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:
- Improve students’ levels of competencies in all skill areas.
- Blend knowledge and skills from different disciplinary areas into one integrated experience.
- 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 111, UNIV 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.
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.
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:
- Three to four credit hours – a quantitative literacy course from the following approved list:
MATH 131 Introduction to Contemporary Mathematics 3 MATH 141 Algebra with Applications 3 MATH 151 Precalculus Mathematics 4 MATH 200 Calculus with Analytic Geometry 4 SCMA 171 Mathematical Applications for Business 3 SCMA 212 Differential Calculus and Optimization for Business 3 SCMA 301 Business Statistics I 3 STAT 208 Statistical Thinking 3 Option for School of the Arts programs only (three-course sequence) MATH 121 Perspective Geometry 1 MATH 122 Tessellations 1 MATH 123 Visualization 1 Option for Honors College only MATH 230 Mathematics in Civilization 3
- 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 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3 Option for Honors College only HONR 200 Rhetoric 3 Option for clinical radiation sciences program only (two courses) CLRS 390 Research Methods in the Radiation Sciences 2 CLRS 398 Introduction to Research 1
- Three credit hours – a humanities/fine arts course from the following approved list:
AFAM 111 Play course video for Introduction to Africana Studies Introduction to Africana Studies 3 ENGL 215 Textual Analysis 3 HIST 201 The Art of Historical Detection: ____ 3 HUMS 250 Reading Film 3 MASC/INTL 151 Global Communications 3 PHIL 201 Critical Thinking About Moral Problems 3 PHIL 250 Thinking About Thinking 3 RELS 108 Human Spirituality 3 UNIV 213 Play course video for The Truth About Lying The Truth About Lying 3 UNIV 217 Finding Your Voice in Contemporary Society 3 UNIV 299 What's the Big Idea? 3 WRLD/INTL 203 Cultural Texts and Contexts: ____ 3 WRLD 230 Introduction to World Cinema 3 Option for Honors College only PHIL 230 Reason, Science and the Self 3
- Three to four credit hours – a social/behavioral sciences course from the following approved list:
ANTH/INTL 103 Introduction to Anthropology 3 ECON 101/INTL 102 Introduction to Political Economy 3 GSWS 201 Introduction to Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies 3 HUMS 300 Great Questions of the Social Sciences 3 INTL 101 Human Societies and Globalization 3 POLI 103 U.S. Government 3 POLI/INTL 105 International Relations 3 PSYC 101 Play course video for Introduction to Psychology Introduction to Psychology 4 SCTS 200 Science in Society: Values, Ethics and Politics 3 SLWK 200 Building a Just Society 3 SOCY 101 Play course video for Introduction to Sociology Introduction to Sociology 3 UNIV 211 Food for Thought 3 UNIV 222 Pseudoscience 3 Option for Honors College only INTL/POLI 365 International Political Economy 3
- Three to four credit hours – a natural/physical sciences course from the following approved list:
BIOL 101 Biological Concepts 3 BIOL/ENVS 103 Environmental Science 4 CHEM 110 Chemistry and Society 3 ENVS 201 Earth System Science 3 FRSC 202 Crime and Science 3 INSC 201 Energy! 3 PHYS 103 Elementary Astronomy 3 Option for Honors College only PHYS 215 Science, Technology and Society 3
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.