Student Guidance

A Student’s Guide to the Common Curriculum

The Common Curriculum prepares students to tackle 21st-century challenges by allowing them to combine coursework across a variety of disciplines to expand their worldviews, enhance their range of skills, and develop into critical, creative, emotionally intelligent, and interdisciplinary thinkers. The program also allows them to dive deeper into areas of interest outside of their majors. The Curriculum is designed to help students learn how to learn and to

• Be versatile in a rapidly changing world;
• Combine knowledge in innovative ways;
• Apply learning strategies to new contexts, including their major;
• See local and global patterns and the interconnectedness of intellectual work; and,
• Appreciate how we need each other to tackle today’s challenges.

NECHE Requirements

The University of Connecticut is accredited as an academic institution by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and must adhere to their Standards for Accreditation. According to NECHE, general education “embodies the institution’s definition of an educated person and prepares students for the world in which they will live.” While individual institutions have some leeway in determining how general education is structured, NECHE requires that it shows “a balanced regard for what are traditionally referred to as the arts and humanities, the sciences including mathematics, and the social sciences.” NECHE also requires that “all undergraduate students complete at least the equivalent of 40 semester credits in a bachelor’s degree program.” UConn’s general education program is called the Common Curriculum.

For more information about why colleges and universities seek accreditation, click here.

Common Curriculum Requirements at UConn

Topics of Inquiry

There are six topics of inquiry:
TOI-1: Creativity: Design, Expression, Innovation
TOI-2: Cultural Dimensions of Human Experiences
TOI-3: Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice
TOI-4: Environmental Literacy
TOI-5: Individual Values and Social Institutions
TOI-6: Science and Empirical Inquiry

The Competencies

Quantitative Competency:
Two Quantitative (Q) courses are required.  Advisors will assist students to determine their readiness for Q courses based on a combination of their SAT mathematics score and class performance.

Students will be able to seek advice and tutoring at the Q Learning Center.

Writing Competency:
1.   All students must take either English 1007, English 1010, ENGL 1011, or ENGL 2011 (Honors).  Students with Advanced Placement English scores of 4 or 5 are considered to have fulfilled the ENGL 1010 or 1011 requirement.

2.   Additionally, all students must take two writing-intensive W courses, one of which must be a 2000-level or above course approved for the student’s major.  W courses may also satisfy other Content Area requirements.  (Note:  ENGL 1007, 1010, 1011, or 2011 are prerequisites to all writing-intensive courses.)

Students will be able to seek advice and tutoring at the W Learning Center.

Second Language Competency:
Three years of one language in High School or passing the 2nd semester of a second language at UConn is currently required.

The Literacies:

Environmental Literacy:
Students must pass at least one course of at least three credits in Environmental Literacy. Environmental Literacy courses are designated for this purpose as (E) courses. Environmental Literacy courses may be counted toward the major. Students may use an Environmental Literacy course that has one or more Content Area designations to fulfill the Content Area requirements for which the course has been approved, if the established regulations on Content Area course number, credit number, and subject code are met.


University Requirements vs. School/College Requirements

The system applies only to University General Education requirements, and does not affect the separate and independent internal degree requirements of the individual schools and colleges.

It is important for students to be clear on the distinction between university requirements and school/college requirements.  For example, while all University of Connecticut students will be required to take 6 credits of social science courses chosen from a pool of approved courses, the School of Nursing requires SOCI 1001 and HDFS 1070 of its own students. SOCI 1001 and HDFS 1070 are in the pool of courses approved for meeting the University General Education Social Science requirement.  Nursing students would have the option of using SOCI 1001 and HDFS 1070 to meet simultaneously both a university requirement and a School of Nursing requirement, but they cannot be forbidden from taking other social science courses to meet the University General Education Requirement.

Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) also have additional General Education requirements above and beyond the normal university requirements. For example, while the university requires six credits of CA1, CLAS requires 15 credits of CA1 for a BA or 12 credits of CA1 for a BS across several CLAS-specific categories.

The general education system allows “double-dipping” of courses that jointly satisfy university and school/college requirements.  Your advisor can assist you in determining which courses will satisfy both sets of requirements.