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General Education

Explore, Learn, Engage

Our general education program is designed to spark your curiosity, encourage you to take intellectual chances, and push you to participate thoughtfully and passionately in a diverse and interdependent world.

We give you the framework on which you build a general education curriculum that allows you to explore your interests and the relationships among them. This DIY approach allows you to choose from classes that professors have created around their academic passions, and which are designed to inspire academic passion in you.

Your general education courses—which account for approximately one-third of your total coursework—can be both a pathway to discovering your major and a complement to the specialized classes you will take within your major.

First-Year Seminars: Words and Numbers

In your first year, you’ll take one faculty-led foundational seminar per semester. These small classes (19–25 students) are designed to help you develop the reading, writing, discussion, and analytical skills you will need to succeed in college and for life. One of your two courses will focus on interpreting the meaning and significance of texts (CORE 120: Words), the other on interpreting quantitative information and models (CORE 121: Numbers). These are not simply writing and math classes; rather, these courses allow you to explore a specialized topic of particular interest with a faculty member and a small group of students. These topics might include:

    • Queenship
    • Radical Performance in Portland
    • Space Travel
    • Data Journalism
    • Zombie Apocalypse by the Numbers
    • Color
    • Space, Time, Spacetime
    • Experience of Music
    • First Contact: We Are Not Alone
    • Food Production and Food Waste

Distribution Requirements

Over the course of your time at LC, you’ll fulfill a set of requirements designed to ensure that you graduate ready to make an impact on the world. You’ll continue to explore and develop your interests through content-area coursework, some of which might overlap with your major requirements or be satisfied on overseas programs.

Sample courses are provided below in each of the required categories:
  • Bibliographic Research and Writing

    • Ecology
    • Music and Social Justice
    • Indian Philosophy
    • Medieval Christianity
    • City and Society
  • Historical Perspectives

    • Greek Myth and Religion
    • From Scroll to Codex: Working With Medieval Manuscripts
    • Borderlands: U.S.-Mexico Border, 16th Century to Present
    • Prophets, Seekers, and Heretics: U.S. Religious History
  • Creative Arts

    • Photography I
    • The Art of the Novel
    • Stage Makeup
    • Electronic Music
    • The Documentary Form
  • Natural Sciences

    • Perspectives in Nutrition
    • Climate Science
    • The Physics of Music
    • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Culture, Power, and Identity

    • Pre-Columbian Art
    • Radical Political Economics
    • Environmental Engagement
    • Genders and Sexuality in U.S. Society
    • Digital Media and Society
  • Physical Education and Well-Being

    • Skiing/Snowboarding
    • Varsity Basketball
    • Wilderness Leadership
    • Contact Improvisation
    • Conducting
  • Global Perspectives

    • Contemporary Asian Studies
    • International Relations
    • Transitions to Democracy and Authoritarianism
    • Latin America and Spain: Enlightenment to the Present
  • World Language

    • On-campus options include Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, French, German, Spanish, Latin, and Classical Greek.

Outside the Classroom

Lectures, free tutoring, office hours, symposia and more … Lewis & Clark is alive with ways to support your growth as a scholar outside of the classroom, some of which are directly tied to the general education curriculum. For instance Colloquia connected to the first year seminars will be offered twice per semester. Experts from our faculty and community leaders engage with students on a topic of pressing concern, such as democracy, ecology, income inequality, and the housing crisis. Pioneer Success Institute: a six-week series of workshops for first-year students designed to build a network of friends, colleagues, and staff members who will help you succeed in and out of the classroom. Festival of Scholars: an opportunity for students to present their own research and art. On this day each spring, everyone in the community participates in festival events such as performances of original compositions, exhibition of original art, plays, and research presentations.

After Lewis & Clark

A liberal arts education develops the essential skills students need to succeed in any career. In fact, the core values of the liberal arts are in perfect alignment with the top five career skills as identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers: critical thinking and problem solving, work ethic, teamwork and collaboration, oral and written communication skills, and leadership.

97 percent of the Lewis & Clark class of 2018 is already changing the world.



97 percent of the Lewis & Clark class of 2018 is already changing the world through employment (82%), continuing studies (12%), and service work (3%) within six months of graduation.



Lewis & Clark graduates are ready to take on the world through employment, service, or continuing education. Here’s a list of just some of the places alumni from the Class of 2019 are working and studying today:

  • Arts

    Julian Voss-Andreae (sculptor)
    Salem Art Works
    Portland Ballet

  • Education

    Fulbright U.S. Student Program
    International Language Academy
    Institute of Creative Technologies
    Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme
    Life Lab Science Program

  • Nonprofit

    College Possible
    Latino Network
    Morrison Child and Family Services
    Oregon Community Foundation

  • Technology

    Aspen CRM Solutions
    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

  • Business/Finance

    Fisher Investments

  • Government

    City of Portland, Oregon
    Ministry of Spain
    Office of Senator Jeff Merkley
    U.S. Department of Justice

  • Post-Graduate Study

    Bucknell University
    Claremont Graduate University
    University College London
    University of Cambridge
    University of Southern California
    University of Washington

  • Communications

    Echos Communications
    Mudshark Studios
    NW Public Affairs

  • Health Sciences

    6 Degrees Health
    Centria Healthcare
    Children’s Hospital Philadelphia Research Institute
    Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
    Monte Nido and Affiliates
    Oregon Health & Science University

  • Service

    Arizona Public Service
    AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps
    Mercy Corps
    Teach For America