Core Curriculum and Courses of Study

Core Curriculum

Designed to provide a common academic experience for undergraduates across all schools of the university, the core curriculum ensures the attainment of basic competencies in writing, foreign language, scientific inquiry, cultural knowledge, and interdisciplinary scholarship. Schools may add other degree requirements, and students are urged to consider these additional requirements when planning their schedules prior to entering a school. Distinguishing features of this core curriculum are: 1) the prominent role of public service, reflecting the value Tulane places upon developing a life-long commitment to public service and citizenship; 2) the required TIDES course, Tulane’s signature interdisciplinary first-year seminar series; and 3) a capstone experience through which students apply the knowledge gained in their major fields of study. The core curriculum:

Writing (4 credits) – Effective writing is central to learning and communication. The first-year writing experience helps students to develop the intellectual, organizational, and expository skills appropriate to university study. Writing competence can be demonstrated by:

Note: This writing requirement must be completed successfully in the first year of study at Tulane University. A student may receive credit for only one 119-course. Furthermore, ENGL 101 and any 119-numbered course are considered to be duplicate credit.

Foreign Language (4-8 credits)* – The study of foreign languages is an integral part of an undergraduate education, and a knowledge of foreign languages is essential for having a broader perspective of our increasingly globalized world. All students must demonstrate competency in a foreign and must complete at least one course at Tulane University in that language. Competency in a foreign language may be achieved by:

Note: All courses completed in order to fulfill the foreign language requirement must be taken in the same language.

*Candidates for the Bachelor of Science of Engineering majoring in Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering or Engineering Physics are exempt from this requirement.

Scientific Inquiry (9-12 credits), comprising:

  1. Quantitative Reasoning (3 or 4 credits) – Competency may be attained by:

note: Students completing a Bachelor of Science degree have additional restrictions on courses that will complete the Quantitative Reasoning requirement. Consult the individual school sections for more information.

  1. Physical and Life Sciences (6-8 credits) – Competency may be attained by:
  1. Cultural Knowledge (12 credits), comprising any six credits of Humanities and Fine Arts and any six credits of Social Sciences.

Humanities: African and African Diaspora Studies, Arabic, Architectural History/Theory, Chinese, Classical Studies, Communication, English, Film Studies, French, German, Greek, Haitian, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Jewish Studies, Latin, Literature, Philosophy, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese.

Fine Arts: Architectural Visual Media, Architectural Digital Media, Art History, Art Studio, Dance, Music, Theatre

Social Sciences: Anthropology, Architectural Urban Studies, Economics, History, International Development, Latin American Studies, Law, Political Economy, Political Science, Public Health, Social Work, Sociology, Urban Studies, Women’s Studies

Public Service – The Center for Public Service administers the public service requirement of the undergraduate core curriculum. The guiding principles of the center include the belief that public service, rooted in an academic context, contributes to the development of student civic engagement.

The undergraduate public service graduation requirement is grounded in a sustained sequence of learning articulated by the center’s mission. Instituting a cumulative and reflective graduation requirement makes explicit the ideal that education uniting public service and scholarship can be a transformative experience.

To complete the public service graduation requirement, students, throughout their undergraduate experience, will:

  1. Maintain a portfolio that documents their progress and reflections about their public service experiences.
  2. Successfully complete one service-learning course at the 100-, 200-, or 300-level before completing four semesters of coursework.
  3. After completion of four semesters of coursework, participate in one of the following Center for Public Service-approved programs (at the 300-level or above):

Understanding Interdisciplinary Scholarship (1 credit, TIDES seminar)

Every first-year student will participate in a TIDES (Tulane Inter Disciplinary Experience Seminar). These courses are graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. See for details about the program and current course offerings.

Capstone Experience (3+ credits) – Every Tulane senior must complete a capstone experience related to the student’s major or degree program. The capstone experience allows a student to demonstrate the capacity to bring information, skills and ideas acquired from the major to bear on one significant project. Capstone experiences will be designed by each of the schools and by individual departments/ interdisciplinary programs within the schools.

Major Component

A major field of study provides each student the opportunity to explore a single area of inquiry in depth and to gain the self-confidence derived from mastery of a subject. The major must be selected no later than the beginning of a student’s fourth semester of college study. The selection of a major program also determines the school with which the student will be affiliated. Students may change their majors at any point in their academic careers; students choosing to change their majors should be aware that:

Students who elect to complete more than one major, must complete all courses for each major. Students declaring a second major must submit their programs of study to the appropriate dean’s office for approval. At least half of the coursework required for each major must be completed at Tulane University. Newcomb-Tulane College students should be aware that obtaining a second major in professional degree programs requires obtaining the professional degree, i.e. B.S.E., B.S.M., B.S.P.H., M.Arch.


Major fields of study are listed below; details of each major program may be found within the appropriate school section of the catalog.

Accounting Jewish Studies
African and African Diaspora Studies Latin
American Studies Latin American Studies
Anthropology Legal Studies in Business
Architecture Linguistics
Art History Literature
Biological Chemistry Managing Human and Social Capital
Biomedical Engineering Mathematical Economics
Cell and Molecular Biology Mathematics
Chemical and Biomolecular Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Engineering Music
Chemistry Music Composition
Classical Studies Musical Performance
Communication Musical Theatre
Consumer Behavior/Marketing Music, Science and Technology
Dance Neuroscience
Earth Sciences Philosophy
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Physics
Economics Political Economy
Engineering Physics Political Science
English Portuguese
Environmental Biology Psychology
Environmental Science Psychology and Early Childhood
Environmental Studies Education
Film Studies Public Health/Environmental Health
Finance Sciences
French Public Health/Global and Community Health
Geology Public Health/Informatics
German Religious Studies
Greek Russian
History Sociology
Information Systems/Process Spanish
Management Strategy and Entrepreneurship
International Development* Studio Art
Italian Theatre
Italian Studies Women’s Studies

Coordinate Major Programs

Coordinate majors are interdepartmental second majors that are linked to one of the primary majors listed previously. Students must complete all courses for each of the majors.

Asian Studies Digital Media Production
Cognitive Studies International Development
Social Policy and Practice  

Self-Designed Majors

Some schools permit students to construct their own major program. Students interested in this option should refer to the section of this catalog for the school in which they are enrolled to learn about the availability of this option and, the specific requirements

Double Majors

Newcomb-Tulane College students must have a primary major in the Schools of Architecture, Business, Liberal Arts, Public Health and Tropical Medicine, or Science and Engineering. Any student may also pursue a second major. If the second major is not housed in the primary school, the student does not have to complete the school-specific core of the secondary school. Subject to approval by their advisers, students may also pursue a second major in a professional degree program; however, this option requires completing all degree requirements for the second major and obtaining the professional degree, i.e., B.S.E., B.S.M., B.S.P.H, M.Arch. (See Dual Degrees.)

Full-time students may pursue second majors or minors in the School of Continuing Studies only as a voluntary overload. The second majors available are journalism or media arts; the second minors available are journalism, Louisiana studies, graphic design, media arts, telecommunications, Web application development or website development.

Minor Component

Undergraduate students may complete one or more minors. The minor is optional and is designed to provide structure to the study of a secondary field of interest chosen by the student. Students who elect to complete the requirements for a minor must earn a grade-point average of at least 2.000 in courses counting toward that minor. No courses counting toward the student’s first minor will count toward the student’s second minor. Individual schools or departments may specify the number of credits allowed on major-minor overlap. Students should consult departmental listings for additional information.

Minor fields of study are listed below; details of each minor program may be found within the appropriate school section of the catalog.

Accounting Business
African and African Diaspora Studies Cell and Molecular Biology
American Studies Chemistry
Anthropology Chemical Engineering
Architecture Classical Studies
Art History Consumer Behavior/Marketing
Art Studio Cultural Studies
Biomedical Engineering Dance
Brazilian Studies Latin American Studies
Earth Sciences Legal Studies in Business
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Managing Human and Social Capital
Economics Mathematical Economics
Engineering Science Mathematics
English Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Environmental Science Music
Environmental Studies Music, Science and Technology
Film Studies Philosophy
Finance Physics
French Political Science
Geology Portuguese
German Preservation Studies
Greek Psychology
History Religious Studies
Information Systems/Process Russian
Management Sociology
International Development Spanish
Italian Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Italian Studies Theatre
Jazz Studies Women’s Studies
Jewish Studies  

 The Schools

As the homes of the academic departments, the schools define the requirements for the school-specific core and are responsible for designing majors/minors and the capstone experience. For graduating students, the schools also certify completion of majors/minors, the school core, and the capstone experience for the degree. The schools also deliver graduate and professional education and programs.

Dual Degrees

Tulane University offers the option of obtaining two undergraduate degrees. Newcomb-Tulane College students should refer to the school-specific sections for more information on pursuing dual degrees within the same school and consult with their advisers early in their academic careers. Newcomb-Tulane College students pursuing dual degrees within two schools must complete the Newcomb-Tulane College core curriculum, each school’s specific core curriculum, and the major requirements for each degree and at least 150 credits.

Undergraduate/Graduate and Graduate/Graduate Joint-Degree Programs

Tulane University offers a number of joint-degree programs. The undergraduate schools allow qualified students who have completed three years of undergraduate work to begin graduate studies in one of the professional programs. A student who completes the junior year in residence in any of the schools (not on a Tulane year-long study abroad program) and then begins study in one of these professional programs may receive a bachelor’s degree from the respective school after satisfactorily completing one year of full-time professional study.

To enter one of these programs, students are required to be accepted by the professional program and to obtain approval from the Newcomb-Tulane College dean by the end of the sixth semester of study. Joint-degree candidates are required to complete 90 credits during three years of study in an undergraduate school before starting work in the professional program. Since the fourth year of study will consist of credits completed in the professional school, no professional school course may be counted among the 90 credits that must be completed by the end of the third year of undergraduate study. Candidates must meet all core curriculum and major requirements for the bachelor’s degree in the undergraduate school. Students in joint-degree programs must complete 120 credits by the close of their fourth year of study in order to receive a degree from the undergraduate school. Students who fail to do so will be required to attend Tulane Summer School to make up their credit deficiency before beginning their second year in the professional school.

Transfer students must complete two years of undergraduate work at Tulane to be eligible for a joint-degree program. All students must file an application for degree at least two semesters prior to the anticipated date of graduation. Every course taken during the first year in the professional program must be passed, and the student’s performance in the first year’s work in the professional program must be of sufficient quality for advancement to the second year. A student who fails to meet this requirement may become a candidate for a degree in the undergraduate school after satisfactorily completing an additional year of study in the undergraduate school. If a student in a joint-degree program is a candidate for honors, the grade-point average used to determine the eligibility includes the applicable work done in the professional program.

Premedical and Pre-Professional Health Programs

While undergraduate students are completing the regular baccalaureate curriculum of their choice, they may work concurrently to complete the courses required to enter programs in the health professions, including dentistry, medicine, optometry, osteopathy, podiatry, and veterinary medicine. Preparation for such programs normally includes two semesters each of biology (with laboratory), general chemistry (with laboratory), organic chemistry (with laboratory), and physics (with laboratory). Many schools have additional entrance requirements including mathematics and upper-level science courses. Due to the variations in course requirements imposed by these professions, students should request specific information from schools in their fields of interest or from the health professions adviser.

Students interested in one of these professions may pursue a baccalaureate degree in any discipline. In the first three years, however, they should plan a course of study to meet the basic requirements of the professional school. Students considering a career in medically related fields should begin consulting the health professions adviser early in their undergraduate career to discuss available options in their choice of and preparation for a future profession.

Creative Premedical Scholars Program

Particularly well-motivated and well-qualified sophomores may apply to the School of Medicine through the Creative Premedical Scholars Program. Successful candidates complete the full four years of the normal baccalaureate program but are guaranteed admission to the School of Medicine upon graduation and enjoy special opportunities for study with its faculty while enrolled as undergraduates. Students are expected to follow an academically rigorous program while maintaining a high level of academic performance throughout their college careers. Only sophomores who complete both the first and second years at Tulane are eligible. A plan of study must be submitted with the application. To be considered, students must complete two semesters (with laboratory) for each of the following: biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. These courses must be completed at Tulane during the regular academic first and sophomore years with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.600 or better. Students with Advanced Placement (AP) credit in biology should discuss their status with the health professions adviser.

Prelaw Program

There is no standard prelaw curriculum that must be followed to qualify for admission into law school. A well-rounded education is the best preparation for the study of law, because such an education ensures exposure to a wide variety of ideas and leads to an understanding of the various social, political, economic, and cultural forces that have shaped laws and the societies they govern. Students should develop analytical reasoning and communication skills. Proficiency in writing is essential. Students considering law school are encouraged to begin consulting with the prelaw adviser early in their undergraduate career.

Prelaw Early Acceptance Program

Particularly well-motivated and well-qualified juniors may apply to the Tulane University Law School through the Prelaw Acceptance Program. Prelaw Acceptance Program candidates complete all requirements of the normal baccalaureate program, but are guaranteed admission to the Law School upon graduation. Students are expected to follow an academically rigorous program while maintaining a high level of academic performance throughout their college careers. Only students who complete all four years of college at Tulane (with the exception of the Tulane study abroad program) are eligible. (This program should not be confused with the 3+3 program, in which Tulane students are accepted to the Law School during the junior year and permitted to enroll at the Law School during what would otherwise be the student’s senior year, receiving the baccalaureate degree after the first year of law school and the law degree after two additional years of law school.)

To be considered for the program, students must provide a Tulane transcript showing normal progress (at least 30 credits per year) for at least five regular, full-time semesters of Tulane coursework, and evidence of in-depth study in at least one area. Students must present a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.400 and a score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) of at least 161. Applications should be submitted between October 1 of the junior year and February 1 of the senior year. The LSAT may be taken anytime between June after the sophomore year and December of the senior year. The earliest point at which the Law School will offer admission occurs after the fall semester of the junior year.

Internships for Academic Credit

Consult the individual schools’ sections of this catalog for information on internships for academic credit within a major or degree program and for policies regarding limitations on internship credit.

A one-credit internship, INTR 199, is available to students in the College who are seeking opportunities with organizations that require interns to receive credit for their experience. INTR 199 credit applies toward the degree but does not apply to any specific degree requirements. This course is offered only on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis and counts within the credit limit for S/U courses. It may be taken more than once but will count as credit toward the degree only once. Before registering, students must apply for this internship course with their academic advisor.

Co-Operative Education

A co-operative education program is offered for seniors in Chemical Engineering. Consult the School of Science and Engineering for details.

Independent Studies

Many departments and programs offer to a limited number of students with superior scholastic standing creative opportunities for independent study normally under the direction of full-time faculty members. The work may take the form of directed readings, laboratory or library research, or original composition. Instead of traditional class attendance, the student substitutes conferences, as needed, with the director. An independent study is a stand-alone course that may not be added to another course and may not replicate existing courses.

Less Commonly Taught Languages

Motivated students with demonstrated achievement in foreign language may enroll for courses offered in the Less Commonly Taught Languages Program.

These classes primarily are self-instructional; students use audiotapes, textbooks, and software where available and attend group sessions with a native speaker of the language under study. Progress is monitored by the program director. Courses taken in the program are offered as electives and do not fulfill the core undergraduate foreign language requirement.

Graduate Work

Students in Newcomb-Tulane College with a grade-point average of at least 3.33 in their major program may register, normally in their senior year, for up to six credits of 600- or 700-level courses not listed in this catalog, for credit toward a baccalaureate degree. Approvals from the course instructor, advisor, chair of the major department, dean of the College and dean of the school offering the course are required.

Provisional Graduate Credit

A senior who completes all baccalaureate requirements before the end of the senior year and intends to enter a Tulane University graduate program may apply for provisional graduate credit in up to, but not more than, 12 credits of both 600- and 700-level courses. These courses must be approved by the applicable department beyond the credits needed for the baccalaureate. Graduate credit for such work, if passed with a grade of B or better, will be awarded when the student is admitted to full graduate status in the applicable school, upon recommendation of the department chair and approval of the dean. These provisions do not apply to transfer of credits to or from other graduate institutions.

4+1 Programs

Tulane University has developed “4+1” programs in which students can obtain a master’s degree within one year of completing the bachelor’s degree. Students who pursue this option take courses in the fifth year at a substantially reduced tuition rate. Fields of study in which these programs are offered include anthropology, applied sociology, art history, classics, biomedical engineering, economics, environmental biology, environmental science, English, French, geology, history, linguistics, mathematics/statistics, neuroscience, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, public health and Spanish and Portuguese. Interested students should contact their academic advisers for more information.