Sep 22, 2023  
2023-24 Catalog 
2023-24 Catalog

University Studies

Southern Oregon University’s new capacity-based General Education  model begins in the fall of 2023 and replaces the strand-based University Studies model. Students attending SOU before the fall of 2023 may choose to complete the University Studies model for the catalog year in which they began studies at SOU or change to the new General Education model (learn more about catalog year options on the Academic Policies  page). Transfer students who are admitted and attend SOU in the Fall of 2023, and who began academic coursework at another institution before arriving at SOU, will work directly with Student Success Coordinators and/or the Registrar’s Office to articulate to the new General Education model.

During the transition to the new model, course descriptions will list both the General Education Capacity (if any) and/or University Studies Strand (if any) for which a course is approved.

The University Studies model requirements can be found below.

University Studies Requirements

The faculty has developed a core curriculum that must be completed by all baccalaureate students regardless of the major or type of baccalaureate degree. This curriculum is designed to give each student the skills, knowledge, and understanding necessary to become a responsible and productive citizen of an increasingly international community. The core curriculum includes two sets of requirements: University Studies requirements and components in the major.

University Studies, SOU’s student-learning, outcomes-focused, general education program, is designed to provide undergraduates with effective critical thinking, communication, and research skills. These requirements develop in students an awareness of the connections and relationships among the social, artistic, cultural, and scientific traditions of human endeavor. The desired outcome of the University Studies program is a person who is capable of resolving complex issues with intelligence, compassion, and understanding.

The University Studies program includes both lower and upper division requirements. The lower division requirements include the University Seminar, Quantitative Reasoning, and various Explorations courses. The upper division requirements include three Integration courses.

Outline of the University Studies Curriculum

Foundation Strands

16 credits, earned through University Seminar and Math classes

Strand A: Communication Goals

  • USEM 101 - University Seminar 4 credits
  • HON 101 - Honors Foundations 4 credits

Strand B: Thinking Goals

  • USEM 102 - University Seminar 4 credits
  • HON 102 - Honors Foundations 4 credits

Strand C: Information Literacy

  • USEM 103 - University Seminar 4 credits
  • HON 103 - Honors Foundations 4 credits

*Successful completion (C- or above) of the entire USem, HSE, or HON sequence (101, 102, and 103) is required to satisfy A, B, and C strand requirements.

Explorations Strands (Lower Division)

24 credits, earned with 2 courses in each of the following categories:

Strand E: Humanities

Strand F: Social Science

Strand G: Sciences - Physical, Biological, and Computer

Integration Strands (Upper Division)

Select one course in either H or I Strand. Select one course in J Strand. The Integration courses must carry a different prefix.

Strand H: Science, Technology and Society

Strand I: Citizenship and Social Responsibility

Strand J: Diversity and Global Awareness

Components in the Major

Each academic major leading to a bachelor’s degree includes two upper division requirements for students completing that major.

Writing and Research Component

Demonstrate writing and research skills within the academic field of study chosen as a major. This upper division requirement is in addition to the University Studies writing requirement. It is met through coursework in the major that is designed to encourage the use of professional literature.

Students who have achieved the writing and research goals will be able to:

  1. systematically identify, locate, and select information and professional literature in both print and electronic formats within the knowledge base of the specific discipline;
  2. critically evaluate such materials;
  3. use the materials in a way that demonstrates understanding and synthesis of the subject matter; and
  4. develop cohesive research papers that use data and professional literature as evidence to support an argument or thesis following the style and conventions within the discipline of the major.

Capstone Experience

Complete a capstone experience designed to focus on and provide understanding of the major field of study. Each program specifies the manner in which its majors must meet these requirements. There is variation among fields of study. Please refer to the program listing of major requirements for details regarding the implementation of these requirements.


SOU is committed to improving the quality of instruction by assessing student outcomes. The University determines the progress of the learning process by relating outcomes to clearly defined learning objectives. During their collegiate careers, students actively participate in the outcomes assessment process. Student participation contributes to curriculum design and the evolution of the learning community.

Transfer Student Policies

Students entering SOU with transfer credit from an accredited institution must meet one of the following lower division general education requirement options listed below. In addition, all students must complete three upper division University Studies Integration courses at SOU.  Students entering SOU with transfer credit will be assigned to one of the following options:

Lower Division University Studies Requirement Options

Students entering SOU with transfer credit will be assigned to one of the following options:


Option 1. Completion of SOU’s University Studies requirements (see


Option 2. Completion of any one of the following: Associate of Arts-Oregon Transfer degree (AAOT), Associate of Science-Oregon Transfer degree (ASOT), Oregon Transfer Module (OTM) as certified by an Oregon community college, Direct Transfer Associate Degree (DTA) as certified by a Washington college, or an Associate Degree for Transfer (AA/AS Transfer) as certified by a California community college.


Option 3. Completion of general education requirements at an accredited four-year institution of higher education. Students must provide documentation from the institution stating that general education requirements were met.


Option 4. Completion of Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) or the California State University requirements, or an Articulated Program Agreement with Southern Oregon University. Students must provide documentation stating this curriculum was completed.

Upper Division University Studies Requirements

Integration Courses

All students (in all transfer options) must complete the upper division Integration course requirements (6-8 credits), one course from each of the following:
  • Strand H: Science, Technology, and Society (3-4 credits)
  • or
  • Strand I: Citizenship and Social Responsibility (3-4 credits)
  • and
  • Strand J: Diversity and Global Awareness (3-4 credits)
For the most recent list of upper division Integration courses in the University Studies program, see the class schedule on the SOU website.

Guidelines for Normal Progress

The following serves as a guide for students and advisors to assess the rate at which students should complete University Studies and major requirements.

  1. At the completion of 45 credits of study applicable to a bachelor’s degree, the student should have:
    1. a 2.0 or better cumulative GPA; and
    2. completed 12 credits of the University Seminar and at least 12 credits of lower division Explorations courses.
  2. At the completion of 91 credits of study applicable to a bachelor’s degree, the student should have:
    1. a 2.0 or better cumulative GPA;
    2. completed all 24 credits of the lower division Explorations courses and a Quantitative Reasoning course or sequence; and
    3. declared a major. Registration is blocked for any student who has not declared a major after the completion of 91 credits.
  3. At the completion of 144 credits of study applicable to a bachelor’s degree, the student should have:
    1. obtained a 2.0 or better cumulative GPA;
    2. completed at least one of the two upper division Integration courses;
    3. completed at least half of the credits in the declared major; and
    4. completed at least 30 credits of upper division coursework.
  4. At the completion of 180 credits of study, the student should have completed all requirements for the baccalaureate degree.

Guidelines for Normal Progress Notes

  1. Most baccalaureate degree programs at Southern Oregon University are designed to be completed in four academic years at an average academic load of 16 credits a quarter. Some students, however, pursue the degree at an average rate of fewer than 16 credits a quarter and complete the degree in a proportionately longer period of time. The guidelines above address the content of the program rather than the rate at which the student pursues the degree. Consequently, these guidelines are applicable to both full-time and part-time students.
  2. The guidelines above are designed for a student whose total academic program is at Southern Oregon University. A transfer student’s normal progress toward a degree should be evaluated on the basis of credits accepted for transfer to SOU by the Admissions Office plus credits completed at the University.
  3. Some majors, particularly in the sciences and preprofessional programs, require a heavy academic load in the major and supporting areas during the first two years due to the sequential structure of the major program. Students in these majors may need to delay certain elements of the University Studies program until their junior or senior year. These students and their advisors may need to modify items 1b, 2b, and 3b of these guidelines to accommodate the special needs of the major.