Discover These 8 Amazing Open Curriculum Colleges

We’ve disclosed incredible open curriculum colleges herein that might interest you to apply for. Although there exist myriads of them, we only mentioned a few best. Going to college might become so stressful, especially when you become so fed up with the class curriculum. We often don’t have more options than to persist with the programs. However, scoring high marks on the course curriculum is one of the prerequisites to passing out decently. Sometimes, it might even feel choking with the countless courses you have to offer while in college. To alleviate this kind of college feeling and experience, some colleges adopted the open curriculum system. Thus, we’d enlighten you more about it here.

While, first- or second-year college students scramble to meet their distribution requirements out of the way, those in open curriculum colleges have more options. Hence, open curriculum colleges approach undergraduate coursework with a different structure. Rather than compelling a schedule of core courses before students pursue a major, open curriculum schools permit students to develop their plans of study. Working with an advisor as a directory, these undergraduates select a schedule of classes across disciplines.

However, in regards, if the subject content, our group of professionals has also answered a few other questions concerning open curriculum colleges here.

So, for better light on this, we recommend you carefully read through this content to grasp the most out of it. You’d also learn better how to enroll in an open curriculum college.

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Discover These 8 Amazing Open Curriculum Colleges

What are Open Curriculum Colleges?

After a careful read of the introduction, you should have gotten some light about open curriculum colleges. However, for a proper definition, open curriculum colleges are schools that provide some programs of study where students have permission to select or create what they intend to study. The system of education is one of the most suitable options for self-motivated students.

So, students who enroll in this type of program have very few or no specific course requirements. Although, you’d select your courses with some provided limits, while they all add up towards your degree. Thus, this system of education makes its easier for a student having good academic standing to graduate on time.

More so, when a student enrolls to open curriculum colleges, there do not have distribution requirements. Therefore, unlike the conventional requirements of most colleges to have completed 1, 2, sometimes 3 semesters in several whiles in like high schools will not be required.

More interesting facts about attending open curriculum colleges show that you do not need to complete any major to earn a degree. So, making it very easy to design your own major.

What Are the Issues Of an Open Curriculum?

While open curriculum colleges are among the best schools of learning you can attend. There still exist several challenges and issues you’d encounter therein. So below we’ve explained a few of them;

#1. It still requires academic direction:

Colleges that offer an Open Curriculum also make major investments in academic advising. Their leadership and faculty do not want their students to graduate with a degree in ‘nothing’.

#2. Pre-requisites still drive course selection:

Faculty who teach beyond the introductory courses at colleges that offer an Open Curriculum still have the say over who may be “in” and who may be “out” in their courses.

#3. A “shorter ride” through college is rare and quite possibly non-existent:

Students who enter college having taken college-level courses in high school could receive advanced placement or transfer credit for these courses, depending on the college’s policies and practices. Advanced placement means that a student can skip the introductory course and move into a more advanced one.

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#4. It requires more explanation when seeking employment in a more traditional corporate setting:

Such employers are more used to recruiting interns or entry-level professionals with specific courses and/or degrees. A student’s decision to design their degree program can make for a very interesting, and sometimes effective conversation with an interviewer. But that student has to work harder to convince a human resources professional who spends only seconds reading student resumes to grant the interview. The more that larger employers automate their search processes, the more difficult it becomes for an “interesting person” to become noticed.

It takes a very motivated student to succeed at a school that operates an Open Curriculum. While the lack of structure makes it supposedly easier to earn a degree and empowers a student to manage their education, greater empowerment also comes with a greater amount of responsibility.

Also read: The Top 15 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in California

Open Curriculum vs Core Curriculum

A core curriculum vastly differs from an open curriculum as it typically indicates courses you must take. You have to satisfy these credits to earn your degree. It means that all undergraduates take a set of common (core) classes. However, one of the core classes tends to include general education (GE) topics. Like social studies, math, science, and foreign language.  

So, you have to take these courses no matter what major or school within a college. The idea behind this is that when you study these subjects, it helps to mold a well-rounded learner. While In open curriculum colleges, you may not have GE classes. Also, in some cases, you don’t have to use a formula for how you use credits. 

Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean you don’t choose a major or focus. But when you do, you may not have to meet any core requirements. Since you may not have to take these common classes, you may have more credits to play with. So, many students pursue a double major with room to explore both deeply. 

Why Attend Open Curriculum Colleges?

There are many reasons students choose to attend open curriculum colleges. It may be personal reasons for trying to achieve one super project or the other. However, if you are a self-starter and enjoy flexibility, you can attend open-curriculum colleges. Their options offer varieties of liberal arts programs you can choose from. While you may choose to attend open curriculum colleges so you can mold your topics that you can not wait to learn. But bear in mind you’d read and write a lot about your new big ideas.

Thus, when it comes to liberal arts topics, the topics are often related to events, themes, arts, and culture. Engaging in open curriculum colleges will help you better grow as a problem solver, thinker, and communicator.

More reasons to attend open curriculum colleges include students who have several engagements and need to have control over their study schedule.

How Do Open Curriculum Colleges Work?

In an open curriculum college, academic advisors typically help you select lessons around a professional goal. This goal might be an intention to blend two areas like chemistry and biology. Or, you want to learn how to generate money, impact public policy, or get into law school. 

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While not the same as independent study, an open curriculum is flexible. Mostly in the area of lower-division classes. A school may enable you to replace honors and advanced courses in their place. With the format, many schools approve only those students with great grades. So, you may need to showcase your interests, talents, and goals to get in. While some schools require you to write a proposal that illustrates how your classes all fit together. 

Discover 8 Amazing Open Curriculum Colleges

In no particular order, we’ve exposed 8 amazing open curriculum colleges we sighted below.

#1. Brown University

Brown University 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: $31,685

Financial Aid: Yes, if eligible

Grad Rate: 97%

Visit School official website

#2. NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study

NYU is a four-year private school that serves 26,339 undergrads. In NYC, it offers 152 fields of study in liberal arts, sciences, business, and beyond. Within NYU, this school is a smaller unit for BA and MA students.

Open Curriculum Requirements

You will consult with advisors to develop a program of study centered around a theme, problem, activity or idea. To mark your progress, there are marked expectations for each year of study. And, at the end of your final year, there is a final project.  

Open Curriculum Programs

Liberal Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Math.

Tuition & Fees: $42,397

Financial Aid: Yes, if eligible

Grad Rate: 85%

Visit School official website

#3. Wesleyan University

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: $26,291

Financial Aid: Yes, if eligible

Grad Rate: 93%

Visit School official website

#4. University of Washington

The University of Washington is a four-year public school with 30,905 undergrads on its main campus in Seattle. Out of 136 fields of study, some areas 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: $12,001

Financial Aid: Yes, if eligible

Grad Rate: 83%

Visit School official website

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#5. Cornell College

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, Literary Arts. 

Tuition & Fees: $27,204

Financial Aid: Yes, if eligible

Grad Rate: 68%

Visit School official website

#6. University of Michigan

The University of 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. 

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Open Curriculum Programs

Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, General Studies. 

Tuition & Fees: $16,010

Financial Aid: Yes, if eligible

Grad Rate: 92%

Visit School official website

#7. Swarthmore College

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: $21,067

Financial Aid: Yes, if eligible

Grad Rate: 95%

Visit School official website

#8. UC Berkley

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: $14,846

Financial Aid: Yes, if eligible

Grad Rate: 93%

Visit School official website

You can also read Brown University Scholarship Opportunities 2022 for International Students


The educational option open curriculum colleges offer is a very fantastic one. It makes learning flexible and less stressful. You’d have the leverage to shape your curriculum and the classes you have to attend. There is no better way education will sound than this.

So, we recommend self-starters and highly motivated students to jump into this system of education as it will be more beneficial to them. You can also select any of the open curriculum colleges we’ve listed above as an option to attend. Although, many other schools also adopt this method of learning.

However, if you have any unanswered questions relating to the subject content, do well to reach us through our various platforms.

FAQs on Open Curriculum Colleges

What are Open Curriculum Colleges?

Open curriculum colleges are ones that allow you to choose your own classes. You may still have to declare a major, but you direct your own course plan.

How Do Open Curriculum Colleges Work?

In an open curriculum college, academic advisors help students choose courses around a professional goal. This goal might be a desire to blend two areas like chemistry and biology. Or, you want to learn how to raise money, impact public policy, or get into law school.

Does Yale have an open curriculum?

There are no specific classes you must take at Yale, but you are required to learn broadly and deeply. Depth is covered in your major. Breadth is covered in three study areas (the humanities and arts, the sciences, and the social sciences) and three skill areas (writing, quantitative reasoning, and foreign language).

What type of college is Harvard?

Harvard University is a private institution that was founded in 1636. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 5,222 (fall 2020), its setting is urban, and the campus size is 5,076 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar.

Is Wake Forest an open curriculum?

Wake Forest also offers an “Open Curriculum” option, in which a small number of students, approved by a committee, may design a course of study with an adviser that follows a liberal arts framework but does not necessarily fulfill all the core degree requirements.

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