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Liberal Arts Core Curriculum

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Eastern is Connecticut's public liberal arts university and its liberal arts core curriculum (LAC) is the centerpiece of our mission. A liberal arts education teaches students to be critical thinkers who understand the past and are prepared for the future. Eastern's liberal arts core curriculum is a unique educational program that supports students' major studies and elective courses. The study of the liberal arts at Eastern is rigorous and creative, disciplinary and interdisciplinary, theoretical and applied, which taps the resources of all members of Eastern's faculty, regardless of discipline. The liberal arts provide the knowledge and skills students need for life within and beyond the University.

At Eastern, students take their liberal arts core sequentially in three stages, with introductory courses preparing students for more advanced learning. The curriculum is designed in steps that progress logically from the first to the third or fourth year. Eastern students build foundation methods and concepts in the first step, synthesize their learning and apply this knowledge in the second step, then conclude their liberal arts education in the third step with a capstone experience such as a research paper, thesis, performance, or internship. Students develop complex ways of knowing the social and the natural worlds, as well as the arts and literature; this knowledge is combined with action and interaction. Eastern expects its students to apply their learning to real problems to become effective problem-solvers whether they work alone or as part of a team.

Liberal Arts Core Course Listing >

Philosophy of the Liberal Arts

Guiding Principles

Eastern's commitment to liberal education is anchored in three principles:

  • Engagement
  • Integration
  • Independence

Eastern cultivates an engaged community. Students become engaged academically through their work on class projects requiring imagination and intellectual commitment; they become engaged socially through participation in a variety of clubs, athletics, and co-curricular activities; and they become engaged in the community through projects and programs that address the needs of Willimantic and the region.

Eastern's curricular and co-curricular programs emphasize integration. The University's liberal arts core curriculum and major and co-curricular programs help students understand the relationships between diverse fields of study and the impact that people, ideas and events have in all parts of their lives. They make connections among courses and between campus and community life. The academic, social and personal realms of students' lives are integrated, so that students see their studies as an important part of who they are and who they will become.

Eastern students develop independence. Active and collaborative learning produce graduates who are self-initiated learners and reflective, independent thinkers. These abilities enable Eastern graduates to take active roles in their personal lives, their workplaces and their communities.

For more information: Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC)

The Five Liberal Arts Learning Outcomes

SB: 19/20-07 Policy on Liberal Arts Learning Outcomes

 Rationale and Definition 

The five learning outcomes identified and defined below focus on a range of skills that are central to the ways that thoughtful, liberally educated people approach the world. They cut across disciplines—creativity is not only for artists, but for scientists and social workers as well; quantitative literacy is for poets as well as statisticians. Developing these skills prepares all Eastern students, regardless of major, to face complexity and ambiguity in the many domains they will confront after graduation. 

Critical Thinking

Rationale: Liberally educated students are curious and reflective. By practicing critical thinking skills, students develop the habits of questioning, evaluating, and forming educated judgments in preparation for the challenges of personal and professional lives. Critical thinking relates to nearly all situations, careers, environments, and opportunities.

Definition: Critical thinking is the analysis and evaluation of complex ideas, artifacts, information, and arguments as a basis for formulating a well-reasoned belief, judgment, or conclusion. 

Upon completion of the LAC Curriculum, Eastern students will be able to demonstrate critical thinking by:

  • Identifying and stating a problem or issue to be addressed;
  • Analyzing and evaluating complex ideas, artifacts, information, and arguments that can address the problem or issue;
  • Stating and assessing the assumptions and limitations of ideas, artifacts, information, and arguments that can address the problem or issue; and
  • Formulating well-reasoned beliefs, judgments, or conclusions.

Ethical Reasoning

Rationale: Liberally educated students carefully consider how decisions and behaviors affect individuals, communities, and the world. In an increasingly complex and globalized society, it is imperative to contemplate the impact that human actions have on others and to recognize and weigh the ethical implications of different courses of action in life and work.

Definition: Ethical Reasoning requires students to recognize ethical issues, identify their own ethical positions and analyze other ethical perspectives in real-world situations in order to consider the impact of decisions and actions on other individuals, society, and the environment. 

Upon completion of the LAC Curriculum, Eastern students will be able to demonstrate ethical reasoning by:  

  • Recognizing ethical issues;
  • Identifying their own ethical positions;
  • Analyzing other ethical positions; and
  • Considering the impact of decisions and actions on other individuals, society, and the environment.


Rationale: Liberally educated students convey their ideas in compelling ways to others. Effective communication involves expressing oneself clearly, accurately, and in a manner suited to the audience and occasion. Effective communication is an essential professional skill. 

Definition: Communication requires students to recognize and utilize the most appropriate means to address specific audiences in relevant contexts or genres in order to effectively inform or persuade.  

Upon completion of the LAC Curriculum, Eastern students will exhibit communication skills by: 

  • Recognizing and utilizing the most appropriate means to address specific audiences; and
  • Employing communication methods relevant to specific contexts or genres to effectively inform or persuade.


Rationale: Liberally educated students adapt and innovate in our rapidly changing world. Although creativity is often associated with the arts, innovative thought and expression are used across the disciplines and in various work situations. The capacity to see new possibilities and to make things that did not exist before is a valuable skill for various fields.

Definition: Creativity is the ability to utilize skills and strategies to synthesize ideas, perspectives, information, or materials in original and self-aware ways, and to use that synthesis to generate imaginative acts or products. 

Upon completion of the LAC Curriculum, Eastern students will be able to demonstrate Creativity by:

  • Utilizing newly acquired strategies and skills within a creative domain;
  • Synthesizing ideas, perspectives, information, or materials in original ways;
  • Creating an imaginative act or product with new ideas, perspectives, information, and materials; and
  • Evaluating the role of their own values, interests, and ideas in the creative process and act or product.

Quantitative Literacy 

Rationale: Liberally educated students understand, reason with, and communicate quantitative information in a wide variety of contexts and everyday situations. In today’s technological and data-driven society there is an ever-increasing demand, across disciplines and careers, for the ability to work with quantitative information of all types.

Definition: Quantitative literacy is competency in working with numerical data to reason or solve problems, the ability to make judgements and draw conclusions supported by quantitative evidence, and the ability to communicate those arguments utilizing quantitative tools. 

Upon completion of the LAC Curriculum, Eastern students will be able to demonstrate quantitative literacy by: 

  • Interpreting and explaining information presented in quantitative forms (e.g. equations, graphs, diagrams, tables);
  • Converting information into quantitative forms when required;
  • Creating arguments and arriving at judgments based on quantitative analysis of data; and
  • Expressing quantitative evidence in support of arguments

Eastern Connecticut State University
Liberal Arts Core Curriculum
Effective Fall 2007

The Liberal Arts Core Curriculum consists of three Tiers: Tier I Methods and Concepts; Tier II Synthesis and Applications; and Tier III Independent Inquiry. Tier I and Tier II consist of multiple categories which contribute to a culminating liberal arts experience in Tier III.

Tier I Methods and Concepts

*First Year Introduction (FYI) - 3 credits
*College Writing - 3 credits
Arts and Humanities: Arts in Context - 3 credits
Arts and Humanities: Literature and Thought - 3 credits
*Health and Wellness - 2 credits
Historical Perspectives - 3 credits
*Mathematics - 3 credits
Natural Sciences - 3/4 credits
Social Sciences - 3 credits
Total Credits - 26/27 credits

Tier II Synthesis and Application

Applied Information Technology - 3 credits
Arts and Humanities: Creative Expressions - 3 credits
Cultural Perspectives - 3 credits
Individuals and Societies - 3 credits
Natural Sciences - 3-4 credits
Total Credits - 15/16 credits

Tier III Independent Inquiry

Culminating Liberal Arts Experience - 3 credits
Total Credits - 3 credits

Total Liberal Arts Core Curriculum Credits - 46 credits

* Must be completed within first 30 credits