What you need to know about the University Curriculum – part one

By Peter Moore

With fall (and summer) registration right around the corner, I want to update you on some changes to the University Curriculum (UC) as well as provide you with a few tips on navigating its requirements. This past fall the University Curriculum Council (UCC) worked diligently with faculty from across the university to provide a larger menu of courses satisfying Pillar and Proficiency & Experiences requirements. These are posted on our website.

Over the Christmas break faculty proposed an array of new Ways of Knowing courses, many of which will be offered for the first time this fall. Several of them perform dual service by also satisfying Pillar requirements. As you prepare to register please look over the new options in this category.

The UC was built on the premise of significant double-counting. It was expected that courses in the major would satisfy UC requirements. Such double-counting is far more prevalent going into Fall 2015 than it was this past fall. We are in the process of posting on our website for each major (and eventually minor) at SMU, the UC requirements that can be met within the major.

In some cases the number is substantial but it often necessitates that particular choices among options must be made. For example, some majors allow ANTH 2363 to count toward their science requirement. Not only does this course satisfy the Pure and Applied Sciences (PAS) pillar, but it also satisfies the Historical Contexts (HC) pillar as well as carrying Human Diversity and Information Literacy tags. Please take advantage of the data for your major to help chart out completion of the UC.

Of course not all requirements for the major can (or should) be completed in your major. The second form of double-counting that has been significantly enhanced in comparison with last fall is through courses that satisfy two pillars. We have a complete list of such courses posted on our website and once the fall semester schedule has been released, we will include information on which ones will be offered. Many of these courses also carry tags. In particular I want to highlight the many History and Art History courses that do double duty.

Over the first two years the curriculum was in place, students and faculty expressed concern about the ability to double major in comparison with the situation under the previous curriculum (the GEC). We are posting four-year plans for double majors and for singularly difficult single majors. Some of our most popular current double majors include Finance and Economics and Engineering and Math or Physics. What I want to emphasize is that the UC suggests a new approach to thinking about a double major.

A double major where each one fulfills complementary UC requirements has significant advantages. Thus a major that fulfills PAS at both levels and possibly Creativity and Aesthetics at level one could be matched with a major that fulfills pillars in Historical Contexts and Individuals, Institutions and Cultures. Many majors in Meadows, Dedman, and Lyle are attractive in this sense. Such less-traditional double majors will provide you with a breadth of background that I hope will put you in a good position for a life-time of employment in multiple careers. Here, the information on UC requirements completed in a major will be invaluable.

I hope that as you register for the fall semester you will take advantage of the possibilities opened up by the UC to enhance your experience at SMU.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *