Core Curriculum


The USM Core is part of USM'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 asked for learning experiences that deliver and reward engagement with our broader communities and integration of learning and work. We heard you! Beginning in fall 2019, USM students will complete an Engaged Learning requirement to deliver on our promise and our students' great potential for combining their intellectual curiosity, their personal values, and their professional goals. 

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


Entry Year Experience

Students explore significant questions about human culture and the natural world from multiple perspectives, engaging in active and collaborative learning to enhance the skills and knowledge necessary for college success.  Enrollment requirement: College Writing or concurrent; first year students only.

College Writing

Students develop skills for the reading and writing they will do in other college classes by engaging in reading, conversation, revision, editing, and proofreading that produce strong, clear, and interesting academic writing. 

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: EYE 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: EYE 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: EYE 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. Requirement includes a laboratory experience.  Enrollment requirement: EYE or concurrent, Quantitative Reasoning or concurrent

Intercultural Knowledge

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


Students engage in critical examination of and self-reflection on issues of difference and diversity and foster the intellectual and interpersonal skills necessary for understanding and working with diverse populations.  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: any three of the four “perspectives” requirements.  Other enrollment requirements vary by course.

Advanced Electives

The Core Curriculum provides all students with the opportunity for exploration outside their major subject area. Students  complete 9 credits of advanced electives outside the major. This requirement may also be satisfied with completion of a minor or a second major. Enrollment requirements vary by course.


Engaged Learning (for student who matricuated 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.