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. For substitutions to the Core Education Program, please consult first with your academic adviser. Final approval occurs within the appropriate college, school or department.

All VCU students are required to take UNIV 111UNIV 112 and UNIV 200. A minimum grade of C is required in UNIV 112 and UNIV 200. Transfer credits are not accepted for these three UNIV courses after a student is enrolled at the university.

The Core Education Program includes three tiers.

Tier I

Six credit hours: UNIV 111 and UNIV 112: 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 Common Book initiative 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. Three to four credit hours – a quantitative literacy course from the following approved list:
    MATH 131Introduction to Contemporary Mathematics3
    MATH 141Algebra with Applications3
    MATH 151Precalculus Mathematics4
    MATH 200Calculus with Analytic Geometry4
    SCMA 171Mathematical Applications for Business3
    SCMA 212Differential Calculus and Optimization for Business3
    SCMA 301Business Statistics I3
    STAT 208Statistical Thinking3
    Option for School of the Arts programs only (three-course sequence)
    MATH 121Perspective Geometry1
    MATH 122Tessellations1
    MATH 123Visualization1
    Option for Honors College only
    MATH 230Mathematics in Civilization3
  2. Three 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 200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
    Option for Honors College only
    HONR 200Rhetoric3
    Option for clinical radiation sciences program only (two courses)
    CLRS 390Research Methods in the Radiation Sciences2
    CLRS 398Introduction to Research1
  3. Three credit hours – a humanities/fine arts course from the following approved list:
    AFAM 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to Africana StudiesIntroduction to Africana Studies3
    ENGL 215Reading Literature3
    ENGL 250Reading Film3
    HIST 201The Art of Historical Detection: ____3
    MASC/INTL 151Global Communications3
    PHIL 201Critical Thinking About Moral Problems3
    PHIL 250Thinking About Thinking3
    RELS 108Human Spirituality3
    UNIV 213 Play VideoPlay course video for The Truth About LyingThe Truth About Lying3
    UNIV 217Finding Your Voice in Contemporary Society3
    UNIV 299What's the Big Idea?3
    WRLD/INTL 203Cultural Texts and Contexts: ____3
    WRLD 230Introduction to World Cinema3
    Option for Honors College only
    PHIL 230Reason, Science and the Self3
  4. Three to four credit hours – a social/behavioral sciences course from the following approved list:
    ANTH/INTL 103Introduction to Anthropology3
    ECON 101/INTL 102Introduction to Political Economy3
    GSWS 201Introduction to Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies3
    HUMS 300Great Questions of the Social Sciences3
    INTL 101Human Societies and Globalization3
    POLI 103U.S. Government3
    POLI/INTL 105International Relations3
    PSYC 101 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to PsychologyIntroduction to Psychology4
    SCTS 200Science in Society: Values, Ethics and Politics3
    SLWK 200Building a Just Society3
    SOCY 101 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to SociologyIntroduction to Sociology3
    UNIV 211Food for Thought3
    UNIV 222Pseudoscience3
    Option for Honors College only
    INTL/POLI 365International Political Economy3
  5. Three to four credit hours – a natural/physical sciences course from the following approved list:
    BIOL 101Biological Concepts3
    BIOL/ENVS 103Environmental Science4
    CHEM 110Chemistry and Society3
    ENVS 201Earth System Science3
    FRSC 202Crime and Science3
    INSC 201Energy!3
    PHYS 103Elementary Astronomy3
    Option for Honors College only
    PHYS 215Science, Technology and Society3

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.