Core Curriculum Learning Outcomes

The core curriculum of The American University in Cairo (AUC) ensures that all students, regardless of major, receive a strong grounding in the traditional liberal arts and sciences. It aims to develop students basic academic and intellectual skills while enhancing their reading and writing skills, as well as their ability to reason and construct logical arguments. It strives to help students understand themselves, their culture, society and place in the world. It introduces them to the ways in which the sciences and humanities seek to comprehend and shape the world around us. The core curriculum lies at the heart of AUC’s commitment to the liberal arts and is, first and foremost, an education in the fundamentals of learning itself.

AUC’s three-tiered core curriculum has common learning outcomes that increase in depth, scope and complexity as students progress from the freshman to the capstone level. Faculty teaching a core curriculum course are asked to ensure that their course addresses some of these learning outcomes, as appropriate to the context and level. Core learning outcomes may be re-articulated by each faculty member to better reflect specific course goals and content.

The learning outcomes for the freshman program are as follows:

Critical Thinking: Students will explore, connect and evaluate issues, ideas, artifacts and events before accepting or formulating conclusions or informed opinions

Oral Communication: Students will engage effectively and constructively in discussions, and present information orally in a stimulating manner

Written Communication: Students will develop and express their ideas in writing in a variety of formal and informal styles depending upon the purpose and audience, and try to express their inferences and opinions in ways that are cogent, persuasive, and appropriate to the context

Critical Reading: Students will extract meaning, analyze, interpret and make connections through interaction with a variety of written texts and other media

Teamwork: Students will collaborate and contribute effectively to team goals in various roles

Information Literacy: Students will know when there is a need to search for information, and be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively and responsibly use and share that information in terms of the issues at hand

Ethics and Civic Engagement: Students will demonstrate an understanding of social and ethical issues; recognize and critically reflect on civic identity and responsibilities, and begin to engage with their communities


Learning Outcomes for Secondary Level Core Curriculum courses: 

Upon completion of their secondary level (humanities and social sciences, Arab world studies, and global studies) courses, students will achieve the following learning outcomes:

  1.  Knowledge and attitudes: Students will engage in inquiry through a discipline in the humanities and social sciences and demonstrate an appreciation of diverse perspectives and a more nuanced understanding of different aspects of local, regional and global culture.

  2. Critical reading and thinking: Students will analyze, question and reflect on a variety of texts, developing insights on multiple perspectives and coming to well-researched conclusions about complex issues.

  3.  Written and oral communication/information literacy: Students will formulate effective analyzes and arguments and express them in written and oral forms, using responsible research and documentation practices, giving consideration to the audience and context.

  4. Teamwork: Students will develop effective interpersonal skills to enable reflective listening, constructive conversation, and collaboration toward a shared goal.

  5. Ethics and civic engagement: Students will examine issues of social and ethical importance both within their communities, and regionally/globally, extending their learning from the classroom to engaged action with beneficial impact, accompanied by informed and critical reflection.


Core Capstone Learning Outcomes: 

Upon completion of the core capstone course outside the major, students will be able to produce work (like a multi-dimensional group project, substantive paper or thesis, thematic portfolio) that addresses a complex problem or issue, and displays the following core capstone learning outcomes:

  1. Interdisciplinary and multicultural perspectives: Students will engage in inquiry by integrating knowledge drawn from various disciplines and perspectives to address real-world problems and demonstrate a more nuanced understanding of different aspects of local, regional and global issues.

  2. Oral and written communication skills: Students will express ideas and facts about the issue effectively in a variety of formats, using responsible research practices, and showing proficiency in clear and persuasive debate and argumentation, using the conventions of the genre as appropriate.
  3. Integrated thinking and reading skills: Students will integrate a range of sources (factual, theoretical, conceptual and applied) and approaches (genres, technologies and modes of inquiry) from a discipline or disciplines outside their majors, evaluating arguments and issues and synthesizing multiple perspectives, through a focused learning process that may be experiential as well as text-based, and that culminates in a significant project or paper.
  4. Teamwork and inclusion: Students will continue to develop effective interpersonal skills respectful of difference, including reflective listening, constructive conversation, collaboration toward a shared goal, and shared accountability, as they engage in creative and original group-generated work.
  5. Ethics and civic engagement: Students will demonstrate an understanding of social and ethical issues, recognize and critically reflect on civic identity and responsibilities, and develop a commitment to service and active engagement with their communities.

* The freshman program learning outcomes were adapted from material and ideas found in assessing outcomes and improving achievement: Tips and Tools for Using Rubrics, edited by Terrel L. Rhodes. Copyright 2010 by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

** The new core curriculum learning outcomes at the secondary and capstone levels were developed, reviewed and adopted by the core curriculum advisory committee in spring 2016