Curriculum Statement

May 7, 2001
Revised Fall 2003; Spring 2010; Spring 2011; Spring 2013; Fall 2013

  1. General Considerations

    The University of Puget Sound as an academic community provides a meeting place for those committed to the generation, study, analysis, and exchange of ideas. The intellectual purposes of the University are of paramount importance. At the same time, the University recognizes that the life of the mind creates a context for the personal and professional growth of individuals as whole persons. The University thus encourages both formal thought and self reflection and offers a curriculum supporting the exploration of diverse ideas, values, and cultures.

    An undergraduate liberal arts education should provide the foundation for a lifetime of intellectual inquiry by grounding undergraduates well in a field of specialization, developing their ability to write with clarity and power, deepening their understanding of the structures and issues of the contemporary world, and broadening their perspective on enduring human concerns and cultural change. Such an education should prepare a person to pursue interests and ideas with confidence and independence, to meet the demands of a career, and to cope with the complexity of modern life.

    The curricular requirements set forth in this document represent the minimum demands of a liberal education. Academic advisors should urge each student to explore varying fields of study in the process of constructing a broad educational program on the foundation of the required curriculum.

  2. Educational Goals for the University

    The undergraduate curriculum will emphasize the following educational goals:

    1. The ability to think logically and analytically;
    2. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing;
    3. Intellectual autonomy and the accompanying capacity to learn independently of a formal educational structure;
    4. An understanding of the interrelationship of knowledge;
    5. Familiarity with diverse fields of knowledge;
    6. Solid grounding in the special field of the student's choosing;
    7. An acknowledged set of personal values;
    8. Informed appreciation of self and others as part of a broader humanity in the world environment.
  3. Graduation Requirements

    In order to receive the baccalaureate degree from the University of Puget Sound, a student must have

    1. Completed a minimum of 32 units. The 32 units may include up to 2.0 units of activity courses, up to 4 units of independent study, and up to four academic courses graded on the pass/fail system;
    2. Earned a minimum of 16 units, including the last 8, in residence at the University; residence requirements also exist in Core, majors, minors, and graduation honors.
    3. Maintained a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 2.0 for all courses taken at Puget Sound;
    4. Maintained a minimum GPA of 2.0 for all graded and all Puget Sound courses in the major(s) and the minor(s), if a minor is elected;
    5. Maintained a minimum GPA of 2.0 for all graded courses, including transfer courses;
    6. Met University core requirements; (Courses taken pass fail will not fulfill University core requirements.)
    7. Satisfied the Foreign Language Graduation Requirement by at least one of the following:
      1. Successfully completing two semesters of a foreign language at the 101-102 college level, or one semester of a foreign language at the 200 level or above;
      2. Passing a University of Puget Sound approved foreign language proficiency exam at the third-year high school or first-year college level;
      3. Receiving a score of 4 or 5 on an Advanced Placement foreign language exam, or a score of 5, 6, or 7 on the International Baccalaureate Higher Level foreign language exam.
      4. Students seeking a substitution for the foreign language requirement must:
        1. Provide documentation of a learning disability that affects the ability to learn a foreign language to the Coordinator of Disabilities Services. The documentation must be current, thorough, and prepared by an appropriate and qualified diagnostic professional. For details on documentation requirements see the Student Accessibility and Accomodation page.
        2. Submit a completed Academic Standards Committee petition form (available in the Registrar's Office) including signatures and recommendations from both the student's faculty adviser and the Coordinator of Disabilities Services. Note: If the Coordinator of Disabilities Services does not support a petition, students may still pursue the substitution by writing a statement to include with their petition explaining their history with learning a foreign language and why they feel unable to complete successfully the requirement. The committee will then evaluate the petition and make a decision, either supporting or rejecting the proposal.
        3. Propose two courses to substitute for the foreign language requirement. Students are expected to propose courses that they have not already taken and that are outside of the Core Requirements and the first major. Students may select two courses from the pre-approved list below or compose an argument for two other related courses with a cultural component. This explanation should accompany the completed petition form.

          Foreign Language Substitution Pre-Approved Options

          Students may select two courses from any one area:

          • Chinese Civilization: ART 278 Survey of Asian Art, HIST 245 Chinese Civilization, HIST 246 Chinese History 1600 to the Present, REL 234 Chinese Religious Tradition.
          • Japanese Civilization: ART 278/Survey of Asian Art, HIST 247 Japanese Tradition, HIST 248 Modern Japan.
          • Classics: CLSC 210 Greek Mythology, CLSC 211 Ancient Greece, CLSC 212 Roman History, CLSC 222 Greco-Roman World, CLSC 225 Gender & Tradition in Rome, CLSC 230 Classical Tradition, HUM 210 Power & Culture in Periclean Athens and Augustan Rome.
          • Islam: REL 212 Islam, REL 221 Jihad and Islam.
          • Latin America: LAS 100 Introduction to Latin American Studies, HIST 280 Colonial Latin American History, HIST 281 Modern Latin America.
          • Ancient Israel: REL 200 History and Literature of Ancient Israel, REL 201 History and Literature of the New Testament.
    8. Earned at least three academic units outside the requirements of the first major, and outside the department/program of the first major, at the upper division level, which is understood to be 300 or 400 level courses or 200 level courses with at least two prerequisites;
    9. Met requirements in an academic major; (Courses counting toward the major may not be taken pass/fail unless they are mandatory pass/fail courses.)
    10. Completed all incomplete or in-progress grades;
    11. Filed an application for graduation with the Office of the Registrar. Applications are due in September for graduation in the following May, August, or December.
  4. Core Requirements for the Bachelor's Degree

    The faculty of the University of Puget Sound have designed the core curriculum to give undergraduates an integrated and demanding introduction to the life of the mind and to established methods of intellectual inquiry. The Puget Sound undergraduate's core experience begins with two first-year seminars that guide the student through an in-depth exploration of a focused area of interest and that sharpen the student's skills in constructing persuasive arguments. In the first three years of their Puget Sound college career, students also study five "Approaches to Knowing" - Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics, Natural Science, and Social Science. These core areas develop the student's understanding of different disciplinary perspectives on society, culture, and the physical world, and explore both the strengths of those disciplinary approaches and their limitations. Connections, an upper-level integrative course, challenges the traditional boundaries of disciplines and examines the benefits and limits of interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge.

    Further, in accordance with the stated educational goals of the University of Puget Sound, core curriculum requirements have been established: (a) to improve each student's grasp of the intellectual tools necessary for the understanding and communication of ideas; (b) to enable each student to understand herself or himself as a thinking person capable of making ethical and aesthetic choices; (c) to help each student comprehend the diversity of intellectual approaches to understanding human society and the physical world; and (d) to increase each student's awareness of his or her place in those broader contexts. Specific objectives of the core areas are described below.

    1. Core Curriculum: Rubrics and Guidelines.

      Each core rubric consists of two sections, "Guidelines" and "Learning Objectives." Faculty have developed the Guidelines section to achieve the particular Learning Objectives of the core rubric and, more broadly, the educational goals of the University. The Guidelines are intended to be used by faculty to develop core courses and by the Curriculum Committee to review core courses. The Learning Objectives are intended to provide a clear statement to students of what they can expect to learn from any given core area. Although the Learning Objectives will assist the faculty in developing Core courses and in meeting the spirit of the Core area, the Curriculum Committee will evaluate and approve Core courses based on their adherence to the Guidelines, not the Learning Objectives.

      SEMINARS IN SCHOLARLY INQUIRY RUBRIC

      LEARNING OBJECTIVES

      The First-Year Seminars at Puget Sound introduce students into an academic community and engage them in the process of scholarly inquiry.

      In these discussion-based seminars, students develop the intellectual habits necessary to write and speak effectively and with integrity. Students increase their ability to develop effective arguments by learning to frame questions around a focused topic, to assess and support claims, and to present their work to an academic audience both orally and in writing. As part of understanding scholarly conversations, students learn to identify the most appropriate sources of information and to evaluate those sources critically. Over the course of two seminars, students-with increasing independence-contribute to these conversations and produce a substantive scholarly project.

      In the first seminar in this sequence, students engage challenging texts and ideas through guided inquiry led by the faculty member. Students begin to develop the academic abilities of reading, writing, and oral argument necessary to enter into academic conversations. Assignments in this seminar largely involve sources prescribed by the instructor, rather than sources students search for and identify themselves. In Seminar II, students build on and continue to develop the academic abilities introduced in Seminar I. The seminar culminates in independent student projects that incorporate sources beyond the instructor-prescribed course materials.

      Each seminar is focused around a scholarly topic, set of questions, or theme. These seminars may be taken only to fulfill core requirements.

      GUIDELINES

      These seminars teach students how to frame a problem or question, how to develop a thesis, how to defend their thesis effectively, and how to think critically about arguments-their own and those of others.

      1. These seminars address important conventions of written argumentation (including audience, organization, and style), as well as approaching writing as a process.
        1. In Seminar I, assignments focus on material largely provided by the instructor.
        2. In Seminar II, students produce a substantive scholarly paper or project, appropriate to the skill-level and preparation of first-year students, that involves independent research.
      2. Each seminar requires students to present arguments orally through discussion and more structured presentation.
      3. Concepts and practices of information literacy including issues of academic integrity are integrated into these seminars.
        1. In Seminar I, students learn to distinguish between different types of information sources (for example, scholarly vs. popular, primary vs. secondary) and learn to evaluate sources of information for biases, reliability, and appropriateness.
        2. In Seminar II, students learn to craft research questions, search for and retrieve information, and seek appropriate assistance in the research process.

      ARTISTIC APPROACHES RUBRIC

      LEARNING OBJECTIVES

      Students in Artistic Approaches courses develop a critical, interpretive, and analytical understanding of art through the study of an artistic tradition.

      GUIDELINES
      1. The Fine Arts include the visual, performing, and literary arts. Courses in Artistic Approaches may either be historical or creative in emphasis.
      2. Courses in Artistic Approaches examine significant developments in representative works of an artistic tradition.

      These courses provide opportunities for informed engagement with an artistic tradition and require students to reflect critically, both orally and in writing, about art and the creative process.

      HUMANISTIC APPROACHES RUBRIC

      LEARNING OBJECTIVES

      Students in courses in Humanistic Approaches acquire an understanding of how humans have addressed fundamental questions of existence, identity, and values and develop an appreciation of these issues of intellectual and cultural experience. Students also learn to explicate and to evaluate critically products of human reflection and creativity.

      GUIDELINES
      1. Humanistic Approaches courses examine products of individual or collective human reflection and creativity. Accordingly, courses may include literary or artistic works or other evidence of the beliefs, customs, and institutions of a culture or cultures.
      2. Courses in Humanistic Approaches introduce students to methodologies appropriate to the exploration of beliefs about human existence, identity, and values.
      3. Humanistic Approaches courses explore these issues over time or across cultures.

      MATHEMATICAL APPROACHES RUBRIC

      LEARNING OBJECTIVES

      Students in Mathematical Approaches courses develop an appreciation of the power of Mathematics and formal methods to provide a way of understanding a problem unambiguously, describing its relation to other problems, and specifying clearly an approach to its solution. Students in Mathematical Approaches courses develop a variety of mathematical skills, an understanding of formal reasoning, and a facility with applications.

      GUIDELINES
      1. These goals are met by courses that treat formal reasoning in one of the following areas.
        1. Quantitative reasoning: The ability to work with numeric data, to reason from those data, and to understand what can and can not be inferred from those data;
        2. Logical reasoning: The study of formal logic, at least to the extent that is required to understand mathematical proof.
        3. The algorithmic method: The ability to analyze a problem, to design a systematic way of addressing that problem (an algorithm), and to implement that algorithm in a computer programming language.
      2. Where these skills or methods are taught within the context of a discipline other than mathematics or computer science, they must receive greater attention than the disciplinary material.

      NATURAL SCIENTIFIC APPROACHES RUBRIC

      LEARNING OBJECTIVES

      Students in Natural Scientific Approaches courses develop an understanding of scientific methods. They also acquire knowledge of the fundamental elements of one or more natural sciences.

      GUIDELINES
      1. Courses in Natural Scientific Approaches are founded in and explore the fundamental elements of one or more of the disciplines of astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, and physics.
      2. Courses in Natural Scientific Approaches emphasize scientific methods in problem solving. They develop the student's analytical abilities and, whenever possible, incorporate quantitative methods.
      3. Courses in Natural Scientific Approaches have regularly scheduled laboratory or field experiences involving data collection and analysis.

      SOCIAL SCIENTIFIC APPROACHES RUBRIC

      LEARNING OBJECTIVES

      The social sciences provide systematic approaches to understanding relationships that arise among individuals, organizations, or institutions. Students in a course in the Social Scientific Approach to Knowing acquire an understanding of theories about individual or collective behavior within a social environment and of the ways that empirical evidence is used to develop and test those theories.

      GUIDELINES
      1. Courses in Social Scientific Approaches
        1. explore assumptions embedded in social scientific theories and
        2. examine the importance of simplifying or describing observations of the world in order to construct a model of individual or collective behavior.
      2. Courses in Social Scientific Approaches require students to apply a social scientific theory as a way of understanding individual or collective behavior.

      CONNECTIONS RUBRIC

      LEARNING OBJECTIVES

      Students in Connections courses develop their understanding of the interrelationship of fields of knowledge by exploring connections and contrasts between various disciplines with respect to disciplinary methodology and subject matter.

      GUIDELINES
      1. Connections courses draw upon the curricula of either established disciplines or the University's interdisciplinary programs. These courses may involve the collaboration of faculty from more than one department or the efforts of individual faculty with interdisciplinary expertise and interests.
      2. In the Connections course, students engage the interdisciplinary process by
        1. identifying multiple disciplinary approaches to a subject;
        2. analyzing the subject from these perspectives;
        3. participating in cross-disciplinary dialogue; and
        4. exploring the integration or synthesis of these approaches to foster understanding of the subject.
      3. Connections courses explore these interdisciplinary issues at a level of sophistication expected of an upper division course. These courses may have appropriate prerequisites, so long as they do not unduly limit the audience in numbers or in level of disciplinary sophistication.
      4. The Connections course must be taken at Puget Sound.
    2. Sequence of Core Courses.

      Students are expected to satisfy the eight core requirements in the following sequence:

      The First Year: Argument and InquiryUnits
      Seminar in Scholarly Inquiry 1 1
      Seminar in Scholarly Inquiry 2 1
      Years 1 through 3: Five Approaches to KnowingUnits
      Fine Arts 1
      Humanistic 1
      Mathematical (strongly recommended in the first year) 1
      Natural Scientific 1
      Social Scientific 1
      Junior or Senior Year: Interdisciplinary ExperienceUnits
      Connections 1
      Total:8
    3. Core requirements for transfer students.

      1. All transfer students, prior to receiving the bachelor's degree, must meet all core requirements.
      2. Students entering the University with advanced standing must complete the following minimum core requirements at the University of Puget Sound.
        1. Students entering with sophomore standing must complete a course in Connections and three additional core areas.
        2. Students entering with junior standing or above must complete a course in Connections and two additional core areas.
    4. Enrollment limits for core courses.

      Faculty and administration recognize the value of small classes for teaching and learning and will work together to reduce the size of core classes whenever possible. Sections of the Seminars in Scholarly Inquiry will have enrollment limits of 17 students, unless instructors request an enrollment limit of 18 for pedagogical purposes.

  5. Departmental, School, and Program Guidelines

    1. Each program, department and school within the University will review its academic program regularly to ensure that the basic educational objectives of the University are being addressed. This re-examination should not be cursory, nor designed merely to affirm the status quo. Courses should be revised, if necessary, to address University and departmental objectives.
    2. Each program, department and school will maintain at least one course suitable for, but not restricted to, the non-major, for whom that course may comprise the sole exposure to the field. The course should consider methodology and assumptions as well as substantive disciplinary knowledge.
    3. Each student should become familiar with values, assumptions, and perspectives conditioned by cultures different from her or his own. Wherever it is appropriate and possible to do so, courses should consider the subject matter in a multicultural context.
    4. Since the University supports and encourages writing in all disciplines, students need to have opportunities for significant writing experiences whenever appropriate across the curriculum.
    5. Writing in the Major. Because the Seminars in Scholarly Inquiry anticipate further development of writing abilities throughout the undergraduate years, it is appropriate that all students should encounter substantive writing experiences within their major fields of study. Each department, school, or program with an undergraduate major shall demonstrate to the Curriculum Committee that the major contains significant writing expectations within its curricular requirements. (Please see Addendum A of the Departmental Curriculum Review Self-Study Guide for guidelines.)
    6. To encourage study outside the major field, the following limitations will govern the requirements imposed by each program, department or school:
      1. No more than 9 units may be required in the major field.
      2. No more than 16 total units may be required in the major and supporting fields.
      3. Exceptions will be permissible only with the approval of the Dean and the Curriculum Committee.
    7. An academic minor must consist of a minimum of five, but no more than six, units within the minor area.
    8. All courses and requirements shall be reviewed and approved by the Curriculum Committee.