Ashoka University: Leading Liberal Arts and Sciences University

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Foundation Courses

Ashoka University requires each student to take 9 Foundation Courses. Each of these courses is mandatory. These are Introduction to Critical Thinking, Great Books, Literature and the World, Indian Civilizations, Environmental Studies, Mind and Behaviour, Economy, Politics and Society, Mathematical Thinking and Principles of Science. The Introduction to Critical Thinking Foundation Course is one which students take in their first year. It allows them to develop their critical thinking abilities both in discussion and, no less importantly, in writing.  

These courses are not formal gateways into the Major programmes, but distinctive courses that introduce students to the foundations of thought and various styles of thinking, and also to inter- and transdisciplinary approaches.  Other than Introduction to Critical Thinking which must be completed in the first year, students have the flexibility to choose the order in which they take the Foundation Courses but are advised to complete the Foundation Courses series early in the three year undergraduate programme. 

The following table provides Foundation Course (FC), Introduction to Critical Thinking (ICT) and, Critical Thinking Seminar (CTS) requirements for different undergraduate batches.

UG BatchFCICTCTSMandatory FCs
2020-2023810All the FCs mentioned in the description below. 
2019-2022511Indian Civilizations, Environmental Studies, 1 FC each from Humanities, NMS, and SES area.
2018-2021611Indian Civilizations, Environmental Studies, 1 FC from the NMS area.
2017-20207 (6 if Indian Civilizations is done)11Environmental Studies and 1 Math FC. 

* For the UG21 and UG22 batches, FCs are categorized into 3 areas: Humanities, Natural and Mathematical Sciences (NMS), Social and Economic Sciences (SES) 

For further information on batch-wise FC rules, kindly go through the FAQs (available at the end of this page)

UG Batch 2020-2023 Onwards

Ashoka University requires each student to take 9 Foundation Courses. Each of these courses is mandatory. These are Introduction to Critical Thinking, Great Books, Literature and the World, Indian Civilizations, Environmental Studies, Mind and Behaviour, Economy, Politics and Society, Mathematical Thinking and Principles of Science. The Introduction to Critical Thinking Foundation Course is one which students take in their first year. It allows them to develop their critical thinking abilities both in discussion and, no less importantly, in writing.  These courses are not formal gateways into the Major programmes, but distinctive courses that introduce students to the foundations of thought and various styles of thinking, and also to inter- and transdisciplinary approaches.  Other than Introduction to Critical Thinking which must be completed in the first year, students have the flexibility to choose the order in which they take the Foundation Courses but are advised to complete the Foundation Courses series early in the three year undergraduate programme.

When and what to take?

In their first semester, students are to take 4 Foundation Courses of which one could be the Introduction to Critical Thinking course. Currently there is only one exception: students who consider choosing a major that requires familiarity with higher mathematics may choose to take 3 Foundation Courses and one Calculus course in their first semester. They may then take the remaining Foundation Course later.

In their second semester, students take at least two Foundation Courses of which one may be Introduction to Critical Thinking if not taken in the first semester. Students may take as many Foundation Courses as they can before declaring a Major. There is no specific order in which students have to take the Foundation Courses.

Note on Foundation Courses

*Note that depending on the faculty member teaching the course, the emphasis may vary across courses offered. While the basic understand remains the same, themes and texts will vary within the same Foundation Course.

For example, with three faculty members offering the Great Books course in the same semester, the chosen books and fragments of books as well as the themes explored will vary from faculty member to faculty member.

The course description for each Foundation Course offered in a semester will be announced before the semester begins.

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka