Dec 09, 2023  
2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalogue 
2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalogue Archived Catalogue

Academic Programs

The University of North Carolina Wilmington offers four-year programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing, the Bachelor of Music, the Bachelor of Science, and the Bachelor of Social Work degrees. Graduate programs lead to the Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education, Master of Fine Arts in creative writing, Master of Public Administration, Master of School Administration, Master of Science, Master of Social Work, Doctor of Education in educational leadership and administration, and Doctor of Philosophy in marine biology degrees. Professional undergraduate programs include those offered in the Cameron School of Business, the Watson College of Education, and the School of Nursing. Pre-professional programs are offered in allied health, health-related careers, dentistry, law, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, podiatry and veterinary medicine. The university offers special programs in marine science and environmental studies, 2+2 and 3+2 programs in engineering, as well as a number of opportunities for students to enrich their course of study throughout their academic careers as undergraduates.

University Studies Program

The University Studies Program at UNCW encourages students to begin a life-long journey of engaged inquiry and societal contribution. As a consciously integrated component of each student‘s overall educational experience, the program reflects our institution‘s fundamental commitment to fostering ethical and intellectual development and to promoting the growth of well-informed, creative, literate members of society. The University Studies Program first establishes the basis of an essential liberal education through a multi-faceted exploration of our diverse intellectual heritage. As it extends through each student‘s educational career, the University Studies Program builds upon this foundation through a course of study designed to cultivate the skills and capacities students require to respond to and anticipate the complexities of modern citizenship in an inclusive and creative manner.

Students who meet the requirements of the University Studies program will:

  Goal 1. Acquire foundational knowledge, theories and perspectives in a variety of disciplines (Foundational Knowledge);
  Goal 2. Engage in rigorous, open-minded and imaginative inquiry (Inquiry);
  Goal 3. Locate, evaluate, and effectively use information by applying a variety of academic and technological skills (Information Literacy);
  Goal 4. Integrate multiple methods and perspectives to critically examine complex problems (Critical Thinking);
  Goal 5. Effectively express meaningful ideas in speech and writing (Thoughtful Expression);
  Goal 6. Demonstrate basic proficiency in speaking, listening, writing and reading in a language in addition to English (Foreign Language);
  Goal 7. Describe and examine the importance and implications of human diversity (Diversity);
  Goal 8. Describe and examine the intellectual and ethical responsibilities of active global citizenship (Global Citizenship).

University Studies Requirements:

Any courses added to University Studies during and after a student’s catalogue year are eligible to fulfill University Studies requirements. If a student takes a course before its addition to University Studies, the course will not automatically fulfill University Studies requirements.

The Core Curriculum:

I. Foundations:

a. Composition (3-6 hours):

Students must complete ENG 100  or ENG 101 , and ENG 200  or ENG 201 , or must complete ENG 103 . Placement is determined by an English placement test or by scores on the Advanced Placement or the CLEP test. ENG 103  is a 3-credit course, but successful completion of the course satisfies the university studies composition requirement. Waiver may apply.

d. Foreign Language (3-6 hours):

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Students will demonstrate proficiency by completing any course listed below at 201 level or higher in a language previously studied, or at the 102 level in a language not previously studied (3-6 hours). Waiver may apply

Additional Information for First Year Seminar

  • Students who have completed and passed UNI 101  while in the Isaac Bear Early College program have met this requirement.
  • Students must enroll in UNI 101  during their first semester at UNCW.
  • Students who drop or withdraw from UNI 101  must take the course during the following spring semester.
  • Students who fail UNI 101  must repeat the course during the following spring semester. Because UNI 101  is required for graduation, students must repeat this course, even if they have used all of their course repeats.
  • Students who fail HON 110  must take UNI 101  the following spring semester, to meet the University Studies requirement. This does not serve as a course repeat.
  • Under the course repeat policy, students who earn a C- or below in UNI 101  may retake the course. This must be done in the spring semester after they have taken the course the first time.
  • Students who fail UNI 101  more than twice must meet with the Dean of University College to determine how this requirement will be met.

II. Approaches and Perspectives:

a. Aesthetic, Interpretive, and Literary Perspectives (at least 6 hours):

Note: No more than 3 hours from any one discipline.

e. Living in Our Diverse Nation (at least 3 hours):

f. Living in a Global Society (at least 3 hours):

III. Thematic Transdisciplinary Cluster

Note: This catalogue has been amended per a 2016 UNCW Faculty Senate decision to retroactively remove the Thematic Transdisciplinary Cluster requirement from the University Studies program. Students who wish to complete a cluster may do so, however, completion of a cluster is no longer required. 

A Thematic Transdisciplinary Cluster is a trio of thematically-related courses from University Studies and departmental majors that allows students to investigate a common theme through multiple disciplinary lenses. Through the completion of a cluster, students will develop their critical thinking skills by integrating the methods and findings specific to each disciplinary perspective. Cross-disciplinary study equips students with the skills to seek creative solutions to difficulties they will encounter when dealing with the complex problems that shape our modern world.

At least 9 credit hours and three courses are required. All courses are eligible for multiple counting. Students who complete a minor, a second major,  or a University Studies Advisory Committee-approved concentration in their major are exempt from the cluster requirement. Students will declare the cluster theme formally through the Office of the Registrar and will select courses with at least two different departmental prefixes from one of the following clusters:


A model can be thought of as an abstract, non-unique, description of a natural
system that captures its features essential for addressing the modeling objectives. Nearly
every discipline creates models that mimic the “real world” and enable scholars to make
predictions and develop understanding crucial to specific fields of study. Models often
simplify to clarify, but students do not often fully appreciate that they are using a model
that contains simplifying assumptions. Further, despite encountering models across
disciplines, many students do not at first see the connections between how different
disciplines develop and define them. This cluster of courses emphasizes the common
aspects of models used in a variety of disciplines. By taking these courses, students will
demonstrate an understanding of the common elements, important limitations, and
powerful predictive properties that models provide. And students will compare and
contrast these models as a way to assess their applicability across a range of contexts.


The topic of immigration, or the migration of people from one location to
another, has received a lot of attention in the United States and throughout the world in
the last decade. Most often, we hear about immigration within a political context - new
legislation or policies denying or providing some rights to immigrants. This
interdisciplinary thematic cluster on immigration will provide students the opportunity to
approach this broad topic from many viewpoints and disciplines. Our hope is that after
completing this cluster, students will be prepared to critically analyze the many sides of
the immigration issue, both domestically and internationally, while proposing and
analyzing solutions to the ‘immigration problem,’ taking into account the many views
introduced to them in the cluster courses.

Climate Change and Society

The complex interactions between human societies and
the environment has not only affected every ecosystem on Earth, but also molded the
evolution of human society through time. With an ever increasing pool of evidence
indicating that significant anthropogenic climate change is highly likely in the near
future, it is important that we fully understand the potential impacts of such changes on
natural ecosystems and society. Such complex interactions at the global scale are well
suited as a topic in a thematic transdisciplinary cluster, as the most pressing and salient
questions are interdisciplinary. For example, how have humans affected the world’s
climate and ecosystems? How do anthropogenic impacts on climate change compare to
natural climate variability? What impacts might climate change have on natural
ecosystems and human societies? Are complex human societies capable of adapting to
significant climate change? What is the most effective means of communicating complex
climate change data to the general public? Here we propose a group of courses especially
well-suited to address these complex questions from a variety of perspectives. Exposure
to a combination of the physical and social sciences specifically addressing these
questions is the only meaningful way to grasp the complex past and future interactions
between humans and the climate system.

Global Diversity

This cluster will allow students to investigate global diversity in order
to understand better the importance and implication of cultural and religious diversity.
Students will consider questions such as: What role does global diversity play in
encouraging different perspectives and fostering creativity and innovation? How does one
navigate between international, cultural, and religious differences? Issues and topics
explored in this cluster could include diasporic traditions, multiculturalism, cultural
diversity, and religious pluralism.

Foundations for Systems Thinking

We all realize that the whole is more than the sum of
the parts. Why is this, and how do parts of systems fit together? Understanding of the
mechanisms that generate whole-system level, emergent patterns is the focus of the
Foundations in Systems Thinking Cluster. The world around us is fundamentally hierarchical
– systems within systems, nested like matryoshka dolls – from human societies that build
from individual to family, neighborhood, community, and nation, to the natural world, which
builds from organism to population, community, and ecosystem. All such systems have
internal feedbacks and dynamics (e.g., supply and demand, competition for resources) that
can produce emergent properties difficult to predict by examining a single level of
organization (e.g., economic globalization, altruistic social networks). Groundbreaking
advances in any one discipline have often occurred when investigators apply systems
thinking from a different discipline. By understanding that systems are nested hierarchies and
bringing insights from different disciplines to bear on new problems, students can learn how
to look to lower levels of organization for mechanistic processes and to higher levels for
other kinds of constraints on system dynamics and organization.


The concept of evolution is foundational to many fields of science, including
anthropology, biology, geology, paleontology, and psychology. Evolution is a scientific
concept, which means it addresses questions about the natural world through a process of
testing hypotheses with empirical evidence. But, because science is limited to explaining
natural phenomena using empirical evidence, it cannot provide religious, philosophical, or
ultimate explanations for life. Humanities-based views on evolution will allow students to
consider cultural/societal implications of evolution, address moral and ethical dimensions of
their decisions, and explore questions of ultimate purpose and meaning that are beyond the
scope of science. This cluster will allow students to study the evolution of life from the
perspective of different scientific disciplines, as well as to think about its significance in
relation to human life and culture, including our philosophical, religious, historical, artistic
and literary modes of reflection. An evolution cluster of courses can be expected to stimulate
students’ abilities to recognize multiple viewpoints concerning evolution and to consider how
and to what extent these perspectives complement or compete with one another.

Common Requirements

IV. Building Competencies

a. Writing Intensive

(9 hours - at least three courses designated as writing intensive - at least one at the 300-400 level and at least one in the major. Students must take at least 3 of the 9 required hours in their major at UNCW. If students can demonstrate completion of 3-6 hours in either of these components, a portion of these requirements can be waived.)

b. Information Literacy

(9 hours - First Year Seminar and at least two additional IL - intensive courses - at least one in the major. Students must take at least 3 of the 9 required hours in their major at UNCW. If students can demonstrate completion of 3-6 hours in either of these components, a portion of these requirements can be waived.)


c. Quantitative and Logical Reasoning (3 hours - may be taken as a major requirement):

This requirement offers an option; students can take 1) an additional course beyond the mathematics or statistics course used for the Mathematics and Statistics requirement, or an additional course beyond the science course used for the Scientific Approaches to the Natural World requirement, or a quantitative methods course from any discipline that acquaints a student with how quantitative reasoning is applied; or 2) an introductory logic, symbolic logic or critical thinking course that will improve student ability to reason critically by analyzing, evaluating and extending arguments.

V. Explorations Beyond the Classroom (1 approved experience from the options below - may be integrated into the major or any of the other components of University Studies. These requirements must be fulfilled at UNCW.)

Explorations Beyond the Classroom are high-impact educational experiences that help students integrate ideas and skills learned in the classroom with opportunities and challenges outside the classroom. Explorations experiences fall within these four categories:


These options are generally credit-bearing research or creative projects that involve close work with a faculty mentor; they frequently take the form of a Directed Individual Study (DIS) or Honors project.


These options involve applying content knowledge and skills to real-world problems, often taking the form of work with a professional outside the classroom in a variety of traditional applied settings, including internships, fieldwork, practicum, and student-teaching.

Regional Engagement:

These options include course-embedded service learning projects with community-based organizations (profit or non-profit) that may not currently result in academic credit but represent substantial opportunities for students to gain direct experience with issues they have encountered in coursework.

Exploration Away:

These options include all education exchange and abroad options approved by the National Student Exchange Program or the Office of International Programs.

The completion of one approved experience, credit or non-credit bearing, is required here.

 Approved Experiences:

VI. Capstone Courses (1-4 hours - may be taken as a major requirement. These requirements must be fulfilled at UNCW.)

Capstone courses are a means to help students attain a holistic, integrated recognition of the key facets of their education over the course of their university experience, particularly within the major.  Such courses should also provide faculty with the means to assess how well students have progressed in relation to the UNCW Learning Goals and a subject area’s core learning outcomes.

Waiver of Requirements:


Students who have not qualified for advanced placement but who because of special circumstances may have writing competencies equal or superior to those required in ENG 101 , ENG 103 , or ENG 201  may present evidence of these writing competencies to the chairperson of the Department of English and request a waiver. At the chair’s discretion either or both requirements may be waived. This waiver does not grant academic credit.

First-Year Seminar

Students who meet any of the following conditions will be waived from the UNI 101  requirement:

  • Transfer students.
  • Re-enrolling who have returned and have 27 hours of academic credit (UNCW and transfer credit).
  • A student’s Dean will determine if an academically ineligible re-instated student needs to meet this requirement.

Foreign Languages:

Students who prefer to waive the language requirement rather than take a 300-level class and receive supplemental credit must demonstrate written-language proficiency. Students should make an appointment for the waiver examination and subsequent assessment with the chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. This waiver does not grant academic credit.


Students who have not qualified for advanced placement but who may have competencies equal or superior to those required for successful completion of MAT 151  or MAT 161  may, at the discretion of the chairperson of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, take a waiver examination for either of these courses. An acceptable score on this exam waives the requirement that one of the introductory mathematics courses be taken. This waiver does not grant academic credit.

Physical Education:

Students who meet either of the following conditions will be waived from the PED 101 requirement: 1.) Current military personnel or veterans who have served two or more years active duty; and 2.) students who are 55 year of age or greater.

Students with Existing Degrees:

For students who already possess an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, including UNCW, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (or her/his designee), after consultation with the chair(s) of the academic unit(s) through which the student is pursuing the second degree, will determine the extent to which the previous course work meets the spirit of UNCW‘s current university studies requirements and will determine any remaining requirements to be completed. Students who are transferring to UNCW for a second baccalaureate after having earned a baccalaureate at any UNC institution with a general education requirement will be given a University Studies waiver.

Required Physical Education:

As part of PED 101 , you will be required to participate in physical activity. It is strongly suggested that you visit a medical professional prior to the beginning of the course and obtain a physical. If you have not previously done so within 14 months of the start of class, and based upon information you will provide your instructor (see below), you may be required to obtain a physical prior to being allowed to participate in class. Since participation is a mandatory part of the course, your failure to obtain a physical after being instructed to do so could result in being dropped from PED 101 . Any restrictions placed on your participation following a physical, however, will not adversely affect your grade.

Pre-Activity Screening - All PED 101  students must complete the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) the first week of classes, and prior to any physical activity participation. Students answering “yes” to one or more of the seven questions are required to have a physical exam on file with the Student Health Center within the previous 14 months, and no later than within two weeks of the PAR-Q completion.

The student and physician need to complete pages 4-6 of the Physical Examination/Medical History Form and be sure it is on file with the Student Health Center.

Any student who answers “yes” to one or more of the PAR-Q questions, and does not have a physical exam on file with the Student Health Center within the previous 14 months (and no later than the 2-week post-PAR-Q deadline) will be dropped from PED 101 .

Any student failing to follow these procedures will meet with his/her PED 101  instructor to determine the most reasonable course of action, with consultation from the PED 101  Coordinator and the SHAHS Director.

If any changes in your health status occur throughout the semester, since the PAR-Q completion or physical exam, inform your instructor immediately.

Transfer Students and University Studies

North Carolina Community College transfer students entering UNCW fall 2012, spring 2013 and summer 2013 are held to University Studies Phase I and those who have earned an AA or AS degree will receive a waiver of all general education requirements with the exception of PE and foreign language. Further, NCCC transfer students will not have to fulfill the Living in a Global Society and Living in a Diverse Nation requirements. All other transfer students will be held to University Studies Phases I and II in their entirety, with the exception of First Year Seminar.  For more information on University Studies Phases I and II refer to the University Studies webpage.