When you enroll in college, you will discover that there are various courses you are required to fulfill before you can graduate. These course requirements allow you to develop your knowledge beyond the subject that interests you. Some of these mandatory college courses include the core classes, such as math, science and history, as well as public speaking, freshman seminar and the mandatory prerequisites for your major.

Core Classes

The core curriculum contains the classes you need to take as an undergraduate, regardless of your major. Examples of core classes include math, science, foreign language, writing, history and psychology. Some colleges and universities may allow students to opt out of certain core classes, such as a foreign language, if they have already earned Advanced Placement credit for that class in high school.


A prerequisite is a class you need to take before you can advance to a higher-level course within that discipline. For example, an incoming college freshman wanting to study nursing must first complete a basic human anatomy course before enrolling in a pathophysiology course. Similarly, students studying English must fulfill a basic writing composition course before enrolling in an advanced research writing class.


Most colleges and universities require students to enroll in at least one freshman seminar course, irrespective of your major. Many seminars are semester-long credited courses that familiarize new students with college basics, such as how to construct research papers, improve study strategies, navigate online campus resources and acquire time management skills. For example, at Northwestern University's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, students are required to complete two freshman seminars during their first year of college, which are intended to enhance both critical thinking and writing skills.

Public Speaking

Perhaps one of the most intimidating mandatory classes for some students in college is public speaking, but the skills gained are many. For instance, public speaking courses offered at Stanford University focus on various elements for giving an effective speech, such as improving both formal and informal communication skills, learning to effectively compose a persuasive speech, and learning to clearly articulate your ideas. These skills are not only necessary for success in college, but in your prospective career as well.

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