Liberal Studies Program > First-Year Program > Chicago Quarter

Chicago Quarter (Autumn) - Discover & Explore Chicago

Offered during the autumn quarter, Chicago Quarter courses acquaint first-year students at DePaul with the metropolitan community, its neighborhoods, cultures, people, institutions, organizations and issues. It is through these classes that students make first contact with both the university's urban identity and its Vincentian mission. Students also learn about university life, resources, and how to be a successful student. This learning is accomplished through a variety of means, but particularly through first-hand observation, participation, personal discovery, reflection, discussion, and guest lectures.

Class is led by a teaching team consisting of a faculty instructor, a staff professional and a Chicago Quarter Mentor (CQM).

From an array of more than 100 course offerings, students select a particular Discover or Explore Chicago course focusing on a Chicago-related topic ranging from art and architecture to business and industry, from literature and science to politics and media, from food and sports to social justice and spirituality, from ethnic identity and the natural environment to music and theatre. The city itself serves as classroom, text, and 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 introduce them to the keys to college success. Common Hour, led by each team's staff professional and CQM, covers a range of essential topics: Academic Success Skills; Diversity & Social Justice; Sense of Belonging & Community; Educational & Career Planning; Financial Fitness; Health & Wellness; University Technology & Registration; and Socially Responsible Leadership.

What is the difference between Discover and Explore?

Features of Discover Chicago

  • Begins a week before the official start of Autumn Quarter!
  • An experiential learning program: Immersion Week, five days immersed in the city examining the class topic (32 contact hours)
  • Followed by seven weeks of traditional course work during the regular Autumn Quarter (2.5 contact hours per week, including Common Hour)
  • A small class, limited to 22 students per course
  • Class participation in New Student Service Day

Features of Explore Chicago

  • A 10-week course operating on the regular Autumn calendar
  • With four contact hours per week, including Common Hour
  • With an experiential-learning core of at least three field excursions
  • Limited to 28 students per course

Very Important 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 2016, here is your first day of college:

  • If you choose Discover Chicago, you will begin the class by spending the week of Monday, August 29, through Friday, September 2, interacting with the city and its residents.
  • If you choose Explore Chicago, classes and field excursions will begin with the regular Autumn Quarter, which starts on Wednesday, September 7.

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, please contact the Honors Program, 990 W. Fullerton, Suite 1300, or Lewis Center 1620 (25 E. Jackson Blvd.), 773-325-7302,

The Office of the First-Year Program may be reached at 773-325-7573,, or via the live chat option.