University Studies - How it works

How it works

University Studies consists of a set of required courses, much like your academic major. However, instead of being focused in one field, this curriculum takes you across different areas of knowledge and different ways of learning. The required courses are designed to expose you to broad areas of knowledge and to sharpen your analytical, critical thinking, and communication skills.

The requirements are organized into 5 clusters, each based on a purpose or theme. With just a few exceptions, you can choose from a set of approved courses to fulfill each requirement in the clusters. There are 14 separate requirements, although some courses can count for more than one requirement and not all requirements are regular 3-credit courses. Also, some courses in your major may meet University Studies requirements.

foundations engagement
Foundations for Engagement: Skills for the 21st Century
natural world
The Natural World: Scientific Inquiry and Understanding
cultural world
The Cultural World: Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding
social world
The Social World: Humanity and Society
educated engaged
The Educated and Engaged Citizen: Integrating the UMassD Experience

1: Foundations for Engagement: Skills for the 21st Century

foundations engagement

Cluster 1 brings together basic skills in thinking, reading, writing and quantitative reasoning and challenges you to apply these skills as engaged citizens of a community that spans the classroom, campus, and the local, regional and global communities beyond. This cluster introduces you to the Commitment to Student Learning and builds a foundation for engagement and integration of knowledge, skills and capacities that will develop throughout the UMassD experience.

Goals
  • Introduce the concepts of the engaged citizen and engaged learning
  • Emphasize the use of critical thinking, reading, and writing and communication as vehicles for engaged learning
  • Foster the ability to use technology to enhance learning
  • Develop the ability to reason using quantitative and mathematical information
Courses

Critical Writing and Reading I – ENL 101 (3 credits)

Critical Writing and Reading II – ENL 102 (3 credits)

Intermediate Writing (3 credits)

Mathematics (3 credits)

Foundation for Learning through Engagement (variable credit) - college/major/disciplinary-based course

Approved courses

2. The Natural World: Scientific Inquiry and Understanding

natural world

In the 21st Century it is impossible to engage successfully with the broader community without having fundamental knowledge of the scientific method and basic facts about the natural world. In our communities of work and in our community of citizenship, it is increasingly necessary to develop familiarity with scientific methods and acquire knowledge of science to comprehend and solve the problems we face.

Goals
  • Present the process of scientific inquiry and scientific methods
  • Introduce students to the extant body of knowledge in one or more fields of science
  • Increase confidence and competence in the ability to apply scientific principles and knowledge
  • Enhance the ability to incorporate knowledge of science into problem solving strategies
Courses - one course each from:

Science of the Natural World (3 credits) - the fundamental concepts and methods in one or more specific fields of science; how the scientific method is used to produce knowledge and to solve problems

Science in the Engaged Community (3 credits) - analyze and evaluate the use of scientific information in the context of social, economic, environmental or political issues; apply scientific theories and knowledge to real-world problems

Approved courses

3. The Cultural World: Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding

cultural world

Successful engagement in the community requires an understanding of culture and the various ways it is expressed. People are shaped by their culture at the same time they help to construct it. Key to understanding culture is the ability to understand how to interpret and make sense of cultural expressions found in literature and the visual and performing arts.

Goals
  • Understand works of art and literature within their cultural and historical context
  • Understand how works of human expression shape individual and cultural identities, values and behaviors
  • Analyze creative processes and engage in critiques
  • Experience cultural events to foster appreciation of the aesthetic and formal qualities of literary, visual and performing arts
Courses - one course each from:

Literature (3 credits)

Visual and Performing Arts (3 credits)

Approved courses

4. The Social World: Humanity and Society

social world

Cluster 4 focuses on the individual in relation to the world and to others. You will be challenged to consider how your perspectives and beliefs are formed and how differing perspectives come together to create the complex social world in which we live. Our curriculum considers these processes within the context of personal experience and as a member of both U.S. society and the global community.

Goals
  • Consider questions about human knowledge and the human condition, as well as the relationship of the individual to the broader world
  • Foster an understanding of the diversity within U.S. society
  • Develop a deeper understanding of one’s place and role in U.S. society
  • Engage in critical thinking about humanity and society
  • Develop an awareness of global cultural perspectives
Courses - one course each from:

Human Questions and Contexts (3 credits) - what it means to be human, the significance of human existence, the nature of human relationships; how knowledge is obtained, maintained and changed, and how individuals come to understand and think about the world around them

The Nature of U.S. Society (3 credits) - the development of U.S. culture and sub-culture from different perspectives, U.S. social and cultural domains in relationship to other regions of the world, or the different facets of citizenship in the U.S.

The Nature of the Global Society (3 credits) - problems faced by societies and cultures outside the U.S. or issues that shape societies globally

Approved courses

5. The Educated and Engaged Citizen: Integrating the UMassD Experience

educated engaged

Cluster 5 requires you to apply the knowledge, skills and capacities gained throughout the UMassD experience and to reflect on the interaction of these and your own professional and personal development.

Goals
  • Explore the concepts of the engaged citizen and engaged learning
  • Emphasize the use of critical thinking, reading, and writing and communication as vehicles for engaged learning
  • Develop the ability to use technology to enhance learning
  • Develop the ability to reason using quantitative and mathematical information
Courses - One course and certification of engagement activity:

Capstone Study (3 credits) - the opportunity to integrate your learning and produce an original expression of knowledge or understanding. You will also be asked demonstrate mastery of both written and oral communication.

Learning Through Engagement (variable credit) - through engagement, you'll deepen your understanding and appreciation of your academic studies, while reflecting on the connections between your learning and the broader communities of which you are a part—whether professional, scholarly, social, cultural, economic or political. Service learning courses, internships, study abroad programs, independent research or creative work and experiential learning courses or practica that foster engagement and reflection may be used to meet this requirement. Capstone courses may also qualify.

Approved courses

 

Curriculum requirements & learning outcomes

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