CAS Core Curriculum

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Core Curriculum provides an innovative common learning experience for all UNE CAS undergraduates. It invites students to explore four college-wide themes from multiple disciplinary perspectives and to develop important intellectual skills. Students focus on a theme each year - (1) Environmental Awareness, (2) Social and Global Awareness, (3) Critical Thinking: Human Responses to Problems and Challenges, and (4) Citizenship. Skills of communications, mathematics, and critical thinking are taught throughout the core. Designed to provide a foundation in the liberal arts, the core reflects the values of the college and is designed to prepare students for living informed, thoughtful, and active lives in a complex and changing society.

First Year Theme

Environmental Awareness is the first-year theme. All entering students enroll in Introduction to Environmental Issues and a laboratory science course. Students discover science as a process and discuss the role of science and technology in society. The laboratory science course will serve to introduce the scientific method as an approach to knowledge while infusing significant consideration of issues pertaining to Environmental Awareness.

As part of the first-year experience students will enroll in one Humanities Exploration course and a subsequent Humanities or Social/Behavioral Sciences Exploration course. These courses foster student inquiry into engaging academic topics. Each course, while connecting to one or more of the common core themes, introduces the intellectual tools of the discipline, thereby encouraging students to understand the liberal arts as distinctive ways of understanding. All exploration courses promote writing as a tool of learning and teach critical thinking skills explicitly.

Second Year Theme

Social and Global Awareness is the second year theme that focuses attention on the human experience by means of two specific types of courses.

In the Social/Global Awareness courses, human experience is explored in cultural, societal, national, and global contexts.  Students use perspectives and methods of the social and behavioral sciences to examine human interaction and growth.

In the Human Traditions courses, human experience is examined within the traditions of the humanities. Students inquire into the rise and fall of civilizations, study works of art and literature, and examine the philosophical, religious, and economic ideas that shaped ancient cultures and the modern world.

Third Year Theme

Critical Thinking: Human Responses to Problems and Challenges is the third year theme that builds upon and develops the knowledge and skills students have mastered in their first two years.  This theme and approach enhances the ability of students to deal with the complex problems and issues they confront in their upper-level major courses. Each program requires its majors to enroll in a course where students and faculty engage in informed critical and creative thinking about problems confronting people in their discipline. Centering on the thinking process, as well as on the issues, students research and identify causes of problems, generate and evaluate possible solutions, and decide upon a plan of action.

Fourth Year Theme

Citizenship is the fourth year theme.  It prepares students to make a difference in the world, their communities, and their professions. Students will enroll in an interdisciplinary seminar and participate in community service or civic activity. During their seminar, students discuss the personal and public responsibilities they anticipate and share their concerns for the world they are about to enter. This theme challenges students to understand the balance between making a living and making a life. Activities provide the opportunity to weave together various threads of the core and the major.

During the third and fourth year of study, students are required to take Advanced Studies courses in an area or areas outside of their major area.  These courses explore methodologies, theories, and/or concepts important in the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and/or Humanities. Students select two courses in this category based on their preference. 

Once during their academic careers, students participate in a creative arts experience by taking a specific course or by completing an independent project. This requirement emphasizes the value of their creative spirits and uncovers gifts that will sustain students throughout their lives.

Subject Area Details Credits
First Year Theme: Environmental Awareness  
ENV 100/101 or ENV 104 - Intro to Environmental Issues 3
One laboratory science course 4
One Humanities Explorations course 3
One Humanities or Social Behavioral Science Explorations course 3
ENG 110 - English Composition 4
One Mathematics course 3 - 4
Second Year Theme: Social and Global Awareness  
Two Social Global Awareness courses 6
Human Traditions
276 - Human Traditions I  
278 - Human Traditions II  
Students must take a Human Traditions I and a Human Traditions II from two different humanities disciplines   
Third Year Theme: Critical Thinking  
Fourth Year Theme: Citizenship  
Two courses in Advanced Studies 6
CIT 400 - Citizenship Seminar 1
Once Across the Four Years  
One Creative Arts Experience course 3 - 4
Total Credits 42 - 43

University Core Curriculum Summary and Objectives

  • Effective communications skills - Besides taking English Composition students use writing as a tool of inquiry and research in both major and non-major courses. Students also practice public speaking skills.
  • Critical thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving skills - Formally taught in Explorations and again in Case Studies, thinking skills are fostered throughout the curriculum.
  • Mathematical and quantitative reasoning skills - Students will be advised to take a specific mathematics course(s) according to their skill level and major. They will be encouraged in a variety of courses to use mathematics as an essential quantitative tool of analysis.
  • Diversity Issues - Questions of gender, race, class, and culture are investigated in the Social and Global Awareness theme courses and have important relevance to all the themes within the common core. Different perspectives on these issues will be infused across the curriculum.

The core curriculum emphasizes active, collaborative, and experiential learning. It challenges students to transfer knowledge from one arena to another, appreciate different disciplinary perspectives on the same topic, and integrate what they have learned to construct their own knowledge. The curriculum provides an interwoven and reinforced set of experiences in core courses, in major or professional requirements, in special all-campus events, and in general college life.  The faculty at the University of New England believes that our core curriculum is intrinsically valuable and that it helps us to influence our graduates to be better citizens and to be well equipped to be contributing members of society.  

A more thorough description of the core is available through the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Office.

Notice and Responsibilities Regarding this Catalog

This Catalog documents the academic programs, policies, and activities of the University of New England for the 2013-2014 academic year. The information contained herein is accurate as of date of publication August 12, 2013.

The University of New England reserves the right in its sole judgment to make changes of any nature in its programs, calendar, or academic schedule whenever it is deemed necessary or desirable, including changes in course content, the rescheduling of classes with or without extending the academic term, canceling of scheduled classes or other academic activities, in any such case giving such notice thereof as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances.

While each student may work closely with an academic advisor, he or she must retain individual responsibility for meeting requirements in this catalog and for being aware of any changes in provisions or requirements.