May 7, 2001
Revised Fall 2003; Spring 2010; Spring 2011; Spring 2013; Fall 2013
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.
The undergraduate curriculum will emphasize the following educational goals:
In order to receive the baccalaureate degree from the University of Puget Sound, a student must have
Students may select two courses from any one area:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Students in Artistic Approaches courses develop a critical, interpretive, and analytical understanding of art through the study 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Students are expected to satisfy the eight core requirements in the following sequence:
|The First Year: Argument and Inquiry||Units|
|Seminar in Scholarly Inquiry 1||1|
|Seminar in Scholarly Inquiry 2||1|
|Years 1 through 3: Five Approaches to Knowing||Units|
|Mathematical (strongly recommended in the first year)||1|
|Junior or Senior Year: Interdisciplinary Experience||Units|
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.