Liberal Studies Program

Chicago Quarter (Autumn) - Discover & Explore Chicago

The Chicago Quarter offers introductory courses that reflect the central goals of the larger Liberal Studies Program at DePaul. Its objectives include: knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world; intellectual and creative skills; personal responsibility and social transformation; and integrative learning.Offered during the autumn quarter, Discover & Explore Chicago courses acquaint first-year students at DePaul with the metropolitan community, its neighborhoods, cultures, people, institutions, organizations and urban issues.  Students also learn about university life, resources, and how to be a successful student.  Learning is accomplished through a variety of means, but particularly through first-hand observation, participation, personal discovery, reflection, discussion and guest lecturers.

Discover Chicago course descriptions:

Explore Chicago course descriptions:

From a wide array of course offerings, students select a particular Discover or Explore Chicago course focusing on a Chicago-related topic ranging from immigration and race, art and architecture, health and welfare, industry and business, history and science, to literature and biography. The city itself will serve as a “text” and a subject of inquiry.

Both Discover and Explore Chicago courses feature a “Common Hour,” which is a kind of College Life 101 designed to address issues of transition for first-year students and to introduce them to the keys to college success.  Common Hour, led primarily by student mentors, covers topics such as academic success skills, educational planning and career development, diversity, academic citizenship and socially responsible leadership.

All first-year students are required to take a Discover or an Explore Chicago course during the Autumn Quarter of their first year.  These courses are available only to first-year students.  Students will receive credit for only one Chicago Quarter course.

Students in the university’s Honors Program select from designated sections of Discover and Explore Chicago.  Honors Program students may not register for non-Honors sections of Chicago Quarter courses.  For further information about the Honors Program, please contact the Honors Program, 990 W. Fullerton, Suite 1300, 773.325.7301,

What’s the difference between Discover and Explore?

Features of Discover Chicago:

  • An experiential learning program: one week immersed in the city examining a chosen topic (32 contact hours during the week before regular classes begin).
  • Followed by seven weeks of traditional course work during the regular Autumn Quarter coupled with further field experiences (2½ contact hours per week, including “Common Hour”).
  • A small class, limited to 22 students per course.
  • A team-taught course led by a faculty instructor, staff professional and student mentor.
  • Class participation in New Student Service Day.

Features of Explore Chicago:

  • A 10-week course (4 contact hours per week, including “Common Hour”).
  • At least three field excursions.
  • Limited to 30 students per course.
  • A team-taught course led by a faculty instructor and student mentor.
  • Optional individual participation in New Student Service Day.

Note: Discover Chicago courses begin with Immersion Week, one week prior to the official start of the Autumn Quarter.  Explore Chicago courses begin at the same time as regular classes.

So, in 2014, here is your first day of college:

  • If you choose Discover Chicago, you will begin the class by spending the week of Tuesday, September 2nd, through Monday, September 8th, interacting with the city and its inhabitants.
  • If you choose Explore Chicago, classes and field excursions will begin with the regular autumn quarter, which starts on Wednesday, September 10th.

If questions arise, please contact the Office of the First-Year Program at