Core Program


Our Core Program emphasizes critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, experiential education, public presentation, and a religious foundation. It develops foundational skills, knowledge, and disciplinary perspectives throughout a four-year college education.

Every major at Bryn Athyn builds upon the Core Program, and every course in our curriculum addresses core goals, either directly or indirectly. Ethics and technology are also crucial components of our Core Program and are addressed in specific ways by each major, with appropriate applications for particular disciplines.

Religious Instruction and Outlook

The central requirement of 12 credits of religion, one course per year, supports students’ education in all other areas. These four courses include an exposure to essential New Church doctrines, and they enforce skills in communication, analytical thinking, and information literacy. The third-year religion course emphasizes writing about theology. The fourth-year course frequently includes a public presentation dealing with religious scholarship or application.

The impact of New Church teachings on students’ experience in the Core Program involves more than these four courses in religion. In support of our mission to enhance students’ civil, moral, and spiritual lives, the core requirements include 18 credits in courses with a primary focus on spiritual, moral, or civil thought.

Liberal Arts Perspectives

The College’s mission statement articulates a liberal arts education with special attention to spiritual, moral, and civil life. Traditional liberal arts requirements expose students to studies of human life in relation to God, society, nature, and self. With this foundation, students are equipped to make well-reasoned choices in their lives.

Liberal Arts Core Skills

We emphasize skills development in keeping with New Church teachings about the importance of contributing to society. We are supported in this effort by accrediting agencies and advisory associations such as the Association of American Colleges and Universities that encourage institutions to make skills development and assessment a priority. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education emphasizes that an accredited institution’s curriculum needs to develop students’ proficiency in general education and essential skills, including “oral and written communication, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, technological competency, and information literacy” (Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education: Eligibility Requirements and Standards for Accreditation (2002) Standard 12, General Education).

Practical skills supported through the Core Program:

  • Information literacy
  • Public presentation
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Writing
  • Second languages
  • Service learning