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NU Core

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Page Contents


Overview

The NU Core is Northeastern University’s set of institution-wide general education requirements for all students in all majors. The goal of the NU Core is to develop in our students the knowledge and skills to be lifelong learners with success in many careers, thoughtful global citizens, and fulfilled human beings. The NU Core is required for all freshmen who entered in fall 2007 and later. It does not apply to students already admitted with a different set of core requirements or to transfer students whose entry year was earlier than the fall of 2008.


The NU Core Requirements

  • First-Year Learning Communities
    A first-year experience
  • Knowledge Domains
    Four courses
  • Writing-Intensive Instruction
    Four courses
  • Mathematical/Analytical Thinking
    Two courses
  • Comparative Study of Cultures
    One course
  • Integrated Experiential Learning
    One course or approved activity
  • Capstone
    One course

Description of NU Core Requirements

The entry-level NU core courses (comparative cultures, level 1 knowledge domains, first-year writing, and level 1 mathematical/analytical thinking) and the experiential learning requirement involve exploring broad, new ways of thinking. To ensure the intended breadth, double counting of core requirements is not allowed among those domains. Some courses fit more than one of the entry-level categories, e.g., a knowledge domain category as well as the comparative study of cultures category. These courses are listed in both appropriate NU Core categories to give students more flexibility in how they select courses to meet requirements. However, a student cannot fulfill two of the entry-level NU Core requirements by taking a single course.

The intermediate and advanced NU Core requirements involve more focused, in-depth experiences that sometimes can be combined effectively in one course, e.g., many capstone courses also satisfy the writing-intensive requirement, some level 2 mathematical/analytical thinking courses also satisfy the writing-intensive requirement, some intermediate/advanced courses outside the major might also satisfy the comparative cultures requirement.

The following sections describe in greater detail the specific NU Core requirements:

First-Year Learning Community

Freshmen are cohort-registered in a linked set of two or more courses in the same semester to provide integration of subject matter and an opportunity for students and faculty with similar interests to become acquainted.

Knowledge Domains

Complete an approved introductory-level course in each of three level 1 knowledge domains listed below and a level 2 intermediate or advanced course outside the major department. Generally, one of the introductory-level courses also satisfies a requirement for the major.

  • Arts/Humanities Level 1
    Complete one approved course in arts level 1 or one approved course in humanities level 1.
  • Social Science Level 1
    Complete one approved course in social science level 1.
  • Science/Technology Level 1
    Complete one approved course in science/technology level 1.
  • Level 2 Elective
    Complete one intermediate or upper-level course (generally numbered 2000 or above) outside your major.

Comparative Study Of Cultures

Complete one approved course in comparative study of cultures or another approved approach, including traditional and short-term faculty-led study-abroad programs.

Mathematical/Analytical Thinking

Complete an approved introductory-level course in mathematical thinking and its application to posing and solving problems and an approved intermediate-level course in modes of thought that allow abstraction, application, and synthesis of information.

  • Level 1
    Complete one approved course in mathematical/analytical thinking level 1.
  • Level 2
    Complete one approved course in mathematical/analytical thinking level 2.

Writing-Intensive Courses

Complete a first-year writing course and an advanced writing course provided by the Department of English and two approved writing-intensive courses in the major. Usually, the capstone course serves as one of the major-specific writing courses.

Capstone

Complete one approved capstone course within your major in the final semesters. This course acts as a final integrator of the major, general education, and experiential aspects of the student’s education. Generally, this course also includes writing-intensive work and research or creative activity, and, in most cases, the second writing-intensive-in-the-major requirement is satisfied by the capstone course.

Experiential Learning

Complete one approved experiential learning activity with a reflective component. Experiential learning opportunities are disbursed throughout each student’s undergraduate education to encourage the development of seeing connections between course work and experiential learning. Students should consult their college or their major department for advice on approved activities.


Breadth and Depth of Knowledge

Goal

Students will understand a variety of disciplinary perspectives and approaches to addressing political, social and economic issues. In addition, they will be able to articulate and apply core principles and concepts in their disciplines, and to delve more deeply into relevant problems and issues.

Mechanism for achieving the goal

  • Depth—Students take a set of required and elective courses in the discipline and related disciplines.
  • Breadth—Students take six or more courses outside their discipline. (English (2), Mathematics (2), Arts and Humanities (1), Social Sciences (1), Technology (1), Culture (1), Upper level outside the discipline (1).

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to identify and frame problems and issues in their discipline.
  2. Students will be able to identify, acquire and apply the information necessary to address the problem or issue.
  3. Students will be able to identify and address the impact of decisions from a variety of political, social and economic perspectives.
  4. Students will be able to incorporate these alternative perspectives into their recommendations for addressing disciplinary problems.

Assessment

  1. Review unit-level assessments and actions taken (where available).
  2. Collect and review sample syllabi for relevant courses.
  3. Collect and review sample capstone papers.
  4. Collect and review major field exams (where available).
  5. Review license exam results (where available).

Intensive Writing and Other Communication Skills

Goal

Students will be proficient in written and oral communication.

Mechanism for achieving the goal

Students take a sequence of four Writing Intensive courses, as follows:

  • A first-year writing course in the English Department;
  • An Advanced Writing in the Disciplines course;
  • Two Writing-Intensive courses in the major, one of which will ordinarily be the Capstone.

Writing Intensive courses in the major will provide sustained practice in working within the discourse conventions of the major and will include frequent and regular occasions for writing; assessment and revision of student work while in progress; and opportunities for students to improve their written work.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate competence in using discourse conventions both within their major and in other areas of study.
  2. Students will demonstrate in their written work the ability to analyze information and communicate this analysis using the conventions appropriate to the field.
  3. Students will be able to address their writing to specific audiences and contexts, including persuasive, expository, and analytical contexts.

Assessment

  1. Review unit-level assessments and actions taken (where available).
  2. Review responses to student surveys.
  3. Collect and review sample syllabi for relevant courses.
  4. Collect and review sample papers or other work products.

Mathematical Thinking

Goal

Students will be proficient in mathematical thinking and basic problem solving skills.

Mechanism for achieving the goal

Students complete two college-level courses in mathematical thinking and its application to posing and solving problems.

  • Level 1: Successfully complete one of the following:
    • a calculus course,
    • MATH 1215 Mathematical Thinking,
    • MATH 1213 Interactive Mathematics,
    • as determined by the Mathematics Department, a more advanced course that emphasizes mathematical reasoning and problem solving.
  • Level 2: Successfully complete an intermediate-level course that teaches:
    • Research methods in their discipline,
    • Statistics in a manner appropriate to their degree program,
    • More advanced mathematical thinking,
    • Computer-aided design, modeling, and problem-solving skills.

Learning outcomes

  1. For the Level 1 requirement, students will demonstrate the ability to pose and solve problems in one area of mathematics.
  2. For the Level 2 requirement, students will demonstrate a proficiency in the use of analytical thinking in one of the following ways:
    1. abstract information, quantify, model and/or problem-solve in an application area related to their major or
    2. pass an intermediate or advanced-level mathematics course.

Assessment

  1. Review unit-level assessments and actions taken (where available).
  2. Collect and review sample syllabi for relevant courses.
  3. Collect and review final exams in relevant courses.
  4. Collect and review a random sample of student work.

Comparative Study of Cultures

Goal

Students will understand and appreciate human differences within and among cultures, as preparation for responsible citizenship in an increasingly interconnected, pluralistic and diverse world.

Mechanism for achieving the goal

Students complete one course in the comparative study of cultures, cultural pluralism, or diversity; or an approved program of study abroad in either traditional or short-term, faculty-led programs; or an approved diversity-focused service learning experience with a reflective academic component.

Learning outcomes

  1. Students will be able to describe the economic, policy, historical, and/or cultural impact of nations, regions and cultures upon other nations, regions and cultures, and/or the reciprocal interactions between non-dominant and dominant groups within a given culture, region or nation.
  2. Students will be able to articulate the internal perspectives of cultures, regions or nations other than their own and to provide historical and contextual explanations for differences of perspective between and among groups.
  3. Students will be able to use the analytic tools of a specific discipline or set of disciplines to compare cultures, regions and nations, or the experiences of non-dominant and dominant groups within a given culture, region or nation.

Assessment

  1. Analyze how students currently fulfill the requirement (campus-based courses, AP credit, study abroad, etc.).
  2. Review unit-level assessments and actions taken (where available).
  3. Collect and review course descriptions and sample syllabi for relevant courses.
  4. Collect and review a random sample of student work.
  5. Review relevant NSSE student survey data (responses to questions on interactions with people of other viewpoints, race, ethnicity, background).
  6. Review assessment data, including student surveys, generated by the Office of International Study Programs and the Service-Learning program.

Integrated Learning: Experiential and Academic

Goal

Students will be able to identify and address complex problems that require the integration of academic coursework and real-world experience.

Mechanism for achieving the goal

Students complete one or more experiential activities such as: Co-operative education, undergraduate research, international experience, student teaching, service-learning, clinical rotation, student production, or significant student leadership. They will describe and evaluate their experiential learning by completing an appropriate report or reflection paper/presentation.

Students complete a capstone course with a culminating project and presentation including designs, artistic and dramatic works, comprehensive research or report that demonstrates and documents the culmination of the undergraduate experience.

Learning outcomes

  1. Students will recognize and benefit from the knowledge gained by experiential learning.
  2. Students will demonstrate integrative learning in the completion of their culminating work or project.

Assessment

  1. Review co-op surveys.
  2. Review e-portfolios.
  3. Conduct and review a post-graduate survey, possibly compare to incoming surveys that we already have.
  4. Collect and review sample capstone projects.

 

 

 

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