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 38 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:

    • The First Year Experience Thread, which develops students’ fundamental academic skills
    • The Intercultural Thread, which prepares students for the increasingly global world of the 21st century
    • The Perspectives Courses Thread, an interdisciplinary set of options that helps 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 competency in Quantitative Literacy through a test, or by taking a course. In order to prepare for intercultural study, students must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to two semesters of college-level study.

First Year Experience

First-year courses

See course descriptions in the Undergraduate courses section of this catalog. Transfer equivalents are listed below

  • Core 100, Identity, Culture and Community 3
  • Core 104, Learning Community 1
  • Core 110, The Academic Voice 3
  • Core 115, Wellness for Life 1
  • Core 120, Engaging the Bible 3
  • Core (various), GC Seminar 3
    The GC seminar also meets one of the five Perspectives requirements (see below)

Note: Transfer students and new students who begin in January take Core 106, Culture and Community instead of Core 100 and 104.

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. Engl 105, Introduction to College Writing (prerequisite to Core 110)
    • SAT Reading and/or Writing Score: EBRW score=below 540
    • ACT English score of below 20
    • Adjustment for 2021-22: if no test scores, high school GPA below 3.5
  2. Core 110, Academic Voice (prerequisite to GC Seminar)
    • SAT Reading and/or Writing Score:  EBRW score=540 or higher
    • ACT English score of 20 or above
    • Adjustments for 2021-22: Advanced Placement score of 3, International Baccalaureate score of 3 or 4, high school GPA 3.5 or above
  3. GC Seminar (final writing course; also meets a Perspective requirement)
    • AP English composition score of 4 or 5, an IB SL English score of 5, 6, or 7, or college credit that meets Core 110 requirement. Note: dual-credit courses need a grade of “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 GC Seminar but may enroll in a fifth Perspectives class instead (See fuller explanation under Perspectives courses descriptions.).

CORE (various nos.), GC Seminar (3 credits)

A writing and research course designed to help students think broadly about complex problems, shape capacity for research, and reinforce communication, information literacy, and quantitative literacy skills. Each GC Seminar also meets one of the Perspectives course requirements in the Goshen Core. Prerequisite: CORE 110, The Academic Voice (or equivalent). The Quantitative Literacy requirement must be met before taking a GC Seminar, or you must be enrolled in a mathematics class to meet the QL requirement during the same semester as your GC Seminar.

Quantitative Literacy (QL)

Must be completed by fall of second year.
The QL requirement may be met in one of four ways:

  1. For students entering with SAT Math scores below 520 or ACT Math scores below 20: complete the course Math 105, Quantitative Reasoning.
  2. For students entering with SAT Math scores of 520-560 or ACT Math scores 20-23: Complete Math 115, Math 131, Math 141, or Math 170.
  3. For students with any of the following, the QL requirement is met:
    • SAT Math score of 570 or higher
    • ACT Math score of 24 or higher
    • Minimum AP Calculus score of 4 (for AB level) or 3 (for BC level)
    • Minimum IB score of 5 in Mathematics or Mathematical Studies
    • College credit in 100-level or higher mathematics course
  4. For students entering with no test scores or college credit in mathematics: complete an appropriate level mathematics course or pass a competency test, offered at the beginning of each semester, with a score of 60% or higher.

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 Engagement section of the catalog and at

Three intercultural study paths

1. International Study-Service Term (SST)

  • INTL 250 Study Service Term 13
  • Core 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 or two semesters of college-level study, depending on the location.

2. On-campus Alternate Program

  • Four courses detailed below12

Three approved alternate courses (see International Education section of catalog), followed by Core 300, Global Issues. Language prerequisite of any world language at the 102-level, completed by placement test, course credit, or CLEP exam. For education majors, one diverse field experience course counts as one of the three alternate courses. For nursing majors, the community health clinical course counts as one of the three alternate courses.

3. Study abroad with other international programs
See details in the International Education section of the catalog.

Perspectives courses

Perspectives courses focus on the investigation of a complex problem or issue. The professor’s discipline will serve as a platform for approaching the topic, but courses will also include examining various perspectives within an interdisciplinary framework. These courses can be taken at any time during the four years. Students take one Perspectives course in each of five categories. The GC Seminar meets one of the five requirements. Descriptions of individual Perspectives 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 For Perspectives course descriptions, see the Goshen Core webpage at

Artistic World (AW) – 3 credit hours

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

  • Core 180, GC Seminar: Identity in World Literature
  • Core 181, GC Seminar: Writing about Home
  • Core 184, GC Seminar: Are We Still Human?
  • Core 186, GC Seminar: Walking in the World
  • Core 187, GC Seminar: 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
  • Engl 230, Arthurian Literature and Film
  • Engl 235, Comics and Graphic Novels
  • Engl 303, American Literature of Slavery and Empire
  • Mus 206, Music Theater: Styles, Expression, and Culture
  • Thea 201, Theater for Social Change

Natural World (NW) – 3 credit hours

The natural created order, including the earth and its systems. These courses include a significant quantitative literacy (QL) project. Prerequisite: QL requirement. Options:

  • Core 160, GC Seminar: Energy and Environment
  • 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:

  • Biol 212, Empathic Animals
  • Core 192, GC Seminar: War, Peace and Nonresistance
  • Math 201, Fair Allocation
  • Nurs 309, Healthcare Ethics
  • PJCS 201, Violence and Nonviolence
  • PJCS 202, Spiritual Path of Peacemakers
  • PJCS 203, Authentic Mission
  • PJCS 204, Vengeance and Forgiveness
  • 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 170, GC Seminar: Speaking of Death
  • Core 172, GC Seminar:  Religion & Politics
  • Core 173, GC Seminar: World Christianity
  • Core 174, GC Seminar: Philosophy, Wonder & Existence
  • Core 175, GC Seminar:  Religion and Work
  • Core 176, GC Seminar: Amish, Mennonite, and American Religion
  • Hist 204, What is the Good Life?
  • Hist 218, Anabaptism in a Global Context
  • Phil 203, Living Ethically
  • Rel 203, Jesus at the Movies
  • Rel 205, Religion in America
  • Rel 206, Religion and Sports
  • Rel 286, Creation and Evolution
  • Rel 330, Religion and Sexuality

Social World (SW) – 3 credit hours

Values and histories underlying cultures, societies, and religious traditions and the relationships between them. These courses include a significant quantitative literacy (QL) project. Prerequisite: QL requirement. Options:

  • Core 153, GC Seminar: The Digital Age
  • Comm 235, Gendered Communication
  • Hist 101, Ancient Roots of Culture
  • Hist 102, Becoming Modern
  • Hist 211, Revolution!
  • Hist 212, Thinking About the Dead
  • Hist 217, Geography and Culture
  • Hist 214, American Culture Wars
  • Psyc 201, Heroic Acts and Heinous Crimes
  • Psyc 210, Developmental Psychology
  • Psyc 217, Multicultural Psychology
  • Soc 201, Food Systems
  • Soc 238, Social Change
  • 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 support one another in extra-curricular pursuits. These events will be advertised as offering “convo credit.”

Transfer equivalents for Core requirements

  • Core 106, Culture and Community 3
    (cultural anthropology or similar first-year identity & culture class)
  • 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)
  • GC Seminar 3
    (second college composition course upon review of the registrar)
  • Core 120, Engaging the Bible 3
    (New Testament, Old Testament or Bible survey)
  • 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, Quantitative Literacy and 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.

  • Core 106, Culture and Community 3
  • Choice of one (must be taken at Goshen) 3
    Core 120, Engaging the Bible
    Religious World perspectives course
    Peacemaking perspectives course
  • Global engagement (two options) 6-23
    1. On campus alternative to SST (6-10):
      One semester of foreign language or equiv (0-4)
      One course from SST alternate list(3)
      Core 300, Global Issues (3)
    2. International SST (15-23):
      Two semesters of foreign language or equivalent (0-8)
      International Study Service Term semester (15)

Student learning outcomes

The Goshen Core uses Student Learning Outcomes as both a target for student achievement and a foundation for planning and development. The following learning outcomes form the basis of our curricular and co-curricular goals and address the essential knowledge, skills, and responsibilities that shape the environment we construct to support student learning. This integrative approach to learning will assist students in defining their identities and preparing them to engage twenty-first century challenges. As we continue to create a community of faith and learning, we believe that the learning outcomes must serve students in living out the five core values.

Overall primary outcome: Integrative Learning

The Goshen Core’s explicit focus is on Integrative Learning as the primary learning outcome. As such the program has three curricular (3) “threads”: a) fundamental academic skills, b) intercultural skills and experiences, and c) interdisciplinary frameworks for learning and developing dispositions appropriate for integration of knowledge, skills, and responsibilities. Students will begin the first year designed to cement their fundamental academic skills and to launch them into the intercultural and interdisciplinary realms. Either an intensive or extended encounter learning about an intercultural environment will follow. Courses designed to highlight the perspectives of the following areas of study will round out the Core experience: The Religious World, The Social World, The Natural World, The Artistic World, and Peacemaking.

Outcomes by area of learning:


In our academic and campus life programs, students will develop knowledge of:

  • The Christian Story: The biblical basis and theological exploration of Christian faith
  • Identity: Self, personal growth, and one’s relationship to multiple communities
  • The Social World: Values and histories underlying cultures, societies and religious traditions 
  • The Natural World: The natural created order, including the earth and its systems
  • The Religious World: Religious traditions, studies of Christian faith within the context of the broader religious world
  • The Artistic World: Forms of human thought, movement, imagination, and innovation
  • Peacemaking: Factors that create and sustain frameworks for the essential relationships between and among humans, God, and the natural world


In our academic and campus life programs, students will grow in their mastery of the following intellectual and practical skills:

  • Communication: Listening, reading, writing, speaking and interacting effectively
  • Quantitative literacy: Using basic mathematical concepts and operations required for problem-solving and decision-making
  • Inquiry: Using visual and information literacy to gather appropriate evidence from multiple data sources
  • Critical and reflective thinking: Analyzing, interpreting, evaluating and using evidence to make good judgments
  • Problem-solving: Working individually and collaboratively for creative solutions
  • Intercultural competence: Acquiring language and cross-cultural communication skills to interact effectively with people from diverse communities


In our academic and campus life programs, students will develop a sense of personal and social responsibility for:

  • Faith in Action: Reflecting on the relationship between personal faith and life choices that support God’s justice, reconciliation, and peace
  • Ethical reasoning: Living and serving with integrity in a variety of communities
  • Intercultural openness: Creating partnerships with people across difference to learn from one another and work towards equity
  • Local and global community engagement: Understanding human systems and knowing how to bring about change peacefully
  • Lifelong learning: Remaining curious and occupying an inquiry stance in the face of challenges to current understandings of oneself and of the world
  • Living Sustainably: Working to create restorative relationships with the natural world


Integrative learning is an understanding and disposition that a student builds across the curriculum and co-curriculum, from making connections among ideas and experiences to synthesizing and transferring learning to new, complex situations within and beyond the campus. We promote the integration of learning across disciplines because we believe the acquisition and application of knowledge are most successful when shaped by various perspectives. An integrative approach highlights these realities and supports students in understanding how to select and apply appropriate techniques and methodologies for solving complex and significant problems.