With its Core Curriculum, the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee provides all of its students with the broad knowledge base and skills necessary to solve modern interdisciplinary problems in the vast array of careers open to college graduates. At the lower level, the University Core Curriculum consists of twelve courses (36 credits) as General Education (Gen Ed) and two courses (3 credits) as Foundations of Success (Foundations).  At the upper-level, students take at least three (3) Pillars of Intellectual Engagement courses (9 credits): one Communication and Critical Thinking course, one Leadership and Ethics course, and one Community Engagement and Diversity course.  In cases where General Education courses also meet degree requirements, the degree program may require a higher minimum grade.

The Core Learning Outcomes: “Pillars of Intellectual Engagement”

While certain courses focus on development of the Pillars of Intellectual Engagement, which arise from the mission of USFSM and reflect the characteristics most sought by employers, all courses that are part of the Core Curriculum emphasize them.  This emphasis is demonstrated by the student learning outcomes used to measure the effectiveness of the Core Curriculum:

  1. Communication: Students will communicate effectively by means of written and/or oral modalities.
  2. Critical Thinking: Students will demonstrate the skills necessary to be proficient critical thinkers.
  3. Leadership: Students will analyze and apply specific leadership theories and characteristics.
  4. Ethics: Students will apply ethical perspectives and concepts to situations and justify the implications of their applications.
  5. Community Engagement: Students will demonstrate and integrate understanding of a societal issue as the result of engagement outside the classroom (literal or virtual).
  6. Diversity: Students will demonstrate and integrate an understanding of the complexity of elements important to various cultures, groups, beliefs, and/or practices.

Core Curriculum Chart

Lower Level

  • Students must achieve a grade of “C-” or better in each of their lower-level General Education courses.
  • Students must achieve an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 in the lower-level requirements.
  • Transfer students should refer to “Transfer Credit Evaluation” in the Admissions section.
State-mandated General Education Requirements Credits 
Communication  (2 courses) 6
Mathematics  (2 courses) 6
Natural Sciences  (2 courses) 6
Social Sciences  (2 courses) 6
Humanities  (2 courses) 6
Electives from any of the above disciplines  (2 courses) 6


Foundations of Success Requirements  Credits
SLS 1107 – Foundations of University Success  1
SLS 2122 – Foundations of Professional Success  2



Upper Level

  • Students must achieve a grade of “C-” or better in each of their upper-level required Pillar courses.


Pillars of Intellectual Engagement Requirements Credits 
Communication and Critical Thinking Pillar Course 3
Leadership and Ethics Pillar Course 3
Community Engagement and Diversity Pillar Course 3




Graduation Requirements

All students graduating from USFSM must satisfy both lower-level requirements (General Education and Foundations) and the upper-level requirements (Pillars).

  • Students who transfer in to USFSM with a completed A.A. degree from a Florida public university or college have satisfied the lower level of USFSM’s General Education and Foundations of Success Requirements, but still must satisfy the upper-level Pillars requirements.
  • Students who transfer from a regionally accredited institution have their transcript audited to credit course equivalencies.
    • Students who enter the university with fewer than 30 credits or as first-time-in-college (FTIC) students are required to take both Foundations of Success courses.
    • Students who enter the university with 30 to 59 credits may take both courses, but are required to take only Foundations of Professional Success.
    • Students who enter the university with 60 credits or more may take either or both courses, but are not required to do so.
    • Students seeking second baccalaureate degrees (those coded as 5B) are exempt from these requirements.

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