Hero Image

Phase 1:
The Core

Come fully alive as you engage in education drive by discovery and learn our common human calling.


modules of learning


of growth

The Glory of God is a Man Fully Alive

As carriers of the “Imago Dei,” each and every one of us is called to represent God to the world and bring His Kingdom to Earth. In The Core, we study one subject at a time in the flow of the biblical narrative to lay a foundation for this common human calling – a foundation from which to build your life.

Our program is built around a cohort of students who live together, study together, and encourage each other toward a life that reflects the call of Jesus. Our classroom isn’t conventional. We’ve abandoned traditional lectures, discarded textbooks, and reimagined the possibilities of the classroom, so that you, the student, can uncover new perspective, engage in community discussion, and allow what you’ve discovered to transform your life.St. Irenaeus once said, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” You don’t come to life by absorbing facts, taking tests, and learning formulas. Real transformation transcends your mind and impacts your entire life. That is at the heart of our program – education beyond information.

Rethinking the way we learn

Where education meets innovation.
We believe learning should be awe-inspiring, engaging, and exploratory. See what makes our college unique.

Classical Texts

You'll go straight to the best minds in history and industry by reading the works of people like C.S. Lewis, Plato, Wendell Berry, and so many more.


Critical Thinking

Through our unique critical thinking curriculum, learn how to think – not just what to think. You’ll come away knowing how to navigate through the ideas of culture while also being charitable to the views of others.



The best way to learn is to participate. That’s why we replace traditional lectures with the Socratic method, one of the oldest and most powerful teaching tactics used for fostering critical thinking.


One Subject
At a Time

Rather than taking six disconnected courses at once, you’ll study one subject at a time in the flow of the biblical narrative. We cover all of what has been traditionally called “the liberal arts” – all the way from theology to fine arts and economics.


Christ-centered community is at the core of a transformative learning experience. You’ll be working, growing, laughing, and discovering with up to 30 classmates, learning with the same faculty every day, and experiencing a new perspective together.

Real Life Experience

Education isn’t limited to the classroom. You’ll learn and grow through real life experience working a job, maintaining a home, building healthy community with your peers, and more.

Our Curriculum

What is Truth? What is beauty? What is society? Who is God? What does it mean to be fully human? Who am I? These are the questions students wrestle with, and find answers to, during the Core Program.

Our 15-month, discussion-based program inspires students through an engaging study of the Great Books built upon the biblical narrative. We pair history’s most creative, insightful thinkers with the Truth of God’s Story. Rather than offering dozens of unrelated courses, the intentional sequenced curriculum of the Core brings meaning to learning, igniting a passion in our students as they make connections between themselves, God’s Word, and His world.

What our
students say

At Excel College, I experienced challenge and growth like I could never have imagined. The Core Curriculum led me into a newfound love for God and His Creation as I learned to see him and His world rightly. I came to see life as a WHOLE instead of a collection of PARTS and this laid a foundation for wisdom that will guide me for the rest of my life. My life is fueled by a passion to see and relate rightly with God, his creation, myself and my neighbor and has led me into a position where I get to partner with His Spirit in leading the next generation into the same revelation.



Recruiting / Core Faculty

The Excel College Program is exactly what I have been looking for over the last few years in regards to completing my degree. I have been able to use my previous experience as a Squad Leader for the World Race and Intern with G42 Leadership Academy to begin to fulfill my Phase 2 requirements for my emphasis in Community and Program Development. I have already had the opportunity to work alongside leaders at Excel in developing and refining programs for youth and young adults. Excel College’s holistic approach to education and living has already made an impact in my life and I look forward to the growth I get to continue experiencing here professionally and personally.



Community & Program Development, C6 Cohort

I’ve gained three important perspectives during my time in the program that drastically changed my approach toward life. Learning about education in the context of empathy helped me to critically challenge ideas that would help push me toward God’s Truth. Learning about creativity in the context of Creation helped me to find gratitude in God’s Goodness. Learning about responsibility in the context of relationships helped me to pursue God’s beauty that he intended for us.



Alumni, Founder of Oncorage

I have found the answers to so many questions about God’s character that I never had answers to previously. I know my time in the program has been a foundation building process and that this foundation will last me a lifetime. I’ve also taken on a new perspective of what education is, fulfilling my desire to question and be curious – something I haven’t received in any other environment.



C5 Student

Phase 1 Distinctives

Classical Texts

“You become what you behold”, so here you’ll leave the textbooks behind and instead sit under the tutelage of some of the greatest minds in history. The Excel College Core Program is built around a modified Great Books curriculum combined with an in-depth study of the Bible. While textbooks come and go, the Great Books are the literary, scientific, political, and social classics which have stood the test of time and have proven to have had the greatest impact on civilization – and on our understanding of human nature and the meaning of life. By utilizing the Great Books, students learn directly from the original, authoritative source and are able to critically assess the author’s message, rather than having the message interpreted through a textbook or professor. While studying political thought, you’ll read straight from Plato’s Republic – not a textbook about Plato’s Republic. You’ll read the Federalist Papers by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay – not a summary of them. Combine this with an in-depth study of the Bible (the ultimate authoritative source) and you’ll be “beholding” from the greatest minds in history.

Critical Thinking

Discipleship is at the core of what we do. From the classroom to the marketplace, the home, and our community gatherings,  we’ve cultivated an environment that encourages growth in every aspect of life – intellectually, spiritually, practically, professionally, and missionally. Our team of coaches and mentors lives and works from Excel Black Mountain, and it’s our joy to walk with students through each step of their journey. You’ll be encouraged, challenged, and strengthened as you learn what it’s like to participate in a healthy, flourishing community focused on discipleship.

Socratic Discussion

We learn best as active participants, not passive recipients of information. That’s why we replace traditional lectures with the Socratic method, one of the oldest and most powerful teaching tactics used for fostering critical thinking. When using the Socratic method, faculty lead discussions by asking questions and facilitating thought-provoking dialogue. Our classes are conversational and often spirited as you, your classmates, and faculty come together to grapple over the issues of life. You’ll learn to intelligently and honorably discuss, question, and challenge the ideas of an author – and one another – as faculty guide and mediate conversation. Using this discussion-based method, you’ll come to truly grasp concepts and understand ideas as you wrestle on your own and in discussion groups.

One Subject At a Time

Historically, the biblical narrative was the assumed foundation of a liberal arts education. But over time, God and His Story were removed, and the liberal arts and sciences fragmented into a hodgepodge of isolated subjects rather than a meaningful, interconnected whole. Traditional university students are now often studying up to seven unrelated subjects and texts at a time. But at Excel College, we view knowledge as interrelated and interconnected rather than isolated and independent – and God’s Story is the foundation of our unique sequenced modular curriculum. You’ll study one core subject at a time in the flow of the biblical narrative. Through this innovative approach, students receive a more cohesive education as they dive deeply into each subject, with each one building off the preceding one. You’ll find a new passion for learning as you see how all subject matter weaves together into a beautiful tapestry, bringing deep meaning and richness to your education.

Cohort Model

As human beings, we crave relationship, partnership, and companionship. We want our learning to relate to life, our teachers to relate to us, and our faith to relate to reality. In short, we want to be mentored, not lectured. That’s why Jesus chose twelve to be “with” Him, and that’s why, at Excel College, we’ve designed a cohort model of education set within the larger Excel community. In Phase 1, you’ll never change classes, classmates, or professors as you wrestle with some of life’s most important questions. At the same time, you’ll engage with the larger Excel community through friendship, discipleship, and worship. We eat together, play together, laugh together, cry together, and serve together. We grow together and pursue wisdom, maturity, and productivity together. As a result, we all become more human together.

Real Life Experience

Education isn’t limited to the classroom, and here we’re just as focused on spiritual, practical, and missional growth as we are intellectual and professional. You’ll learn and grow through real life experience like: working a job and contributing to the cost of your education, maintaining a home and cooking and cleaning with your housemates, building healthy community with your peers, doing life with mentors and coaches in the community, and more.

Find other
helpful resources

Want to learn more or have any other questions? Feel free to contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Learn about
Phase 2

The Core Program is Phase 1 of the Excel College Bachelor’s Program. In The Practicum Phase, you’ll focus on your personal calling by getting hands on experience in the field of your choice through an internship, apprenticeship, or independent research study while receiving one on one mentorship in the context of community.