Undergraduate Core Curriculum Program

The Core Curriculum represents the comprehensive program of liberal arts and sciences integrated with the biblical and theological studies minor which are the hallmarks of a Biola education.


Biola University's Core Curriculum (general education and Bible) provides a Christ-centered, integrated, and intellectually and spiritually transformative education that fosters cultural literacy and humble, purposeful engagement in local and global communities.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Core Curriculum:

  1. Critical Thinking - Students will identify and explain a problem or issue, recognize and evaluate concepts and assumptions from multiple perspectives, ask relevant questions, analyze appropriate sources, and articulate logical, well-organized, and innovative conclusions.
  2. Quantitative Reasoning - Within a variety of authentic contexts, students will analyze or solve quantitative problems (those involving data, functions, or computations); understand, evaluate, and create well-reasoned arguments supported by quantitative evidence; and clearly communicate quantitative arguments in appropriate formats (words, tables, graphs, equations, etc.).
  3. Oral Communication - Students will organize content cohesively, use compelling language and delivery that is audience-appropriate, incorporate supporting materials to establish credibility, and reinforce a memorable central message with civility.
  4. Written Communication - Students will produce well-organized and clear writing, supported by strong, diverse evidence and precise explanation, applicable to its audience and consistent with the conventions of appropriate genres.
  5. Information Literacy - Students will ethically discover, evaluate, and use information to formulate and address research questions, explain how information is produced and valued in a given discipline, and share their results. 
  6. Intercultural Competence - Students will develop an informed understanding of cultural diversity and respectfully engage people of various backgrounds, through campus, local and global community interactions.
  7. Civic Engagement - Students will develop an informed understanding of civic roles, rights, freedoms, and responsibilities, and will respectfully communicate and apply key concepts in diverse communities.  

Biblical and Theological Studies Requirement

Thirty credits of biblical and theological studies is included in most traditional student programs. (Certain majors have different requirements, see below. For online bachelor's programs, see the Core Curriculum Requirements - Online Bachelor's Programs page). It is recommended that each student take at least one course each semester until the requirement has been fulfilled. The following are required:

Foundational Courses
BBST 103Biblical Interpretation and Spiritual Formation3
BBST 165Foundations of Christian Thought3
BBST 209Old Testament History and Literature3
BBST 210New Testament History and Literature3
Intermediate Courses
BBST 251Theology I3
BBST 354Theology II3
BBST 365Gospel, Kingdom, and Culture3
Advanced Courses
BBST 300/400 Bible/Theology Elective3
BBST 300/400 Bible/Theology Elective 13
BBST 465Integration Seminar3
Total Credits30

A second BBST 465 course, taken with different content, can serve as a BBST elective.

For select high-credit majors at Biola and for transfer students with 45 or more transferable credits at the time of enrollment, the following Bible and theology courses are required.1  See the Biblical and Theological Studies Requirements page for more information.

Foundational Courses
BBST 103Biblical Interpretation and Spiritual Formation3
BBST 165Foundations of Christian Thought3
BBST 209Old Testament History and Literature3
BBST 210New Testament History and Literature3
Intermediate Courses
BBST 260Christian Theology3
BBST 365Gospel, Kingdom, and Culture3
Total Credits18

While Biola’s 30-credit Minor in Biblical & Theological Studies is not required for students in select high-credit majors and for those with 45 or more transferable credits, these students are nevertheless encouraged to consider taking the additional 12 credits of advanced and elective Bible and theology courses needed to earn the highly valued minor.

Students may count only a total of 30 credits of biblical and theological studies courses toward the required credits for a degree (students in the division of Biblical and Theological Studies — e.g., B.A. in Bible, Theology, and Ministry; B.S. in Biblical Ministries; and B.S. in Bible, Theology, and Apologetics — may count unlimited BBST credits toward their degrees).

It is recommended that part-time students (fewer than 12 credits per semester) include at least one biblical and theological studies course within each 15 credits completed at Biola University, unless the Bible requirement has been met. Part-time students seeking a degree from Biola University must complete the entire requirement as outlined above. Students in most traditional programs must take at least 15 Bible credits at Biola (6 of which must be upper-division). Students in select high-credit majors and transfer students with 45 or more transferable credits at the time of enrollment must take at least 9 Bible credits at Biola (3 of which must be upper-division).

Exceptions to these requirements are noted in certain academic programs. Please review the requirements of each program for more information.

Arts and Sciences Requirement

Students must make degree specific selections from the following courses in the arts and sciences.

First Year Seminar: The Biola Experience 11
Behavioral Science3
Fine Arts3
Foreign Language0-8
Kinesiology & Health Science 22
Total Credits33-44

First Year Seminar is required of all incoming students (freshmen and transfers) within their first two semesters at Biola. It is not required for students in online bachelor's programs.


Not required for students in online bachelor's programs.

Core Curriculum Requirement Credits by Degree Type

This is a general overview; some majors have exceptions to the Core Curriculum requirements. Students should refer to their major departments for more information.

  B.A. B.S. B.F.A. B.M.
Bible 30 30 30 30
First Year Seminar 1 1 1 1 1
Behavioral Science 3 3 3 3
Communication 3 3 3 3
English (100/112 & 313) 6 6 6 6
Fine Arts 3 3 0 0
Foreign Language 4 to 8 0 to 4 0 0
History 6 3 3 6
Kinesiology & Health Science 1 2 2 2 2
Literature 3 3 3 0
Mathematics 3 3 3 3
Philosophy 3 3 3 3
Science 3 3 3 3
Total 70 to 74 63 to 67 60 60

Not required for students in online bachelor's programs.

The courses that fulfill the Core Curriculum requirements are the following:

Behavioral Science

Select one of the following:3
Cultural Anthropology
Linguistic Anthropology
Introduction to Psychology
Introduction to Sociology
Social Problems
Total Credits3

Check the catalog to determine which majors require PSYC 200 as a support course. PSYC 200 is required for all majors leading to a teaching credential.


Select one of the following:3
The Rhetorical Act
Interpersonal Communication
Oral Interpretation
Argumentation and Debate
Total Credits3


ENGL 100Studies in Critical Thinking and Writing with Studio3
or ENGL 112 Studies in Critical Thinking and Writing
ENGL 313Writing in the Disciplines3
Total Credits6

All students scoring less than 480 on the verbal section of the SAT (or 16 ACT) must enroll in ENGL 100, unless they receive a score of 510 or better on the SAT II Writing Exam. There will be a late make-up fee of $25 when placement exams are not taken on the dates indicated in the student’s acceptance letter. Students for whom English is not a primary language may need to take ELP coursework prior to enrolling in ENGL 100.

Fine Arts

Select 3 credits from the following:3
Art Appreciation
Drawing I
Figure Studies I
2-D Design
3-D Design
4-D Design
Sculpture I
Ceramics I
Painting I
Photography I-Introduction to Darkroom and Digital Processes
Film Appreciation
Biola Chorale
Chamber Music Ensemble
Symphony Orchestra
Chamber Choir
Jazz Ensemble
Symphonic Winds
Vocal Jazz Ensemble
University Chorus
Women's Chorus
Men's Chorus
Music Appreciation
History of Rock: A Social and Musical Revolution
History of Film Music
Theatre Appreciation
Total Credits3

Entrance into ensembles is by audition. Not all ensembles are available for Core Curriculum credit. Credit for ensembles is 1 credit, therefore 3 semesters are necessary to meet the requirement.

Music majors in Bachelor of Arts programs must select from Art, Cinema, or Theatre courses.

Foreign Language

Foreign Language credit requirement varies by degree type0-8
American Sign Language
Elementary American Sign Language
Elementary American Sign Language II
Intermediate American Sign Language
(Offered pending faculty and enrollment)
Arabic Language and Culture I
Arabic Language and Culture II
Arabic Language and Culture III
Intercultural Communication in Arabic
French Language and Culture I
French Language and Culture II
French Language and Culture III
Intercultural Communication in French
(Offered pending faculty and enrollment)
German Language and Culture I
German Language and Culture 1A
and German Language and Culture 1B
German Language and Culture II
German Language and Culture IIA
and German Language and Culture IIB
German Language and Culture III
German Language and Culture IIIA
and German Language and Culture IIIB
Intercultural Communication in German
Elementary Greek Grammar I
Elementary Greek Grammar II
Intermediate Greek Grammar and Exegesis I
Intermediate Greek Grammar and Exegesis II
Elementary Hebrew Grammar I
Elementary Hebrew Grammar II
Intermediate Hebrew Grammar I
Intermediate Hebrew Grammar II
(Offered pending faculty and enrollment)
Russian Language and Culture I
Russian Language and Culture II
Russian Language and Culture III
Intercultural Communication in Russian
Spanish Language and Culture I
Spanish Language and Culture IA
and Spanish Language and Culture IB
Spanish Language and Culture II
Spanish Language and Culture IIA
and Spanish Language and Culture IIB
Spanish Language and Culture III
Spanish Language and Culture IIIA
and Spanish Language and Culture IIIB
Intercultural Communication in Spanish
Basic Spanish for the Heritage Learner
Basic Spanish for Heritage Learners IA
and Basic Spanish for Heritage Learners IB
Total Credits0-8

The study of foreign languages is required as part of the general education requirements of Biola University. Credit requirements vary based on degree. B.A. students are required to complete 8 credits of the same foreign language and B.S. students, in most programs, must complete 4 credits of study. Credit requirements may be met in one of the following ways:

  1. By completing at least two semesters (8 credits) of the same foreign language at Biola (at level based on standardized departmental placement exam) with passing grades for B.A. students (one course for B.S.).
  2. By completing and transferring at least two college-level foreign language courses in the same language equivalent to the achievement of two semesters (one year) or more at Biola (8 credits) with a C- or higher passing grade for B.A. students (one course for B.S.).
    1. B.A. students who have previously completed one semester (4 credits) in a language offered at Biola can either continue their study in that language or complete two college-level courses in another language. Students may be required to complete a placement exam.
      • If a B.A. student is transferring in only one language course (4 credits) from another accredited institution and is unable to place into the subsequent level course, they will have the option of either repeating the course at the level in which they place (note: repeated credits do not count towards total credits required — see the Repeated Courses policy in the Admission, Enrollment and Graduation Requirements section) or pursuing the required 8 credits in another language offered at Biola.
    2. For B.A. students who have previously completed one semester (4 credits) in a language that Biola does not offer, the requirement can be met by taking a one-semester course in a language offered in the Biola curriculum.
  3. By demonstrating course level mastery and earning academic credits through AP, IB, CLEP, or ACTFL exam scores. Score and applicable academic credit information can be viewed in the Transfer Students and Transfer Credit Policies section.
  4. Heritage language speakers and international students fluent in a language other than English are subject to the same requirements and avenues for satisfaction of requirements. These students may take language courses or demonstrate proficiency through standardized assessments noted above. Students are encouraged to meet with the Modern Languages Department for appropriate class placement or proficiency assessment information.
  5. English Language Program (ELP) students satisfy the foreign language requirement through completion of 8 credits in the English language program courses.
  6. For B.S. students only, demonstration of successful completion of two years of high school study in the same foreign language satisfies this requirement. All high school transcripts must be official and in English or accompanied by a certified English translation that documents coursework and examinations taken, indicates grades received, identifies passing and maximum marks and shows evidence of secondary graduation to be eligible for the foreign language waiver. International students must have successfully completed college preparatory courses in their home country. If the student has attended a university in his/her home country and would like transfer credit, he/she must have transcripts evaluated by a professional credential agency.


HIST 100World Civilizations I 13
or HIST 101 World Civilizations II
Select one of the following:3
United States History To 1865
United States History Since 1865
Survey of American Government
Total Credits6

B.S. and B.F.A. students are exempt from the World Civilizations I or II requirement and select 3 credits from HIST 200, HIST 201, or POSC 225.

Kinesiology and Health Science

Each student is required to complete 2 credits of Kinesiology and Health Science (KHS) to be eligible for graduation. Students must complete Lifetime Wellness and a Lifetime Wellness Activity course. 

KNES 107Lifetime Wellness1
Lifetime Wellness Activity 11
Total Credits2

Selection is made from the following KNES activity classes: 110, 130, 140, 150, or 201 for School of Education students. Note: First Aid and CPR do not count as KHS activity credit.

Credit for varsity sports may be substituted for the Lifetime Wellness Activity. In addition to Lifetime Wellness and Lifetime Wellness Activity required for Core Curriculum, the student may complete 6 more credits (maximum of 8) to apply towards graduation. Students 21 years of age at the time of entrance to Biola as well as those enrolled in fully online programs are exempt from the KHS requirement.

Students studying for the multiple subject teaching credential but not selecting physical education as a minor area of emphasis, should select KNES 201.


Select one of the following:3
Literature and Film
Topics in Diverse Literatures
Race and Ethnicity in American Literature
World Literature
Total Credits3


Select 3 credits from the following:3
CSCI 104The Nature of Computing3
MATH 117Fundamentals of Mathematics for Elementary Teachers I (fulfills Core Math for Lib Studies, Elem Ed & Lib Studies, Multidisciplinary majors only)3
MATH 120The Nature of Mathematics3
MATH 121
MATH 122
MATH 123
QR: Real-World Math Modeling
and QR: Real-World Statistics
and Quantitative Reasoning Topics in the Disciplines (1 credit each) 1
3 credits total
MATH 124Quantitative Reasoning for the Real World3
MATH 125Precalculus Mathematics3
MATH 140Fundamentals of Calculus3
MATH 150Calculus I4
MATH 180Topics in Mathematics1-3
MATH 190Business Statistics (fulfills Core Math for certain pre-approved majors only)3
MATH 210Introduction to Probability and Statistics3
MATH 318Biostatistics3
Total Credits3

MATH 121, MATH 122, and MATH 123 are only available by arrangement for students who began the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) sequence prior to the 2022-23 academic year. For students who have not taken any of these three courses, MATH 124 is the recommended replacement course. 


Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Logic
Introduction to Ancient Philosophy
Introduction to Medieval Philosophy
Introduction to Modern Philosophy
Introduction to Philosophy
Introduction to Ethics
Introduction to Philosophy and Aesthetics
Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
Philosophical Topics
Philosophical Topics
Total Credits3


3 credits of science are required. BIOS 100 and PHSC 101 have both been designed for the student with a limited background in science. 

Select 3 credits from the following:3
Physical Anthropology
Biological Principles
Introduction to Environmental Science
Current Topics in Biology
The Chemistry of Everyday Life
General Chemistry I
Introduction to Chemistry
Principles of Organic and Biochemistry
Physical Science Survey: Lecture
Physical Science Survey Laboratory
Geology Laboratory
Topics in Physical Science
Physics of Superheroes
Physics of Sound
Physics I
and Physics I Laboratory
Physics in Everyday Life
and Physics in Everyday Life Laboratory
General Physics I: Mechanics and Heat
and General Physics I Laboratory
Science and Origins
Total Credits3

Core Curriculum Course Substitutions

While the Core Curriculum requirement will normally be met from the courses specified in the catalog, in exceptional cases where students have the appropriate prerequisites and where the department in which the course is taught determines that the intentions of the Core Curriculum requirement would be satisfied, departments may request permission on behalf of students to substitute an upper-division class for the lower-division course specified in the catalog. Written approvals must be obtained prior to the student’s enrollment in the class.