Office of Academic Services

Core Curriculum

coreThe School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) requires that all students complete a goal-based Core Curriculum, as well as an approved major and an approved minor for students who are not pursuing credit-intensive majors.

The distinctive SAS Core Curriculum is structured as a set of core liberal arts and sciences learning goals. All are framed as activities students will be able to do at a foundational level by virtue of meeting the specified core goal. Courses may be counted as meeting multiple learning goals; students generally will complete the core in 10 to 14 courses of 3 or 4 credits each. A course used to meet core goals may also be used to fulfill a major or minor requirement. Only graded degree credit-bearing courses worth at least 3 credits and certified by the SAS faculty may be used to meet core goals. For lists of courses certified as meeting each goal, see below. These lists are also available in the Rutgers online degree audit system, Degree Navigator, which students use to track their progress in completing the Core Curriculum.

The Core Curriculum is for:

  • all first year students entering SAS in Fall 2011 or later
  • all transfer students entering SAS in Fall 2012 or later
  • all school to school transfer students entering SAS in Fall 2012 or later

Students who entered SAS prior to these dates and prefer to complete the Core Curriculum in lieu of the Liberal Arts Distribution Requirements should speak to an academic adviser.

What courses count as Core courses?

Only a special, limited group of courses is certified by the faculty as meeting Core Curriculum goals. To be certified, the course must put the specific Core Curriculum goals front and center in its design and regularly assess student achievement of the certified Core goals.  Only courses that have committed to this process of certification, Core assessment, and continuous improvement are certified as Core courses. This is why some particular courses are certified while other courses that may seem to have a similar or analogous focus are not. This assures that all students develop the foundational liberal arts and sciences capacities the Core promises.


21st Century Challenges [21C]

Students take two degree credit-bearing courses (at least 6 credits) and, in doing so, meet at least two goals.

  • Analyze the degree to which forms of human difference shape a person's experiences of and perspectives on the world.
  • Analyze a contemporary global issue from a multidisciplinary perspective.
  • Analyze the relationship that science and technology have to a contemporary social issue.
  • Analyze issues of social justice across local and global contexts.

The 21st Century Challenge Learning Goals must be fulfilled by taking classes at Rutgers-New Brunswick; transfer and AP courses are not certified to meet these learning goals.

Courses certified for 21st Century Challenges [21C]

Areas of Inquiry: Natural Sciences [NS]

Students take two degree credit-bearing courses  (at least 6 credits) and, in doing so, meet the first goal and at least one other.  

  • Understand and apply basic principles and concepts in the physical or biological sciences.
  • Explain and be able to assess the relationship among assumptions, method, evidence, arguments, and theory in scientific analysis.
  • Identify and critically assess ethical and societal issues in science.

Courses certified for Areas of Inquiry: Natural Sciences [NS]

Areas of Inquiry: Social and Historical Analysis [SCL], [HST]

As specified below, students take a total of two degree credit-bearing courses (at least 6 credits), one course meeting at least one historical analysis goal and one meeting at least one social analysis goal. In completing these two courses, students also meet at least one of these three shared goals.

  • Understand the bases and development of human and societal endeavors across time and place.
  • Explain and be able to assess the relationship among assumptions, method, evidence, arguments, and theory in social and historical analysis.
  • Identify and critically assess ethical issues in social science and history.

Historical Analysis [HST]

Students take one degree credit-bearing course (at least 3 credits) and meet at least one goal.

  • Explain the development of some aspect of a society or culture over time, including the history of ideas or history of science.
  • Employ historical reasoning to study human endeavors.

Social Analysis [SCL]

Students take one degree credit-bearing course (at least 3 credits) and meet at least one goal.

  • Understand different theories about human culture, social identity, economic entities, political systems, and other forms of social organization.
  • Apply concepts about human and social behavior to particular questions or situations.

Courses certified for Areas of Inquiry: Social and Historical Analysis [SCL], [HST]

Areas of Inquiry: Arts and Humanities [AH]

Students take two degree credit-bearing courses (at least 6 credits) and meet at least two distinct goals.  

  • Examine critically philosophical and other theoretical issues concerning the nature of reality, human experience, knowledge, value, and/or cultural production. [AHo]   
  • Analyze arts and/or literatures in themselves and in relation to specific histories, values, languages, cultures, and technologies. [AHp]  
  • Understand the nature of human languages and their speakers. [AHq]   
  • Engage critically in the process of creative expression. [AHr]

Courses certified for Areas of Inquiry: Arts and Humanities [AH]

Cognitive Skills and Processes: Writing and Communication [WC], [WCr], [WCd]

Students take three degree credit-bearing courses (at least 9 credits) including Expository Writing 01:355:101; one WCr; and one WCd and, in doing so, meet all five goals.

  • Communicate complex ideas effectively, in standard written English, to a general audience.
  • Respond effectively to editorial feedback from peers, instructors, and/or supervisors through successive drafts and revision. [WCr]
  • Communicate effectively in modes appropriate to a discipline or area of inquiry. [WCd]
  • Evaluate and critically assess sources and use the conventions of attribution and citation correctly.
  • Analyze and synthesize information and ideas from multiple sources to generate new insights.

Students receiving a score of 4 or above on the AP English composition or literature tests are exempted from Expository Writing 01:355:101, and for such students the writing and communication goals become a two-course requirement: WCr and WCd. Transfer credits from courses taken in high school will not meet the WC learning goal, even if they appear on a college transcript.

The Revision-Based Writing and Communication Learning Goal [WCr] must be fulfilled by taking a class at Rutgers-New Brunswick; transfer and AP courses are not certified to meet this learning goal.

Courses certified for Cognitive Skills and Processes: Writing and Communication [WC], [WCr], [WCd]

Cognitive Skills and Processes: Quantitative and Formal Reasoning [QQ], [QR]

Students take two degree credit-bearing courses (at least 6 credits) and meet both goals.

  • Formulate, evaluate, and communicate conclusions and inferences from quantitative information. [QQ]
  • Apply effective and efficient mathematical or other formal processes to reason and to solve problems. [QR]

Students who place into calculus on the Rutgers-New Brunswick mathematics placement exam are exempt from taking the QR course, and such students need only meet the QQ goal. Students who use calculus placement to satisfy the QR may not use precalculus to satisfy the QQ goal. Transfer credits from courses taken in high school will not generally meet these requirements.

Courses certified for Cognitive Skills and Processes: Quantitative and Formal Reasoning [QQ], [QR]

Cognitive Skills and Processes: Information Technology and Research [ITR]

Students take one degree credit-bearing course (at least 3 credits) and, in doing so, meet at least one goal.

  • Employ current technologies to access information, to conduct research, and to communicate findings.
  • Analyze and critically assess information from traditional and emergent technologies.
  • Understand the principles that underlie information systems.

Courses certified for Cognitive Skills and Processes: Information Technology and Research [ITR]

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