The Core Curriculum
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The Core Curriculum applies to students entering under Catalog Year 2006 and earlier (see Catalog Year).
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The philosophy of education at USP is predicated on the belief that educated students must master the competencies in their chosen disciplines and attain an extended range of knowledge and skills in the arts and sciences. This philosophy is based on the assumption that undergraduate education must provide students with an academic foundation in the sciences and the arts to develop those abilities that will enable them to function effectively in their selected career and in their personal and social endeavors.
Excellence in education must be viewed as something more than the process of providing students with knowledge and understanding of information. Students must be given the opportunity to learn, analyze, and synthesize information and to evaluate its application to a variety of life’s experiences. This will provide the basis for continued development throughout the student’s professional and personal life. Fundamental to this educational philosophy is the curricular content of the academic programs. While there is a need to achieve a balance between depth and specialized study and exposure to a diversity of ideas, perspectives, and modes of thinking, all undergraduate programs must establish a common intellectual experience for students.
This sequence, regularly referred to as the Core Curriculum, enables the student to develop basic skills, prepares the student for advanced coursework, and allows the student to explore varied areas of inquiry. In addition to the Core Curriculum, students must have the opportunity to direct their intellectual development through the system of distribution requirements and free electives.
The Core—An Overview
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The Core has been designed to allow for coursework and other learning experiences in nine areas of study:
- World Cultures
- Moral Reasoning
- Historical Study
- Fine Arts
- Natural Sciences
- Social Sciences
In designing a curriculum that accommodates instruction in these nine areas, the faculty has developed a Core structure that provides common learning experiences for all students, as well as opportunities for individual course selection.
The Core Curriculum
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The four components of the Core, which all students must take, regardless of their major, are listed below.
|Intellectual Heritage Requirements
|Core Distribution Requirements
The Core Components
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Fundamental Requirements (38 credits)
This component of the Core comprises 38 credits and is designed to introduce students to basic concepts in the natural and physical sciences, humanities, and social sciences. These courses provide a background for more advanced studies within the Core Curriculum as well as allowing students to explore varied areas of inquiry while acquiring basic academic skills. To fulfill the Fundamental Requirements component, the student must complete the following:
Natural Sciences (16 credits)
- General Biology
- Introductory Biology
- General Chemistry
- Principles of Chemistry
- Survey of Chemistry
- Introductory Physics
- Survey of Physics
The 16 credits of natural sciences must:
- Include a one-year, 8-credit sequence of any one course in natural sciences (i.e., biology, chemistry, or physics), along with the associated laboratory component.
- Include two 4-credit survey courses, one in each of the remaining areas of natural sciences, with or without a laboratory component; a 6- to 8-credit full-year course may be substituted for each of the 4-credit survey courses.
Communication (6 credits)
- College Composition
- Introduction to Communication
Writing in Literature (3 credits)
- Introduction to Literature
Mathematics (6 credits)
- Mathematical Analysis I & II
Physical Education (1 credit)
- Physical Education I & II
Social Sciences (6 credits)
- Introduction to Anthropology and Health Behavior
- Introduction to Macroeconomics
- Introduction to Political Science and the American Government
- Introduction to Psychology
- Introduction to Sociology
All degree programs will address the issue of ethics/moral reasoning.
Proficiency and Skills
Proficiency and skill requirements are as follows:
University of the Sciences in Philadelphia integrates the use of computer software throughout the programs and courses at USP. To ensure that students are ready to use the software, USP requires all incoming first-year and transfer students to take the USP computer competency examination on common computer skills during the fall or spring semester of their first year of enrollment at USP.
Since not every student will be able to take the test simultaneously, students will be notified via e-mail as to when they are scheduled to take the exam. Students who do not show up for their scheduled competency examination will be charged the $25 make-up fee per the fee schedule in the University Catalog. These students will be assigned a scheduled make-up date via e-mail.
This two-hour competency examination will be given in a proctored computer lab using Blackboard® software and its component e-mail, thus testing the students Internet readiness. Students must bring a valid photo I.D. Blackboard® is widely utilized for many courses taught at USP.
It is the student’s responsibility to complete any required workshops or coursework. All undergraduate students at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia must complete the computer competency before entering their third year of matriculation. Students transferring into their second year or later have up to one year after taking the exam to satisfy their competency.
For more information on this policy and the related procedures, contact the chair of the Department of Bioinformatics and Computer Science.
- All students must demonstrate a proficiency in writing before graduation; please note that the writing proficiency examination is different from the diagnostic examination in writing, which is administered before or at the beginning of the student’s first year of study.
Intellectual Heritage (6 credits)
Intellectual Heritage is a 6-credit, two-semester program required of all students, usually in their second year. These courses examine the foundations of modern thought by studying interrelationships among ideas, events, attitudes, values, and artifacts produced within various cultures, past and present. The program aims to broaden students’ base of knowledge upon which judgements about themselves and society are made. The Intellectual Heritage program includes both an introduction to the modern world (“The Birth of the Modern”) and an exploration of the modern human experience (“The Modern Self”). These themes are integrated into specialized courses taught by faculty from across the campus community. Though varying in period and focus, all Intellectual Heritage courses introduce students to the concept of modernity and its historical development by systematically exposing them to fundamental ideas and epochal events that have helped to shape our contemporary view of the world and our place in it.
Themes in Intellectual Heritage presently include:
IH 210 Belief and Thought. Traces the various “world views” that have dominated Western thought since the Renaissance. These outlooks resulted from revolutions in the spheres of religion, ethics, science, philosophy, art, music, and the social order.
IH 211 Infinity. Consists of an in-depth study of how cultural and personal beliefs about infinity influenced the development of quantitative reasoning and science over the centuries. The course will focus on the antecedents of modern beliefs about infinity and on differing cultural notions of infinity.
IH 212 Nature. Introduces students to divergent perspectives of nature over time and across cultures. The material is presented in four units, examining varying cultural attitudes and conceptualizations of nature as a creative, preservative, and destructive force and will include an examination of political, social, and economic factors affecting nature during our own time.
IH 213 Power, Democracy, and Oppression. Introduces students to the history of political power structures, focusing on the fundamental concepts of democracy, power, and oppression. The course is structured around nine themes (such as absolutism, totalitarianism, and democracy) related to modern political institutions.
IH 214 Time. Introduces students to the complex, enigmatic, and often elusive nature of time. The approach taken will be multidisciplinary, historical, and multicultural, covering diverse fields such as physics, medicine, psychology, sociology, religion, art, and philosophy.
Core Distribution Requirements (9 credits)
All students are required to complete 9 credits in the Core Distribution Requirements component, usually during the third or fourth year of the curriculum. The distribution areas indicated below include areas of study the faculty believes are essential to a student’s personal and professional development. Students must select one course in each of three areas. A representative listing of appropriate courses is available at: www.usip.edu/advising/core.
Area 1: World Cultures (3 credits)
This component exposes students to the languages, values, intellectual traditions, and social and political institutions that comprise the history and thought of cultures different from their own. Students will gain insight into what their own culture has in common with others, as well as what makes it unique.
- East Asian Civilization
- Intercultural Health Communication
Area 2: History/Literature (3 credits)
Course offerings in historical study involve the acquisition of historical knowledge, understanding of historical processes, and the appreciation of historical methodology. Courses in literature expose students to a range of literary genres, issues, and styles of past and present writers.
- American Civil War and Reconstruction
- History of Modern Russia
- Literature and Medicine
- Modern Drama and Theatre
- The Short Story
- The Novel
- Twentieth-Century America
- Twentieth-Century Europe
Area 3: Advanced Social Sciences (3 credits)
This component extends knowledge acquired at the introductory level to enhance students’ analytical skills in understanding human behavior, to familiarize students with principles of economics, and to improve specific communication skills.
- Abnormal Psychology
- Adolescent Psychology
- Introduction to Microeconomics
- Public Speaking
- Social Psychology
- Sociology of Health
Core Elective (3 credits)
To allow for further exploration of issues and topics outside one’s major field of study and/or to provide an opportunity for further development of skills and knowledge relevant to one’s major field, students are required to complete 3 credits in an elective course from one of the areas listed below. Note: The core elective course must be outside of the major and minor requirements.
Elective Course Areas
- Communication (oral or written)
- Computer Science
- Fine Arts
- Health Sciences
- Social Sciences (psychology, sociology, economics, political science, anthropology)
- Undergraduate Independent/Directed Study
- World Cultures