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Core curriculum

The VCU Core Education Program provides a compact between VCU and its students. The university pledges to provide opportunities for students to improve their oral and written communication competency, to develop their critical thinking abilities, to improve their ability to work collaboratively on projects, to attain information fluency, to achieve quantitative literacy and to understand ethical perspectives and civic responsibilities in the 21st century.

Along with an emphasis on student-centered learning, the primary goals of the Core Education Program are to:

  1. Improve students’ levels of competencies in all skill areas.
  2. Blend knowledge and skills from different disciplinary areas into one integrated experience.
  3. Encourage and promote student engagement in present and future learning.

Mission of the Core: By providing shared learning experiences, the Core Education Program helps students develop competencies necessary for lifelong success.

The Core Education Program consists of 21 credit hours intended to be completed by the end of the sophomore year. Individual schools determine all other curricular requirements for their programs of study. All VCU students are required to take UNIV 111, 112 and 200. A minimum grade of C is required in UNIV 112 and UNIV 200. Transfer credits are not accepted for these courses after a student is enrolled at the university.

The Core Education Program includes three tiers.

Tier I

6 credit hours: UNIV 111 and 112 Focused Inquiry I and II: This two-semester sequence is required of all first-year students and provides the foundation of the Core Education Program. A minimum grade of C is required in UNIV 112. Students begin their Core shared experiences through the summer reading program with follow-through in the FI sequence as they engage in similar assignments and projects both in and out of class.

Tier II

As a complement to the first tier, Tier II courses reinforce the learning objectives introduced in the Focused Inquiry sequence. Courses in this tier are drawn from across the university and include:

  1. 3-4 credit hours – a quantitative literacy course from the following approved list:

MATH 131 Introduction to Contemporary Mathematics
MATH 141 Algebra with Applications
MATH 151 Precalculus Mathematics
MATH 200 Calculus with Analytic Geometry or any 200-level (or greater) MATH course
SCMA 171 Mathematical Applications for Business
SCMA 212 Differential Calculus and Optimization for Business
SCMA 301 Business Statistics
STAT 208 Statistical Thinking or any 200-level (or greater) STAT course

Option for School of the Arts programs only (three-course sequence)
MATH 121 Perspective Geometry, MATH 122 Tesselations and MATH 123 Visualization

Option for Honors College only
MATH 230 Mathematics in Civilization

  1. 3 credit hours – a research and academic writing course that emphasizes academic argument, information retrieval, analysis and documentation. A minimum grade of C is required.

UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument

Option for Honors College only
HONR 200 Rhetoric

Option for clinical radiation sciences program only (two courses)
CLRS 390 Research Methods in the Radiation Sciences and CLRS 398 Introduction to Research

  1. 3 credit hours – a humanities/fine arts course from the following approved list:

AFAM 111 Introduction to Africana Studies
ENGL 215 Textual Analysis
HIST 201 The Art of Historical Detection: ____
HUMS 250 Reading Film
MASC/INTL 151 Global Communications
PHIL 201 Critical Thinking About Moral Problems
PHIL 250 Thinking About Thinking
RELS 108 Human Spirituality
UNIV 213 The Truth About Lying
UNIV 217 Finding Your Voice in Contemporary Society
UNIV 299 What’s the Big Idea
WRLD/INTL 203 Cultural Texts and Contexts: ____
WRLD 230 Introduction to World Cinema

Option for Honors College only
PHIL 230 Reason, Science and the Self

  1. 3-4 credit hours – a social/behavioral sciences course from the following approved list:

ANTH/INTL 103 Cultural Anthropology
ECON 101/INTL 102 Introduction to Political Economy
GSWS 201 Introduction to Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
HUMS 300 Great Questions of the Social Sciences
INTL 101 Human Societies and Globalization
POLI 103 U.S. Government
POLI/INTL 105 International Relations
PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology
SCTS 200 Science in Society: Values, Ethics and Politics
SLWK 200 Building a Just Society
SOCY 101 General Sociology
UNIV 211 Food for Thought
UNIV 222 Pseudoscience

Option for Honors College only
INTL/POLI 365 International Political Economy (honors section)

  1. 3-4 credit hours – a natural/physical sciences course from the following approved list:

BIOL 101 Biological Concepts
BIOL/ENVS 103 Environmental Science
CHEM 110 Chemistry and Society
ENVS 201 Earth System Science
FRSC 202 Crime and Science
INSC 201 Energy!
PHYS 103 Elementary Astronomy

Option for Honors College only
PHYS 215 Science, Technology and Society

Tier III

The third tier culminates in a capstone experience integrating the Core Education Program with the student’s major. This requirement, as determined by the major, may be fulfilled through a service-learning project, a research project with a faculty member, a study-abroad program, a senior thesis paper, a practical internship or a major-specific capstone course. This requirement ties learned experience in the Core Education Program with a practical application in the major.


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Last update: 1/31/2014

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