UC Requirements

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In today’s rapidly changing world, a university education must provide students in all majors with the tools to embark on a lifetime of learning. UC Foundations courses assure that students read and write critically; possess basic quantitative reasoning skills; are introduced to concepts of life-long personal responsibility and wellness; and explore how different academic disciplines define and create knowledge.

Requirement Descriptions

The University Curriculum foregrounds academic reading, writing, and oral expression in the Discernment and Discourse sequence. The courses in this sequence introduce students to academic thought and communication in seminars that allow students to work closely with faculty in small classes. All seminars share the goal of assisting students in the development of critical reading, expository and analytical writing, oral communication and research protocols.

What is required?

The Discernment and Discourse requirement consists of two or three writing-intensive course. Depending on prior coursework, testing or other evaluation, students will be required to complete one of the following sequences:

DISC 1311, 1312, 1313 Students with a VSAT score of lower than 500 or ACT score of lower than 21 will take this sequence 
DISC 1312, 1313 Students with a VSAT score of 500 or higher or ACT score of 21 or higher will take this sequence
DISC 1313 Students with AP/transfer credit may be able to start with this course.
DISC 2305, 2306 Students in the University Honors Program are invited by letter regarding this option

You may fulfill Discernment and Discourse:

  1. by succesfully completing SMU coursework in one of the above sequences
  2. by transferring in two equivalent courses prior to your matriculation at SMU (only if you are a transfer student)

Read the Student Learning Outcomes.

Special Discernment and Discourse Policies

Each term, students must be enrolled in and may not drop Discourse and Discernment until they have completed the requirement.

A minimum grade of C- is required to pass each course.

Credit used to satisfy the Discernment and Discourse requirement may not be used to satisfy the Writing or Information Literacy Proficiency requirements.

Discernement and Discourse has a strict attendance policy. Failure to meet attendance requirements will result in a grade of "F".

Quantitative reasoning refers to the ability to understand, evaluate and use quanti­tative information. Quantitative information takes many forms, and quan­titative reasoning skills span a vast spectrum from basic numerical manipu­lations to ad­vanced statistics and mathematics. The University Curriculum is made up of two quantitative requirements including the Quantitative Foundation and Quantitative Reasoning Proficiency.

What is required?

One three-credit course or equivalent test credit is required to satisfy the Quantitative Foundation.

You may fulfill the Quantitative Foundation by:

  1. scoring a 4 or 5 on the Calculus AB, Calculus BC or Statistics Advanced Placement tests.
  2. passing one of the credit exams offered by the SMU Math department for Calculus or Introduction to Mathematical Sciences.
  3. successfully completing one of the following SMU courses:
    • MATH 1307 Introduction to Mathematical Sciences
    • MATH 1309 Introduction to Calculus for Business and Social Science
    • MATH 1337 Calculus with Analytic Geometry
    • STAT 1301 Introduction to Statistics
    • STAT 2301 Statistics for Modern Business Decisions
    • STAT 2331 Introduction to Statistical Methods
  4. transfering in an equivalent course taken prior to your matriculation at SMU (including dual enrollment)

Read the Student Learning Outcomes.

Special Quantitative Foundation Policies

Credit used to satisfy the Quantitative Foundation may not be used to satisfy the Quantitative Reasoning Proficiency.


Taken during the first year, PRW1 introduces students to university life and explores three sets of issues: (1) the role of personal responsibility in coping with college and life’s other transitional periods; (2) challenges and opportunities—including managing time and stress, benefiting from diversity and autonomy, dealing with pitfalls related to alcohol and drugs, and exploring resources and activities on campus; and (3) personal finance to enable students to make informed decisions about managing their money, using credit cards, and making major purchases, both during their time at SMU and later in life.


In PRW2 (physical fitness courses), students work with instructors to establish personal goals and fitness plans for the term. A variety of individual and group fitness courses will be available, with each course containing core objectives and student-learning outcomes based on health-related fitness components. Grades will be based on attendance, understanding of training/health principles and satisfactory improvement toward the goals that students set for themselves.

What is required?

All students fulfill this requirement by successfully completing two, one-credit courses.

You may fulfill the Personal Responsibility and Wellness Foundation requirement by:

  1. successfully completing both of the following SMU courses
    • PRW 1101
    • your choice of PRW 21XX courses (or DANC 2130 for students majoring in Dance)
  2. transfering in an equivalent course/s taken prior to your matriculation at SMU

Read the Student Learning Outcomes.

Special Personal Responsibility and Wellness Policies

PRW 1101 should be taken in your first semester of enrollment at SMU.

PRW 21XX should be taken at your earliest convenience. (It is best not to delay taking the course.)

Students may take up to four additional PRW 2 courses beyond the requirement. These additional PRW 2 courses are graded only on a pass/fail basis and do not count toward the minimum hours for a student's degree requirements.


Ways of Knowing courses cut across disciplines, exploring how natural scientists, social scientists, humanists, artists, engineers, and professionals in business and education go about addressing important issues. Ways of Knowing courses develop students’ understanding of the multiple approaches whereby different disciplines define, acquire and create knowledge, including the ethical considerations involved.

What is required?

Students are required to complete one three-credit hour KNW, CF, CFA, or CFB course to satisfy the Ways of Knowing Foundation.

You may fulfill the Ways of Knowing Foundation requirement by:

  1. successfully completing one three-credit hour SMU Ways of Knowing (KNW) or Cultural Formation (CF, CFA, or CFB) course

Read the Student Learning Outcomes.

Special Ways of Knowing Foundation Policies

The Ways of Knowing requirement can only be satisfied at SMU by courses with the prefix KNW, CF, CFA, or CFB.

Recommended prerequisite: DISC 1312 or DISC 2305