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Why the College Core?

The Foundation of your Education

College Core is the name TCNJ gives to its general education program, the part of the TCNJ education shared by all undergraduate students.

The College Core is:


Students engage with new knowledge, differing viewpoints, and new ways of thinking.  Students are challenged to innovate, create, and inspire as agents of change in a rapidly evolving world.


Students develop the skills required to carefully examine arguments, ideas, evidence, events, and issues before forming their own opinions or conclusions — or accepting those of another.


Students link to each other and their instructors as scholars and collaborators working across majors and disciplines, to their community as contributors, and to the world as global citizens.

For Your Major

College Core will develop your ability to think deeply and critically, communicate effectively, analyze arguments, and find reliable sources of information, all skills that are essential to success in your major. College Core will also expose you to a wide variety of disciplines, and through this process of discovery, may even lead you to a major you had not considered before. College Core is actually integrated with your major, as some of your major courses also satisfy College Core requirements.

For Your Career

Extensive surveys of employers (American Association of Colleges and Universities 2013 and 2021) show that the skills you will acquire through College Core are essential to success in a career.

  • “At least half of employers view the skills of a liberal education as ‘very important’ for college graduates” (2021)
  • “At least half of employers think it is ‘very important’ for college graduates to possess a range of mindsets and aptitudes to be successful.” (2021)
  • 96% want employees who are comfortable working with colleagues and customers/clients from different cultural backgrounds. (2013)
  • 93% of employers say that the ability to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than the job candidate’s specific major. (2013)
  • 80% agree that every college student should acquire broad knowledge in College Core, regardless of his or her major. (2013)
  • 55% want job candidates with knowledge and skills that apply to both a range of fields or positions (= College Core) and a specific field (= major). Only 16% want candidates with knowledge that applies only to a specific field or position. (2013)

Engaged Citizen

Our society, indeed the world, faces many serious issues including environmental degradation, public health, violence, income inequality, the economy, and war, just to name a few. These problems are complex and multifaceted and cannot be solved from just a single perspective. As the generation who will confront and solve these problems, you will need to understand the relevant scientific information, the moral and ethical dimensions, the political and global implications, and the historical origins of these issues and their solutions. For some issues, you will be directly involved in creating the solutions, and for the remainder, you will participate through elected representatives. In both cases, you will need the breadth of knowledge that you gain from College Core to analyze these issues from all angles and understand the consequences of various possible solutions.

As an engaged citizen, you will help sustain and advance the community in which you live. College Core will provide you with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to promote positive change in your community. In your first year at TCNJ, you will already make an impact on the communities surrounding the College through your participation in a College Core Community Engagement experience.

Life-Long Learning

The world is changing rapidly, with new knowledge and technologies being produced each year. There will be new modes of transportation, ways to communicate, health treatments, and ways of thinking about the world. You will undoubtedly change your job several times in your lifetime. To adapt to these changes, you will have to continue learning long after you have completed college. College Core will equip you to find relevant and reliable information that you will need to adapt to this constant change.

Personal Fulfillment

What does it mean to be a human? What is our place in the universe? Who am I? What should I value? The answers to these and other “big questions” are at the heart of College Core. College Core courses will help you probe deeper into the human experience, allowing you to enrich your life during and beyond college.

Please note: The Liberal Learning Program has been renamed The College Core, and some of its components have also been renamed. Learn More