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A&S Liberal Arts & Sciences Distribution Areas

Definitional Guides for A&S Distribution Areas

Below are broadly based definitional guides developed by the Arts & Sciences Curriculum Committee for the three Liberal Arts & Sciences distribution areas required for A&S students.

Humanities (HUM)

Humanities courses examine human experience with an emphasis on individual and societal values, underscoring reflection on the human condition through the study of varied media including but not limited to literature (e.g., fiction, historiography, philosophy), the arts (e.g., painting, music, architecture), and technological innovations.

Natural Sciences (NS)

Natural science courses examine mathematic relationships and the principles that govern the physical world. These courses focus on systematic observation of measurable phenomena and/or the formulation of testable laws and principles based on such observation.

Social Sciences (SS)

Social science courses involve the systematic study of social, psychological, cultural, political and economic phenomena in order to describe and explain human behaviors, practices and societies.

Requesting an A&S Distribution Area for a Course

Course proposers should include a note in the comments section of the OCEAN proposal stating which (if any) A&S distribution area/s are being requested for the course: HUM, NS, and/or SS.

Interdisciplinary Courses and Designation of Multiple A&S Disciplinary Areas

A process has been developed in the college to better recognize and support interdisciplinary courses offered for Liberal Arts & Sciences credit. As described below, interdisciplinary courses can be designated to reflect two or all three A&S distribution areas (humanities, natural sciences, social sciences) rather than just one area, and A&S majors can receive distribution credits in the area that they need.

Note: For any course that is approved for multiple A&S distribution areas, a student would receive credit in only one of the approved areas, per the processes described below.

Process for Requesting Approval of Multiple A&S Distribution Areas for a Course

New Course

Departments/programs can request approval of multiple A&S distribution areas when submitting a proposal for an interdisciplinary course in OCEAN.

The requested distribution areas should be noted in the OCEAN comments section when a proposal for a new interdisciplinary course (or a proposal for changes in an existing course) is submitted.

Example: information for a new interdisciplinary course, to be noted in OCEAN comments section: CAS 2500 Breaking the Law Theme Seminar. Liberal Arts & Sciences distribution areas: HUM, SS.

Existing Course

Departments/programs can also request approval of multiple A&S distribution area(s) for an existing interdisciplinary course, for which no other change is needed, by sending a memo to the A&S Curriculum Committee Chair, Dr. Nukhet Sandal.

Example: "We are requesting Course X to fulfill NS, SS, and HUM distribution credits."

Individuals who are typically involved in the curricular approval process within the unit should sign off on the request (e.g., Departmental Curriculum Committee Chair and Department Chair should both sign off on the memo if these are the individuals who typically approve a new course or a course change in OCEAN).

Assignment of Credits for Courses with Multiple A&S Distribution Areas

The registrar's system, by default, assigns course credit in the following order: NS, SS, HUM.

If a student has already fulfilled a distribution area, the system will automatically give the student credit for the next approved distribution area.

Example: For a course approved for HUM and NS credits, the system will assign course credit to NS. If the student already has fulfilled the NS distribution area, however, the system will assign course credit to HUM.

Students can also request reassignment of credits for courses with multiple approved A&S distribution areas.

Students should fill out and return the "Request to Reassign A&S Distribution Credits [PDF]" form (posted underĀ Forms in the left-navigation on this page) to the A&S Office of Undergraduate Advising & Student Affairs. Students' DARS will be updated to reflect the reassigned distribution credits.

Note: Page 2 of this form lists the A&S courses that have been approved with multiple distribution areas to date.

We hope that in the future, there will be technological solutions in OCEAN and PeopleSoft/DARS programs to streamline the process of (re)assigning A&S distribution credits. In the meantime, we have worked to make the steps above as user-friendly as possible.