Apr 13, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 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 advanced standing or transfer credits. 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

What is the Core Curriculum?

At AUC, every student pursues two kinds of programs that integrate seamlessly to produce one transformative educational experience. All students enroll in a major - a specialized program of studies, in which they complete the courses of their chosen discipline or professional field. This gives them depth in a particular field. In addition, every student completes an unspecialized program that brings together students from all majors - the Core Curriculum. The Core Curriculum is the centerpiece of our liberal arts education and the core of your learning experience at AUC. You engage in an interdisciplinary, diverse journey of learning that does not restrict your learning to knowledge or skills in only one particular field, giving you breadth of knowledge and transferable skills for lifelong learning.

The Core Curriculum courses have the goal of developing the liberal arts skills of critical thinking, critical reading and written communication, collaboration, information literacy, digital literacy, and civic engagement, as well as an understanding of issues that affect humanity that are relevant to all disciplines. Core Curriculum courses assist you in understanding your place in the world - socially, culturally, intellectually, and historically.

How does the Core Curriculum Help Students?

The Core Curriculum helps students develop a diverse set of skills needed to thrive in today’s complex, globalized world. Over the course of four years, the Core allows students to develop personal, professional, local, and global skills, to become well-rounded individuals equipped for lifelong learning. By the end of the program, students should be able to communicate influentially and effectively, work in diverse environments, think critically and creatively to solve complex problems, understand issues from multiple perspectives, collaborate with diverse people, ethically engage the world around them, distinguish truth from misinformation, and overall possess the personal, civic and career readiness needed for them to participate, impact, and lead in an ever-changing world.


  • Core Curriculum courses are only allowed to “double count” (meet credit requirements for two different areas) under three situations:
    • For the secondary major when pursuing a double major.
    • For credits towards a minor (consistent with the stipulations for the department or program offering the minor).
    • For the Capstone in the Major requirement. 
  • Core Curriculum courses cannot be double counted for primary major courses, concentration requirements, specialization requirements, collateral requirements, concentration electives, or general electives.
  • Core Curriculum Courses cannot be taken from the same department as a student’s first major.

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.

The Freshman Program consists of the following:

Timely Completion of Required Freshman Program Classes in Core Curriculum.

Timely completion of 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.

General Policies:

  • All AUC students should complete their RHET classes in their first two semesters.
  • All of the other Freshman Program classes need to be completed by the semester in which the student reaches 45 credit hours, except in the case of engineering students who have until the semester in which 60 credit hours is reached.
  • Any student who fails to complete their courses as per this policy will have a registration hold placed until the issue is satisfactorily resolved. 
  • After the release of registration holds, students will not be allowed to drop the Freshman Program courses concerned without the consent of the Core Curriculum program.
  • Students in the School of Sciences and Engineering are not required to complete the Pathways One Requirement, as its outcomes are fulfilled within their majors.
  • Students cannot proceed to their junior year before completing ALL freshman level courses.
  • For students wishing to declare engineering, the requirement that Scientific Thinking be completed prior to declaration does not apply.

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 agreement with 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.

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

Students should complete RHET 1010 , CORE 1010 , and RHET 1020  in their first two semesters. However, students may attempt these three courses up to three times each in consecutive semesters. If the second attempt is unsuccessful, students will receive a warning, and continued study at AUC will be contingent on successful completion of the course, on a third attempt, in the following semester. A drop counts as an attempt.

  • 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.
  • RHET 1020  needs to be taken immediately after successfully completing RHET 1010  (or immediately after receiving equivalent credit for or exemption from the course) otherwise a hold will be placed on their subsequent registration until the issue is satisfactorily resolved.

  • Starting Fall 2021, Students may choose to take LALT 1020  during the same semester they are taking ENGL 0210 , RHET 1010  and CORE 1010 , or, at the latest, with RHET 1020 .

  • All students are required to pass LALT 1020  before or during the semester in which they are registered in RHET 1020 . Students who have completed RHET 1020  without successfully completing LALT 1020  will have a registration hold placed on their subsequent registration.

  • 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.
  • If a student is taking LALT 1020  concurrently with RHET 1020 , then dropping LALT 1020  will result in the automatic dropping of RHET 1020 . By contrast, LALT 1020  can be dropped independently when taken concurrently with ENGL 0210  or RHET 1010 .

  • 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. The same applies to RHET 1020  and LALT 1020 .

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 Engineering 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.

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/discipline other than the one offering the course taken to meet the Pathways Two requirement. This rule applies to all courses except for courses with the prefix of SEMR and CORE as these are interdisciplinary courses. Students can therefore take a course with the CORE prefix to meet the Pathways 2 requirement at the freshman level and another course with the CORE prefix for the secondary level humanities/Social Science requirement. Most students will complete these requirements in their first three semesters. Students may only take one course from the Pathways 2: Cultural Explorations category. Any additional completed course(s) from this category will not count for credits nor show a grade on the academic transcript.

Arabic Language (0-6 credit hours)

All newly admitted students, except those who have submitted evidence to AUC of passing the Thanawiya Amma exam or its equivalent, will take an Arabic placement exam. Students are only allowed to sit for the placement exam once in the freshman year. Based on the exam results, students may be required to take up to two Modern Standard Arabic courses.

As of Fall 2019, all degree-seeking students without Thanawiya Amma or equivalent who are eligible for the placement test will take one or two of the following courses (unless exempted by the placement exam):

For Egyptian and Arab background students:

For International Students:

All degree seeking international students, are also required to meet the university’s Arabic Language requirement by taking up to 6 credits of the following courses:


  • The Timely completion of the Arabic Language requirement applies to all enrolled students, regardless of their year of admission.
  • All students must sit for an Arabic language placement exam during their freshman year unless they have submitted a Thanawiyya Amma certificate or its equivalent before the date of the last placement exam for any given academic year.
  • Students may sit for the Arabic Placement exam only once during their first year. Retaking of the exam is not allowed. Based on the placement exam score, students will either be exempted from required Arabic Language courses, or be required to take one or two sequenced (not concurrent) courses. 
  • Students who fail to take their placement exam during their first two semesters will receive registration holds upon the completion of 30 credits, and they will be automatically required to do two Arabic language courses.
  • Students must take all required Arabic language courses before completing 90 credit hours. For students required to take two courses, the first of the required courses must be taken before completing 60 credit hours. Students failing to register for (or registering and dropping) their required Arabic courses in time to meet the Arabic Timely Completion Policy will be issued registration holds preventing them from registering for other courses before registering for the required Arabic courses. 
  • Students who have taken the placement exam before fall 2019, and have not completed their required ALNG courses following the old course numbering, will be placed in the new ALNG courses, as determined by the department of Arabic Language Instruction.

For more information on policies and procedures, please check the department of Arabic Language instruction page in the Catalog.

Please check the ALNG webpage to see the instructions and schedule of the exam.

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. This requirement should be completed by the end of the student’s sixth semester. Starting Fall 2019, students must complete one generic course in Arab World Studies and another course which focuses on Egypt must be taken from the World Studies: Egypt Category. Total of 6 credit hours.

Category 3: Global Studies (3 credit hours)

Every student must choose and complete one course in this category. The requirement should be completed by the end of the student’s sixth semester.

III. Capstone Level: 6 credit hours

Capstone requirements may be met by selecting two courses from a variety of options listed in the Core Capstone lists, including Senior Project or Thesis, Senior Seminar, Senior Internship, or Study Abroad, Only 3 of the 6 credit hour requirements may be taken in the department of major. The other 3 must be from outside the major. This requirement should be completed during the student’s senior year. In some circumstances, with prior approval, a study abroad course, a 3000 or 4000-level community-based learning course, or a 4000-level course counting towards a second major may also fulfil one of these.