University General Course Catalog 2013-2014 
    Jul 18, 2024  

Core Curriculum

The University Core Curriculum

109 Clark Administration
(775) 784-4710

The function of a university education is not only to prepare students for successful careers in their chosen fields but also to provide them with the knowledge and skills to develop a rational and lucid personal identity, to introduce them to a variety of perspectives from which to grasp the complexity of experience, and to help them gain an appreciative understanding of the natural and cultural environments in which they live and their roles as responsible citizens of the world, the nation, and the state. The Core Curriculum is designed to help fulfill these objectives. All undergraduate students are required to complete the university’s Core Curriculum.

Basic skills are emphasized throughout the Core Curriculum. Students will write and have their writing critiqued and graded for quality, not only in the two writing courses, but throughout the Core Curriculum. The purpose is not only to encourage mastery of a set of skills, but also to allow students to think, to see connections among ideas, and to reach meaningful conclusions. The development of effective oral communication skills by students is also emphasized in each Core Curriculum course. To the degree possible, the application of mathematical skills is also incorporated throughout the university curriculum, particularly in the Core Curriculum Natural Sciences courses.

At the time of their admission to the university, transfer students may access Transfer Credit and Academic Advising Reports in MyNEVADA. These reports show Core Curriculum equivalencies for transfer credits. Questions about them should be directed to a Core Curriculum evaluator in Admissions and Records, the student’s academic advisor, or the Advising Center. It is recommended that transfer students bring with them an unofficial copy of all previous college transcripts and their Academic Advising Report (AAR) when meeting with their advisor for the first time.

Core Curriculum Objectives

  1. Compose and communicate effectively in a range of media  for a variety of rhetorical and creative purposes;
  2. Demonstrate an ability to frame and analyze a problem, find and interpret relevant information, develop and evaluate possible solutions, come to well-ground conclusions, and craft an appropriate argument, report, application, or other expression of such inquiry;
  3. Understand and apply the knowledge, perspectives, principles, and modes of reasoning employed in the fine arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics;
  4. Understand how the knowledge, perspectives, principles, and modes of reasoning embodied in the fine arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics have contributed to human achievement;
  5. Develop habits of mind that foster integrative thinking and the ability to transfer knowledge and skills from one setting to another.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of culture and cultural difference, and develop the habits of mind that allow for intercultural understanding and responsible individual and social choices for citizens of the global community.

Core Curriculum Requirements

The University Core Curriculum consists of a minimum of 33 credits, selected from the following eight areas of study:

  1. English 
  2. Mathematics 
  3. Natural Sciences 
  4. Social Sciences 
  5. Fine Arts 
  6. Core Humanities 
  7. Capstone Courses 
  8. Diversity 

Students are responsible for keeping track of their progress through the Core Curriculum. It is strongly recommended that students complete lower-division Core Curriculum requirements by the beginning of their junior year. Requests for substitutions, waivers and exceptions must be made before the senior year. It is also strongly recommended that students meet with their academic advisor each semester before registering for classes. Courses completed at the university or at any NSHE institution to satisfy Core Curriculum requirements must be taken for a letter grade.

Students who change their major must choose the catalog of the year of the latest change of major or the year of graduation. The university Core Curriculum requirements, however, are established at the time of the student’s admission and enrollment in a regular degree-seeking program at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Core English and Math Completion Policy

Competence in writing and mathematics is foundational to success at the university. Therefore, it is the policy of the University of Nevada, Reno that all degree-seeking students must be continuously enrolled in appropriate pre-Core or Core mathematics and English courses until the University Core Curriculum mathematics and English requirements are completed. For further information, contact your college advisement officer, the Advising Center, or the Office of Admissions and Records.

1. English (first-year writing courses) (3-8 units)

Each student’s initial placement in first-year English courses will be based on ACT/SAT test scores.

English Course ACT SAT
  English Verbal
ENG 98  17 or below 430 or below
ENG 100I  & ENG 105  & ENG 106  18 to 20 440 to 500
ENG 100J  18 to 20 440 to 500
ENG 101  21 to 29 510 to 670
ENG 102 , ENG 102  H* 30 or above 680 or above

*Honors level

Students who complete ENG 102  will satisfy the Core Curriculum requirement. Normally, students take ENG 101  during their first semester at the university and ENG 102  during the second semester. Students whose college entrance examination scores place them into ENG 100J  or  ENG 100I /ENG 105  /ENG 106  may take either option to fulfill the prerequisite for ENG 102  during the fall of 2013. ENG 100I will be offered for the last time in the fall of 2013. The core writing website provides detail on this change to the core writing sequence. Students who need extra practice in writing skills take ENG 98  before registering for ENG 101 . NOTE: for degree programs including 0 elective credits, taking either ENG 100J  or ENG 100I /ENG 105  /ENG 106  to satisfy the ENG 101  prerequisite for ENG 102  will increase the total hours for the degree. Students who enrolled in the ENG 100I  /ENG 105  /ENG 106  option must pass all three components to proceed on to ENG 102  .

Placement scores do not always reflect appropriate English placement. If you believe your test scores do not accurately reflect your writing skill level, you may require an alternative placement evaluation. In Core Writing, we recognize that your actual writing, not just your test score, may best determine individual placement. For complete alternative placement process instructions, please go to the Core Writing placement web page at or come by the office in FH 131, or call (775) 784-6709.

International students must complete ENG 114  and any prerequisite.

2. Mathematics (3-5 units)

Students should review the Core Mathematics section in the program description for their major before selecting a course from the list below. Students should consult with college or program advisors before enrolling in Core courses.


Students satisfy the mathematics requirement by completing one of the Core mathematics courses identified here. Math placement information is available at

* Depending on the major, students must also achieve a satisfactory score on a placement examination to receive Core credit. See for score cutoffs. This course will fulfill the Core Mathematics requirement for major programs that accept MATH 120 .

** The two semester sequence, MATH 126R  and MATH 127R  also satisfies the MATH 128  requirement.

NOTE: In regards to MATH 127R  and above, sequencing rules in effect for many Math courses prohibit students from earning credit for a lower numbered Math course after receiving credit for a higher numbered Math course. Sequencing rules are included in the course descriptions of applicable courses.

3. Natural Sciences (6 units)

Students should review the Core Natural Sciences section in the program description for their major before selecting courses from the lists below. Students should consult with college or program advisors before enrolling in Core courses At least one course must be taken from Group A. The second course may be taken from either Group A or Group B. All core natural science courses include significant mathematical content. Students should complete the previously listed mathematics requirement (or have a mathematics placement score qualifying them for calculus) before they take core courses in natural sciences. Another option is to be concurrently enrolled in MATH 127R  or higher, as well as in any core natural science course. Individual exceptions to this rule may be made at the discretion of the instructor. All natural science courses taken for core curriculum credit must include appropriate laboratory experiences.


** Credit may only be awarded for either GEOL 100  or GEOL 101 .

4. Social Sciences (3 units)

Students should review the Core Social Sciences section in the program description for their major before selecting a course from the list below. Students should consult with college or program advisors before enrolling in Core courses


Students may also fulfill the fine arts requirement by completing three, one-credit music performance courses, any course with the MUSE prefix may be used for this option.

6. Core Humanities (9 units)

All three Core Humanities courses are required. Students are not permitted to begin the Core Humanities sequence before successful completion of ENG 102  . CH 201  must be taken first. CH 202  and CH 203  may be taken in any order. CH 203  satisfies the U.S. and Nevada Constitution requirements.

After admission to and matriculation at the University of Nevada, Reno, only Core Humanities courses taken here or at another NSHE institution will satisfy the requirement.

7. Capstone Courses (6 units)

Students should review the Capstone section in their major program description before selecting Capstone courses. Students should consult with college or program advisors before enrolling in Core courses.

Students should take the last two courses in the University Core Curriculum during their senior year. The pair of required Capstone courses build upon the Core Curriculum and courses in the student’s major. The courses deal with ethical and substantive issues, problems and themes that affect the world community; they offer an analysis of different cultures and traditions, or issues relating to science and society. It is recommended that students complete all other Core Curriculum requirements, including the Core Humanities sequence, prior to enrolling in Capstone courses. Students who have not successfully completed ENG 102  and CH 201  may not enroll in Capstone courses.

At least one Capstone course must be taken outside the department of the student’s major. (Students in ABET-accredited engineering programs may take both Capstone courses in the major.) Capstone courses are identified each semester in the class schedule. Students with questions about the appropriateness of a particular Capstone course should see their advisor.

General Capstone Courses:

NOTE: Students who have satisfied ALL requirements to graduate with a dual major have satisfied the Capstone requirement for both majors if they have satisfied the Capstone requirement for one of the majors. If the student retreats to the pursuit of a single major, then the original Capstone policy applies and at least one Capstone course must be taken outside the major department.

8. Diversity Requirement (3 units)

Students should review the Diversity section in the program description for their major before selecting a Diversity course. Students should consult with college or program advisors before enrolling in Core courses.

A student may meet the diversity requirement either (1) by completing a diversity course, or (2) successfully completing (for credit) a university sanctioned study abroad course of at least five weeks duration. Designated diversity courses have as their primary focus a topic related to non-western cultures or to excluded groups within western culture. Designated diversity courses that are used to fulfill other core curriculum or major/minor requirements automatically meet the diversity requirement. Diversity courses are identified each semester in the class schedule.