Jun 08, 2023  
2014-2015 Academic Catalog 
2014-2015 Academic Catalog [Published Catalog]

The Core Curriculum

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Graduation Requirements

The Core Curriculum sets out a series of requirements that are a vital part of an AUC education, and that all students must meet to graduate with an undergraduate degree from this university. Although it is not possible to be exempted from these requirements, in some cases students may petition for approval for credit from outside AUC in meeting them, for example through advance standing or transfer credits. All students transferring to AUC from another institution of higher learning should be aware of AUC’s residency requirements. In addition to but integrated with the Core Curriculum, AUC has an Arabic Language requirement, described below. Depending on their entrance qualifications or Arabic placement examination results, many students are exempted from these requirements.

The Core Curriculum

“A Liberal Arts education is a celebration of learning that encompasses pretty much everything: the arts and the humanities, the social sciences and the ‘hard’ sciences, business training and other professional studies. It grounds us in a sound understanding of our own culture and history, but also makes us aware and tolerant of the histories and cultures of others. Liberal learning seeks to emphasize the growth of intellectual self-reliance and independence while encouraging co-operative endeavor. It is the competence to think, analyze and understand independently.” - Former AUC President Thomas Bartlett

Goals and Objectives

The Core Curriculum is a body of courses designed to ensure that all students, regardless of major, receive a strong grounding in the traditional liberal arts and sciences. It aims to develop basic academic and intellectual traits while enhancing students’ writing skills, as well as their ability to reason and construct a logical argument. It strives to familiarize students with a diverse body of knowledge and intellectual tradition, and helps them understand themselves, in addition to their culture, society and place in the world. It encourages them to address the patterns of rational thought and argumentation that underpin the world’s great intellectual traditions, and introduces them to the ways in which science seeks to comprehend the natural world. In sum, the Core Curriculum lies at the heart of AUC’s commitment to the liberal arts. It is, first and foremost, an education in the fundamentals of learning itself.


No course that a student employs to meet a requirement of the Core Curriculum in the Freshman or Secondary Levels may be used to also meet any of the requirements - including concentration requirements, specialization requirements, collateral requirements, major core requirements, concentration electives, and general electives - of that student’s major. Similarly, a course that a student employs to meet any of the requirements of a major may not be used to meet any of the requirements of the Core Curriculum, except in the Core capstone level. At the Core capstone level (and nowhere else), one course may do double service (“double count”) for both Core Curriculum and major credit. In addition, any course that meets Core Curriculum requirements, at any level of the Core, may also count towards meeting requirements of a minor, to the extent consistent with stipulations of the department or program offering the minor.

The Core Curriculum consists of three parts: The Freshman Level, the Secondary Level, and the Capstone Level.

I. The Freshman Level: 22 credit hours

The Freshman Program aims to offer students a coherent, integrated introduction to one of the defining features of AUC: liberal arts education. In addition, the Program equips students with communication skills in English and enables them to transfer these skills to content courses so they are prepared to cope with assignments in their majors, and enhances critical thinking skills and their application in a variety of disciplines. Finally, Freshman Program courses aim to help students think with clarity and insight about themselves, their goals and the decisions they face, and to foster their civic responsibility, personal and academic integrity, and appreciation of diversity.

For students entering AUC in the 2013-14 academic year, the Freshman Program consists of the following requirements: In their first semester, students begin as members of a “learning community:” small groups of students taking two closely linked classes together, a Rhetoric class (RHET 1010 ) and a multidisciplinary seminar (CORE 1010 ), that work in tandem to develop and enhance the reading, writing, critical thinking and general academic skills needed for success throughout study at AUC. The program also includes six other courses, to be taken over the first three semesters (four semesters for engineering students): a second RHET course in research skills and writing, Scientific Thinking, Philosophical Thinking, Information Literacy, and two “Pathways of Learning” courses.

Timely Completion of Required Freshman Program Classes in Core Curriculum

  • In normal circumstances, all AUC students should complete their RHET classes in their first two semesters, and all their other Freshman Program classes, including their Information Literacy class, by the end of their first three or (in the case of engineering students) four semesters.
  • Timely completion of the Freshman Program courses is of vital importance, insofar as these courses aim at accomplishing basic learning outcomes, in an integrated and sequenced manner, as a foundation for subsequent study in the Core and in the majors.


  • All students should complete their RHET courses before proceeding to Sophomore-level status.
  • If students fail to register for their second RHET course, RHET 1020 , in their second semester, or in the semester immediately following successful completion of RHET 1010 , a hold will be placed on their subsequent registration until the issue is satisfactorily resolved.

Students other than those in the School of Science and Engineering must enroll in Scientific Thinking, and the Pathways One (Scientific Encounters) and Pathways Two (Cultural Explorations) required Core courses, within their first four semesters. (All SSE students are deemed to fulfill their Pathways One requirement within the major, so they need to complete six rather than seven courses in their Freshman Program; SSE students majoring or intending to major in engineering, will take slightly longer to complete Freshman Program requirements, in line with the Five Year Plans of their majors.)

  • If students fail to register for all of the following: a Pathways One class + the 1 cr. hr. lab (non-science students only), a Pathways Two class, Scientific Thinking, Philosophical Thinking, and LALT 1010 , Information Literacy, by the end of their third semester (end of the fourth semester for engineering students), they will be notified. If the problem persists in the following semester, a hold will be placed on their subsequent registration until the issue is satisfactorily resolved.
  • For undeclared students, only those who have completed the RHET 1010 / CORE 1010  tandem classes, RHET 1020 , LALT 1010 , and Scientific Thinking, will be eligible to declare a major at AUC. During the semester in which they wish to declare, these students must also have completed or be currently enrolled in either ALL or ALL BUT ONE of their required Pathways course(s) and Philosophical Thinking.

Only those students who have completed all Freshman Level courses can proceed to the Junior Level of their major, according to the four- or five-year plan of that major.

Any student who wishes to declare or proceed in his or her major without having completed the Freshman Program requirements according to the terms set out above, will require explicit written approval from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Such approval will be granted only upon acceptance of a signed statement from the student indicating precisely how and when he or she will complete all outstanding Freshman Program requirements. Students who fail to fulfill their stated plans, without sufficient, documented justification, will be placed on probation, leading to dismissal.

These rules shall apply to students who begin the Freshman Program at AUC in fall 2014 and thereafter. Provisions concerning holds on registration will apply to all students, at whatever level, beginning in fall 2014.

After the release of registration holds, students will not be allowed to drop the Freshman Program courses concerned, following the timelines mentioned above, without the consent of their advisors.

Specific rules applied to RHET 1010 /CORE 1010  or RHET 1020  courses taken in the freshman level of the core curriculum:

  • All students, except for those with transfer credits or advanced standing, take the RHET 1010 /CORE 1010  tandem classes (6 cr hrs total) in their first semester as freshmen. Students cannot drop one without dropping the other, and dropping both can only happen with permission.
  • In addition, all students should take RHET 1020  in their second semester, preferably along with the LALT 1010 Information Literacy class.
  • Dropping one of the two courses RHET 1010  or CORE 1010  (Freshman Writing or Freshman Seminar) will result in the other course being dropped as well, automatically.

Students retaking the tandem courses CORE 1010 /RHET 1010  must enroll in a different theme.

  • Students may pass or fail one or both of the tandem courses RHET 1010  and CORE 1010 , depending on their performance in each course.

Students may retake each of RHET 1010 , CORE 1010  and RHET 1020  up to three times in three consecutive semesters. If the second retake is unsuccessful, students will be placed on probation, and continued study at AUC will be contingent on successful completion of the course, on a third retake, in the following semester.

Freshman Program Requirements:

Pathways of Learning courses:

Pathways One: Scientific Encounters (3 credit hours plus 1 lab credit)

Note: Students majoring in any program in the School of Sciences and Enginering meet these requirements through their program requirements rather than as part of the Core Curriculum. Actuarial science students are required to take a lab as part of the Core Curriculum.

Students must choose one course with lab component from the following list:

Pathways Two: Cultural Explorations (3 credit hours)

Courses taken to fulfill the Humanities / Social Science requirement at the Secondary Level must be from a department other than the one offering the course taken to meet the Pathways Two requirement, and should be from a different discipline. Most students will complete these requirements in their first three semesters.

Arabic Language (0-6 credit hours)

All newly admitted students, except those who have passed the Thanawiya Amma exam or its equivalent, will take an Arabic placement exam. Based on the exam results, students may be required to take up to two modern standard Arabic courses from the following:

II. Secondary Level: 12 credit hours

Category 1: Humanities and Social Sciences (3 credit hours)

Every student must choose and complete one course in this category. It must be from a department other than the one offering the course taken to meet the Pathways Two requirement in the Freshman Level, and should be from a different discipline. The requirement should be completed by the end of the student’s sixth semester.

Category 2: Arab World Studies (6 credit hours)

Every student must choose and complete two courses in this category. (The following list is representative: for an updated list of available courses, please see The Core Curriculum webpage or contact the Core office). This requirement should be completed by the end of the student’s sixth semester.

Category 3: Global Studies (3 credit hours)

Every student must choose and complete one course in this category. (The following list is representative: for an updated list of available courses, please see The Core Curriculum webpage or contact the Core office). The requirement should be completed by the end of the student’s sixth semester.

III. Capstone Level: 6 credit hours

The requirements may be met by selecting two courses from a variety of options, including Senior Project or Thesis, Senior Seminar, Senior Internship, Study Abroad, Community Engagement, Honors Seminar, Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar or a 400 level course counting toward a double major. No more than 3 of the 6 credit hour requirements may be taken in the department of major.

This requirement should be completed during the student’s senior year.