Academic Requirements at a Glance

In order to graduate from Fairfield University, a student must earn a minimum of 120 credits and complete at least 38 three- or four-credit courses, depending on the program of study. Of those 38 or more courses, 20 must be part of the University core curriculum - a selection of courses designed to give undergraduate students a broad-based liberal education. As the University core curriculum checklist specifies, students must take from 2 to 5 courses in each of the following 5 areas:

  • Mathematics and Natural Sciences
  • History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Applied Ethics
  • English and Visual and Performing Arts
  • Modern and Classical Languages


oae_student_studying11Students also have to take 1 course designated as a U.S. Diversity course and 1 course designated as a World Diversity course. A course used to fulfill the diversity requirement may also count a second time - toward a core, a major, or a minor requirement.

Because of specialized programs of study, certain students are exempt from some core requirements:

  • Students in the are exempt from 21 core credits
  • Students in the School of Engineering do not have to fulfill the Modern Language requirement
  • Students in the School of Nursing have to meet either the Modern Language requirement or the Visual and Performing Arts requirement

With many options within the specific requirements, students are encouraged to explore the core and to fulfill the requirements in a way that is meaningful and rewarding to them. Although required, core courses enable students to develop their curiosity about, and understanding of, themselves, others, and the world around them.

Students should also check information on their schools and majors for other requirements:

  • College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate programs
  • Dolan School of Business undergraduate programs
  • School of Engineering undergraduate programs
  • School of Nursing undergraduate programs

As the guidelines for math placement explain, the choice of mathematics courses depends not only on a student's major, but also on his or her high school background. In the same way, a student's academic interests and previous language study - as evaluated by a language placement exam or a consultation with a Modern Languages faculty member - will determine his or her initial language placement. The First-Year Guide contains guidelines for the language requirement.