Open Curriculum Colleges

open curriculum colleges

Open Curriculum Colleges

Check Out Our List Of Colleges With An Open Curriculum. Then Get Matched For FREE To Online Colleges.

 

 

What are Open Curriculum Colleges?

Open curriculum colleges grant you the autonomy to select your own courses. While you might still need to declare a major, you possess the freedom to chart your academic trajectory. In certain institutions, an open curriculum extends to the option of designing your own major. At times, this is termed an “individualized major,” exemplified by schools such as Cornell. In this context, you aren’t constrained to predefined majors offered by the institution. Instead, you can tailor your educational path to align with your distinctive career aspirations and objectives.

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Open Curriculum vs Core Curriculum

A core curriculum diverges from an open curriculum by typically specifying mandatory courses. These courses are essential to fulfill credit requirements for obtaining your degree. Essentially, all undergraduate students partake in a predetermined set of fundamental (core) classes. Such core courses often encompass a spectrum of general education (GE) subjects, including mathematics, science, social studies, and foreign languages.

These courses are mandatory for all students, regardless of their chosen major or school within the college. The underlying rationale is that delving into these subjects contributes to the cultivation of a well-rounded scholar. In contrast, an open curriculum might not involve GE classes, and in some scenarios, it may not prescribe a specific formula for credit allocation.

However, this lack of core curriculum doesn’t imply that you forgo selecting a major or concentration. But when you do choose one, you might not be obligated to fulfill any core requirements. Given the potential absence of mandatory core classes, you might find yourself with more credits at your disposal. Consequently, many students opt to pursue a double major, affording them the flexibility to delve deeply into two areas of interest.

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How Do Open Curriculum Colleges Work? 

In the realm of open curriculum colleges, the guidance of academic advisors commonly aids in the selection of courses aligned with one’s professional aspirations. These aspirations could encompass a longing to fuse diverse realms like chemistry and biology, or perhaps a thirst for knowledge in fundraising techniques, public policy influence, or the path toward law school.

Although distinct from self-directed studies, the framework of an open curriculum remains pliable, particularly within the sphere of foundational courses. Within this paradigm, certain institutions might grant leeway to substitute honors and advanced coursework in their stead. However, this arrangement often pertains to students who boast commendable academic records. Consequently, the showcasing of one’s aptitudes, passions, and objectives might be requisite for admission. Furthermore, specific institutions might anticipate a comprehensive proposal detailing the cohesive integration of one’s chosen courses.

Is an Open Curriculum College Right for you?

If you possess a proactive, self-motivated demeanor and revel in the freedom of choice, an open curriculum college could align seamlessly with your preferences. As a general guideline, this approach furnishes a comprehensive foundation in the liberal arts, serving as a malleable canvas upon which you can imprint the subjects that kindle your curiosity. The realm of liberal arts typically encompasses expansive concepts, overarching themes, historical events, artistic expressions, and cultural dimensions. Additionally, the emphasis on extensive reading and writing endeavors within this framework can significantly contribute to your evolution as a discerning thinker, adept problem solver, and proficient communicator.

Conversely, a core curriculum embodies a more structured trajectory. Here, the landscape often encompasses General Education (GE) courses, as well as those tailored to your chosen major and focal point. This trajectory might prove more suitable if you find solace in pre-charting your academic journey or if you harbor an inclination to deeply immerse yourself in a specific technical domain, exploring it from multifaceted perspectives.

28 Open Curriculum Colleges

We used data from the US Department of Education to create a list of the 28 Open Curriculum Colleges.  

 

1 Amherst College
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Amherst College is a four year private, liberal arts school with 1,855 undergrads. In MA, the school offers 36 fields of study. Some programs include economics, math and English.

Open Curriculum Requirements

Amherst has no distribution requirements and no core curriculum. Instead, students may choose the courses that matter to them the most. With over 850 courses to choose from, many students pursue a double major. 

Open Curriculum Programs

Anthropology, Buddhist Studies, Asian Pacific American Studies.

Tuition & Fees

$67,280

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
58% Get, Avg. Amt. $58,693
Federal Loans
11% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,877

Grad Rate

94%

 

 

2 Brown University
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Brown U is a four year private school with 6,752 undergrads and is known for robust research. The campus, in RI offers 57 fields of study. Some choices are economics, comp sci, applied math and bio. 

Open Curriculum Requirements

Students may develop a customized course of study with the freedom to study what they choose. 

Open Curriculum Programs

Engineering, Behavioral Decision Sciences, Biophysics, Classics.

Tuition & Fees

$68,230

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
46% Get, Avg. Amt. $55,847
Federal Loans
11% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,986

Grad Rate

96%

 

3 Grinnell College
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Grinnel is a four year private school with 1,683 undergrads. In IA, it offers 30 fields of study in the liberal arts. A few of these areas are economics, poli sci, comp sci and bio. 

Open Curriculum Requirments

Grinnell believes in free inquiry and the open exchange of ideas. All students take a First Year Tutorial, and this is the only required class.

Open Curriculum Programs

American Studies, Bio, Art History. 

Tuition & Fees

$64,862

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
91% Get, Avg. Amt. $42,231
Federal Loans
14% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,881

Grad Rate

87%

 

4 Hamilton College
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Hamilton is a four year private school in NY, with 1,989 undergrads. A liberal arts school, it offers 37 fields of study in the liberal arts. Some choices include economics, math, poli sci and language.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

You need to pass 3 writing courses. By the end of your second year, you must also complete at least one quantitative and symbolic reasoning course. The school also wants you to take part in the First Year Course and Proseminar programs. You must also take a range of liberal arts classes that support cultural analysis and need to choose a focus. The program caps with a senior project.

Open Curriculum Programs

Astronomy, Art History, Digital Arts and Cinema. 

Tuition & Fees

$65,740

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
54% Get, Avg. Amt. $52,497
Federal Loans
41% Get, Avg. Amt. $3,953

Grad Rate

93%

 

5 Hampshire College
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Hampshire is a four year private school with 1,175 undergrads. In MA it offers 51 fields of study. Among these areas are film and video, fine and studio arts and writing studies.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

Students may design their own program with the 5 College Consortium that includes Dance, Film, Astronomy and Architectural Studies. 

Open Curriculum Programs

Marine Science, Entrepreneurship, Applied Design and Music.

Tuition & Fees

$56,630

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
100% Get, Avg. Amt. $44,835
Federal Loans
64% Get, Avg. Amt. $5,286

Grad Rate

66%

 

6 Smith College
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Smith is a four year private liberal arts school with 2,496 undergrads and 49 fields of study. In MA it is one of the largest women’s colleges in the US. While the school also admits male students, this policy applies to grad programs only. Some of the undergrad programs are in psych, economics, bio and languages.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

You have the freedom to customize your studies drawing from social sciences, history, arts, languages, literature, math and natural science.

Open Curriculum Programs

Africana Studies, Comp Sci and Dance.  

Tuition & Fees

$61,568

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
64% Get, Avg. Amt. $49,109
Federal Loans
35% Get, Avg. Amt. $3,708

Grad Rate

90%

 

7 University of Rochester
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U Rochester is a four year private school with 6,348 undergrads. In NY, the school offers 66 fields of study (and 12 libraries). Of these, registered nursing, bio, economics and music are some that they offer.

Open Curriculum Requirements

You work with an advisor to design their plan of study. There are no gen ed classes to take though you do select a major and many opt to pursue a double or triple major.

Open Curriculum Programs

Humanities, Social Science and Natural Sciences.

Tuition & Fees

$64,348

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
71% Get, Avg. Amt. $39,715
Federal Loans
34% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,149

Grad Rate

88%

 

8 Vassar College
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Vassar is a four year private school with 2,436 undergrads. In NY, it offers 43 fields of study. Some of these are economics, poli sci, psych and bio. 

Open Curriculum Requirements

General curricular requirements are flexible. But you must fulfill three requirements. Freshman writing, a quantitative course and foreign language.

Open Curriculum Programs

Anthropology, Cognitive Science, English, Film.

Tuition & Fees

$67,805

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
57% Get, Avg. Amt. $50,193
Federal Loans
40% Get, Avg. Amt. $3,655

Grad Rate

92%

 

9 Wake Forest University 
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Wake Forrest is a four year private school with 5,225 undergrads. In NC, it offers 35 fields of study. Some programs are economics, communication, psych and finance.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

You will work with faculty advisors to craft a broad plan of study and declare a major in your second year.

Open Curriculum Programs

Applied Math, Bioethics, Journalism, Health Policy. 

Tuition & Fees

$64,758

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
29% Get, Avg. Amt. $54,233
Federal Loans
15% Get, Avg. Amt. $5,120

Grad Rate

89% 

 

10 Wesleyan University
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Wesleyan is a four year private school with 2,922 undergrads, In CT, it offers 36 fields of study. Some majors are economics, area studies, English and poli sci.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

Students may create their own plan for gen ed but must satisfy some disbursement requirements. 

Open Curriculum Programs

Applied Data, Film Studies, Religion, Theatre.

Tuition & Fees

$67,316

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
44% Get, Avg. Amt. $59,825
Federal Loans
18% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,134

Grad Rate

91%

 

11 James Madison University
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James Madison U is a four year, public school with 19,679 undergrads. In VA it offers 46 fields of study, some available online. Of these, the some majors are in mental and social health services, communications and liberal arts.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

You must take gen ed classes in five cluster areas. As long as you meet the GE credits, you may take courses in any area.

Open Curriculum Programs

Geology, Philosophy, Hospitality Management. 

Tuition & Fees

$30,790

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
33% Get, Avg. Amt. $10,081
Federal Loans
33% Get, Avg. Amt. $5,232

Grad Rate

84%

 

 

12 California College of the Arts
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California College of the Arts is a four year school with 1,453 undergrads. In San Francisco, this small school offers 9 fields of study. A few are design, fine and studio arts, graphics and architecture.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

Some programs map out a first year core curriculum.

Open Curriculum Programs

Architecture, Fine Arts, Design, Humanities and Science. 

Tuition & Fees

$57,946

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
91% Get, Avg. Amt. $27,563
Federal Loans
29% Get, Avg. Amt. $5,021

Grad Rate

70%

 

13 University of Washington
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U Washington is a four year public school with 30,905 undergrads in their main campus in Seattle. Out of 136 fields of study, some area include psych, communication, biochemistry and economics. 

Open Curriculum Requirements

You may need at least three credits in a ‘diversity’ study area.  

Open Curriculum Programs

Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences. 

Tuition & Fees

$31,479

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
67% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,300
Federal Loans
2% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,888

Grad Rate

26%

 

14 Cornell College
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Cornell College is a four year private school that has 1,022 undergrads. In IA, the school offers 40 fields of study. Economics, psych, health and biochem are some. 

Open Curriculum Requirements

There are specific requirements to follow but you have some flexibility in how to fill them. 

Open Curriculum Programs

Pre Health Sciences, Law and Society, Business, Literacy Arts. 

Tuition & Fees

$50,634

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
100 Get, Avg. Amt. $38,069
Federal Loans
67% Get, Avg. Amt. $5,893

Grad Rate

74%

 

15 CUNY
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The City University of New York, aka CUNY, is a four year public school with 12,503 undergrads in its NYC campus. A large school, it offers 57 fields of study in areas are psych, bio, liberal arts and sciences.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

You need to complete a Common Core, but there may be some flexibility around course choice.

Open Curriculum Programs

World Culture, Liberal Arts, Business, Finance.

Tuition & Fees

$66,139

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
52% Get, Avg. Amt. $61,061
Federal Loans
7% Get, Avg. Amt. $5,988

Grad Rate

49%

 

16 Indiana University Bloomington
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Indiana U Bloomington is a four year public school with 32, 991 undergrads. There are 87 fields of study to choose from. Among them are business, public administration, computer and info sciences.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

You must satisfy Common Ground gen ed classes. 

Open Curriculum Programs

Accounting, Advertising, Music, Web Programming

Tuition & Fees

$40,482

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
74% Get, Avg. Amt. $10,336
Federal Loans
32% Get, Avg. Amt. $5,105

Grad Rate

79%

 

17 Lesley University
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Lesley U is a four year private school with 2,108 undergrads. In MA, the school offers 33 fields of study. Some options are liberal arts and sciences, psych, business and design. 

Open Curriculum Requirements

You may need to take required foundation credits.

Open Curriculum Programs

Art and Design, English, Math, Counseling.

Tuition & Fees

$32,780

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
100% Get, Avg. Amt. $16,279
Federal Loans
59% Get, Avg. Amt. $5,133

Grad Rate

63%

 

18 Evergreen State College
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Evergreen State College is a four year public school with 2, 962 undergrads. In WA, the school offers two main fields of study. Liberal arts and sciences; and biological and physical sciences.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

Students could layer interests and their degree. 

Open Curriculum Programs

Architecture, Art History, Bio, Leadership Studies.  

Tuition & Fees

$30,980

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
100% Get, Avg. Amt. $10,411
Federal Loans
38% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,874

Grad Rate

64%

 

19 Warren Wilson College
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Warren Wilson College, in NC, serves 635 undergrads. While a small school , they offer 21 fields of study. Some of these are in natural resources conservation, bio and psych. 

Open Curriculum Requirements

You will take a liberal arts core, on campus work and community engagement. There is an option to also pursue a self designed major.

Open Curriculum Programs

Contemporary Writers, Leadership, Environmental Law, Business.

Tuition & Fees

$40,290

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
100% Get, Avg. Amt. $26,012
Federal Loans
59% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,954

Grad Rate

51%

 

20 University of Maryland
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U Maryland is a four year public school with a main campus in Baltimore that has 11,156 undergrads. Here you may choose from 62 fields of study. Some are bio, psych, comp sci, and info sciences.   

Open Curriculum Requirements

You must complete core credits and UMBC electives, but these may vary between programs.

Open Curriculum Programs

Africana Studies, Modern Languages, Education, English.

Tuition & Fees

$43,936

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
100% Get, Avg. Amt. $34,267
Federal Loans
43% Get, Avg. Amt. $6,142

Grad Rate

92%

 

21 University of Michigan
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U Michigan is a four year public school. The Ann Arbor campus has 30,079 undergrads and there are 81 fields of study. Areas include research psych, comp and info science, business admin and economics.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

You need to follow some guidelines related to writing, language, major, diversity and residence. 

Open Curriculum Programs

Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, General Studies. 

Tuition & Fees

$58,072

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
67% Get, Avg. Amt. $15,121
Federal Loans
24% Get, Avg. Amt. $5,288

Grad Rate

93%

 

22 Hanover College
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Hanover College is a four year private school with 1,099 undergrads. In IN, the school is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. They offer a liberal arts education and option to design your own major. Among the 34 available fields of study are physical ed, media studies, psych and economics.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

You may have to follow some guidelines but programs are interdisciplinary. 

Open Curriculum Programs

Art and Design, History, English, Pre Law, Humanities.

Tuition & Fees

$42,894

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
100% Get, Avg. Amt. $28,650
Federal Loans
74% Get, Avg. Amt. $1,626

Grad Rate

71%

 

23 Swarthmore College
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Swarthmore College is a four year private school with 1,544 undergrads. In PA, the school offers 60 fields of study. Some of these are economics, comp sci, bio and math.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

You need to fulfill distribution, physical education, and foreign language requirements in order to graduate. 

Open Curriculum Programs

Comparative Literature, Global Studies, Engineering, Art History. 

Tuition & Fees

$62,412

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
63% Get, Avg. Amt. $47,703
Federal Loans
7% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,766

Grad Rate

95%

 

24 UC San Diego
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UC San Diego is a four year public school with 30,279 undergrads. In La Jolla, the school offers 65 fields of study. Among them are comp sci, economics, bio and biochemistry.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

You must follow some guidelines for core credits and may declare a second major.  

Open Curriculum Programs

International Studies, Global Health, Literature, Poli Sci.  

Tuition & Fees

$46,042

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
55% Get, Avg. Amt. $20,782
Federal Loans
25% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,557

Grad Rate

89%

 

25 Oberlin College
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Oberlin College is a four year private school. In OH, it serves 2,785 undergrads and offers 38 fields of study. Among these are music, bio, poli sci and natural resources.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

You must follow some guidelines to develop balanced programs.  

Open Curriculum Programs

Cinema Studies, Creative Writing, Book Studies, Comparative American Studies. 

Tuition & Fees

$64,646

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
98% Get, Avg. Amt. $35,040
Federal Loans
31% Get, Avg. Amt. $5,109

Grad Rate

87%

 

26 St. Olaf College
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St. Olaf College is a four year private school serving 3,022 undergrads. In MN the school offers 33 fields of study. Some are bio, economics, psych and math.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

You must take some foundation and core classes. 

Open Curriculum Programs

Film Studies, Linguistic Studies, Classics, English.

Tuition & Fees

$54,650

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
99% Get, Avg. Amt. $40,399
Federal Loans
43% Get, Avg. Amt. $5,005

Grad Rate

87%

 

27 The University of Minnesota
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U Minnesota is a four year public school. The main campus in MN serves 31,451 undergrads. Of the 148 fields of study are psych, economics, comp sci and bio. 

Open Curriculum Requirements

You need to complete liberal education and second language requirements.  

Open Curriculum Programs

Liberal Arts, Science, Sociology, Technical Writing.

Tuition & Fees

$36,402

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
63% Get, Avg. Amt. $11,388
Federal Loans
39% Get, Avg. Amt. $5,323

Grad Rate

81%

 

28 UC Berkeley
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UC Berkeley is a four year public school with 30,845 undergrads. There are 75 fields of study to choose from. Among them are economics, cell bio, comp sci, and engineering.  

Open Curriculum Requirements

You have to meet some guidelines for core classes and ones for your major. 

Open Curriculum Programs

Comparative Literature, Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences.

Tuition & Fees

$45,627

Financial Aid

Grants & Awards
52% Get, Avg. Amt. $21,669
Federal Loans
21% Get, Avg. Amt. $4,566

Grad Rate

94%

 

What are the benefits of having an open curriculum?

A key advantage of the open curriculum is the belief that students can best prepare for future opportunities and uncertainties by developing confidence in exploring and responding to challenging issues without a predetermined roadmap.

How do college curricula operate?

College courses typically span one semester and carry three credits each. To earn a degree, you’ll need to complete around 40 classes at a rate of approximately five classes per semester. Credits are earned by successfully passing classes, and failing a class means foregoing those credits.

What is the objective of a well-designed curriculum?

Every curriculum shares a common goal: facilitating student learning. An effective curriculum goes beyond guiding lessons in subjects like math, reading, and history. It benefits not only students but also schools, from teachers to administration, fostering connections with parents and the broader community.

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*https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d20/tables/dt20_311.15.asp

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