Jul 19, 2024  
2019-2020 University Catalog 
2019-2020 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

*University Core Curriculum

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Mission and Outcomes of the RWU General Education Program

The RWU General Education program fosters inquisitive, reflective, and creative learners who use a breadth of knowledge and skills to enrich their personal, public and professional lives. Throughout this program, students will learn how to synthesize information from across their academic experience, to examine the world holistically, appreciate the diversity of their local and global communities, and participate in them effectively and ethically.

To ensure that our program produces such graduates, the RWU faculty asks students, across all four years, to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of diverse human cultures, histories, arts, languages, literatures, and the physical environments on which these depend.
  2. Communicate purposefully, ethically, and effectively in a variety of formats and situations including written, oral, and artistic.
  3. Engage in self-reflection and ethical reasoning.
  4. Synthesize knowledge and make connections within, across, and beyond disciplines.
  5. Learn and employ the literacies and habits of mind that inform the work that we do: information literacy, artistic production and aesthetic appreciation, quantitative literacy, critical inquiry and analysis.

The CORE Curriculum at a Glance

Three CORE Competency Courses - one in mathematics and two in writing - prepare students to think abstractly and express their ideas clearly. Most students complete these courses during the first three semesters.

The Five-Course Interdisciplinary CORE is based on learning outcomes drawn from the traditional liberal arts: the sciences, history and politics, the social sciences, literature and philosophy, and the fine arts. In these courses students examine great ideas, historic milestones, and works of art; discover connections among different areas of knowledge and methods for gathering it; learn to reason logically, to sift through deception and cant, and to integrate what they know. Most students complete these five courses during the freshman and sophomore years. All interdisciplinary CORE courses must be completed at Roger Williams University.

The CORE Concentration involves a fifteen-credit exploration of one liberal arts discipline or interdisciplinary program unrelated to the major. This requirement ensures that students graduate with significant knowledge of at least two fields, that of the major and that of the CORE Concentration.

The CORE Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar or CISS unites studies in the liberal arts and sciences;  integrates knowledge; and involves sophisticated analysis, synthesis, and defense of original ideas. Taught by full-time faculty from across the university, CISS courses feature small class sizes and active student involvement in the exploration and integration of knowledge on a variety of topics. Students may not substitute any course from another institution for the CISS.

Prerequisites: Students may not enroll in a CISS before they achieve at least sixth-semester standing and have completed all CORE Competency Courses and the five-course Interdisciplinary CORE Courses.

Three Core Competency courses

  • An additional WTNG course at the 200, 300 or 400 level that is tailored to students’ interests and/or major area of study
  • One MATH course: 3 or 4 credits, depending on student’s major; Math Placement Exam may be required.

The Five-Course Interdisciplinary Core

  •  (or two laboratory science courses)
  • (or ASIA 100  )
  • (or AAH 121  and AAH 122 )

    Students may take the five courses listed above in any order, but the Interdisciplinary Core must be completed by the end of the first two years of study, except for five-year architecture majors who must complete the five courses by the end of the fifth semester. All first and second year students must enroll in at least one, but no more than two, of these courses during each of the first four semesters. All five courses must be completed at the University. At least 16 credits.


    Transfer students may be waived out of one or more above the above core course requirements based on the number of transfer credits they have been awarded at Roger Williams University.  Please see the following table regarding transfer credits and core course requirements:


    Number of Interdisciplinary Courses Required

    Transfer Credits Awarded CORE 101, CORE 102, CORE 103, CORE 104, CORE 105
    0-23 All five (5) CORE courses are required
    24-30 Four (4) of the five (5) CORE courses are required
    31-44 Three (3) of the five (5) CORE courses are required
    45-59 Two (2) of the five (5) CORE courses are required
    60 or more credits or an Associate’s Degree

The Core Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar

Prerequisites: Completion of all skills and the five-course Interdisciplinary CORE requirements; at least sixth semester standing.

Should students choose to enroll in additional CORE Seminars, credit earned may not be applied to satisfy any requirement in the major, minor, or CORE Curriculum.

CISS Learning Outcomes - in each CORE Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar students:

  • Create an artifact that communicates and defends the student’s original ideas based on synthesis of the course topic and his/her interdisciplinary Core Education.
  • Analyze, synthesize, and evaluate significant ideas from across the arts and sciences.

Common Seminar Requirements - each CORE Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar is designed to:

  • Reflect on the topic of the seminar and on the central questions of the Core: Who am I? What can I know? Based on what I know, what should I do?
  • Approach the subject in an interdisciplinary manner, integrating the approaches to knowledge of the five domains of the Core curriculum: science, history, human behavior, literature/philosophy, and aesthetics.
  • Require guided reading of texts drawn from a variety of perspectives and disciplines but related to the Core central questions.
  • Ask students to provide competent summaries, analyses, and synthesis in presentation and in writing.
  • Incorporate student-led seminar discussions and prepared in-class presentations.
  • Require a final project that demonstrates synthesis of course materials and competent writing.

Common Seminar Format - the seminar serves as the participants’ culminating liberal arts experience and must fully realize the definition of a seminar. A CORE Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar:

  • Is not a lecture course.
  • Is clearly distinguished from lower-level courses in its purpose, method, and standards.
  • Teaches and requires the practice of disciplined thinking, scholarly discourse, and advanced academic work.
  • Meets the dictionary definition of a seminar: a small group of advanced students engaged in special study or original inquiry under the guidance of a professor.

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