University Curriculum Disciplinary Areas

The learning outcomes for each of the the UC disciplinary areas is summarized in the image below.

Each of those disciplinary areas is described in more detail in the drop-down menus below the image.

(click here for a printable copy of the UC disciplinary learning outcomes)

Academic Reading and Writing (EN 101 and 102) introduces students to the ways that writing is grounded in reading and that inquiry is essential to learning. Through close reading of academic texts, students are given authority as learners to undertake serious intellectual projects that emphasize critical and creative thinking. Instructors guide students through sequenced reading and writing assignments, and highlight the revision process of multiple-draft writing that leads to increasingly complex thinking and rhetorical presentation. As a community of learners, students begin to recognize academic writing as a site where knowledge is produced, understood and communicated. Full-time students are expected to have completed EN 101 and EN 102 by the end of three semesters. Click here for more information on EN101 and EN102.

First Year Seminar (FYS 101) introduces students to the Quinnipiac education and provides a foundation for inquiry. In FYS, students practice inquiry through an investigation of one (or a few) fundamental issues or questions: in doing so, students experience inquiry as a process that involves the systematic investigation of questions or problems from multiple approaches and perspectives and that includes the collection, analysis, and evaluation of various types of evidence. Students will examine the similarities and differences in how inquiry works in each of the four disciplinary areas (Fine Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences). Finally, students will begin to develop a guiding question that they wish to explore throughout their undergraduate experience in light of the skills and knowledge that they acquired throughout FYS. Click here for more information on FYS.

Math courses introduce students to the deductive reasoning that characterizes mathematics and the numeracy that is necessary for quantitative reasoning. These provide a foundation for students to succeed in courses throughout the curriculum, in their chosen field, and as informed and responsible citizens. Math courses numbered 110 or higher fulfill the math requirement. Click here to access the math placement grid, and click here for more information on math courses.

As science and technology come to play increasingly important roles in contemporary life, it is essential for all educated individuals to have a fundamental understanding of science and its methods. Furthermore, everyone needs to be able to judge the trustworthiness of scientific claims, particularly when required to make informed decisions on scientific matters of political, medical, or societal import.

Courses in the Natural Sciences (for example, those based in the principles of biology, chemistry, and physics) introduce students to foundational scientific content and the process of scientific inquiry, while emphasizing the beauty and elegance of our natural world.

Through investigative experiences that intentionally integrate scientific knowledge into real world applications, students will demonstrate the ability to make predictions and test those predictions by collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data; these experiences will introduce students to the process by which empirical scientific knowledge is built and continually challenged and refined. Courses in the natural sciences will emphasize the importance of evaluating the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source, the evidence provided, and the methods used to generate the evidence. These courses will help students to broaden their scientific literacy, enhance their ability to think critically and communicate effectively, and prepare them to make decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. In keeping with the University’s commitment to writing across the curriculum, courses will require students to display the ability to communicate in written and oral form, using methods characteristic of the body of knowledge.

Diciplines in the Natural Sciences include:

Biology is the study of life and living organisms, and encompasses the molecular and cellular basis of life, development, structure and function, behavior, and the interaction of organisms with each other and the environment.

Chemistry is the study of the properties and interactions between matter and energy, including the composition, properties and transformation of matter through chemical reactions.

Earth Science is the branch of science dealing with the physical composition of the Earth and its atmosphere and includes geology (the study of the composition and structure of Earth), meteorology (the science of the atmosphere), oceanography (the study of the oceans), and astronomy (the science of the universe).

Physics aims to explore and understand the natural phenomena of the universe through the study of the fundamental nature of matter, energy, and the interaction between them, and includes mechanics (motion and the forces that produce motion), heat, radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms.

Courses that fulfill the UC requirement for Natural Sciences are listed in the University Catalog (scroll down to the section "University Curriculum Breadth Electives"). Be sure to explore the entire list of course offerings before selecting a course to take so that you can pick the course that is best suited for you.

Alternatively, you can view the courses that fulfill the UC requirement for Natural Sciences in Self Service:

    • Log in to Self Service
    • Click on the Progress tab and scroll down to the Requirements section
    • Under University Curriculum Breadth Requirements, click "Show Details"
    • Expand section B (Disciplinary Inquiry) by clicking "Show Details"
    • Expand section 1 (Natural Sciences) by clicking "Show Details". All the courses that fulfill the Natural Sciences requirement should be listed.
    • To find course offerings for a particular semester, use the "search" button at the top of the list of courses.

Note: BIO 101/102, CHEM 101/102 /111/112, and PHYS 101/110/111 are primarily for students majoring in the sciences or health sciences.

Students taking General Education courses in the Social Sciences (for example, anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology) explore and critically analyze individual human behavior; the informal and formal social, economic, and political institutions constructed by all societies; and the complex interactions between the individual and these social constructs, and between the social constructs themselves. These courses introduce students to a broad body of knowledge about the complexity of human behavior, behavioral and social systems, cultural influences on individual thoughts, affect and behavior, and human development globally within social, economic and political institutions. Students are required to understand the basic, settled knowledge within the discipline they are studying; to recognize the impact of this discipline and this knowledge on their own lives; and to be aware of the major questions for which scholars within the discipline continue to seek a common understanding. Students learn qualitative techniques to critically analyze written or visual data, and quantitative techniques that require the analysis and construction of charts, tables and graphs using appropriate technology; students also learn how to communicate their findings in oral and written forms. In keeping with the University’s commitment to writing across the curriculum, courses will require students to display the ability to communicate in written and oral form, using methods characteristic of the body of knowledge.

Diciplines in the Social Sciences include:

Anthropology is the study of humans within past and present societies, including the norms and values of societies (social and cultural anthropology), the biological development of humans (biological or physical anthropology), and the study of material culture over time (archaeology).

Economics is concerned with the description and analysis of the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services; economists use their broad understanding of business and their advanced analytical skills to interpret economic behavior and forecast political and societal trends.

Political Science deals with systems of governments, and the analysis of political activities, political thoughts and political behavior. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, which is commonly thought of as determining of the distribution of power and resources.

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior, and aims to understand the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior, while also exploring the physiological and biological processes that underlie cognitive functions and behaviors.

Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies and how people interact within these contexts. Since all human behavior is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious traditions; from the divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of the common culture.

Courses that fulfill the UC requirement for Social Sciences are listed in the University Catalog (scroll down to the section "University Curriculum Breadth Electives"). Be sure to explore the entire list of course offerings before selecting a course to take so that you can pick the course that is best suited for you.

Alternatively, you can view the courses that fulfill the UC requirement for Social Sciences in Self Service:

    • Log in to Self Service
    • Click on the Progress tab and scroll down to the Requirements section
    • Under University Curriculum Breadth Requirements, click "Show Details"
    • Expand section B (Disciplinary Inquiry) by clicking "Show Details"
    • Expand section 3 (Social Sciences) by clicking "Show Details". All the courses that fulfill the Social Sciences requirement should be listed.
    • To find course offerings for a particular semester, use the "search" button at the top of the list of courses.

In an increasingly global world, it is essential for all educated persons to understand and engage with a broad range of ideas, values and experiences of peoples within and beyond their own culture and historical moment. Students taking courses in the UC Humanities Division (for example, history, literature, language and philosophy) will be introduced to the study of the history, development and articulation of cultures: diverse ideas, values, ideals, experiences and their various modes of expression embedded in texts. These courses enable students to explore, question, analyze and evaluate how people have expressed their beliefs, ideas and values. Through important aesthetic, conceptual and historical artifacts, students interact with social, political, economic and natural systems across the globe or in a particular cultural or historical context. Students inquire about these beliefs, values and interactions through methods appropriate to a humanities discipline: reading and understanding primary materials, using disciplinary modes of textual analysis and evaluation, assessing truth claims of arguments, interpreting textual evidence, and producing writing that constructs and develops a claim, anticipates counterarguments and/or challenges assumptions that leads to informed cultural knowledge or ethical positions. Through these courses, students learn to better articulate, understand and engage both familiar and unfamiliar, or contrasting, viewpoints present in written products of human culture. In keeping with the University’s commitment to writing across the curriculum, courses will require students to display the ability to communicate in written and oral form, using methods characteristic of the body of knowledge.

Disciplines in the Humanities include:

History is the study of past events. Studying history helps students to appreciate their place in the world through a deeper understanding of the connection between the past and the present, through a better awareness of the varieties of human experience, and through a more complete understanding of the rich diversity of cultures. By studying American, European and world history, students gain a broad perspective on the diversity of the human experience and achieve a better understanding of their place in the world.

Literature is the study of texts -- the records of the lives and ideas of others. Through close reading, rigorous analysis, and continuous practice in formal writing and speaking, students develop the capacity to think critically and creatively, to communicate clearly, and to solve complex problems as well as the ability to demonstrate ethical judgment and integrity, intercultural skills, and the capacity for continued new learning.

Languages: Through the study of language, students develop effective communication skills as well as cultural critical thinking and knowledge. In addition to being a valuable entry point into parts of the world that use different languages, studying language develops the educational foundation for students to engage in a changing world of diverse cultures and people.

Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind and language. Studying philosophy equips students with the conceptual tools and techniques of inquiry necessary to arrive at thoughtful responses to the world's challenges, and students will learn to reflect critically, ethically and holistically and apply their thinking to their own lives and to the world they are about to inherit. Students develop competence in reasoning techniques, and will appraise the validity (and invalidity) of arguments, expose hidden assumptions, recognize fallacies and make a precise and coherent case in support of their own views. Philosophy students are skilled at combining and synthesizing information from a wide range of sources, and in reflecting on their own thinking and experience.

The following departments, programs, and/or schools offer UC courses in the Humanities:

Courses that fulfill the UC requirement for Humanities are listed in the University Catalog (scroll down to the section "University Curriculum Breadth Electives"). Be sure to explore the entire list of course offerings before selecting a course to take so that you can pick the course that is best suited for you.

Alternatively, you can view the courses that fulfill the UC requirement for Humanities in Self Service:

    • Log in to Self Service
    • Click on the Progress tab and scroll down to the Requirements section
    • Under University Curriculum Breadth Requirements, click "Show Details"
    • Expand section B (Disciplinary Inquiry) by clicking "Show Details"
    • Expand section 2 (Humanities) by clicking "Show Details". All the courses that fulfill the Humanities requirement should be listed.
    • To find course offerings for a particular semester, use the "search" button at the top of the list of courses.

Courses in the Fine Arts (for example, the performing arts: drama and music; the visual arts: art and film history, studio art, digital art and design) introduce students to and help them understand the creative products of humankind. This understanding can be gained either by engaging in an in depth exposure to the arts from historical and global perspective or through the cultivation of individual practice of the arts. Through the study or practice of the arts, students develop an appreciation of the processes and construction of a variety of art forms, and develop the critical and creative intelligence necessary to understand how meaning is created in a variety of forms. Through the analysis and practice of art, students will form connections to other areas of study, such as the social sciences, humanities and the natural sciences. In keeping with the University’s commitment to writing across the curriculum, courses will require students to display the ability to communicate in written and oral form, using methods characteristic of the body of knowledge.

The performing arts, which include music and theater/drama, enable students to practice creative thinking and provide opportunities for personal expression while developing interpersonal skills including empathy, compassion, teamwork, and self-presentation.

  • Drama courses offer the opportunity to engage in the many creative components that make up live theater, including courses in performance (acting, directing, and playwriting), design (scenic, costume, and lighting), theory and literature (theater history, play analysis, and comparative drama), and production (stagecraft, drafting and rendering, and theater practice). Since theater is a collaborative art, every drama course emphasizes interpersonal communication skills. Further, theater celebrates the arts and sciences by combining every discipline into a single art form. The learning outcomes are transferrable in both directions: students will bring their own areas of understanding into the theater courses in unique ways, and when the students return to their own discipline they will do so with transferable lessons they gathered from the theater course.
  • Music is an art form, cultural activity, and universal language shared by all of the world’s cultures. Music courses introduce students to the study of music history theory, and composition, and studio coures enable students to explore music as an avenue for artistic expression through lessons in an instrument of their choosing. Many students choose to participate in one of the university’s undergraduate performing ensembles.

The visual arts include studio art, which gives students hands-on practice in several art forms (including drawing, graphic design, painting, photography, and sculpture) as well as art history, which is the study of the history and development of art.

Courses that fulfill the UC requirement for Fine Arts are listed in the University Catalog (scroll down to the section "University Curriculum Breadth Electives"). Be sure to explore the entire list of course offerings before selecting a course to take so that you can pick the course that is best suited for you.

Alternatively, you can view the courses that fulfill the UC requirement for Fine Arts in Self Service:

    • Log in to Self Service
    • Click on the Progress tab and scroll down to the Requirements section
    • Under University Curriculum Breadth Requirements, click "Show Details"
    • Expand section B (Disciplinary Inquiry) by clicking "Show Details"
    • Expand section 4 (Fine Arts) by clicking "Show Details". All the courses that fulfill the Fine Arts requirement should be listed.
    • To find course offerings for a particular semester, use the "search" button at the top of the list of courses.