their spiritual and ethical commitments in conversation with the Christian story and principles of nonviolence.
  3. Apply their faith commitments and ethical reasoning to their personal, professional, and spiritual lives.

Global Citizenship and Servant Leadership

In keeping with these core values, all Goshen College students will…

  1. Expand their knowledge of and appreciation for multiple histories, cultures, and global systems.
  2. Acquire language and intercultural communication skills to engage with people and communities across differences.
  3. Connect with local and global communities through civic engagement, building restorative relationships, and working toward climate justice.