Core Curriculum (General Education)

The Core Curriculum is Marshall’s general education program and applies to all majors. The Core Curriculum is designed to provide essential skills for students’ varied life paths after college in an ever-evolving world.

Transfer students with 30-59 college credits must complete one CT course in Core I, all of Core II and the additional university requirements. Students transferring in 60 or more college credits are exempt from taking Core I, but must complete all of Core II and the additional university requirements. Core II may be fulfilled through a combination of transfer and Marshall credit hours.

Core I
First Year Seminar (100-level)3
Discipline-specific courses with an emphasis on critical thinking (CT) and active learning (100- or 200-level) 16
Core II (100- or 200-level) 2
Physical or Natural Science4
Social Science3
Fine Arts3
Additional University Requirements
Writing Intensive credit in any discipline at any level (Writing Intensive credits must be earned at Marshall University.)6
Multicultural or International coursework in any discipline at any level3
Capstone project in the major
Total Credit Hours43

Specific courses that fulfill the CT requirement may be found at CT credits must be earned at Marshall University.


Specific courses that fulfill Core II may be found at

Core I courses include First Year Seminar and two Critical Thinking (CT) courses. First Year Seminars are taught by trained, full-time faculty who help students develop intentional critical thinking skills integral to lifelong learning through inquiry, discussion, interaction, discovery, problem solving, writing, research, reflection and examination of complex multicultural/global ideas and themes.

CT courses provide students training in key skills specific to the discipline in which the course is offered. Each course focuses on at least five outcomes from Marshall University’s Baccalaureate Degree Profile; Integrative Thinking and at least four others. CT credits must be earned at Marshall University. Marshall’s Baccalaureate Degree Profile’s Domains of Critical and Outcomes are:

Domains of Critical Thinking Baccalaureate Learning Outcomes
Communication Fluency Students will develop cohesive oral, written, and visual communications tailored to specific audiences.
Creative Thinking Students will outline multiple divergent solutions to a problem, develop and explore risky or controversial ideas, and synthesize ideas/expertise to generate innovations.
Ethical and Civic Thinking Students will determine the origins of core beliefs and ethical principles, evaluate the ethical basis of professional rules and standards of conduct, evaluate how academic theories and public policy inform one another to support civic well-being, and analyze complex ethical problems to address competing interests.
Information Literacy Students will revise their search strategies and employ appropriate research tools, integrate relevant information from reliable sources, question and evaluate the complexity of the information environment, and use information in an ethical manner.
Inquiry-Based Thinking Students will formulate focused questions and hypotheses, evaluate existing knowledge, collect and analyze data, and draw justifiable conclusions.
Integrative Thinking Students will make connections and transfer skills and learning among varied disciplines, domains of thinking, experiences, and situations.
Intercultural Thinking Students will evaluate generalizations about cultural groups, analyze how cultural beliefs might affect communication across cultures, evaluate how specific approaches to global issues will affect multiple cultural communities or political institutions, and untangle competing economic, religious, social, political, or geographical interests of cultural groups in conflict.
Metacognitive Thinking Students will evaluate the effectiveness of their project plan or strategy to determine the degree of their improvement in knowledge and skills.
Quantitative Thinking Students will analyze real-world problems quantitatively, formulate plausible estimates, assess the validity of visual representations of quantitative information, and differentiate valid from questionable statistical conclusions.

The skills gained in Core I courses will facilitate student learning in later coursework. These courses provide a direct linkage between the first classes a student takes, Core II courses, major-specific courses, and the senior capstone experience.

Core II courses provide necessary training in communication, writing, and math as well as deeper engagement with discipline-specific skills and knowledge. These courses develop student capacity as skilled and knowledgeable citizens.

Multicultural or International designated courses are dedicated to developing students’ intercultural capacity. Students in multicultural courses learn to explain and examine elements of multiple cultures, past and present. Multicultural Studies courses encourage students to compare their own cultures with other cultures, enabling them to evaluate their own. At least half of the content in international courses is dedicated to current topics beyond the United States’ borders. Students will identify and evaluate the fundamental dynamics that shape the current world; recognize and appraise major issues, concerns, and problems of a super-national or global scope in the current world; and/or recognize and assess diversity within, and interactions among, current world nations, peoples, and cultures, and how these help shape the current world. (See

Writing Intensive Courses engage students directly in the subject matter of the course through a variety of activities that focus on writing as a means of learning. In this way, writing is not added to content, but the content is entered and secured through writing. In other words, both teaching and learning are directed toward specific projects carefully created and monitored by the instructor so that students, by doing these projects, acquire the skills and knowledge of the content of the course as set forth in the course objectives. (See

Capstone courses are taken as part of a major in a student’s senior year. Therein, students undertake projects that synthesize past learning and demonstrate their abilities.