Undergraduate Education

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The Office of Undergraduate Education offers undergraduate students the opportunity to discover their intellectual, creative and professional passions by introducing them to many interconnected areas of knowledge. Through the services we offer such as student testing the Freshman Core, the Summer Bridge Program, the quarterly Student Showcases, Undergraduate Majors Fair and other events, our office strives to provide students with a comprehensive four-year undergraduate experience. 

Undergraduate Education Initiatives

Core Learning Community

The Core Learning Community prepares students for success at the upper division level by focusing on campus-wide learning goals: communication and self-expression, civic engagement, critical inquiry, global perspectives, diverse cultural views and the ability to solve problems.

Summer Bridge Program

Summer Bridge provides incoming freshmen with tools for success as they navigate a new academic environment and face the personal and academic challenges of being a first-year student.

Sophomore Summit

A workshop to assist UW Tacoma sophomores in identifying their strengths and learning about internships, majors and potential careers.

Undergraduate Student Showcase

OUE sponsors quarterly student showcases on campus. Students and faculty from all UWT academic areas participate.  


The Office of Undergraduate Education provides Math placement, Spanish Proficiency testing and makeup tests for individual students upon faculty requests.

Undergraduate Education Academic Council

The Undergraduate Education Academic Council (UEAC) oversees curriculum issues pertaining to undergraduate education and plays an important role in elevating the profile and quality of the undergraduate academic experience at UW Tacoma.

Learning Community

Interdisciplinary core courses are designed to prepare first-year students for success.  That is why one Core course often includes more than one field of study. Today’s challenges, after all, are complex and require educated citizens to approach them from more than one perspective.

In the first year, students meet many of their general education graduation requirements in classes with a student-to-faculty ratio of 25 to 1. Discussion, lectures, reading, writing and project assignments broaden students’ perspectives, not only about what they are studying, but also about the world in which they live.

Beyond the Core curriculum, students select courses each quarter from a range of electives that will allow them to explore and prepare for potential majors.

Learning Objectives

While the faculty that teach Core curriculum courses come from a variety of academic programs on campus, they teach to a common set of student learning objectives with a developmental approach that emphasizes the foundational skills necessary to succeed in college courses. Faculty collaborate in the Core Learning Community to design and teach classes that build on these objectives while introducing students to academic writing, the sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.

As the foundation of a student’s academic career at UW Tacoma, Core strives to foster the following learning objectives:

Inquiry and Critical Thinking

  • Inquiry and problem solving: collect, evaluate, and analyze information and resources to solve problems or answer questions.
  • Research methods & application: approach complex issues by taking a large question and breaking it down into manageable pieces.
  • Synthesis & context: make meaningful connections among assignments and readings in order to develop a sense of the ‘big picture.’


  • Argumentation: formulate an original thesis-driven argument and sustain it in both written and verbal communication.
  • Analysis: identify, analyze, and summarize/represent the key elements of a text.
  • Disciplinary awareness: enter/place themselves into an existing dialogue (intellectual, political, etc.).
  • Expression of ideas: express ideas clearly in writing and speaking in order to synthesize and evaluate information before presenting it.

Global Perspective/Diversity/ Civic Engagement

  • Disciplinary perspective: understand events and processes as ‘disciplinarily’ situated.
  • Global perspective: interact with concepts, ideas, and processes related to the interdependences between personal, local, and global relationships.
  • Diversity: think outside of cultural norms and values, including their own perspectives, to critically engage the larger world.
  • Civic engagement: interact with concepts, ideas, and processes related to civic engagement.

Quantitative Literacy

  • Use quantitative evidence (including statistics, graphs, etc.) in support of an argument.
  • Analyze and evaluate a chart or graph and interpret it (through discussion, a written assignment, etc.).
  • Find quantitative data to support an argument.

Sample Course Descriptions

Below are sample course descriptions. Core courses change based on the faculty teaching each quarter. For information on Core courses currently being offered, check the online Time Schedule.

TCORE 101 Introduction to Academic Writing

Service Learning for Social Justice

Students will explore the theme of social justice through service learning. Along with writing on particular topics related to this theme, they will do research about the issue of volunteerism and civic responsibility in conjunction with the particular project they pick, such as working with Habitat for Humanity. The goal of the class is to put academics into action, so that students will understand that what they learn can be applied in the real world.

TCORE 101 Introduction to Academic Writing

‘I’m Batman’: Intersections of Pop Culture and Identity
As consumers of popular culture, most of us are guilty of defending our favorite TV shows long after they’ve been cancelled, arguing about the likability of a hero in a film, or even debating the merit of trash TV. In an era where you can take Buzzfeed quizzes to determine which super hero or cartoon character you most resemble, it is important to question why our relationship with such cultural texts matters. This course will interrogate the relationship between popular culture, representations of identity, and its consumers. We will examine texts ranging from commercials to award-winning television shows in order to question how and why these texts create meaning for viewers. By writing about texts that we may not easily consider “academic,” we will practice skills of interpretation and reflection in order to ask “Why do these texts matter to us?”

TCORE 102 Introduction to Science

Where the Water Meets the Road: Examining the Environmental Impacts of Urbanization on Aquatic Ecosystems.

How do your actions impact the aquatic organisms living in Puget Sound? As the human population continues to climb, more and more people are migrating to urban areas. This in turn imposes greater stresses on adjacent water bodies and other natural resources. This class seeks to explore the growing urban centers around the world and their associated environmental impacts on neighboring aquatic ecosystems. We will also address practices that promote sustainable living in urban areas.

TCORE 104 Introduction to Humanities

Listening Outside the Box: Concert Music in the 21st Century

With only ten weeks to explore the world of "classical music", we will immerse ourselves in a multitude of listening experiences, to include live concert attendance and in-class performances by local musicians.  Building on this foundation, we will explore the impact of today's global society on this musical tradition: to what extent have new technologies, increased communication and the ensuing democratization of music impacted the ways in which we relate to “concert music”?  Does this music still have relevance in our lives?  How have other cultures embraced this tradition, and how has the music of other cultures influenced composition and performance in this genre?