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    May 29, 2024  
American University Catalog 2023-2024 
    
American University Catalog 2023-2024

AU Core Curriculum


The AU Core  Curriculum, American University’s inquiry-based liberal arts education, challenges students to put their curiosity to use inside and outside of the classroom. The AU Core fosters the agile thinking that prepares students to engage in a complex, constantly changing world. The AU Core begins with a first-year experience and foundational skills, highlights essential habits of mind, then integrates these skills and habits with the student’s major, and culminates in a capstone. At each stage, the AU Core offers sustained attention to equity, diversity, and inclusion. The three components of the AU Core Curriculum include foundation courses, Habits of Mind courses, and integrative courses.

The foundation courses of the AU Core (AU Experience I, AU Experience II, Written Communication and Information Literacy I (W1), Quantitative Literacy I (Q1), and Complex Problems), typically taken in the first year, build the foundation for academic success at American University.

The AU Core also includes five Habits of Mind requirements. Habits of Mind courses focus on asking and answering questions through a range of intellectual approaches, and may be taken at any time in the degree program. Students typically complete one course in each of the five areas: Creative-Aesthetic Inquiry, Socio-Historical Inquiry, Ethical Reasoning, Natural-Scientific Inquiry, and Cultural Inquiry.

The integrative courses bring together the inquiry-based values of the AU Core with major-related work, and include Written Communication and Information Literacy II (W2), Quantitative Literacy II (Q2), Diversity and Equity, and the Capstone. These courses are typically taken in the major, although any appropriately designated course may satisfy the relevant integrative requirement. All students complete a capstone project that showcases their academic accomplishments at American University.

Coursework for the AU Core Curriculum is set out below, along with the list of approved courses in each area. Courses with AU Core sections offered prior to Fall 2023 but not listed in the 2022-2023 catalog indicate which term they first became effective. Additional offerings may be approved at the section or course level in subsequent catalogs, which will be accepted toward designated AU Core requirement(s). (Note: Students admitted prior to academic year 2018-2019 should refer to the relevant catalog to learn what university requirements must be completed.)

Course Requirements


AU Experience I (1.5 credit hours)


Complete 1.5 credit hours from the following:

AU Experience II (1.5 credit hours)


Complete 1.5 credit hours from the following:

Complex Problems Seminars (3 credit hours)


Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

Written Communication and Information Literacy I (6 credit hours)


Complete 6 credit hours from the following:

Habits of Mind (16 credit hours)


Complete one appropriately designated course from each of the following areas:

Note: Students may count, with permission of the relevant teaching unit, one Habit of Mind course toward each major or minor they pursue.

Creative-Aesthetic Inquiry


Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

Socio-Historical Inquiry


Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

Cultural Inquiry


Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

Written Communication and Information Literacy II (3 credit hours)


Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

Quantitative Literacy II (3 credit hours)


Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

Diversity and Equity (3 credit hours)


Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

Capstone (3 credit hours)


Complete 3 credit hours from the following: