DePaul University Division of Student Affairs > Student Life > Transitioning to DePaul > The Chicago Quarter

The Chicago Quarter

The Chicago Quarter is a required course for all first-year students. The Chicago Quarter courses 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 Chicago and 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 through the Common Hour portion of each Chicago Quarter course. The Common Hour is delivered by current DePaul students and professional staff members, as a means to provide first-year students with peer support and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Learning is accomplished through a variety of means, but particularly through first-hand observation, participation, personal discovery, reflection, discussion and guest lecturers.

Discover and Explore Chicago

Within the ​Chicago Quarter, new students have the opportunity to take either a Discover Chicago course or an Explore Chicago course. Each course meets the goals outlined above, but are structured slightly different.

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 in the city.
  • 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.

The Common Hour

Both Discover Chicago and Explore Chicago include the Common Hour. Common Hour supports students’ transition to the university by providing education and information on university life, resources and how to be a successful student. The Common Hour curriculum is delivered by current DePaul students, Chicago Quarter Mentors, and DePaul professional staff members. Chicago Quarter Mentors offer first-year students peer support and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.

The Common Hour curriculum consists of eight, one-hour lessons focusing on the following areas:

  • Academic Success Skills
  • Understanding Diversity & Culture
  • Sense of Belonging & Community
  • Education and Career Planning
  • Financial Planning
  • Health & Wellness​
  • University Technology & Registration
  • Socially Responsible Leadership
For more information about The Chicago Quarter, see the FYP website.