General Description

The central goal of every Inquiry course is to provide students with an understanding of the methods used to discover and create the factual and theoretical knowledge of the discipline. Each course will examine particular issues in the discipline while exploring its methodological and theoretical foundations.

Inquiry courses, for example, might devote some time to examining the history of the discipline and the ways in which its truths or assumptions have changed over time. They might focus on major paradigm shifts or on contested ethical and interpretive issues within the discipline.

Inquiry courses will build on the critical thinking and communication skills developed in other core courses, particularly those of the University Seminar and College Writing courses. By enhancing students' understanding of the process of academic inquiry, they will enrich students' experience of the core Research and Creative Experience.

Inquiry courses are encouraged to incorporate non-traditional teaching methods, including small group learning activities and guided research projects.


  1. A substantial proportion of the course will be devoted to exploring ways in which the discipline creates knowledge.
  2. The course must include at least one major learning activity based on methods of inquiry appropriate to the discipline.

Student Learning Outcomes

Inquiry courses are intended to improve students'

  1. Understanding of disciplinary methods, including the kinds of questions asked in the discipline and the methods that practitioners use to explore those questions
  2. Understanding of how ideas and methods in the discipline have developed or changed
  3. Critical thinking and written or oral communication skills
  4. Proficiency in analyzing information from different viewpoints

All students must take at least three credits in each of the following areas:

All students must take at least one (1) approved Research & Creative Experience course. Students may take an approved Research & Creative Experience course in one of these four areas OR they may take a separate Research & Creative Experience course in any discipline, including the Undergraduate Scholars Program (USP 490R).


  • Total number of courses: 9, if the Research and Creative Experience requirement is completed as part of the requirements in Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences or Social Sciences; otherwise 10.
  • A grade of C- or better is required in all Core courses.
  • Completion of at least two approved natural science courses with a grade of C- or better satisfies both the Contemporary Issues in Science and the Natural Science Inquiry requirements. Individual substitutions for one requirement or the other are not permissible.
  • Completion of UH 202 with a grade of C- or better satisfies the Humanities Inquiry requirement.

Research & Creative Experience

The Research & Creative Experience builds on the competencies students have developed in the foundation courses. These experiences will not be limited to a student's major field of study and will incorporate a range of authentic experiences from traditional one-on-one mentoring to group Research and Creative Experience courses. Because research and creative projects vary from one discipline to the next, some general guidelines have been developed to determine what constitutes a Research and Creative Experience.


  1. Students experience the process of research and creative experience as a unique intellectual activity and generate a scholarly product.
  2. Student autonomy directs the research and creative experience, while faculty and staff provide the framing concepts and contexts.
  3. Research and Creative Experience courses provide frequent and early benchmarks for student progress to encourage early engagement in the research and creative process.
  4. The research and creative experience component done individually or in small groups constitutes at least 1/3 of the course. The remaining part of the course should provide sufficient information about the subject to enable the student to formulate a project as well as provide the student with the tools to do a research and creative project.
  5. Courses geared toward sophomore level students are particularly encouraged, but Research & Creative Experience courses can be at any level. Research & Creative Experience courses may have prerequisites.
  6. Course must address the responsible conduct of research.

Student Learning Outcomes

Through the Research and Creative Experience students will:

  1. Improve their ability to put concepts and facts into practice.
  2. Increase their understanding of the processes and dynamic nature of knowledge.
  3. Strengthen their habits of critical and creative thinking while seeking and synthesizing information from broad and diverse sources.
  4. Deepen their understanding of the importance of team work and collaboration.
  5. Develop responsibility, competency, and confidence.
  6. Expand intellectual curiosity and interest in the subject area.