The Integrative Core Curriculum (ICC) is a set of shared academic experiences for all Ithaca College students. The program is designed to help students develop integrative thinking, critical and analytical problem solving, and reflective learning. These three skills have been identified by both employers and professional societies as essential for success in 21st century personal and professional life.

Below you will find and overview of each requirement.  The total number of unique credits required to complete the ICC will vary, depending on the specific requirements of the major program and the courses each student elects to complete. Click here for a one page visual summary of ICC requirements.

ICC Perspectives

Perspectives in the ICC describe approaches to real-world challenges through scholarly disciplines and professional frameworks.

The creative arts perspective focuses on how people use their skills and imagination to express themselves creatively. In CA courses, you will examine the methods and materials used in various kinds of art—performances, written works, visual pieces, and structures. You will gain an understanding of theoretical, social, political, economic, and historical contexts surrounding works of art. CA courses will give you an understanding of how creativity comes to life through art, and how creative works can evoke emotions, provoke thoughts, or guide actions and beliefs.

The humanities perspective considers what it means to be human. Courses in this perspective will help you understand the human experience by analyzing expressions of language, image, text, and culture. You will learn to describe and interpret the values, beliefs, and behaviors of yourself and others in the context of historical and contemporary cultural institutions.

The natural sciences perspective focuses on scientific theories that explain how the world around us works—physical and biological phenomena, and the scientific methods used to observe them. Courses in this perspective will enable you to understand basic scientific principles and explain how humans interact with and understand the natural and physical world. You will learn to recognize the impact of the natural sciences on yourself, on society, and on your chosen theme.

The social sciences perspective will help you understand how social forces shape, predict, and determine human action. You will learn to recognize relevant social patterns and use those patterns to interpret individual and group behavior. You’ll also explore how diverse cultures and institutions help shape, and in turn are shaped by, the decisions of their members. And you will find out how your own values, beliefs, and behaviors may have been shaped by the people and behavioral patterns around you.

ICC Themes

Themes provide a distinct set of questions and issues which are examined through the four perspectives, helping to build valuable analytical and problem-solving skills.

The question “who am I?” is complex. Identity can refer to an individual, a small group, or a social collective—and encompass issues such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and the body. In the identities theme, you will explore where values, beliefs, and behaviors come from. You’ll examine the effects of nature versus nurture—and how the two can work together to determine different characteristics of identity across cultures and throughout history. And you will delve into questions about how identity is formed, changed, and perceived. Questions raised in this theme include the following:

  • How do communities and individuals form identities?
  • What is the political nature of collective identities?
  • What causes individual and collective identities to change over time?
  • How do individuals and groups express their identities?
  • How are people and groups with particular identities viewed and treated by others?

How do we know what we know?

Every breakthrough discovery begins with a question. In the inquiry, imagination, and innovation theme, you will examine what you don’t know, challenge what you think you know, and learn how to transform these new insights into innovative ideas. You’ll also explore how the quest for answers has long driven art, science, imagination, and the creative process. Here are some of the concepts you will be investigating:

  • How is knowledge discovered? How is it transformed into new technology and institutions?
  • How do artists discover and transform the world into creative works such as visual art, drama, or dance?
  • How do we interpret visuals, sound, and other media in meaningful ways?
  • How can we integrate knowledge from different perspectives to create a more holistic and useful way of understanding the world?

What does it mean to be a balanced person?

How do the mind, body, and spirit work together to create a whole person and a healthy self? Understanding their differences is important as well: when you think of the spirit, do you include the soul, and is the soul separate from the mind? In the mind, body, spirit theme, you will explore the role the aspects of self play individually and collectively in human growth throughout a lifetime:

  • How does the mind work? How does one maintain a well-exercised mind?
  • How does the body work?
  • What is the spirit? Is it distinct from spirituality? How is it connected to other parts of life?
  • What are the challenges to creating healthy communities? And how do these challenges affect other social outcomes?
  • How does a person or a community foster harmony among the mind, body, and spirit?

How are they related and how can they be balanced?

Power plays a pivotal role in the attainment of justice. What is fair or just is very often decided by those who hold the power in the world. In some cases of perceived injustice, the powerful are challenged and possession of power can shift. In the power and justice theme, you will examine power structures, conflict and resolution, and issues of social and political justice.

You will be asked to examine the world as you know it and imagine alternative scenarios where the balance of power has shifted to those who were without it:

  • How have power and justice been theorized, described, and explained within different disciplines?
  • How is power generated, distributed, transformed, and mobilized, be it physically, culturally, or psychologically?
  • How do sexualities, class, race, ethnicity, and sustainability affect and reflect structures of power and notions of justice?
  • How does a historical understanding of power struggles help us understand contemporary conflicts?
  • How are struggles over energy production and environmental justice tied to structures of power?

How do we sustain a growing population with limited resources?

To be sustainable, we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability proponents advocate for a better balance of social needs, resource consumption, and economic growth. In the quest for a sustainable future theme, you will examine sustainability from biological, political, physical, and spiritual perspectives—and consider sustainability’s effects on everything from social communities to ecosystems. You will look at sustainability in terms of lifestyle, storytelling, history, and science and even question the premise of sustainability itself:

  • What does it mean to live sustainably? Is sustainability an attainable and meaningful goal?
  • How do we tell stories—in literature, in film, in media new and old—about consumerism, economic inequality and affluence, environmental change and degradation, and more?
  • In what ways will the quest for sustainability define the coming century?
  • How have values systems in different times and places shaped our economic, social, and ecological behavior?
  • What are some meaningful metrics for assessing sustainability?
  • To what extent is sustainability a scientific problem versus a social issue?

How do people make sense of and navigate complexity?

A system is a set of connected things that work together to form a network. A system can be physical, like a computer, but there are many other kinds of systems—political, economic, technological, social, creative, and more—that have an impact on daily life. Understanding these interconnected systems and how they define human existence is critically important to navigating today’s world. In the world of systems theme, you will explore different systems and learn to recognize which ones most influence your personal and professional aspirations.

You will also consider how systems affect you personally, how they work across the world, and how they both contribute to and benefit from technological advancement:

  • What is “systems thinking,” and how is it relevant to every discipline at Ithaca College?
  • How have different systems of philosophical, literary, religious, and historical thought shaped the values we live by?
  • What are the key social, political, and economic systems that affect our lives, and how do we recognize them?
  • How do our systems of communicating and organizing information affect our lives?
  • How do technology and the development of technology fit into the world of systems?
  • What are the key systems that support life on this planet?
  • How have systems of scientific methodology, and the knowledge we have obtained by them, changed over time?

Additional ICC Requirements

These requirements are also referred to as competencies.

An interdisciplinary liberal arts course that supports the academic and social transition to Ithaca College.  All students will complete one of the seminars during their first semester.  Ithaca Seminars numbered 10800 satisfy both the Ithaca Seminar and Academic Writing (WRTG 10600) requirements. 

Writing provides a critical foundation for success in college and beyond. Academic Writing at IC emphasizes awareness of audience and purpose, as well as aiding in reflective thinking and active problem-solving. This first-year composition requirement can be satisfied (preferably by the end of the first year) in one of the following ways:

  1. Take WRTG 10600 Academic Writing during your first or second semester at IC.
  2. Complete a specialized Ithaca Seminar in Writing (ICSM 10800), which counts as both ICSM and WRTG 10600.
  3. Earn a 4 or 5 on either the AP English Language & Composition or the AP English Language & Literature exam. (See catalog for more on Advanced Placement.)
  4. Earn a 4, 5, 6, or 7 on the IB English A (HL) exam (effective Fall 2022; see catalog for more on International Baccalaureate).
  5. Transfer equivalent credit from another college. (Visit the Writing Department website for additional guidance on equivalent courses.)

Everyone knows that people have their differences. Groups are marginalized, silenced, and oppressed based on who they are, what they believe, and how they express themselves. Diversity encompasses multiple dimensions, including but not limited to the social and political constructions of race, culture, nationality, ethnicity, religion, ideas, beliefs, geographic origin, class, sexual orientation and identities, gender, gender identities and expressions, disability, and age.

Courses with a diversity designation (DV) will give you another view of the world—through the eyes of those different than yourself. You’ll explore current and past injustices and see how those in power can shape public perception of peoples’ differences and how societies can adapt to or resist these definitions. You’ll learn how diversity enriches society, come to understand why groups may hold different views on issues, and open your mind to views beyond your own.

You may fulfill this through any designated course within the major, minor, themes and perspectives, or electives.

In a data- and information-saturated world, people need quantitative skills to understand both common and complex issues, and to formulate and ask intelligent questions. Concepts related to quantitative literacy include but are not limited to measurement, logic, number sense, percentages, sampling and error, and graphical representation of data and information.

Courses with a quantitative literacy designation (QL) will focus on the measurement of personal, social, and scientific issues. You will develop the ability to investigate and interpret quantitative information, critique it, reflect upon it, and apply it to a given issue. You will be able to provide accurate explanations of information generated or presented mathematically and construct reasoned arguments. You’ll also learn to present quantitative information in an effective format to support your argument.

You may fulfill this through any designated course within the major, minor, themes and perspectives, or electives.

Courses that carry a writing intensive designation (WI) emphasize the ability to develop and articulate content knowledge and critical thinking through frequent practice of informal and formal writing. You will learn to demonstrate understanding of audience expectations, genres, and conventions appropriate to a specific academic discipline or related profession. The WI course will require you to compose one or more papers totaling at least 3,000 words through the stages of writing—brainstorming, drafting, integrating sources, and revising comprehensively after receiving substantial, formative feedback on drafts.

You must fulfill the Academic Writing requirement before enrolling in a writing intensive course.

You may fulfill this through any designated course within the major, minor, themes and perspectives, or electives.

One of your final ICC experiences as you near graduation is your ICC capstone, designed as an opportunity for you to synthesize your college experience. An ICC capstone experience is required for all students and is either a stand-alone course or a component of a capstone for your major program. As part of your ICC capstone, you’ll be required to complete a reflective artifact that addresses the question, “What has my learning in the Integrative Core Curriculum contributed to my education and how is that learning related to what I’ve learned in my major and through other learning experiences?” Upon completion of the ICC capstone requirement, you’ll be able to:

  1. Engage in and communicate self-reflection about your learning in the Integrative Core Curriculum, your chosen discipline, and your overall college experience;
  2. Connect relevant experience and academic knowledge to deepen understanding of fields of study and broaden your own points of view; and
  3. Summarize your prior learning inside and outside of the classroom to reveal significantly changed perspectives about educational and life experiences

ICC Capstone may be taken as a stand-alone course or as a component of a capstone course for your major. Please visit the advising page for your school for more information.