Guidelines, Goals and Learning Outcomes for Core Curriculum Areas


Students will learn to:

  1. Compose and communicate effectively in a range of media for a variety of rhetorical and creative purposes; and,
  2. Demonstrate an ability to frame and analyze a problem, find and interpret relevant information, develop and evaluate possible solutions, come to well-grounded conclusions, and craft an appropriate argument, report, application, or other expression of such inquiry.


Please see student learning outcomes for current Core mathematics classes.

Natural Sciences

Guidelines for Core natural science courses:

  • Courses should assist students in gaining a practical understanding of the scientific method and applying it in at least four substantial lab experiences in each core science course.
  • Through lab experience, the student will learn how to gather and analyze data, draw conclusions and make inferences.
  • Each course includes current as well as classical topics on science and technology.
  • Courses require critical review of scientific literature outside the textbook, such as articles from journals and other current periodicals in the field
  • Courses stress the continued development of quantitative skills by requiring students to apply skills taught in Core mathematics courses.

Social Sciences

General Objective

Core social science courses provide students with tools for analyzing human actions, enabling them to understand and apply a scientific approach in the study of contemporary individual and social issues, problems, and their own lives. As part of the University Core, social science courses foster critical understanding of human action and interaction with other humans and their environment.

Specific Objectives

  • Expose students to current events, issues, and literature relevant to the particular social science discipline.
  • Develop critical thinking and writing skills.
  • Apply the scientific method and body of theories to analyze human actions.

Fine Arts

Core fine arts courses are designed to:

  • Enable students to discern the ways in which the arts function as a means to explore, affirm, or celebrate individual and group identity
  • Provide insight into the history, diversity, and creativity of the world's cultures
  • Develop writing and verbal skills for critical explorations into the drive for all individuals and cultures to understand and express identity through dance, music, theatre, or visual media
  • Structure outlets for students to engage in creative expression
  • Encourage cross-cultural understanding and interaction

Core Humanities

Core Humanities courses have two important goals:

  • As the introductory humanities core courses, they provide students the experience of working with the basic tools of the humanities disciplines: clear writing, close reading of primary texts, practice with oral expression of serious ideas, awareness of modes of discourse, sensitivity to cultural differences, understanding and evaluating the past, and reflecting upon the cultural implications of arts, technologies, and scientific discoveries.
  • As interdisciplinary courses in the traditions of the West, they expose students to the cultural diversity that finds expression in the modern West, and they also make students aware of the great diversity of sources from which our cultural legacies derive and show the richness of the historical debate over the ideas that continue to shape us as Americans..

Capstone Courses

Capstone courses should meet the following GUIDELINES:

  • Courses build upon the Core Curriculum. They provide the opportunity for students to bring to bear knowledge gained in other Core courses and knowledge derived from courses in the major.
  • Courses are integrative, broadly focuses, multi-disciplinary, and if relevant, cross-cultural.
  • Courses focus on ethical and substantive issues and themes that affect the world community and broad cross-sections of humanity.
  • Courses promote critical thinking, reaching beyond orthodox or traditional approaches and perspectives. Courses challenge students to question and critically examine established assumptions.
  • Every course includes a rigorous writing component and also, wherever possible, a computational component.
  • Capstone courses offer a unique opportunity for innovative teaching. Cross-disciplinary courses and team-taught courses are encouraged.

GENERAL/MAJOR Capstone Course Distinction:

  • A General Capstone course has only lower-division Core Curriculum courses as prerequisites.
  • A Major Capstone course may have prerequisites in the major, in addition to the lower-division Core Curriculum prerequisites.


There are three criteria that a course must meet in order to count as a diversity course:

  • The course must have as its central focus or theme (not as a peripheral interest) a topic pertaining to non-western culture or to excluded groups within western culture.
  • The course must have a rigorous writing requirement.
  • The course must be on the 200-level or above.