Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Core Curriculum?

    At AUC, every student pursues two kinds of programs that integrate seamlessly to produce one transforming educational experience. All students enrol in a major - a specialized program of studies, in which they complete the courses of their chosen discipline or professional field. In addition, every student completes an unspecialized program that brings together students from all majors - the Core Curriculum.  The Core Curriculum is the centerpiece of our liberal arts education and the core of your learning experience at AUC. You engage in an interdisciplinary, diverse journey of learning that does not restrict your learning to knowledge or skills in only one particular field.

    The Core Curriculum courses have the goal of developing the liberal arts skills of critical thinking, critical reading and written communication, collaboration, information literacy, digital literacy, and civic engagement, as well as an understanding of issues that affect humanity that are relevant to all disciplines.  Core Curriculum courses assist you in understanding your place in the world — socially, culturally, intellectually, and historically.

    How do my Core Curriculum courses help me?

    The Core Curriculum helps you develop a diverse set of skills needed to thrive in today’s complex, globalized world. Over the course of four years, the Core allows you to develop personal, professional, local, and global skills, to become a well-rounded individual equipped for lifelong learning. By the end of the program, you should be able to communicate influentially and effectively, work in diverse environments, think critically and creatively to solve complex problems, understand issues from multiple perspectives, collaborate with diverse people, ethically engage the world around you, distinguish truth from misinformation, and overall possess the personal, civic and career readiness needed for you to participate, impact, and lead in an ever-changing world.

    Furthermore, within your time at AUC, the Core Curriculum is broken into three levels: Freshman Program, Secondary Level, and Capstone. Each level is designed to help you have the academic and life skills needed to succeed in your time at AUC. 

    What is a Liberal Arts Education?

    A liberal arts education has the goal of providing students with intellectual skills and experiences that are essential to all disciplines, professions, and effective participation in our world. A liberal arts education engages our students in a timely examination of enduring human issues, complex problems, and current topics in the humanities and social and natural sciences. It develops critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and civic skills - that prepare students for a productive life.

    In a liberal arts education, there is a strong focus on developing important life skills and focusing on the transferability of these skills to be able to address real-world issues. The emphasis is not on the mere reproduction of facts but on critical thinking and creative problem-solving. Graduates of liberal arts universities are flexible, imaginative, broad-minded thinkers, capable of acquiring new skills, analyzing complex information and responding to unexpected demands, working collaboratively, and serving as enlightened leaders.

    Will the grade in my Core Curriculum courses affect my GPA?

    Yes. All courses that earn credit hours affect your overall GPA.

    Will the Core Curriculum affect my chances of getting into a particular major?

    Each major determines its own standards for accepting students into their major. In general, most majors look very favorably upon students performing well in the Core Curriculum courses. Also, the skills gained in your Core Curriculum courses can significantly help you succeed in your other courses.

    I’m concerned that taking a Core Curriculum course will put me at a disadvantage (i.e. in GPA or in doing pre-requisites for my major) in comparison to other students at AUC.

    Many students have this misperception. However, you are not at a disadvantage, because all students, even those intending the same major as you, are required to complete their Core courses, with many of those courses required to be completed within certain timeframes.

    The reason this misconception sometimes exists is that Core Curriculum courses sometimes have the reputation of being difficult, and students generally have to work quite diligently to earn a good grade. 

    Generally, students who really focus well in their Core Curriculum courses, develop skills that help them in their other courses, so you are encouraged to see your Core courses as advantageous towards your goals.

    How do Core Curriculum courses differ from major, minor, and elective courses?

    All students at AUC pursue two kinds of academic programs. One program focuses on a specialized field of study (i.e. your major). The other program focuses on a generalized education important in life and across professions (i.e. the Core Curriculum). Core courses are courses that you take in order to complete your generalized breadth of education. Most majors require 40-credit hours of core curriculum courses.

    By contrast, your major courses are any course required by your major in order to earn a degree from that major.  Major courses are usually focused on or closely related to the specific discipline of the major. Major courses will make up the majority of your courses at AUC. Some students pursue two majors.

    All courses that you take outside of your major courses or core courses are electives. Some majors only allow you to take very few electives, where other majors allow you to take many more elective courses. Electives give you the freedom to take courses in any area you want.  You can use electives to study new topics, diverse topics, or pursue a minor or two. In other words, there can be an overlap between elective and minor courses.

    A minor allows you to focus some of your electives on a concentrated area outside of your major. A minor goes on your academic transcript. It takes far fewer courses to earn a minor, than it does a major.

    Importantly, a course can be listed as a requirement in both a major and a minor. If you are pursuing the major, then it counts as a major course. If you are pursuing a minor, it counts as a minor course. You cannot count a single course towards both a major and a minor.  However, you can double-count a course for both a minor and a Core course at the secondary and capstone levels.

    Sometimes students choose to switch majors. In such a situation, a student might use some of the credits from the former major and use them to try to instead earn a minor. Similarly, a student might be pursuing two majors, but then decide to reduce one of the majors to only a minor. These are possible because many major courses are also included as minor courses. 

    When is a course considered a core course and when is it considered a major course?

    It depends. If it is a course required by your major, then it counts as a major course (unless you are double majoring, but more about that in the next question). If the course is not required for your major, and it is a course that is listed as a core course, then you can take it for Core credit (if you still need that core credit).

    This means that two students may be taking the same course but one of them for the core and the other for the major.

    Can I double or triple count courses for a major? For a minor?

    Triple count? No. Triple counting is never allowed.

    Double counting? It depends. You cannot double count a course as both a major course and a core course unless you are double majoring. If you are double majoring it gets a bit technical. You have to list one major as your “first” major and the other as your “second” major. They both count as full degrees upon graduation, but in the computer system one is tracked as the “first” degree and the other as the “second.” You are allowed to double count core and major courses for your second degree, but not your first degree. So, it is wise to sit with a counselor and see which major has the most possible overlap with core courses and to list that as your second major.

    When it comes to a minor, you are allowed to double count courses between a minor and the core, but only for secondary level and capstone level courses, not freshman-level courses (which are often 1000 and 2000 level courses). Many students find this advantageous and they strategically take certain core courses that also help them earn a minor.

    Can I take a Core Curriculum course as an elective? Or can I take two (or more) Core Curriculum courses from a single category?

    For Freshman Level Core Curriculum courses, you cannot. However, at the secondary level and capstone levels, if the course is under a Core category that you have already fulfilled then the additional course can be counted as an elective. While many students do this, we nevertheless encourage you to first meet with your advisor to ensure that you have enough available electives to be able to do it.

    It is important to note that if you take a second course from a single Core category, that the second course cannot be used to fill a shortage in another category. For example, if you take two “Arab World” courses, the second Arab World course cannot be used to instead fill a “Global Studies” course. The second course would instead count as an elective, and you would still need to take a Global Studies course.

  • How do I know what is legitimate borrowing from a source and what is plagiarism?

    Academic integrity and honesty are essential elements of the AUC community. Academic integrity is taught through many venues and courses at AUC, including the First-Year Program (FYP), the Department of English Language Instruction, all RHET courses, and more.  All of these things you have learned apply throughout all of your Core Curriculum courses. If you are still uncertain as to what constitutes an academic integrity violation, then you are encouraged to meet with your instructor, visit the writing center, and/or complete this following online course.

    How will the instructor know if I have copied my paper from the Internet, had the paper written by a professional writing service, or tried some other tricky thing?

    Faculty members get pretty good at catching these things. It is usually quite easy to tell when an assignment is not a student’s original work. Secondly, most instructors teaching in the Core Curriculum require that you submit an electronic copy of your work to a special anti-plagiarism program ( which tracks down any plagiarized text taken from an Internet source or professional writing service.

    What are the consequences of violations of academic integrity?

    Any violation of academic integrity (plagiarism, cheating, data fabrication, submitting an assignment or part of an assignment written for another course, impersonation, etc.) may result in a grade of “F” for the course in which the offense was committed, a case being filed against the student with the Academic Integrity Committee, or even more severe consequences. Ideally, you should avoid committing academic integrity violations because of wanting to maintain your own personal integrity, but a strong secondary reason is to avoid the many potential academic consequences.

    What happens if an instructor suspects that I have violated academic integrity?

    Faculty members have the responsibility to carefully watch for academic integrity issues that occur within their course. If a faculty member determines that a violation has occurred, then they have the full authority to deal with the violation to the degree they think is appropriate, up to the point of assigning an F for the course.

    Beyond any in-course consequences, the faculty member additionally reports the case to the Academic Integrity Committee.  This becomes a part of your internal academic records. If the committee determines that the case is more than just an unintentional, minor violation, then they will also have a case hearing where they will evaluate the case and may give sanctions in addition to what the faculty member gave. For the most severe or repetitive cases, this can include up to expulsion from the university. 

    What is is an excellent resource that allows students and instructors to have access to a number of electronic tools that can help improve academic writing.  It can allow for peer editing of papers, instructor feedback, grading, and more. It also allows students and instructors to check if a student’s paper has similarities to other student’s papers, internet sources, books, journals, and more. A high similarity score can indicate important problems in writing, such as plagiarism and excessive use of sources or quoting. Your instructor will tell you more about how to use in class.

    Students agree that by taking an AUC course that the faculty member teaching the course may require papers to be submitted on for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the service is subject to the Usage Policy posted on the site.

    What are the procedures for using

    1. You need to open a account.
    2. Instructors will provide a class ID and password so that you can connect the class to your account.
    3. Instructors will require you to submit major assignments (including drafts) to
    4. reviews the submitted assignment and produces an Originality Report.
      1. You should carefully check the report. reports can be a helpful tool for you to see if there is any plagiarism (using sources without citing) or excessive use of sources (too many quotes and paraphrasing). If you find a problem, you should immediately communicate with your instructor that you have noticed the problem.
      2. Instructors will also carefully check the Turnitin originality report to confirm that no problems exist. If problems are detected, the instructor will communicate with you.
  • Do I have to attend every class session for my Core Curriculum courses? 

    According to AUC policy, a student should regularly attend classes. Both tardies and absences can hurt your academic performance in a class.

    If you miss (through tardies and absences) more than a three-week equivalent of class sessions (which for most courses equals six class sessions) there can be serious consequences, including failing the course. 

    These six absences are meant for unavoidable absence due to illness, extracurricular activities, or sports commitments. There are no excused absences or tardies in addition to this amount allowed.

    Who is responsible for keeping attendance?

    According to AUC, a student is ultimately responsible for knowing how many classes they have missed. Instructors in the Core Curriculum may notify a student when the absence limit is approaching or has been reached, but it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to make sure they do not exceed six absences.

    What happens if I miss a class?

    If you are absent, you are still responsible for any missed work or deadlines.

    When an absence is known in advance, you should proactively communicate this to your instructors as soon as you know.  In rare cases, where advance notice is not possible, then you should attempt to make prompt communication with your instructor as soon as possible. If you are absent for a documented extracurricular activity or face some type of emergency, even though it still counts as an absence, you should still present supporting documentation to the instructor as soon as possible.

    In all cases, it is your responsibility to submit your work on time, unless other arrangements with the instructor have been made.

    What happens if I exceed six absences?

    • If you exceed six absences before the course drop deadline, then you are eligible for automatically failing the course.
    • If you exceed six absences after the course drop deadline, then you may immediately fail the course, or in some circumstances be allowed to continue at the cost of one full letter grade for each absence beyond the sixth (or half a grade – 5% for half an absence). This means if your final grade would have been a B, it will drop to a C on the seventh absence, a D on the eighth, and an F on the ninth.
    • If you exceed six absences due to documented health or family emergencies, or some extracurricular activities, you may petition to drop your courses or withdraw from the university after the formal course drop deadline. The Dean of the Academy of Liberal Arts and the Registrar will determine the merit of late requests to drop courses or withdraw.

    Is attendance counted as part of the grade?

    No, attendance itself is not a learning outcome, so attendance itself should not be a part of your course grade in any course at AUC. However, missing class means missing instruction, discussion, and sometimes even missing graded classroom assignments or activities, and these things can and often have a negative impact on grades.

    When should I start attending class? When does attendance officially start?

    You should start attending class on the first day of classes. However, attendance is not counted during the drop/add period. The first class that will be counted towards attendance is the first class after the end of this period.  However, during the drop/add period, course material is usually covered and graded assignments may be given. Again, you should attend class starting the first day of classes.

    What is the policy on tardiness or missing part, but not all, of a class session?

    Generally, in most Core Curriculum courses, if a student misses a combined 10 or more minutes of a class session then it is marked as half an absence. If a student misses a combined 30 or more minutes of a class session, then it is marked as a full absence. Nevertheless, even in such a situation, you should still try to attend the end of class to be able to get at least part of the class content.

    What happens if I have a medical excuse or a family crisis?  How does that affect attendance?

    Unfortunately, sometimes students face unexpected illnesses or family crises.  This is one of the reasons students are allowed to miss up to six class sessions. Thus, absences incurred as a result of such crises count as absences; they do not allow a student to have beyond the standard six absences.

    However, for any medical situation or family crisis, documentation should still be presented to the instructor. The instructor has the discretion to review the documentation and make accommodations on assignments and deadlines as he/she deems appropriate.

    What happens if I have an extracurricular activity? How does that affect attendance?

    You are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities, such as Model United Nations, artistic performances, or sports competitions. However, it is important to note that absences because of these activities still count as absences. It is your responsibility to arrange for dealing with missed classes in advance of the classes to be missed. This means that unless prior arrangements are made with the instructor, all assignments remain due as per normal deadlines. If you present an excuse signed by a university officer designated by the Vice President for Student Affairs, and if you inform the instructor in advance of an absence, then the instructor is required to make arrangements for missed work. 

  • Can I drop a Core Curriculum Course?

    It depends.  For most courses, you can if dropped before the drop deadline.  However, there are numerous situations when you cannot drop a course even before the drop deadline, such as:

    • If you have committed an academic integrity violation during the course.
    • If you have had a registration hold placed on you for formerly postponing the course.
    • If it is your last allowed chance to pass the course. 
    • If it puts you at risk of not completing the course in a timely manner.
    • If you have completed an agreement with the Core Curriculum in which the terms stated you cannot drop the course.

    To see if you are eligible for dropping the course, you should first talk with your instructor and also check with

    I’m thinking about dropping my course. What should I do?

    • First, talk with your instructor and see if this is the best option.
    • If it seems like it is the best option, you should email to verify if you are eligible for a drop.
    • If you are, then fill out the drop form. It is important to note that filling out this form does not mean you have dropped the course, it means you are seeking permission to drop the course. You should continue attending classes until you hear that your drop is approved. You must complete and submit the drop form prior to the drop deadline, even though the approval might occur after the deadline.
    • If you fill out the form and then change your mind, contact your instructor and the Registrar’s Office ASAP asking that the drop request be rejected.
    • If the drop request is approved, the course remains on your transcript and is assigned a grade of “W.” For RHET 1010, CORE 1010, and RHET 1020, a “W” counts as one of your allowed attempts to complete the course.

    What happens if I miss the drop deadline? 

    For almost all students, it is simply too late to drop, hence the name deadline. However, if you have an extraordinary case, then you need to speak to the chair of the department which offers the course, who will review the case, and possibly refer it to the relevant dean’s office.  The dean may then recommend to the Registrar’s Office that a late drop be allowed under an exceptional circumstance. (Avoiding a fail is never considered an exceptional circumstance).

    Can I be dropped from a Core Curriculum Course? 

    Failure to pay fees in a timely manner can result in the Registrar dropping you from your courses.

    What happens if I fail a Core Curriculum Course? 

    If it is a required course, then you will need to repeat it, and for some courses, particularly those within the Freshman Program of the Core Curriculum, you will need to immediately repeat it the following semester. 

    For non-required courses, then you are not required to repeat the course. 

    If you want to or need to attempt the course again, then you should be aware of Loading.... This policy can allow for the improving of your GPA. 

    If I am specifically taking RHET 1010 and CORE 1010, can I drop one and still continue in the other?

    No. For tandem RHET 1010 and CORE 1010 sections, if you are approved for dropping one course, you will automatically be dropped from the other.

    If I am specifically taking RHET 1010 and CORE 1010, what happens if I fail one but not the other? 

    This is possible. Each course is given its own grade. If you fail one course, the following semester you will need to register in one of the stand-alone (non-tandem) sections of the course you need to repeat. Of course, if you fail both courses, you will need to repeat both of them in the following semester.

    If you fail only CORE 1010 (and pass RHET 1010), then ideally to stay on track with AUC’s Timely Completion Policies, you should take RHET 1020 even if repeating CORE 1010. This is generally the most beneficial option for students. However, there are some situations where the RHET Department may approve postponing RHET 1020 for one semester while you repeat CORE 1010. You can meet with the department chair or associate chair for further details.

  • Can I transfer in courses to AUC that can earn transfer credit for a Core Curriculum course?

    This is common practice at AUC and can occur under a number of circumstances, such as:

    • Some high school courses (such as some IB courses or AP courses) may earn you transfer credit. 
    • If you have taken courses at another university, these may be eligible for transfer credit.
    • If you do a study abroad, which is highly encouraged for AUC students, one or more of these courses may be eligible for transfer.  Before registering for a course in a study abroad program though, you are highly encouraged to see if it is first eligible for transfer credit.

    For further questions, you should contact

    Can I be exempted from a Core Curriculum course?

    Usually no.  For a small percentage of students, exemption from some courses may apply, in the following cases:

    • Certain diplomas (like the International Baccalaureate) or exams (like the Advanced Placement exams) may automatically exempt a student from RHET 1010 and CORE 1010. Details may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.
    • Students who transfer from other universities may be eligible for exemption (or transfer of credit). These requests must also be processed through the Registrar's Office.

    If I am exempted from a course do I still get credit for it?

    When you are exempted from a course, you generally do not get credit for the course. This means that you will have to make up these credits needed for graduation by taking other courses. 

  • How will I be graded in a Core Curriculum course?

    All courses will use a letter grade system. In most Core Curriculum courses, the final course percentage grade corresponds to the following letter grades.

    Grading Scale

            Percentage            Letter Grade                 Performance Level

             94-100                             A                               Exceptional

             90-93                               A-

             87-89                               B+                             Very Good

             83-86                               B

             80-82                               B-                              Good

             77-79                               C+

             73-76                               C                                Passing

             70-72                               C-

             67-69                               D+                             Conditionally Passing

             60-66                               D

             0-59                                 F                                Failing


    • Some core courses might include a D- grade.

    Who assesses my work in a Core Curriculum course?

    The faculty member teaching the course is the one who assesses your work. AUC faculty are trained to offer consistent, fair, and valid grading across sections. 

    How will I know at what level (or grade) I am performing during the semester?

    In Core Curriculum courses, you should receive feedback on your performance throughout the semester. If at any point in the course, you do not feel that you know your performance level or have questions about how to improve your performance level, you should set up a meeting with your instructor. It is particularly important that you have an understanding of your performance level prior to the course drop deadline so that you can make any necessary decisions or adjustments.

    I’m having trouble completing all the work by the end of the semester. What options do I have?

    There is a final deadline by which faculty must submit their final grades, so options are usually limited. However, you should still speak with your instructor as soon as possible to explain the situation and see what options might exist.

    In some Core Curriculum courses, for some limited circumstances, an “I” (Incomplete) grade may be possible, but this is only for exceptional situations (medical emergencies, family deaths, etc). In most cases though, the work for the course must be submitted in a timely manner and as per your instructor's guidelines.

    Can I appeal to a specific assignment grade?

    If you have a concern about a grade on a specific assignment, you should carefully review the assignment’s prompt, guidelines, any rubric that might have been given for the assignment, as well as any feedback the instructor gave on the graded assignment. After having carefully reviewed all of this, if you still feel your work should have earned a higher grade, then request a time to meet with your instructor. You should go to the meeting prepared to explain why according to the assignment details and rubric that you feel that your work deserves a higher grade. The ultimate decision for the grade though lies with the instructor.  If you still dispute the faculty member’s explanation and believe your position has strong merit, then you can file a grievance.

    Can I appeal the final course grade given to me by the faculty?

    If you have a concern about your final grade in the course, you should attempt to meet with the instructor as soon as possible, and specifically before final grades have been submitted to the Registrar’s office. When you meet with your instructor, you should have evidence-based reasoning using assignment prompts, rubrics, etc. to support why you believe your work deserves a higher grade.

    After the final grade has been submitted by the instructor to the registrar, the instructor will have some availability to explain, but not negotiate the grade. Further details about the instructor’s availability will be in your syllabus. If you have questions or concerns about your final grade, you should be prepared to ask specific questions, specifically referencing assignment prompts, rubrics, syllabus policies, etc. Pay close attention to your instructor’s explanation, because while a student might not like their final grade, nevertheless, they can see through their instructor’s explanation that the grading was done fairly and as per grading guidelines.  

    However, in the rare cases where a student still feels that their grade is unjustified according to the course syllabus, assignment prompts and given rubrics, then the student can go through an official academic grievance process. This process requires very specific steps and should be followed carefully.


  • The course or section that I want is full, can I still get in the course?

    Generally, no. Once a course is full, it is full.  Only in special circumstances can a course be overloaded.  If you feel you have truly special or urgent circumstances that require you to take that specific course/section during this specific semester, then you can contact the department and see if you can be overloaded with the course.  However, again, overloads are only used in special circumstances.

    For multi-section courses, you should see if there are any other sections of the course that have an opening.

    If you are taking a course to complete a category, such as “Arab World,” “Global Studies,” or “Pathways 2,” then you should look to see if any other courses from that category are available.

    Another option is to contact the department and see if a waiting list exists for the course. Waiting lists can sometimes help to get into the course.

    Another common option is to just simply keep checking in on Banner to see if anyone drops the course and to then quickly register in the course.

    If none of these options work, then you should see if that course can be taken in a future semester. If you need to complete the course this semester as part of the Timely Completion policy, then you should contact to see what options exist. 

    I am registered in a course, but want to switch to a new section, what can I do?

    If there are openings in the course you want, then you can switch courses on Banner Self-Service. If you need help, contact your advisor, or if a core course, you can also contact the Core Curriculum office at

    Do I have the right to choose the faculty member or the day and time of my course?

    Newly admitted students can work with their academic advisor to build their schedule while continuing students have the opportunity to register online through the Banner Self-Service registration system during the registration period. In both cases, as long as there are spaces available in a section, students have the right to choose. However, after a section is full or has reached the registration cap, you can no longer enroll in that section. An effort is made to accommodate student schedules, but occasionally a less than perfect schedule may have to be accepted, particularly for any students waiting until drop/add week to register.

    If the department changes the faculty member assigned to my course, do I have the right to switch also?

    Departments try to avoid changing instructors for courses once their names are posted, but sometimes due to unplanned circumstances, it is necessary to switch faculty members.  If you are required to take the course during that semester, and there are no other openings in other sections, then you may be required to complete the existing course. 

    However, for many Core Curriculum courses, you have the right to drop the course and try to find an alternative course if you desire.

    Why aren’t the caps for all Core Curriculum courses the same for all sections?

    Generally, you will find that similar courses have similar caps. However, there are a variety of factors that can affect the cap of courses, such as the capacity of the room, the number of sections offered at that time slot, the number of newly admitted students remaining who haven’t had a chance to register yet, whether it is a repeater section of the course, and more.

    I know that LALT 1020 is required, but I’ve heard different information about when I need to take it.  What is the right information?

    LALT 1020 is an important course that helps you develop important research, academic, and professional skills.  This course is part of the Freshman Program of the Core Curriculum, and so must be completed before or during the semester in which you reach your 45 earned credit hour. If you are an SSE major, then you have until the semester in which you reach your 60th credit hour.  You can take LALT 1020 concurrently with ENGL 0210, RHET 1010, or RHET 1020.

  • Research is highly valued at AUC and you are encouraged to participate in research during your undergraduate studies.

    How do my research skills develop across the curriculum?

    The research skills taught in the Freshman Program of the Core Curriculum are designed to transfer to more advanced courses.

    For example, in RHET 1010, you will learn strategies for academic analytic and persuasive writing and expression, as well as begin to learn appropriate documentation and citation styles. In RHET 1020 you will begin learning the basic steps of research, constructing innovative research questions, identifying credible scholarly sources, expanding your ability to document and cite appropriate to the discipline, building relevant bibliographies and writing annotations, developing critical literature reviews, designing coherent outlines, purpose and thesis statements, and constructing sound arguments supported by appropriate data and detail. You will add new skills and expand existing ones during your secondary and capstone level courses.

    What is the difference between primary research and secondary research?

    Primary research involves first-hand data collection to answer your research question. It is original research where the raw data has not been interpreted by someone else. You might carry out an experiment which you have designed, conduct a survey, run an interview or a focus group, analyse archival documents, observe human or animal behavior or conduct a case study.

    Secondary research analyzes and interprets experiments or other hands-on studies conducted by other researchers. It looks at their publications and tries to make sense of their findings. It identifies patterns and controversies in the published research and draws conclusions about a particular area of knowledge. Often it is known as “desk-research” because it depends on other people’s primary studies. 

    When can I start doing primary research at AUC?

    For most students, it is during RHET 1020 that you have your first option to conduct primary research.  Secondary research is required for all students at that level, but in your final paper, you may opt to do a survey or an interview, if the data help answer your research question. Because you will be collecting data from human subjects, you have to consult with your instructor, and you have to know the ethics of human subject research.

    What are the ethics of human subject research?

    Human subject research is any research study, such as surveys, interviews, experiments that test human behavior or analyses human specimens, etc. If you are conducting surveys or interviews for your research, you must understand and abide by the ethics of human subject research. These include:

    • acquiring the subjects’ informed consent,
    • maintaining confidentiality and anonymity,
    • minimizing risk,
    • and protecting vulnerable groups.  

    Read this document for more details.

    When I conduct a survey or an interview, can I collect data from subjects off-campus?

    You are highly encouraged to collect data (whether in face-to-face mode, or online) from people on campus. For security, legal and ethical reasons, data collection off-campus is limited.  Advanced students who wish to collect data off-campus, MUST work with their course instructor to acquire permission from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) PRIOR to conducting their research. CAPMAS is the Egyptian government agency that approves survey and interview work done within Egypt. No research off-campus, whether face-to-face or online, is allowed without acquiring permission from CAPMAS and informing the AUC security office. This is for your own legal protection.  Neither CAPMAS nor AUC guarantee a researcher’s safety off-campus. This is why off-campus research, especially for freshman students, is limited.

    Do I need any approvals if I collect data from subjects on-campus?

    You may collect data face-to-face or online if your subjects are on-campus AUC participants without CAPMAS approval.

    However, if you intend to publish or present your research at a conference event, then you need to work with your instructor to acquire permission from the Institutional Review Board, PRIOR to conducting your research.

    What is the Institutional Review Board (IRB)?

    The IRB is an AUC Committee responsible for reviewing your research plan to ensure that you abide by the ethics of human and animal subject research.  For research conducted only for a class assignment, no IRB approval is required. However, if you intend to present the research findings or publish your results, then your course instructor needs to apply for IRB approval PRIOR to you conducting the research. Find out about application procedures here.

    What presentation or publication opportunities do I have?

    Advanced students who have completed original primary research can apply to present at the AUC research event for undergraduates - EURECA (Excellence in Undergraduate Research, Entrepreneurship, and Creative Achievement).  EURECA is part of the annual provost-sponsored AUC Research Week, where faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students present their research work.  You may also apply for a conference abroad, and if accepted, you may apply for a Travel Grant to help you with expenses.

    Advanced students may also apply to publish their research or creative writing in the Undergraduate Research Journal - URJe.

    Freshman students may construct research posters and apply to contribute to FYRE - the First-Year Research Experience exhibition.  This is a display of research posters, mounted on the walls of the Rhetoric and Composition Department.  

    To find out more about these opportunities, go to the Undergraduate Research website.

    Whether you are a Freshman or a Senior, you also have the opportunity to upload your best work to DAR - the Digital Archives Repository.  This is an online database on the library websites that collects and makes available all kinds of student and faculty work.

    What resources do I have available to help with my research?

    Faculty members at AUC are an excellent resource and will often be glad to help guide you along or even partner with you in your research.  Useful online research information is available on the following websites:

    AUC Libraries

    Mohamed Taymour Writing and Communications Center

  • I have a documented special need. What should I do?

    First, know that all faculty in the Core Curriculum are committed to helping students with special needs. If you have a documented disability and want to request special accommodations at any time during the semester, ask your instructor or contact Student Disability Services.  AUC complies with the American Disabilities Act of 1990 and section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and offers numerous facilities available to help you with your educational endeavors.  

    I feel that I will need some additional support. What should I do?

    You should meet with your instructor as early in the semester as possible. Explain your situation to your instructor and ask what additional assistance might be available. AUC offers many services to help students strengthen and improve in both academic and non-academic areas, and some of these may be helpful. Additionally, the Mohamed Taymour Writing and Communication Center can offer additional support in writing.

    What does the Mohamed Taymour Writing and Communication Center offer? How can the Writing and Communication Center help me?

    The Mohamed Taymour Writing and Communication Center offers individual 30-minute tutoring sessions to help you improve your communication abilities through writing, presenting and critical thinking. You can tell the writing center what you need help with or the writing center can look at the progress of your work and then recommend focusing the time on brainstorming, outlining and planning, researching, drafting and revising, grammar and mechanics, style and documentation, responding to instructor comments and developing ideas for your capstone project.  You can see available times and sign up for an appointment here. Walk-ins are allowed, but only when the campus and the Center are open, and if there is an open tutor available.

    My instructor uses a lot of online tools and systems to coordinate the class, and I think I need some extra help, what should I do?

    As is common in many courses at AUC, many faculty members in the Core Curriculum also actively use online tools to help coordinate and manage the class and assignments (such as, Google Drive, Google Sites, Blackboard, Moodle, or more).  It is highly advantageous for students to become familiar with using such online resources.  If you feel that you may need extra help in this area, approach your instructor early in the semester.  Other resources available to you are to visit UACT at AUC which is able to help students with many computer-related issues.  Also, most of these online tools have many useful “help videos” on their websites or on  

    I have a concern about the instructor, the course, or the way the class is being run, what should I do?

    In almost all cases, you should first speak directly with your instructor. If for some reason you feel you cannot speak directly with the instructor, then you should contact the relevant department and ask for an appointment with the chair or the associate chair of the department. But again, in almost all cases, you should start by meeting with the instructor. When you meet with the instructor you should be prepared to express your concerns in a professional and respectable manner. In most cases, this will resolve the concern.

    If for some reason, this does not resolve the concern, then you should contact the relevant department and ask for an appointment with the chair or the associate chair of the department. You should come to that meeting with any evidence or proof that would support your concern. If the process of meeting with the chair or associate chair does not resolve your concern, then you can go through an official academic grievance process. This process requires very specific steps and should be followed carefully.

  • What is the Timely Completion Policy? How does that affect me taking my Core Curriculum courses?

    AUC has determined that there are certain foundational topics and skills that are important for all students to acquire early in their time at AUC.  There is a Timely Completion Policy that details how and when the essential courses must be completed. The courses affected by this policy are:

    The policy generally states that all of these courses need to be completed by the semester in which you complete 45 earned credit hours unless you are an SSE major, in which you have until the semester in which you completed your 60th earned credit hour.

    The policy is more detailed in that for specific courses. For example, you must take RHET 1010 and CORE 1010 during your first fully enrolled semester, you must take RHET 1020 the semester after passing RHET 1010, you must take LALT no later than the semester you take RHET 1020, and most SSE majors are exempted from their Pathways One course. 

    The complete policy can be found in the Loading.... While each student is responsible for following the policy, your academic advisor and DegreeWorks can also help guide you through completing your courses as per the policy.  If you do have specific questions, contact

    What happens if I violate AUC’s Timely Completion Policy?

    You will want to avoid this!  Students who violate the Timely Completion Policy, on average, are much more likely to struggle in their studies at AUC. The Timely Completion Policy was put in place to help students have the best chance of succeeding at AUC.  Thus, you should work diligently to succeed in these courses and complete them as per the policy.

    Additionally, for students that fail to complete these courses in a timely manner, registration holds can be placed on their accounts, and with a few courses, failure to pass them within a certain number of attempts can even result in being expelled from the university.   Thus, you should work closely with your advisor to make sure that you do not accidentally violate the Timely Completion Policy.

    Do I have to take Arabic Language Courses?

    As part of AUC’s degrees being accredited in Egypt, all degree-seeking students are required to take Arabic courses, unless they qualify for certain exemptions. Exemptions can come from the schooling certificates or from taking AUC’s exemption exam. Determination of exemption status must be completed within your first year at AUC. Those who are required to take Arabic courses will be required to take one or two courses, depending on placement level. Arabic courses must be completed by 90 credit hours (and if two courses are required, the first one must be completed by 60 credit hours).  You can find in the AUC catalog, complete details about all Arabic Language course policies.