Expected Outcomes

The learning outcomes of the core curriculum are divided into two categories: foundational and embedded. All undergraduate students must meet the foundational learning outcomes, which are the same for all students, regardless of discipline or major. Embedded learning outcomes are included in the core requirements of particular degrees or plans of study and are addressed within courses or activities identified within a specific discipline.

Foundational Learning Outcomes

  • Requirement: One Course -- clear expression of ideas in writing; includes grammar, organization, and structure. Varying levels and types of writing skills are required for different jobs. The ability to convey ideas concisely and coherently is important.
  • Key Skills:
    1. Produce texts that use appropriate formats, genre conventions, and documentation styles while controlling tone, syntax, grammar, and spelling.
    2. Demonstrate an understanding of writing as a social process that includes multiple drafts, collaboration, feedback, and reflection.
    3. Examine critically, summarize, apply, analyze, and synthesize information as the basis for developing original ideas and claims.
    4. Develop, assert and support a focused thesis with appropriate reasoning and adequate evidence.
    5. Compose texts that exhibit appropriate rhetorical choices, which include attention to audience, purpose, context, genre, and convention.
    6. Demonstrate proficiency in identifying, reading, evaluating, analyzing, and using reliable sources.

    *All of the key skills must be met for a course to meet the Written Communication outcome

  • Requirement: One course -- information literacy is the ability to accurately and ethically use information, including locating, evaluating, and synthesizing information, to pursue a line of inquiry.
  • Key Skills:
    1. Identify a line of inquiry that requires information, including formulating questions and determining the scope of the investigation.
    2. Locate information using effective search strategies and relevant information sources.
    3. Evaluate the credibility of information.
    4. Synthesize and organize information from different sources in order to communicate.
    5. Attribute original ideas of others through proper citing, referencing, paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting.
    6. Recognize relevant cultural and other contextual factors when using information.
    7. Observe ethical and legal guidelines and requirements for the use of published, confidential, and/or proprietary information.

    *All of the key skills must be met for a course to meet the Information Literacy outcome

  • Requirement: One course -- activity of conveying meaningful information verbally; communication by word of mouth typically relies on words, visual aids and non-verbal elements to support the conveyance of the meaning. Oral communication is designed to increase knowledge, foster understanding, or to promote change in the listener’s attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors.
  • Key Skills:
    1. Uses appropriate organizational patterns (introduction, conclusion, sequenced material, transitions) that is clearly and consistently observable when making presentations
    2. Uses language that is thoughtful and generally supports the effectiveness of the presentation (and is appropriate to the audience).
    3. Uses appropriate delivery techniques when making a presentation (posture, gesture, eye contact, vocal expression)
    4. Effectively uses supporting materials in presentations (explanations, examples, illustrations, statistics, analogies, quotations)
    5. Clearly communicates a central message with the supporting materials

    *All of the key skills must be met for a course to meet the Oral Communication outcome.

  • Requirement: Two courses -- the ability to understand and apply basic scientific, quantitative, and technological content knowledge.
  • Key Skills:
    • Science:
      1. Think and function as a scientist by using critical thinking and analytical inquiry.
      2. Apply basic scientific, quantitative, and technological methods and knowledge of nature to the solution of scientific problems.
      3. Use the scientific method and theories to analyze questions in the physical and natural world.
      4. Provide scientific explanations of the nature of the universe, the earth, and/or life forms and be able to distinguish these explanations from non-scientific explanations.

      *All of the key skills must be met for a course to meet the Science outcome.

  • Requirement: One course
    1. Discuss examples of scientific and/or technological changes and the costs and benefits for individuals and specific societies.
    2. Describe ethical implications of technological and/or scientific developments.
    3. Explain how social factors have shaped the development or application of science and/or technology, including tools and strategies by which societies promote, constrain, or otherwise influence scientific and/or technical innovation.

    *Societal context under consideration may be past, present and/or future

    *All of the outcomes must be met for a course to meet the Science, Technology, and Society outcome

  • Requirement: One course -- the ability to understand and apply basic scientific, quantitative, and technological content knowledge.
  • Key Skills:
    • Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning: 
      1. Acquire skills in mathematics, computational reasoning, statistical analysis or formal logic.
      2. Construct logical arguments based upon the rules of inference; analyze, present, and interpret numerical data.
      3. Apply mathematical methods to solve problems while defining assumptions, rationale for the process chosen, and determining the reasonableness of the solutions.

      *All of the key skills must be met for a course to meet the Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning outcome.

  • Requirement: One course -- The ability to recognize one’s own cultural traditions and to understand and appreciate other cultural traditions and languages.
  • Key Skills:
    1. Recognize and describe humanistic, historical, or artistic works or problems and patterns of the human experience.
    2. Apply disciplinary methodologies, epistemologies, and traditions of the humanities and the arts.
    3. Analyze and evaluate texts, works, objects, events, or ideas in their cultural, intellectual, or historical contexts.
    4. Create, interpret, or reinterpret artistic and/or humanistic works through performance, analysis, or criticism.
    5. Analyze diverse narratives and evidence in order to explore the complexity of human experience across space and time.
    6. Describe the history, literature, languages, arts, philosophy, religion, or traditions of other world cultures.
    7. Identify the history and the basic principles and operation of government in the United States or other countries.

    *At least 4 of these 7 outcomes must be met for a course to be approved to meet the Humanities Outcome

    ǂA course may be approved to meet either the Behavioral and Social Sciences outcome OR the Humanities outcome, but not both

  • Requirement: One course -- The ability to recognize one’s own cultural traditions and to understand and appreciate other cultural traditions and languages.
  • Key Skills:
    1. Demonstrate knowledge of major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical patterns, and/or historical contexts within a given social or behavioral domain
    2. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of contending explanations or interpretations for social, behavioral, or historical phenomena
    3. Demonstrate literacy in social, behavioral, or historical research methods and analyses
    4. Recognize relevant evidence supporting conclusions about the behavior of individuals, groups, institutions, or organizations
    5. Recognize the extent and impact of diversity among individuals, cultures, or societies in contemporary or historical contexts
    6. Identify examples of how social, behavioral, or historical knowledge informs and can shape personal, civic, ethical, or global decisions and responsibilities

    *At least 4 of these 6 outcomes must be met for a course to be approved to meet the Behavioral and Social Sciences Outcome

    ǂA course may be approved to meet either the Behavioral and Social Sciences outcome OR the Humanities outcome, but not both

*All students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours within the foundational core to meet Indiana's Statewide Transfer General Education Core Curriculum. If a student satisfies all eight required foundational areas and has earned fewer than 30 credits, he or she must complete an additional course(s) from any foundational area in order to meet the minimum state requirement of 30 credit hours. However, if a student satisfies all eight required foundational areas in fewer than 30 credit hours and remains at the Purdue-West Lafayette campus through graduation, he or she will be considered as having completed the core curriculum. The requirement for 30 credit hours applies only when the student may transfer to another Indiana institution and wants his/her core curriculum to count.

Embedded Learning Outcomes

  • Students graduating from Purdue should be able to communicate, orally and in writing, in ways appropriate to their fields of study and future careers. Effective communication is founded on information literacy, which involves the ability to use appropriate information to learn and explore ideas, demonstrate understanding of a subject, and convey one’s conclusions. At the embedded outcome level, effective communication assumes basic fluency with such things as grammar, organization, and structure. It also focuses on being able to convey ideas concisely in ways appropriate for the context, audience and purpose. At this level, students should recognize that communication occurs within and across communities, such as academic, public or professional, where ideas are formulated, debated, and weighed against one another.

    Key outcomes may include:

    • Executes proper organization, content, presentation, format and stylistic choices through appropriate genres of written or oral communication.
    • Evaluates, selects, analyzes, and synthesizes relevant information sources for communicative purposes.
    • Communicates using modes appropriate for specific purposes and audiences (e.g., essay, report, scientific poster, video, social media, etc.).
    • Applies academic integrity, ethical standards, and legal requirements (such as giving credit to the original ideas of others through proper attribution and citation when using information sources to communicate).
  • Success in life requires the ability to think critically, practically, and creatively within an ethical framework. Critical thinking is the process of gathering information, analyzing it in various ways including quantitative and qualitative methods, and evaluating it for the purpose of solving a problem or making a decision. Practical thinking is the ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions and to shape the environment so as to produce the desired results. Creative thinking is the ability to generate novel ideas that can lead to change. It is essential that the ethical implications of actions that result from these thought processes are carefully considered.

    Key outcomes may include:

    • Gathers, analyzes, and evaluates information.
    • Connects disparate pieces of information to infer relationships.
    • Demonstrates open-mindedness and flexibility in expression, decision making, and problem solving.
    • Applies knowledge and skills previously learned to new circumstances.
    • Considers multiple possible explanations and/or solutions.
    • Works productively with others and is able to learn from diverse perspectives.
  • Students graduating from Purdue University should be able to work effectively with others in various ways including in cross-cultural situations and in a global civil society. Interpersonal skills include the ability to work effectively with others both in professional practice and in relating to those outside of the discipline, in leadership roles, and as members of a team. Intercultural knowledge is founded on the ability to appreciate and critique multiple perspectives including one’s own and to engage in civil discourse on complex social and global issues. It requires respect for and responsiveness to the beliefs and practices and cultural and linguistic needs of diverse populations. Students can acquire and practice these skills in ways appropriate to their fields of study and future professional growth.

    Key outcomes may include:

    • Develops the ability to work with others in leadership and/or team roles in professional practice and in relating to the public, including in situations lacking agreement or consensus.
    • Demonstrates empathy and consideration of diverse populations in relation to history, values, politics, communication styles, economy, or beliefs and practices.
    • Demonstrates understanding of the rights and obligations that students have as members of communities, nations and the world.
    • Applies interpersonal skills and intercultural knowledge in discipline-specific ways (e.g., courses, study abroad, internships, community service, fieldwork, undergraduate research, capstone projects, student teaching, performances and exhibitions, and honors theses).
  • Students graduating from Purdue will belong to diverse workplaces and communities. Purdue students should be familiar with historical and current issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and reflect on the identities of themselves and others. As Purdue students develop strategies to engage inclusively with people who have identities different from their own, they can become more successful members of their workplaces and communities. In this context, diversity may consider a wide range of issues related to race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, disability, culture, or religion, in local, national, and international contexts.

    Key outcomes include:

    • Critically reflect on social and cultural identities and perspectives of one's self and others
    • Develop knowledge and strategies for engaging inclusively and in solidarity with people who have social identities different from one's own
    • Identify historical and structural factors contributing to inequity
    • Discuss the meaning of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the importance and challenges of living and working in diverse contexts


For University Senate document 11-7 (original 2012) establishing the Purdue University outcomes-based undergraduate core curriculum, please click here.

For University Senate document 11-7 (revised 2015) establishing the Purdue University outcomes-based undergraduate core curriculum, please click here.

For a complete description of all foundational and embedded learning outcomes (revised 2015), please click here.

For the revised Humanities, Behavioral and Social Sciences, Written Communication, Information Literacy, and Science, Technology and Society foundational learning outcomes (revised 2020) please click here.

For the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Embedded Learning Outcome (2023), Senate document 22-13, please click here.

For University Senate document 23-09 approving revisions to the Communication, Ways of Thinking, and Interpersonal and Intercultural Knowledge embedded learning outcomes (approved October 2023) please click here.

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