Jun 19, 2024  
Butler University Bulletin 2023-2024 
Butler University Bulletin 2023-2024

The Core Curriculum

Butler University is home to six colleges, all of which believe that the University’s first responsibility is the liberal education of its students. At the heart of Butler’s undergraduate education is the University’s Core Curriculum, a set of academic requirements embodying our definition of what it means to be a liberally educated person. Introduced in 1945, the Core Curriculum is one of Butler’s oldest academic entities. Like all good ideas, the Core has not remained static but has expanded to meet the needs of a changing society. Today’s Core Curriculum, implemented in fall 2010, emphasizes the development of key skills that transfer directly into careers after graduation. Employers are seeking flexible, creative, and critical thinkers who can demonstrate competencies in strong written and oral communication, information fluency, intercultural awareness, and analytical and ethical reasoning skills. Through direct experience working in the Indianapolis community, study-abroad opportunities, and a commitment to social justice and diversity, Butler students engage central issues of our increasingly globalized world. In these ways, the Core Curriculum provides Butler students with transformative learning experiences that prepare graduates to make a meaningful impact on the world.

The Core Curriculum is required for all baccalaureate and associate degrees. All Butler undergraduates, no matter their major field of study, complete the Core Curriculum. Core Curriculum courses are not open to graduate students. Students are expected to consult with their academic advisor prior to registration each semester to plan their experiences in the Core Curriculum. For more information, visit www.butler.edu/academics/core/.

Core Curriculum Structure

The Core Curriculum consists of several key components, all of which must be fulfilled prior to graduation:

  • The First Year Seminar (6 credit hours)
  • Global and Historical Studies (6 credit hours)
  • Areas of Inquiry: Successful completion of one course in each Area of Inquiry. Students select courses each semester from approved course lists in the online Course Search utility using the appropriate course attribute.

Areas of Inquiry

Titles and descriptions for all Areas of Inquiry courses can be found at the beginning of each departmental course listing and in the online Course Search utility, identified by the relevant course attribute.

The six Areas of Inquiry are:

  • AR: Analytic Reasoning (3 credit hours)
  • NW: The Natural World (5 credit hours, lecture plus lab)
  • PCA: Perspectives in the Creative Arts (3 credit hours)
  • PWB: Physical Well-Being (1 credit hour)
  • SW: The Social World (3 credit hours)
  • TI: Texts and Ideas (3 credit hours)

To ensure academic quality and integrity, some Core Curriculum requirements may be satisfied only by taking courses at Butler University. Other Core Curriculum requirements have provisions that allow for completion via transfer credit, AP, IB, or other exemptions. For details, see www.butler.edu/registrar.

Additional Graduation Requirements

Students also must fulfill these three graduation requirements, also identified in the online Course Search utility by their respective course attributes:

Indianapolis Community Requirement (ICR)

The Indianapolis Community Requirement is a civic-learning component of the Core Curriculum that enhances academic learning while helping students become active citizens of their communities and of the world. The ICR immerses students in a wide range of innovative learning experiences that extend Butler classrooms into the Indianapolis community-to the benefit of students, the University, and the community alike. ICR courses can accelerate the process whereby students master the skills of their respective disciplines, enhance their understanding of civic-mindedness and social justice, and provide opportunities to develop intercultural competencies. Where volunteers may donate time to a project, the ICR is based on connecting experience outside of the Butler classroom to academic learning goals within the classroom. Courses meeting the ICR can be found in the online Course Search utility each semester using the course attribute.

Requirement Structure

Students must take one course in any part of the University that involves active engagement with the Indianapolis community.



Learning Outcomes

  • Have an active learning experience that integrates classroom knowledge with activities in the Indianapolis community
  • Use an experience in Indianapolis to further the student’s understanding of the nature of community and the relationship between the student and community
  • Further students’ commitment to service and ongoing involvement as community actors
  • Building courses and learning experiences that will help students develop the civic-mindedness that is foundational to becoming responsible citizens prepared to address future challenges

Social Justice and Diversity Requirement (SJD)

Requirement Structure

Butler University was founded on the principles of diversity, equality, and inclusivity. The Social Justice and Diversity requirement reaffirms these founding principles. Students must take one course in any part of the University that exposes them to critical scholarship on the root causes of marginalization and inequity and how to counter it.

Learning Outcomes

  • Recognize multiple and intersecting dimensions of identity and inequity through the study of critical scholarship on the historical, cultural, political, and/or social experiences of marginalized communities
  • Identify and explain the causes and impact of privilege, power, and oppression and cultivate tools for overcoming conflict and promoting equality
  • Recognize and critique local, national, or global conditions that enable, perpetuate and/or challenge social injustice and inequity


None. The Social Justice and Diversity Requirement is in effect for all students, including first-year and transfer students, entering Butler University during the fall 2020 semester and cannot be fulfilled during the summer terms.

Butler Cultural Requirement (BCR)

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.

Requirement Structure

Students must attend a total of eight cultural events on the Butler campus, such as lectures, performances, recitals, or exhibitions. Events eligible for BCR credit carry the BCR symbol. Ideally, attendance will be spread out over students’ time at Butler, but this is not required. Transfer students must complete at least one BCR credit for each semester enrolled at Butler University.



Learning Outcomes

  • Discover that some of the most valuable and exciting learning opportunities at Butler take place outside of the classroom
  • Develop habits of participation in artistic and cultural events that will lead to lifelong engagement with the creative arts and public intellectual life

Core Curriculum Courses