ACADEMICS

  • LASC Core Course Requirements

    Writing (WRI, WRII, up to 6 credits)
    Students must complete one 3-credit course devoted to addressing the rhetorical abilities necessary for effective college writing and an additional 3-credit course emphasizing formal academic genres, academic research skills, and the presentation of information to academic audiences. These courses may not be taken pass/fail.

    Constitutions (CON, 3 credits)
    Students must complete one course that teaches the constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Courses which meet this requirement will require students to study these constitutions and their historical contexts, including antecedents in English law, the idea of written fundamental law, the context of colonial history, the failed predecessors such as the Articles of Confederation, the mechanism of drafting, ratification, and amendment, and the influence of the Massachusetts Constitution on the U.S. Constitution. Courses will also consider political thought in contemporary society, addressing how each constitution shaped modern life, differing interpretations, including by the courts, current issues related to each constitution, basic national, state and/or local political processes, and the rights and obligations of citizenship.

    First-Year Seminar (FYS, 3 credits)
    All first-time first-year students must complete a first-year seminar, with enrollment limited to 20 students, taught exclusively to first-year students in a seminar format. These seminars engage beginning college students to explore diverse topics that are more controversial or more narrowly focused than standard introductory courses. These courses encourage students to be active, reflective learners, to apply the knowledge that they acquire to address specific problems and challenges within the University, the community, and the world. These courses include assignments or activities that orient students to and require the use of the library, educational technology, and standard methods of reference and citation. They encourage students to participate in student life and community activities that are part of the first-year experience.

    Capstone Experience (CAP, variable credit)
    Capstone seminars, limited to 20 students, are offered in the junior or senior year through the major field of study or through a 3-credit course offered within LASC.

    Creative Arts (CA, 3 credits)
    Courses in the Creative Arts encourage recognition that artistic expression varies from one society and culture to another, explore different traditions, styles, and historical periods in the arts, promote freedom of expression and tolerance of divergent viewpoints, consider the importance of aesthetics and instill an awareness of how the arts improve the quality of life, enable each student to cultivate his or her creative potential, and teach the terminology, techniques, and skills that comprise the arts in order to provide the framework for informed creativity.

    Human Behavior and Social Processes (HBS, 3 credits)
    Courses in this area develop an understanding of how factors such as market forces, politics, demographics, physical environment, and culture affect individual behavior and thinking. These courses examine political, economic, and social structures and the interplay between the individual and society. They explore the ways in which the individual and social roles can be used to effect social change, and they teach the differences between the appropriate uses of qualitative and quantitative research methods. These courses also investigate the ways in which scientific inquiry is value-laden and help students understand the ways in which the various social sciences inform one another.

    Individual and Community Well-being (ICW, 3 credits)
    Courses in this area explore the growth and development of the individual and address the interconnected dimensions of well-being, studying and evaluating the ways that the local, state, national, or private sectors frame and implement social policies, and the consequences of these policies for well-being. These courses examine social structures and practices such as urban and rural development, planning, funding allocations, and legislative initiatives designed to secure the bell-being of the community. They also examine the short- and long-term consequences of beliefs, behaviors, and policies that affect the well-being of individuals and communities, and address the role of prevention strategies in promoting well-being.

    Global Perspectives (GP, 3 credits)
    Courses in this area study the culture, history, or language of a nation or geopolitical area other than the U.S., with consideration of culture, power, and place in phenomena such as globalization, cultural colonialism, transformationalism, and human rights. These courses also investigate issues about the environment and sustainable development in phenomena such as the use of natural resources and macroeconomic problems that affect people and ecosystems around the world. These courses study governance, peace, and justice in a global context and analyze the international political economy in relation to governments, enterprises, societal groups, and communities from different countries. These courses also consider issues such as race, class, gender, age, sexuality, language, ability, indigenous populations, transnational labor, and refugee migration.

    Natural Systems and Processes (NSP, minimum of 6 credits)
    Students must complete a minimum of 2 courses in this area, at least one of which must have an approved laboratory component. Courses in this area study physical and natural systems and processes, applying scientific models, theories, and technology to problems facing society. These courses have an analytical and/or quantitative component and include interpretation, communication and/or presentation of data and results. These courses also place scientific inquiry within its historical and contemporary contexts, compare and contrast various modes of scientific inquiry, and use and reflect on the scientific method of investigation. These courses encourage students to become scientifically literate citizens, to be able to evaluate scientific information, and to address the strengths and limitations of scientific inquiry in human understanding.

    Quantitative Reasoning (QR, minimum of 6 credits)
    Students must complete a minimum of 2 courses in this area, at least one of which must bear a MA (mathematics) course number. Courses in this area acquaint students with formal systems, procedures, and sequences of operations, strengthen students' understanding of variables and functions, strengthen understanding of the relationship between algebraic and graphical representations, and apply mathematical techniques to the analysis and solution of real-life problems. Through these courses, students develop an understanding of and facility with statistical analysis, including an understanding of its applications and limitations; courses meeting these criteria must emphasize why statistical inference works and not simply how to use statistical techniques. Courses also emphasize the importance of accuracy, including precise language and careful definition of mathematical concepts. Students also come to understand the underlying principles and practical applications of one or more fields of mathematics.

    Thought, Language, and Culture (TLC, 3 credits)
    Courses in this area explore human thought, history, culture, art, literature, and language (including world languages). Subjects are presented in the context of competing theoretical frameworks involving, for example, race, gender, historiography, textual analysis, or cultural interpretation, synthesizing approaches from different disciplines wherever possible. These courses explore problems of ethics, politics, aesthetics, epistemology, and metaphysics, using original works as the primary objects of study. These courses require discursive written work, including standard references and citations for evaluation or extensive written work in a second language.

    The United States and its Role in the World (USW, 3 credits)
    Courses in this area study the cultures, histories, and social practices in the U.S., including consideration of the ways that differences in power affect different racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural groups as evidenced by readings, texts, testimony, and narratives. These courses also address issues of economic and political power that shape the U.S. and the world, tracing the roots and development of U.S. political and economic institutions at home and around the globe, with focus on particular aspects of U.S. culture and how understanding them helps to illuminate the larger context of U.S. society and its role in the world.

    Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC, 3 credits)
    After completing the writing requirements WRI+WRII, students must complete a Writing Across the Curriculum course which offers students instruction in the conventions of writing for a particular discipline and which requires a variety of formal and informal writing assignments, either in English or in another language. Formal writing assignments may include traditional essays and research papers, case studies, process analyses, and reports on research findings. Informal writing assignments may include journals, lab notebooks, reading responses, and in-class essay examinations. All assignments offer different types of critical feedback and provide opportunities for revision.

    Diversity Across the Curriculum (DAC, 3 credits)
    Courses in this area study historical experiences, cultural patterns, and social advantages and disadvantages of different groups within society, exploring social problems such as racism, prejudice, discrimination, and exploitation as both mainstream and non-mainstream groups experience them. Students examine the diversity within each group's experience and how such experiences are dynamic and continually changing. Using materials written by as well as about persons from diverse groups, students develop a sound knowledge of the methods of thinking about issues of diversity, particularly the ability to distinguish facts from interpretations and opinions. Students demonstrate how to communicate culture-specific and/or culture-general ways with diverse groups in various contexts, developing an appreciation of and respect for members of diverse groups.

    Quantitative Literacy Across the Curriculum (QLAC, 3 credits)
    Students must complete one of these courses within the framework of a scholarly discipline. These courses will develop a student's ability to state and evaluate important assumptions in quantitative reasoning such as estimation, modeling, and model analysis. Students will learn to convert relative information into various mathematical forms such as equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, or words. Students will learn to explain and evaluate information presented in such mathematical forms and learn to make judgments regarding the appropriateness of a numerical answer. Students will learn to express quantitative evidence to support the argument or purpose of their work in terms of what evidence is used and how it is formatted, presented, and contextualized. Students will also learn to make judgments and draw appropriate conclusions based on the quantitative analysis of data while recognizing the limits of this analysis.