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Student Competencies

The core curriculum student competencies that define the core curriculum requirements apply to all students pursuing a degree at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Core Curriculum Student Competencies

The following Student Competencies have been developed by the Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee with the guidance of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The Student Competencies, which are based on and designed to demonstrate satisfaction of the Coordinating Board-approved purpose, core objectives, and foundational component areas, are used to determine which UT courses satisfy each area of the core curriculum, to assess general education at UT, and to determine when transfer credit may be counted toward the core curriculum by substitution.

COMMUNICATION (Core Component 010)

Courses included in the communication component of the core curriculum are designed to enable the student to communicate effectively in a style appropriate to the subject, occasion, and audience.

Courses listed in this area of the core must be designed to help students develop the Student Competencies listed below.

Student Competencies

  1. To understand and demonstrate effective written, oral and visual communication processes through invention, organization, drafting, revision, editing, and presentation.
  2. To choose a method of communication appropriate to a specified purpose and audience.
  3. To weigh alternative viewpoints and work collaboratively with others in producing or analyzing effective communication messages.
  4. To organize ideas logically around a central theme in paragraphs, sections, and entire works using appropriate grammar, syntax, punctuation, and spelling.
  5. To develop claims or hypotheses through analysis, drawing appropriate conclusions, and using well-reasoned arguments and supporting evidence while identifying logical flaws and fallacies and weighing alternative viewpoints.
  6. To describe the ethical consequences and implications of one’s messages on audiences.

MATHEMATICS (Core Component 020)

Courses included in the mathematics component of the core curriculum are designed to enable the student to competently use mathematical strategies to understand and solve problems.

Courses listed in this area of the core must be designed to help students develop the Student Competencies listed below.

Student Competencies

  1. To accurately manipulate and analyze numerical data using mathematical strategies.
  2. To apply appropriate mathematical strategies to solve a given problem and assess the reasonableness of the results.
  3. To effectively express and communicate the results of problem-solving using appropriate mathematical language and symbolism.

NATURAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY (Core Components 030 & 093)

A total of nine hours is required to complete the core Natural Science & Technology component area. To satisfy the requirement, students must select six hours from the courses listed in the catalog in the Natural Science & Technology Part I core list. The course selected to satisfy the remaining three hours of the requirement may come from either the Natural Science & Technology Part I list or the Part II (technology-specific) list.

The Natural Science & Technology Parts I & II component of the core curriculum serves to give students an appreciation of the current state of knowledge in the fields of natural science and technology. All courses included in this component of the core curriculum are designed to help students understand the methods, approaches, and theories that scientists use to answer questions about the natural world.

Courses included in the Natural Science and Technology Part II (NST II) component are designed to teach students to generate, manipulate, and interface with specialized technology. These courses typically emerge from the fields of computer science and engineering, but also include emerging specialized technology fields. To be included in the NST II core component area, the course must use scientific methods/theories to explore natural phenomena.

Courses not approved to count for the NST II component area are courses in which: the primary topic is non-technological and the technology interface is supplemental; social/historical investigation of the effects of technology is the focus; or the primary focus is to study human/social/behavioral sciences.

Courses listed in this area of the core must be designed to help students develop all Student Competencies listed below.

Student Competencies

  1. To effectively communicate what scientific theories and methods tell us. (COMM)
  2. To work effectively with others when approaching a scientific problem. (TEAMWORK)
  3. To identify, analyze, and synthesize the information needed to solve a scientific problem. (CT)
  4. To accurately apply quantitative methods when solving scientific problems. (EQS)

HUMANITIES (Core Component 040)

Courses included in the humanities component of the core curriculum are designed to expand students’ knowledge and understanding of the human condition and human cultures through the critical study of works of human imagination and thought.

Courses listed in this area of the core must be designed to help students develop the following Student Competencies.

Student Competencies

  1. To demonstrate content knowledge of a range of works in a discipline such as literature.
  2. To articulate evidence-based interpretations of such works. (COMM, CT)
  3. To analyze how such works express personal and communal values in relation to historical, social, or cultural contexts. (COMM, CT, PERSRESP, SOCRESP)

VISUAL & PERFORMING ARTS (Core Component 050)

Courses included in the visual & performing arts component of the core curriculum are designed to help students develop engagement with and aesthetic appreciation of the visual and performing arts; understand works of visual and performing art in their historical, cultural, and social contexts; and/or apply themselves to creative process or interpretive performance and experience the physical and intellectual demands required of the visual or performing artist.

All courses in the visual and performing arts area of the core curriculum must be designed to help students develop all of the following Student Competencies. Only courses of three hours or more may be included.

Student Competencies

  1. To demonstrate awareness of the range of works in some area of the visual or performing arts, as well as articulate an aesthetic appreciation of and informed critical response to such works through inquiry, and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information.
  2. To convey interpretative and/or creative responses to artworks by means of effective development, interpretation and expression of ideas through written, oral and visual communication.
  3. To evaluate different points of view and to work effectively with others to support a shared interpretative or creative purpose or goal.
  4. To analyze how the works being studied and/or created are expressions of individual or broader human values within a historical, cultural or social context, as well as the importance of visual or performing arts in defining or exploring a culture or community.

U.S. HISTORY (Core Component 060)

Courses included in the U.S. history category focus on the consideration of past events and ideas relative to the United States, with the option of including Texas history for a portion of this component area. These courses involve the study of the interaction among individuals, communities, states, the nation, and the world, considering how these interactions have contributed to the development of the United States and its global role.

Courses listed in this area of the core must be designed to help students develop the Student Competencies listed below.

Student Competencies

  1. To evaluate sources, methodologies, and interpretive strategies historians use to investigate and narrate the past.
  2. To articulate and analyze how institutions, cultures, concepts, or relationships change over time.
  3. To interpret events, texts, and arguments within their political, economic, cultural, and/or social historical context and as expressions of individual beliefs, values, and decisions.

AMERICAN & TEXAS GOVERNMENT (GOVERNMENT/POLITICAL SCIENCE) (Core Component 070)

Courses included in the American and Texas government core component area must focus on consideration of the Constitution of the United States and the constitutions of the states. These courses involve the analysis of governmental institutions, political behavior, civic engagement, and their political and philosophical foundations. A total of six hours is required to complete this component area and must include at least one course with special emphasis on the Texas constitution.

Courses listed in this area of the core must be designed to help students develop Student Competencies one through four. Courses listed in this area of the core, which include a special emphasis on Texas must also address Student Competency five.

Student Competencies

  1. To demonstrate a broad understanding of political behavior and institutions in the United States, including detailed knowledge of the Constitution of the United States and its origins.
  2. To apply basic social science concepts and theories to develop and evaluate social science data.
  3. To organize and express ideas in a clear and logical fashion through written, oral, or visual communicative messages.
  4. To analyze the role of civic duties, personal and social responsibility, and ethical decision-making as they relate to political behavior.
  5. To demonstrate a broad understanding of political behavior and institutions in Texas, including detailed knowledge of the Texas constitution and its origins.

SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES (Core Component 080)

Courses included in the social and behavioral sciences component area of the core curriculum are designed to help students understand the methods, approaches, and theories that social scientists have developed to understand societies and the relationship of individuals to societies.

All courses in this area of the core curriculum must be designed to help students meet the following Student Competencies.

Student Competencies

  1. To demonstrate an understanding of empirical methods, approaches, technologies that social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition, as well as the resulting data, and to communicate these understandings effectively.
  2. To examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods, social structures, and cultures.
  3. To analyze the effects of historical and social forces on regional, national, and global communities.