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Office of the Provost

History of the Core

The General Education curriculum provides the common core of knowledge, skill, and academic experience for all Carolina undergraduates. General Education offers students broad exposure to the liberal arts and sciences and secures the foundation for subsequent specialized study.

In 2005 University of South Carolina Provost Mark Becker called for a revision of the General Education curriculum. Professor Frederic Medway led a task force of more than 100 faculty, staff, and students across five campuses addressing the question "What do our students need to know to thrive as well-educated citizens in the twenty-first century?" In December 2007 the task force concluded its work and proposed new learning goals for a revised General Education curriculum.

Read more in A Time for Change: History of the Creation of the Carolina Core [pdf].

Historical Documents

  1. Carolina Core Committee Meeting Times, Minutes, and Recordings
  2. Carolina Core Distribution Requirements (December 2010) [pdf]
  3. Proposed Revision of General Education Curriculum (2009) [pdf]
  4. 2007 General Education Task Force Mid-Year Reports (USC) [pdf]
  5. 2007 General Education Task Force Final Reports (USC) [pdf]
  6. Report: College Learning for the New Global Century (American Assoc of Colleges & Universities) [pdf]

Previous General Education Curriculum vs. Carolina Core

The following comparison shows the difference in the previous General Education Goals for all university undergraduates
(found in the 2010-2011 Archived Undergraduate Bulletin under Academic Regulations; note that individual colleges may have their own general education guidelines) and the new Carolina Core components and learning outcomes.

Previous General Education Goals Carolina Core Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Carolina Core students will be able to:


Students demonstrate an appreciation of literary, visual or performing arts and their cultural context, as well as express informed personal responses to artistic creations.

Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding

Create or interpret literary, visual or performing arts.

Students perform basic mathematical manipulations, display facility with the use of mathematics in framing concepts for mathematical analysis, and interpret data intelligently.

Analytical Reasoning and Problem-Solving

Apply the methods of mathematics, statistics, or analytical reasoning to critically evaluate data, solve problems, and effectively communicate findings verbally and graphically.

Students communicate clearly in written English, demonstrating their ability to comprehend, analyze and interrogate critically.

Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication

Identify and analyze issues, develop logical and persuasive arguments, and communicate ideas clearly for a variety of audiences and purposes through writing and speaking.

Students demonstrate an understanding of the processes of human behavior and social and cultural interaction, as well as the use of social and behavioral science perspectives to interpret them.

Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Historical Thinking 

Use the principles of historical thinking to assess the relationships between modern societies and their historical roots.

Students demonstrate an understanding of the historical development of culture over time and its relation to the present.

Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Social Sciences

Use the principles of the social sciences to explore diverse cultural identities and to analyze political and environmental issues.

Students communicate orally and in writing in another language.

Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Foreign Language 

Communicate effectively in more than one language.


Information Literacy

Collect, manage and evaluate information using technology, and communicate findings.

Students demonstrate an understanding of physical and/or life science phenomena and the use of scientific methods and theories.


Scientific Literacy

Apply the principles and language of the natural sciences and associated technologies to historical and contemporary issues.


Values, Ethics, and Social Responsibility

Examine different kinds of social and personal values, analyzing the ways in which these are manifested in communities as well as individual lives.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.