CAS Core Curriculum

CAS Core Curriculum uneadmin Sat, 11/21/2020 - 09:20

The College of Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum (Core) provides an innovative common learning experience for all undergraduates in the college. The Core 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: Environmental Awareness (first year), Social and Global Awareness (second year), Critical Thinking (third year), and Citizenship (fourth year). Skills of communication, quantitative reasoning, 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 prepares students for living informed, thoughtful, and active lives in a complex and changing society.

First Year Theme

Environmental Awareness

All entering students enroll in Introduction to Environmental Issues and a four-credit Laboratory Science course. Students discover science as a process and discuss the role of science and technology in society. The laboratory science course also serves to introduce the scientific method as an approach to knowledge, while infusing consideration of issues pertaining to environmental awareness.

As part of the first-year experience, students enroll in one Humanities Exploration course and a subsequent Humanities or Social/Behavioral Sciences Exploration course. These courses are designed to foster student inquiry into engaging academic topics. Each Exploration course introduces the intellectual tools of the discipline in which it is offered, encouraging students to understand the liberal arts as including distinctive ways of understanding. All Exploration courses promote writing as a tool of expression and explicitly teach critical thinking skills.

Second Year Theme

Social and Global Awareness

Students come to understand the human experience by means of two specific types of courses: Social and Global Awareness (SGA) and Human Traditions (HT).

In the SGA 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. Students complete two SGA courses in the second year.

In HT 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. Students complete two HT courses in the second year, with one focused on human prehistory to approximately 1500 and the other focused on human cultures from 1500 to the present day.

Third Year Theme

Critical Thinking: Human Responses to Problems and Challenges

This theme is offered through students’ major programs of study and builds upon the knowledge and skills students have developed during their first two years. This theme and approach enhance students’ ability to deal with the complex problems and issues they confront in their upper-level major courses. Each academic program requires its majors to enroll in a course where students and faculty engage in informed critical and creative thinking about problems confronting their discipline. Grounded in 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


This theme focuses on preparing students to make a difference in the world, their communities, and their professions. Students enroll in an interdisciplinary seminar and participate in community service and civic activity. During this seminar, students discuss personal, professional, and public responsibilities as they anticipate and share their concerns for the world they are about to enter. The seminar 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.

Additional Core Requirements

In the third and fourth years of study, students select two Advanced Studies courses outside of their major area of study and based upon their interests. These courses explore methodologies, theories, and/or concepts important in the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Professions, and/or Humanities.

At some time in their academic career, all students participate in a Creative Arts Experience (CAE) by taking a specifically designated CAE course or by completing an independent project. This requirement emphasizes the value of students’ creative spirits and uncovers gifts that will sustain students throughout their lives.

College of Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum Goals

Students in the College of Arts and Sciences will prepare for twenty-first-century challenges by acquiring and demonstrating a variety of separate but interrelated concepts and skills. Students will:

  • Acquire Knowledge  Students will acquire and demonstrate knowledge of and skills in disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives and methodologies in all of the following areas humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, and mathematics
  • Develop Skillful Thinking  Students will demonstrate their ability to engage in multiple modes of scholarly inquiry including critical thinking, creative thinking, decision making and problem-solving, and quantitative reasoning
  • Expand Expressive Capabilities  Students will demonstrate proficiency in expressing original thought through different avenues including oral, written, graphic, and symbolic communication, and artistic expression.
  • Demonstrate Understanding of What It Means to Act Responsibly and Ethically  Students will show evidence of a greater understanding of their place in the world and their responsibilities by demonstrating these proficiencies at multiple levels, including personal and interpersonal, academic, civic, environmental.

Subject Area Details

First Year Theme: Environmental Awareness Credits
ENV 100/101 or ENV 104 - Intro to Environmental Issues 3
One four-credit Laboratory Science course 4
One Humanities Exploration course 3
One Humanities or Social/Behavioral Science Exploration course 3
ENG 110 - English Composition or equivalent or ENG 122 and SAS 011 and ENG 123 (7 cr.) 4
One Mathematics course 3–4
Second Year Theme: Social and Global Awareness Credits
Two Social and Global Awareness courses 6
Human Traditions I*: Prehistory to 1500 (3 cr.) and ARH 276, ENG 276, HIS 276, PHI 276, PSC 276 or REL 276 6
Human Traditions II*: 1500 to Present (3 cr.) and ARH 278, ENG 278, HIS 278, PHI 278, PSC 278 or REL 278  

*Students must take Human Traditions I and Human Traditions II from different disciplines.

Third Year Theme: Critical Thinking Credits
Critical Thinking: Offered as part of major coursework  
Advanced Studies*: Two in total at 3 credits each, completed in third and/or fourth year 6

*Students must take Advanced Studies courses outside of their major area of study.

Fourth Year Theme: Citizenship Credits
CIT 400 - Citizenship Seminar (1 cr.) or CIT 420 - Global Citizenship (1 cr.) 1
Advanced Studies: Two in total, completed in third and/or fourth year 6
Once Across the Four Years Total of 6 Credits
One Creative Arts Experience course 3
Total CAS Core Curriculum Credits 42–43

University Core Curriculum Summary and Objectives

The Core Curriculum emphasizes active, collaborative, and experiential learning. It challenges students to transfer knowledge from one academic area to another, appreciate different disciplinary perspectives on the same topic, and integrate what they have learned to construct their own knowledge. Courses in the Core cultivate effective oral and written communication, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving skills, and issues of diversity. 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 contribute to society.

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

Core Counting Rules for Double Majors and Minors

A student who double majors may count any relevant core attribute toward both the core and the major/minor. If a student has completed the requirements of the core in their primary degree or completed the requirements of the core in their second degree, then the student has met the core requirements.

The Core attributes are Environmental Studies, Math, English Composition, Laboratory Science, Creative Arts Experience, Exploration, Social and Global Awareness, Human Traditions, Citizenship, and Advanced Study. All programs of study (majors/minors) fall into one of the following areas: humanities, natural sciences, professional programs, social sciences, interdisciplinary programs, or math.

The intent of this policy is to document a practice already in place that was not previously published. This should apply to all students, regardless of the catalog year.