Fundamental Academic Skills

Fundamental Academic Skills (15 Hours Total)

Proficiency in reading, quantitative skills, and written/oral expression are essential for professional success and effective citizenship. The courses in fundamental academic skills are designed to provide the foundation for advanced academic study.

English and Writing:

9 Hours

Nine hours, to include ENGL 1150/ENGL 1154 and ENGL 1160/ENGL 1164 and one additional three-hour Single Writing Instruction course or a minimum of three (3) writing intensive courses that contains multiple writing assignments and written instruction. Writing in the Discipline course(s) are determined by the student’s major. Students may “test out” of ENGL 1150/ENGL 1154 and/or ENGL 1160/ENGL 1164. Contact the Department of English for more information.

The work of the university is to construct and share knowledge. Because this work is done largely by means of the written word, it is important for students to gain control over written language. Proficiency in reading, research, and written expression is essential for professional success and effective citizenship. The foundational writing courses (Composition I and Composition II) provide instruction in general academic literacy while writing in the discipline course(s), preferably taken in the student’s major, introduce research and language practices specific to the disciplines.

After completing Composition I, successful students shall be able to do the following:

  • Closely read, critically interpret, evaluate, and respond to other writers’ texts;
  • Write papers with a clear thesis, logical structure, and cohesive, well-developed paragraphs;
  • Write papers with clear, varied, well-constructed sentences, with usage and mechanics conforming to standard edited English; and
  • Demonstrate an understanding of writing as a complex, recursive process whereby ideas are explored, developed, and communicated to a particular audience for a particular purpose.

After completing Composition II, successful students shall be able to do the following:

  • Demonstrate further development of the writing skills learned in Composition I;
  • Locate and evaluate information in print and electronic sources and integrate the information into their own texts, citing the sources appropriately;
  • Analyze arguments in other writers’ texts; and
  • Craft well-informed, carefully reasoned arguments of their own, using the genre appropriate for the rhetorical context (e.g. position paper, proposal, evaluation).

After completing the writing in the discipline course(s), students shall be able to do the following:

  • Demonstrate further development of the writing skills learned in foundational composition courses;
  • Engage in the major discipline’s research practices, using the databases, bibliographies, and documentation conventions appropriate to the discipline;
  • Use the writing strategies and genres expected in the relevant academic and professional communities; and
  • Demonstrate command of the major discipline’s discourse practices, vocabulary, and style.

Note: Consult with an advisor in your major to determine the appropriate advanced writing course or writing-intensive courses.


3 Hours

MATH 1120/STEM 1120 and MATH 1220 3 hours. Students may “test out” of MATH 1120/STEM 1120 and MATH 1220. Contact the Department of Mathematics for more information.

Algebra is a foundational branch of mathematics that involves operations and relations, and which emphasizes the process of formulating, solving, interpreting, and applying equations of many different types to solve many different real-world problems, using systems of abstract symbols. It is a branch of mathematics with significant applications across a wide variety of disciplines.

Successful students shall be able to do the following:

  • Demonstrate competency in quantitative reasoning that applies algebra;
  • Demonstrate competency in symbolic reasoning in the solution to real-world problems;
  • Demonstrate competency in computational reasoning as it relates to the application of algebraic processes and concepts; and
  • Demonstrate an ability to solve real-world problems using quantitative, logical, or computational approaches that are typical of mathematical thinking.

*Students with an ACT MATH score of 23 or higher are considered proficient in MATH 1120/STEM 1120 or MATH 1220. Placing into MATH 1220 or MATH 1120/STEM 1120 or higher via the Accuplacer placement exam does NOT equal proficiency of MATH 1220.  You will still need to take a math course to meet the requirement.

Public Speaking:

3 Hours

Students must complete one of the following 3-credit hour courses – CMST 1110 or CMST 2120. Students may “test out” of CMST 1110. Contact the School of Communication for more information.

The goal of the public speaking requirement is to help students acquire the knowledge and skills needed for effective oral communication in academic, career or community life.

Successful students shall be able to do the following:

  • Create and develop messages demonstrating effective audience analysis and adaptation;
  • Create and develop messages demonstrating effective information gathering, analysis, and evaluation;
  • Create and deliver messages demonstrating effective organizational development and use of supporting materials from credible sources; and
  • Present appropriate messages, including effective use of language, nonverbal delivery, and visual information/technology.