Core Program

The Core Program, the set of requirements that all students must take to graduate, lies at the heart of a Dordt education.

At Dordt, we want you to be prepared to think critically beyond your major. We want you to learn to participate meaningfully in the communities you belong to, bringing insight and wisdom to every area of your life. We help you to become not just good professionals, but good parents, faithful church members, and responsible citizens.

This gives students a stronger foundation than they would have by simply taking courses that add variety to their studies. The Core provides a broader context to their studies and prepares them for shared areas of life.

Two female students work on homework

"Dordt has cultivated a love for learning within me, not only in my field of interest (biology), but in other areas (theology, literature, and poetry) that helps me to see the world from a holistic perspective."

Chloe Hansum, biology major
Chloe Hansum holding Vernal pool fairy shrimp, an endangered freshwater shrimp species. Photo taken under Fish and Wildlife Service Permit TE799570-6.


Curriculum development at Dordt is guided by a document titled "The Educational Framework of Dordt University." The program helps students understand what it means to have a Reformed worldview or Christian perspective on life. Students read and reflect on writings by John Calvin, Abraham Kuyper, and other Reformed thinkers.


The Core Program requirements for Bachelor's degrees is 41 - 63 credits.

These courses help students understand what it means to have a Reformed worldview or Christian perspective on life. In foundational courses, students read and reflect on writings by John Calvin, Abraham Kuyper, and other Reformed thinkers. This helps students know why they think as they do or understand why they don't agree with what they're being taught. Students also take an upper-level course in Advanced Reformed Thought, applying a Reformed perspective in their major.

Core Program Goals

The Core Program has five goals that support Dordt's mission.

You will take courses that will help you examine your faith, consider key theological ideas and their cultural-historical background, and reflect upon issues you encounter as a Christian.

  • Kingdom, Identity, and Calling
  • Biblical Foundations
  • Calling, Task, and Culture

Review history, examine your own life, and dive into understanding how theological perspectives have been established.

  • Roots of Western Culture
  • Introduction to Christian Philosophy
  • Advanced Reformed Thought

We want you to be able to think critically in every area of life—whether within your academic discipline or using other skills.

  • English Composition
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Communication Foundations

In these courses you will evaluate and respond to cultural themes in our increasingly global society.

  • Cross Cultural Studies
  • Responding to Literature
  • Western Culture in a Global Context
  • Introduction to the Arts

Learn to explore, understand, and respond carefully within our relationships with other people and the broader creation.

  • Core Science
  • Persons in Community
  • Justice and Stewardship
Dr. Zonnefeld points to the whiteboard in discussion with students


The Core Program offers some flexibility for students to meet its requirements. For example, students with weaker writing skills need to take the basic writing course, but students with stronger writing skills can meet the writing requirement by taking a course that will help them further develop the skills they already have. Many requirements can be fulfilled by choosing from among several courses the one that will best meet their needs or interests.


At Dordt, students are able to take what they've learned in the classroom and use it in practical learning situations such as internships, practicums, and research and design projects.

For many students, spending a semester in an off-campus study program is a favorite way to be immersed in hands-on learning. Students travel to major metropolitan areas like Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., or to other countries like Nicaragua and New Zealand.

Our aim is to weave experiences and classroom learning, curricular and co-curricular activities, core courses, and major courses into a seamless whole. Such an education, rooted in a commitment to Christ, can lead to a rich life of effective Christian discipleship.

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