Updated September 5, 2023
Message from The Provost
Thanks to the hard work of over a hundred faculty and staff from across our campus, I am excited to share the updated framework for UA’s new General Education curriculum with you.
This curriculum combines the best of what UA has always provided for our students, with state-of-the-art, high-impact practices to create a general education curriculum that is rigorous, relevant, and designed to prepare our graduates to solve the challenges of working in a complex, interconnected world. Our team has worked to align our new General Education curriculum with the needs of our Alabama community college partners and the accreditation requirements of our various Colleges. Over the next six months, multiple teams of faculty and staff will continue to work with Associate Provosts Greer and Peterson to finalize this framework in time for our Spring 2024 student recruitment efforts. Our Fall 2025 first-year class will be the first to enroll under this catalog.
Below, you will find the new, approved Built by Bama Curriculum. Please bookmark this page to follow along this fall and next spring as we build out the details for this watershed moment in UA’s history.
James T. Dalton, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost
University of Alabama
The Built by Bama Core Curriculum
Between January 2023 and today, Provosts Greer and Peterson worked with 11 faculty / staff sub-committees to review the approved curriculum and make recommendations for its implementation. From those discussions, the finalized curriculum is presented below:
The Built by Bama Core Curriculum – all but the First-Year Experience may be completed before UA enrollment:
|First-Year Experience (FYE)||2||A single 2 credit hour course (or more, as required by college) completed within the first year. Transfer students will have a transfer-specific 2 credit hour FYE requirement|
|Written Composition (FC)||6||EN 101 + 102. Accelerated students may qualify for EN 103 according to placement criteria recommended by the English Department. Completion of EN103 with a C- or better fulfills the English Composition requirement|
|Foreign Language (FL)||0-8||Students with 2 or more years of high school Foreign Language, or who pass a proficiency exam as defined by Modern Languages and Classics, are exempt from this requirement|
Fine Arts (FA)
|9||At least 3 of the 9 credit hours must be Literature|
Social & Behavioral
At least 3 of the 9 credit hours must be History
|Natural Sciences (NS)||8||Must include 2 hours of Laboratory|
|Mathematics (MA) /
|3-4||MA 110 or higher. Statistics courses added as an option|
|TOTAL||37-46*||*Up to 8 credit hours may be required in FL|
Advanced Education Requirements – MUST be completed within UA College/School:
|Writing Intensive (W)||3||Courses at the 300- and 400-level approved for the Writing designation|
|US / Global Citizenship||3||Courses at the 300- and 400-level approved for the US or Global Citizenship designation|
|Experiential Learning*||variable||Approved: Education Abroad, Internship/Co-op, Undergraduate Research, OR Community-Engaged Learning|
|Capstone Experience||variable||University-wide Capstones (as defined by major) will be a phase II initiative. In the meantime, existing Capstones will continue as currently configured.|
|Assessment (SCORE)||0||All students must complete SCORE (Student Core Outcomes & Readiness Evaluation) as a graduation requirement|
*Approvals and exceptions for Experiential Learning requirements will be decided by the student’s home college based on its curriculum, learning outcomes, and the professional development needs of its students.
To see the November 2022 starting point for our work, click here.
To see an item-by-item comparison of the refinements (November 2022 to current approved version), click here:
November 2022 – September 2023
- The FYE committee recommended that the two semester, 1 credit hour First-Year Experience (FYE) be implemented as a required one semester, 2 credit hour (minimum) UA FYE. Transfer students will take a transfer-specific FYE.
- The English Composition requirement (previously met by 6 credit hours of EN Comp: EN 101 + EN 102) can be fulfilled in the 1-semester EN 103, as recommended by the Department of English. Students will qualify for EN 103 according to criteria set by the English Department. EN 101 and EN 102 will be required for those who do not meet the EN 103 qualifications.
- Many 101 and 102 Foreign Language classes are 4 credit hour classes. As a result, the Foreign Language requirement shifted from 0-6 credit hours to 0-8 credit hours to more accurately reflect current offerings.
- SACSCOC regards introductory Foreign Language courses as skills courses rather than Humanities courses. Therefore, the following statement was removed: “For students required to complete FL 101 and 102 courses, these will also count as meeting a portion of the Humanities (HU) requirement.”
- The Foreign Language requirement can be fulfilled by 2 years of high school Foreign Language or through a proficiency exam recommended by the Department of Modern Languages and Classics.
- For the 9 credit hours of Humanities (HU), Fine Arts (FA), and Literature (LI), 3 credit hours must be from LI.
- For the 9 credit hours of Social / Behavioral Sciences (S/BS), and History (HI), 3 credit hours must be from HI.
- As appropriate to the discipline, the W-designation may include an Oral Presentations (O) component and / or a Visual Presentations (V) component.
- The 300-, 400-level Cultures and Societies requirement has been re-designated as a 300-or 400-level US or Global Citizenship requirement.
- The Capstone requirement from the November 2022 curriculum has been designated as a Phase II initiative.
- SCORE serves as a university-wide assessment tool that identifies outcomes for a single Student Learning Outcome (e.g., Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving, etc.) in a full academic year (administered in Fall, Spring, and Summer). The assessment will be implemented as a graduation requirement for all students.
The Built by Bama core provides the following advantages:
- Allows for a coherent, unified core that provides a foundation for all majors and minors
- Provides students with greater ability to double major / double minor
- Creates greater flexibility for transfer students to reduce time to graduation
- Provides freedom to explore through electives or to follow themed Pathways
- Spans a student’s undergraduate experience (provides core education progression)
- Offers college-managed advanced education requirements for majors based on student, curricular, and professional demands
Timeline for Implementation
Faculty referendum: changes to GE endorsed
Spring to Summer 2023
In conjunction with Provosts Greer and Peterson, 140 faculty and staff, serving on 11 Subcommittees (Governance, High School Pre-Requisites and/or Proficiency Exams, First-Year Experience, Experiential Learning, Writing Intensive, Capstone Courses, Cultures & Societies, Transfer Students, Assessment, Pathways, Communications) made recommendations for Gen Ed Implementation
Work from the Spring and Summer of 2023 is ongoing. For Fall of 2023, OAA and faculty and staff from across campus will:
- Create a GE oversight structure
- Map existing courses to the Built by Bama Core Curriculum
- Work with the Office of Admissions, the Registrar’s Office, UA-AAA and additional UA Advisors, and the Transfers program (currently in Admissions)
- Develop the UA First-Year Experience (FYE)
- Determine proficiency requirements for English, Foreign Language, and Math
- Build out Pathways for coordination with the Built by Bama Core
- Continue work with Admissions, Registrars, Advisors, and Transfers Offices / programs
- Align catalog in accordance with Fall 2025 rollout
- Submit courses and designations to CCOC for expedited review and endorsement
- Approve refinements to courses and majors and update course catalog
- Define and create a mechanism for collecting graduation data on community-engaged learning internship/co-ops, study abroad, and undergraduate research opportunities
- Map college/school courses to curricular PATHWAYS
- Publicly announce Fall 2025 launch of UA’s new general education core curriculum
- Begin recruiting/admission of the first cohort of first-time undergraduates who will fully complete their degrees under the requirements of the new core
Matriculate Class of 2029 as the first cohort who will fully complete their degrees under the requirements of the Built by Bama Core Curriculum
Has every detail of the new general education core been figured out?
No. The work of members from the Office of Academic Affairs, the Undergraduate Council, the Core Curriculum Oversight Committee, the FYE Committee, Community Affairs, the Office of Institutional Excellence, the Registrar’s Office, the Admissions Office, UA Advisors, Strategic Communications, and all Colleges/Schools is ongoing.
Who will teach the 2 credit hour courses proposed as FYE?
The FYE committee is developing a University-wide curriculum that will supplement college-specific elements. The staffing model is under review and an update is forthcoming.
Will the number of students taking Foreign Languages decline?
We do not expect the number of students taking a Foreign Language at UA to decline. Between 2015-2021, 31% of UA undergraduate students completed our current Foreign Language requirement, while 79% completed computer sciences courses to fulfill the requirement. National data shows that about two-thirds of students take 2 or more years of a Foreign Language in high school (https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d21/tables/dt21_225.70.asp). The requirement that students with less than 2 years of high school Foreign Language take a foreign language at UA as a component of the core suggests that enrollment in UA Foreign language courses should not change measurably.
Why will students be required to complete 3 credit hours of History (HI)? Literature (LI)?
The required 3 credit hours of HI in the History, Social and Behavioral Sciences category (HI/S/BS) and the required 3 credit hours of LI in the Literature, Fine Arts, and Humanities (LI/FA/HU) category were recommended by various sub-committees as a means of providing breadth across the respective categories and to provide students with a cohesive, coherent curriculum.
What is the longer-term plan for implementing a university-wide Capstone Experience in the advanced education requirements?
Implementation of the Capstone Experience will occur in a second phase, using data gathered from the SCORE assessment and associated recommendations from the Capstone sub-committee.
What is SCORE and why was it selected?
SCORE will be implemented as a university-wide assessment tool that identifies outcomes for a single Student Learning Outcome (e.g., Critical Thinking, Problem-Solving, etc.) in a full academic year (administered in Fall, Spring, and Summer). The test helps students tie together their college experience, from first year to graduation. In-coming freshman take a pre-test. Graduating seniors will use the SCORE Blackboard site to 1) register for graduation 2) complete their first destination surveys, and 3) take a 1 ½ hour test to assess the respective SLO.
Why was Cultures & Societies renamed?
Cultures & Societies was renamed to reflect the intention of the classes that fall under this category, which have, at their root, an emphasis on U.S. and Global Citizenship.