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 must be included in the program of each traditional student (degree completion students have a different requirement, see below). Each student must 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
Select only one of the following Evangelism and Missions Exposition courses:3
Early Christian History - Acts
Gospel of John
Lukan Writings
Synoptic Gospels
Elective Courses
BBST 300/400 Bible/Theology Elective3
BBST 365Bible Theology and Integration3
BBST 465Integration Seminar 13
Total Credits30

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). Challenge exams are available for BBST 209 and BBST 210 (see Biblical and Theological Studies section). Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Portfolio is available for BBST 103.

Part-time students (fewer than 12 credits per semester) are required to include at least one biblical and theological studies (BBST) course within each 15 credits completed at Biola University, unless the 30-credit requirement has been met. Part-time students seeking a degree from Biola University must complete the entire requirement as outlined above. Of the 30 credits of Bible required of all students, 15 credits must be taken at Biola.

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 Science2
Total Credits33-44

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
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 2 2 2 2
Literature 3 3 3 0
Mathematics 3 3 3 2 or 3*
Philosophy 3 3 3 3
Science 3 3 3 2 or 3*
Total 70 to 74 63 to 67 60 59

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

Behavioral Science

Select one of the following:3
Cultural 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
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 ensemble is 1 credit, therefore 3 semesters are necessary to meet the requirement. Non-music majors are limited to a maximum of 8 credits in applied music (including ensembles).

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 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, or CLEP 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 are subject to the same requirements and avenues for satisfaction of requirements. Students are encouraged to meet with the Modern Languages Department for the most appropriate class placement.
  5. English Language Program (ELP) students satisfy the foreign language requirement through 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.


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

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

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
The Nature of Computing
Fundamentals of Mathematics for Elementary Teachers I (fulfills Core Math for Lib Studies, Elem Ed & Lib Studies, Multidisciplinary majors only)
The Nature of Mathematics
QR: Real-World Math Modeling
and QR: Real-World Statistics
and Quantitative Reasoning Topics in the Disciplines 1
Quantitative Reasoning for the Real World
Precalculus Mathematics
Fundamentals of Calculus
Calculus I
Topics in Mathematics
Business Statistics (fulfills Core Math for certain pre-approved majors only)
Introduction to Probability and Statistics
Statistics with Computer Applications
and Statistics with Computer Applications Lab (must be taken concurrently; 4 credits total)
Total Credits3


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
Physical Anthropology Laboratory
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, students may request permission to substitute an upper-division class for the lower-division course specified in the catalog. Students are to secure written approval for such a substitution prior to taking the class.