The Core Curriculum is part of the University of Southern Maine’s Vision 2028 for a future forward curriculum that allows students to integrate learning and work and to participate in the University’s mission of service and citizenship.

Students engage in substantive learning experiences that illuminate and transcend the perspectives of various disciplines while fostering the values, dispositions, knowledge, and skills our students will employ in their personal and professional lives. Students demonstrate

  • Informed understandings of interrelationships between human cultures and the natural world;
  • Analytical, contextual, and integrative thinking about complex issues;
  • Effective communication using multiple literacies and forms of expression;
  • Critical reflection upon, and informed action in, their roles as participants in multiple communities;
  • Ethical action to contribute to the social and environmental welfare of local and global communities.


Writing, Reading, and Inquiry 1 and Writing, Reading, and Inquiry 2 (WRI 1 and 2)

Students develop and adapt existing reading and writing skills to meet the demands of collegiate study and of new writing situations and diverse audiences.  Students become rhetorically versatile and purposeful readers and writers, harnessing the power of language as a means to discover and cultivate ideas and to communicate clearly, productively, and ethically within academic, workplace, and civic communities. Enrollment requirement for WRI 2: WRI 1.

Quantitative Reasoning

Students acquire mathematical concepts and skills necessary for everyday life and for success in their major, including critical thinking, mathematical reasoning, technological skills, computation, interpretation, inquiry, and application to real world problems.


Creative Expression

Students engage in artistic thinking in order to appreciate the value of the creative process and to enable them to use creative thinking in all aspects of their lives. Enrollment requirement: WRI 1 or concurrent.

Cultural Interpretation

Students analyze and interpret cultural representations and practices to learn how people make sense of themselves and their world. Students develop and critique arguments about cultural representations or their production. Enrollment requirement: WRI 1 or concurrent.

Socio-cultural Analysis

Students examine socio-cultural systems and phenomena over time and across cultures using theories that shed light on human behavior in social contexts.  Enrollment requirement: WRI 1 or concurrent.

Science Exploration

Students learn to think like a scientist by engaging in the experiment, observation and critical evaluation which drive the scientific process. Students must complete a lecture and lab to fulfill this requirement.  Enrollment requirement: WRI 1 or concurrent, Quantitative Reasoning or concurrent.

Intercultural Knowledge

May be completed at any level, and may overlap with other requirements.

Culture, Power, and Equity

Students engage in critical examination of and self-reflection on issues of privilege and oppression and enhance students’ capacities to analyze systems of power, privilege, and inequality and their intersections, to examine cultural narratives that maintain and/or challenge those systems, and to reflect on and apply theoretical knowledge they gain from such critical examination. Enrollment requirements vary by course.


Students become world-minded learners who are knowledgeable about and have a comparative understanding of international social, political, economic or cultural issues in context. Enrollment requirements vary by course.


Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility, and Citizenship

Students engage in critical reflection on their responsibilities for informed decision making and action in their public and private roles.  Students frame, analyze, and evaluate civic and ethical issues and assess their own perspectives and actions accordingly. Enrollment requirement: WRI 2 or concurrent. Other enrollment requirements vary by course.

Writing, Reading, and Inquiry 3 (WRI 3)

Students build on the skills learned in WRI 1 and WRI 2 as they learn and apply discipline-specific writing and research practices for a variety of academic and professional rhetorical situations. Students expand their information literacy by critically evaluating the credibility of sources and evidence used to support their writing. Enrollment requirement: WRI 2 or concurrent.


Engaged Learning

(for students who matriculated in Fall 2019 or after)
Students bring theory to practice by applying their knowledge, skills, and abilities beyond the traditional classroom – in the community, the laboratory, the clinic, the concert hall, or other venues. Students participate in sustained and focused application, critical reflection, and collaboration with respect to activities, issues, and questions that extend beyond the university and are responsive to community identified questions, issues, needs, or concerns. Enrollment requirements vary by course. 


Students integrate learning in the major and in the Core, and connect academic learning with life, career, and citizenship, through a substantial final product of high quality, whether written, performance based, or practice oriented. Capstones are completed in the major. Enrollment requirements vary by course.