Liberal Studies Program > First-Year Program > Chicago Quarter

Chicago Quarter - Discover & Explore Chicago

​What is Chicago Quarter?

Offered in the fall, Chicago Quarter courses acquaint first-year students with the metropolitan community, its neighborhoods, cultures, people, institutions, organizations and issues. It is through these classes that students make first contact with the university's urban identity and Vincentian mission. Students also learn about university life, resources, and how to be a successful student.

At the core of the class is experiential learningfirst-hand observation, participation, personal discovery, reflection, discussion, and guest lectureswith the city itself serving as classroom, text, and subject of inquiry. Class is led by a teaching team consisting of a faculty instructor, staff professional, and Chicago Quarter Mentor (CQM).

From an array of more than 100 course offerings,  students select a particular Discover or Explore Chicago 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.

Both Discover and Explore Chicago feature Common Hour, 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. Led by each team's staff professional and CQM, Common Hour covers a range of essential topics:

  • Understanding & believing in myself
  • Connecting to DePaul
  • Transitioning to college
Many classes also participate in the Chicago Quarter Service Day, a hands-on introduction to DePaul's Vincentian Mission, organized by the Division of Mission and Ministry Office. 

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 (at least 28 meeting hours)
  • Followed by seven weeks of traditional course work during the regular Autumn Quarter (2.5 meeting hours per week, including Common Hour)
  • A small class, limited to 22 students per course
Features of Explore Chicago
  • A 10-week course operating on the regular Autumn calendar
  • With four meeting hours per week, including Common Hour
  • With 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.

So, in 2024​, here is your first day of college:
  • If you choose Discover Chicago, your class will begin with Immersion Week, starting Monday, August 26th.
  • If you choose Explore Chicago, classes and field excursions will begin with the regular Autumn Quarter, which starts on Wednesday, September 4th.

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-wide 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. 

Questions about the First-Year Program?

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