Students smiling and sitting in desks in the classroom

College of Arts & Sciences

The Baker Core

A unique approach to general education that reaps real results.


Dr. Tamara Slankard

Asst Dean for General Education and Assoc Professor of English

The Baker Core


Reimagining the Liberal Arts

Today’s quickly changing, interconnected world calls for intellectual agility and the ability to recognize connections. The Baker Core reimagines the liberal arts. Instead of simply checking off requirements to meet credit hour totals, you’ll gain a comprehensive, broad base of knowledge through integrated courses that support a relevant theme of your choosing.

Whatever career path you take, you’ll be prepared. The Baker Core develops essential skills in critical analysis, writing, oral communication, and information literacy—the types of skills employers want to see in college grads.


Two male students doing homework together

Benefits of the Baker Core

Systematic Foundation for Success in Upper-Level Courses

This broad base of knowledge allows students to recognize connections across academic areas and bring diverse perspectives as they explore their chosen theme. Knowledge gained from one year to the next lays a groundwork for success in the upper-level courses of their major.

Practical Preparation for any Career

Employers value skills such as creativity and problem-solving as much as a job candidate’s undergraduate major. The Baker Core prepares students to solve unscripted, real-world problems across all types of industries and organizations.

Ability to Understand Complex Issues

This multidisciplinary approach develops active, forward-thinking problem solvers who understand that complex issues demand the complex responses only an innovative, cutting-edge liberal arts education can inspire.

Ownership of Education

Baker students carve their own path  by selecting the courses they will use to explore their Baker Core theme. By taking charge of their education, they learn how to think, not simply recite facts.


How It Works

Take charge of your education by choosing the theme you’re most passionate about.

The Baker Core


Power & Justice

Examine how ideas of power and justice shape and challenge each other as well as their repercussions for societies, individuals, and the world.

Sustainability & Progress

Explore ways in which the world has historically moved forward socially and scientifically to determine how we currently imagine progress will be sustained into the future.

Exploration & Imagination

Build an understanding of the human quest for knowledge through innovation and discovery. You will be exposed to different realms of knowledge, be challenged to question knowledge, and be asked to reimagine how we gain knowledge.

Identities & Systems

Reflect on the ways that societies, communities, and individuals define themselves and how they organize their understanding of different aspects of the world.


The Baker Core integrates 24 credit hours of courses from the four discipline areas at the heart of the liberal arts tradition.

  • Creative Arts: drawing, photography, creative writing, music, theatre
  • Humanities: literature, international language, primary texts, religious studies
  • Social Sciences: sociology, communication, psychology, gender studies, history, mass media
  • Natural Sciences: human biology, genetics, kinesiology, math, physics, astronomy

You will also complete two seminars and one capstone.

  • First-Year Seminar I and II provide a rigorous introduction to intellectual life and help you make the transition to college-level writing, critical inquiry, oral communication, and information literacy. These seminars focus on the critical analysis of big ideas and enduring questions.
  • Interdisciplinary Capstone is taken during either your junior or senior year as the culmination of not only the courses supporting your chosen theme but also of your entire Baker undergraduate education. You will demonstrate how a liberal arts education has prepared you to understand the complexities and interconnectedness of a 21st century world.

Digging Deeper Into Themes

Identities & Systems

Power & Justice

Sustainability & Progress

Exploration & Imagination