The Mendoza Core

Author: Ellie Villaruz

There are six colleges at the University of Notre Dame: College of Arts and Letters, School of Architecture, College of Engineering, Keough School of Global Affairs, College of Science, and the Mendoza College of Business. Each college has its own unique requirements and class offerings in addition to the University Core, but I am partial to my particular “home” college, the Mendoza College of Business. Mendoza is the only college you have to apply directly into when applying to Notre Dame, and aims to “Grow the Good in Business.” In my experience, it does just that.

All students in the Mendoza College of Business must complete the so-called “Mendoza Core.” It includes classes in all different business disciplines: Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Business Analytics, and Strategic Management. For the Class of 2026 on, the Mendoza core was changed to make double majors possible and increase flexibility for all business students. It now requires the Foundations classes for each discipline: a total of eight required classes in these disciplines along with Calculus and Microeconomics that students typically take in their first and second years. With this new Mendoza Core, students have fewer required classes for their degree and therefore more flexibility to add second majors, minors, and concentrations both within Mendoza and with other colleges.

Students in Mendoza do not declare their major until the spring semester of their first year. This allows them to begin the Mendoza Core and take foundational classes in different business disciplines to get a feel for each and decide what they ultimately want to declare as their primary major. I especially appreciated the Mendoza Core as I came in as a Marketing major but took Foundations of Accounting my freshman fall. I didn’t even really know what accounting was before taking the course (despite my mother being an accountant) and was surprised to find that I enjoyed the material to the extent that I declared Accounting as my major. Since then, I’ve taken Foundations of Coding, Finance, Leadership, and Strategy, which have all affirmed my choice to declare Accounting. While I may not have enjoyed these classes as much as my Accounting ones, I appreciate the exposure to these different subject matters and have loved to see the overlap between each of them. I still have to take Marketing, Statistics, and Ethics next semester, and I will see if I would like to add one of these as a second major or even switch! All in all, the Mendoza Core exposes all students to each discipline of business so they might make the most informed decision on declaring their primary major.

Ellie Villaruz poses with a friend at a Notre Dame tailgate.

Additionally, 50% of required credits for a BBA must be taken outside of the Mendoza College of Business. This statistic emphasizes the holistic view Notre Dame takes on education– students must take classes in all disciplines not just within business but in other subjects as well. The flexible Mendoza Core allows many students to add other majors in minors outside of Mendoza, 36% of students have second major outside of Mendoza and 46% of students have one or more minors. I am an Accounting major with minors in Italian and Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation, therefore I take courses in at least three different colleges! Students are also able to double major in any of the Mendoza majors except for Business Analytics, which is becoming increasingly popular with time. Overall, the revitalized Mendoza Core allows for amazing flexibility where business students can personalize their curriculum and take more courses outside of their major in other subject matters that interest them!