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 Core Curriculum


Consistent with the institution's commitment to a liberal education, the core curriculum lays a foundation of general education in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Befitting the bicultural character of the university, the core curriculum requires that all undergraduate students undertake the study of Arabic literature, history and society. Furthermore, the core curriculum seeks to supplement the secondary school training of entering students by providing the linguistic, analytical, and study skills necessary for university work.

The core curriculum carries a total of 40 hours of credit. Of these, 27 are devoted to the Core Curriculum Requirements, designed as a coherent whole and taken in sequence. All undergraduate degree students are required to complete each course within the Core Curriculum Requirements. An additional 13 credit hours provided by the Core Curriculum Electives are also required of all degree students. The Core Curriculum Electives offer a variety of courses from which undergraduates may choose.

In addition to the Core Curriculum Requirements, some categories of students must take additional Arabic literature and language courses to improve their knowledge of the Arab cultural environment.

Instruction in the core curriculum ranges from small seminars to regular classes to large lectures. Students also receive individual counseling. A final assessment of their work is made in each course. Some courses are given a letter grade, while others are graded on a pass/fail basis. Students who do not obtain a satisfactory standard in a course are asked to repeat it.

Core Curriculum Requirements

The Core Curriculum Requirements consist of the following courses:

1. The Freshman Writing Program

a. Compostion, Critical Reading, and Library Skills (ECLT 112)
b. Composition and Research Paper (ECLT 113)


4 credit hours

5 credit hours

2. Scientific Thinking (SCI 120)

3 credit hours

3. Philosophic Thinking (PHIL 220)

3 credit hours

4. The Seminar (SEMR 200)

3 credit hours

5. Arab History (MEHT /HIST 246)

3 credit hours

6. Arab Society (SOC 210)

3 credit hours

7. Arabic Literature

3 credit hours



1. The Freshman Writing Program

Composition, Critical Reading, and Library Skills (ECLT 112)
Sessions are devoted to writing expository prose with special attention to rhetorical methods, discussion, critical reading and thinking, and to instruction in the use of the library. Credit: 4 hrs. Grading in this course is on a Pass/Fail system.

Composition and Research Paper (ECLT 113)
Sessions are devoted to analytical reading, methods of research, and the process of research paper writing. Students will be responsible for producing a sequence of at least four research papers on related topics or on a common theme. Prerequisite: ECLT 112. Credit: 5 hrs. Grading in this course is on a Pass/Fail system.

Placement of Students
Students may be exempted from one or both courses by a series of placement exams.

Students may not drop these courses.

2. Scientific Thinking

Scientific Thinking (SCI 120) emphasizes the unifying aspects of the scientific approach to the study of nature and human behavior. About one-third of the course is devoted to a discussion of the nature of scientific inquiry and investigation. The course focuses on the process of fact identification and concept formation and testing. In the remainder of the course students are exposed to applications of the approach in various disciplines.

The course sets some of the major concepts and theories of science into a broad historical, philosophical, and cultural context and traces the development of these theories and concepts to their present status. This serves the double purpose of acquainting the students with the appropriate setting in which a given idea gained relevance and exposes them to the evolution of current methods of investigation. Credit: 3 hrs.

3. Philosophic Thinking

Philosophic Thinking (PHIL 220) presents various types of philosophical discourse (dialectical, analytical, critical, etc.) stemming from different epochs of philosophy, and dealing with the main subjects of philosophy. It is introductory and aims to involve students in the philosophical quest. It tries to bring out the common grounding of the academic disciplines in the "desire to know" and to help students to recognize this desire as something pertaining to human nature. Philosophy is first shown in its works, and participation in these works is then invited through the communal attempt to understand them. Finally, unity is sought in variety: the spirit of philosophy is portrayed through its works. Prerequisite: SCI 120. Credit: 3 hrs.

4 . The Seminar

Core Seminar (SEMR 200) is an interdisciplinary course in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Its goal is to foster the critical interpretation of texts. In this course, students read a variety of texts from different disciplines in an attempt to explore new ideas and new approaches to knowledge. Each week, students attend general lectures and then meet with their tutors in small groups to discuss the readings. The Seminar is an integral part of AUC's program of liberal education. By asking questions about human nature, society, culture, and the natural and supernatural worlds, students will develop their critical-analytical skills and broaden their understanding of themselves and the world in which they live. Prerequisites: PHIL 220 and ECLT 113. Credit: 3hrs. Offered in Spring.

Core Honors Seminar (SEMR 300) is an interdisciplinary honors course which is an elective sequel to Core Seminar 200. The focus of Core Seminar 300 is the critical exploration of ideas stemming from a selection of texts representing a variety of cultural traditions both past and present. Because Core Seminar 300 is an honors course, students will be expected to demonstrate skills and a degree of commitment that are more advanced than those normally associated with other 300-level courses. Prerequisites: Core Seminar 200 with 3.4 overall GPA and/or consent of the Core Seminar Supervisor. Credit: 3hrs. Offered in Spring. Grading in this course is on a Pass/Fail system.

5. Arab History

Arab History (MEHT/HIST 246) presents the history of the Arab-speaking Middle East from pre-Islamic times to the modern era, with emphasis on the principal political, economic, social, religious, and cultural developments and their relevance to the contemporary Middle East. The course introduces students to historiographical methodology and different interpretive approaches. It attempts to foster a critical attitude toward sources and provides a context in which students can apply skills and concepts acquired in other core curriculum requiremnts courses. Prerequisite: ECLT 113. Credit: 3hrs.

6. Arab Society

Arab Society (SOC/ANTH 210) offers a description and analysis of social and cultural characteristics and problems of contemporary Arab society, taking into consideration the specific historical, economic, and ideological forces that shape it. Social basis for Arab unity and identity is examined and students receive an introduction to basic concepts and principles for understanding social phenomena. Prerequisite: MEHT/HIST 246. Credit: 3hrs.

7. Arabic Literature

Students who hold the Arabic Thanawiya ‘Amma must take one of the following courses:

Survey of Classical Arabic Literature (ARBS 207)
A study of classical Arabic literature with an emphasis on poetry from the pre-Islamic, early Islamic, Umayyad, and Abbasid periods. Also a study of some prose forms such as Kalila wa Dimna, maqama, Jahiz's stories in al-Bukhala, and al-Ma‘arri's Risalat al-Ghufran. Prerequisite: Arabic Thanawiya ‘Amma, placement examination, or consent of instructor. Credit: 3hrs.


Survey of Modern Arabic Literature (ARBS 208)
A study of Arabic literature of the modern period from the beginning of the century up to the present time including poetry, the novel, the short story, and the play with special emphasis on the Arabic literature of Egypt. Attention is given to analyzing texts and literary appreciation. Prerequisite: Arabic Thanawiya ‘Amma, placement examination, or consent of instructor. Credit: 3hrs.

Students who do not have a Thanawiya ‘ Amma certificate or its equivalent may take one or both of the two Arabic literature courses in translation (that is ARBS 337 or ARBS 338), but should note that if they do, they will be required to take certain Arabic language courses. See "Arabic Language Requirements" below.

Core Curriculum Electives

The Core Curriculum Electives consist of the following:
1. Four credit hours of natural sciences, selected from

BIOL 100

Introductory Biology

BIOL  104/114L

Unity of Life and Lab

BIOL 105/115L

Diversity of Life and Lab

CHEM 100

Chemistry and Society

CHEM 105/115l

General Chemistry and Lab

PHYS 100/SCI 150L

Conceptual Physics and Lab

SCI 104/150L

Man and the Environment and Lab

SCI 105/150L

Science and Technology of Ancient Egypt

SCI 109/150L

Exploration of the Universe and Lab

SCI 250

Introductory Geology



2. Three credit hours of social sciences, selected from:

ANTH 202

Cultural Anthropology

ECON 201/202

Introduction to Economics I and II

JRMC 200

Introduction to Mass Communication

JRMC 300

Arab Media: History, Law and Contemporary Issues

JRMC 317

Public Opinion and Communication

JRMC 400

Mass Media Ethics and Responsibility

JRMC 450

World Media Systems and Global Information

POLS 201

Introduction to Political Science

PSYC 201/202

General Psychology I and II

SOC 210

Introduction to Sociology

HIST 206

Global Politics in the Twentieth Century



3. Three credit hours of humanities and fine arts.
Students may take any course listed under Humanities (except for ARBS 207/337). for courses listed under Theater, Art, Music and Film, students may take any course at the 200, 300 or 400 level. Permission of the instructor is required for all courses. At the 300 and 400 level, written permission of the department chair is needed.

4. Three additional credit hours in any one of the above fields (i.e. natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and fine arts).

The department of a student's major may require the student to take a specific course to fulfill the relevant part of the Core Curriculum Electives, namely in science, social sciences and the humanities. A student may satisfy the remainder of the Core Curriculum Electives by choosing any other relevant course, other than those from the Core Curriculum Requirements, subject to the approval of the department offering the course. The courses which have received such approval are normally shown as such in the Schedule of Courses.

However, students who do not have a Thanawiya ‘ Amma certificate or its equivalent must satisfy the Humanities requirement by passing another of the Arabic literature survey courses (classical ARBS 207 or 337; modern ARBS 208 or 338), which must be on whichever period was not covered by their Core Curriculum Requirements Arabic literature course. Students should note that taking this course in translation rather than in Arabic will oblige them to take certain Arabic language courses. (See "Arabic Language Requirements" below).

Arabic Language Requirements

The university is set in an Arabic-language speaking milieu, and therefore expects each student to have an appropriate knowledge of the Arabic language. Students who take their Core curriculum Arabic literature course or courses in Arabic are considered to have this knowledge, but those who take one of these courses in translation must also take three credits of literary Arabic language courses or Arabic Studies writing or grammar courses, at a level which will be determined by their score in a placement test administered by the Arabic Language Institute. Those students who take both of these courses in translation must also take six credits of literary Arabic language courses or Arabic Studies writing or grammar courses, at a level which will be determined by their score in a placement test administered by the Arabic Language Institute. These courses will be treated as electives.

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