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Integrative Core

Integrative Core

The mission of the University of Mount Union is "to prepare students for fulfilling lives, meaningful work, and responsible citizenship." To accomplish this mission, the University draws upon its roots in a historic understanding of the liberal arts. A liberal arts education provides students with a broad base of knowledge in addition to training a specific field of study. At its heart, a liberal arts course of study does not teach a single point of view but equips and empowers students to form their own conclusions based on critical reasoning. The Integrative Core (IC) values this tradition of learning.


The Integrative Core is a distinctive program designed to prepare students to meet the challenges of the 21st century world. It provides a framework for them to experience and shape a coherent and transformative education grounded in the liberal arts. Graduates can no longer expect to interact with the same demographic group and hold one job in the same discipline for their entire career. Integrative and synthetic thinking are more and progressively important for people to succeed personally and professionally in an increasingly interconnected world, in which cultures interact, technology changes rapidly, and the workplace is fluid. The Integrative Core guides students through developing the ability to think across and within different disciplines, contexts, and cultures. 


The Integrative Core comprises eight courses totaling 32 credit hours of coursework.  These courses include: 

  • One First Year Seminar taken in the first semester
  • Four Foundations courses (one from each of the four Foundations areas – humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and arts) that should be completed by the end of the sophomore year
  • WOC Portfolio submission (should be completed by the end of the sophomore year)
  • Two Explorations courses taken during the junior year
  • One Capstone course taken during the senior year

Eligible students will also have the potential to graduate with University Honors through the Honors Program

For any questions regarding the WOC Portfolio, email or visit the Integrative Core office in KHIC 233.

Integrative Core Components

  1. First Year Seminar

    The First Year Seminar (4 semester hours) is a topic-oriented course designed to assist students in making the academic and personal transition to higher education and launch them on their journeys through liberal education in a small, interactive class. It introduces and develops core abilities such as critical reading, thinking, argumentation and the written and oral communication skills needed to convey these ideas to appropriate audiences.

    First Year Seminar courses - Spring 2021

  2. Foundations

    Foundations (16 semester hours) courses engage students in the quest for knowledge as embodied by the particular perspectives comprising the liberal arts and sciences: Fine Arts, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. The courses focus on three core ideas: What questions does this perspective ask about the world? How does it go about answering them? Why is this perspective important? They equip students with different lenses through which to understand, analyze, and appreciate the world around them. Students take at least one course in each Foundation category. Foundation courses are identified with the appropriate suffix: A for Fine Arts, H for Humanities, N for Natural Science, S for Social Science.

    Foundation Courses

    Fine Arts Spring 2021
    Humanities Spring 2021
    Natural Science Spring 2021
    Social Science Spring 2021
  3. Second Year Written and Oral Communication (WOC) Portfolio

    The Integrative Core is designed to help students develop skills in written and oral communication throughout their academic careers at Mount Union. Each part of the IC contains a written and oral communication component, with more sophisticated and challenging requirements as students progress through the IC. In order to make sure that the development of communication skills is on the right track, successful completion of the IC requires successful completion of a Second Year Written and Oral Communication (WOC) Portfolio. Students will upload samples of written work and videos of oral communication assignments to an electronic portfolio. A team of faculty members will evaluate the portfolios to ensure that each student has met the high standards needed for communication needs at the junior and senior years. A student must be able to perform at a level commensurate with end-of-second-year students. Students are expected to submit a Second Year WOC Portfolio by the end of their 4th semester. The portfolio must be completed successfully prior to enrollment in the IC Capstone.

    Students will select materials from the many assignments completed in Integrative Core courses from the First Year Seminar through all four Foundations (A, H, N and S). Materials from other courses are not typically permitted. Required contents: 

    • Two pieces of written communication (at least one that effectively integrates and cites sources) that reflect the elements listed in the WOC Rubrics.
    • Two pieces of videotaped oral communication (at least one that effectively integrates and cites sources) that reflect the elements listed in the WOC Rubrics (multimedia use is optional).

    In addition, students will submit three other documents to complete the portfolio: 

    • Students will write and submit a cover letter that explains the context in which the submitted pieces were produced. The cover letter should guide faculty scorers to see how the portfolio as a whole showcases the student’s best efforts in WOC to date. 
    • Students will sign and submit a Statement of Authenticity, testifying that all submitted pieces are of the student’s own creation. 
    • Students will sign and submit an Informed Consent Form, which gives students the opportunity to give the University permission to use selected materials for assessment, research, and scholarly purposes pertaining to WOC in the Integrative Core.

    No more than two pieces in the portfolio may come from the same class or Foundation area. Students typically will be expected to submit work from at least three different types of classes. Students may revise work from their IC classes before submitting it to the Second Year WOC Portfolio. Students will select pieces on their own, write the cover letter, and submit the portfolio; this is not a requirement attached to any course. The Second Year WOC Portfolio is due by 4 p.m. on the last day of finals each semester. No late portfolios will be accepted. 


    For all information on the WOC Portfolio including the requirements and instructions for building and submitting the portfolio, log onto D2L and enroll in the Second Year WOC Portfolio submission course


    For any questions regarding the WOC Portfolio, email or visit the Integrative Core office in KHIC 233. 

  4. Explorations

    Explorations (8 semester hours) are a pair of courses at the intermediate to upper-level (typically 200-300) that align with Mount Union’s mission to prepare students for fulfilling lives, meaningful work, and responsible citizenship. Specifically, the courses engage students in self-reflection about how they evaluate and apply knowledge (looking inward) and their place in a diverse world (looking outward). These courses also will help students develop more sophisticated written and oral communication skills, employ advanced critical thinking, encourage complex problem solving, and acquire cultural knowledge that is essential for contributing to society.

    Students must complete one course in each category. Explorations prerequisite: Successful completion of all four Foundations courses or the WOC Portfolio. Explorations credit may only be earned for a course if this prerequisite is completed prior to the commencement of the course. Students may “double-count” an Explorations course to meet a major or minor requirement. However, a student cannot count both Explorations courses towards the same major or minor.

    Explorations: Diversity and Global Learning (G)
    We live in an increasingly diverse world. Exposure to diverse populations and cultures challenges us to address and overcome cultural barriers, better refine our perspective on cultural difference, and have a better sense of our own cultural identity (AAC&U). Courses in the Explorations: Diversity and Global Learning category will enable students to engage multiple perspectives of cultures and identities, reflect on their own cultural self-understanding, and develop empathy across human difference, making them better global citizens.

    Spring 2021 Course Listings

    Explorations: Values and Reasoning (V)
    Throughout our lives we develop a set of values, ethical perspectives, and approaches to reasoning. These values, perspectives, and approaches shape how we perceive what is true, what is real, and how we make judgments. Courses in the Explorations: Values and Reasoning category will help students understand how processes of reasoning and value systems are developed and applied to complex situations, as well as the implications of thinking and acting a certain way (e.g., ethics, morality, the integration of technology into our work and life, ecological ethics and sustainability, social responsibility).

    Spring 2021 Course Listings

    Explorations Quick Info

  5. Senior Capstone

    The Senior Capstone (4 semester hours) builds on the Explorations by moving the students from faculty-guided synthesis to student-led integration. Students from different disciplines will collaborate to address a complex issue or problem. This course prepares students for dealing with the types of ambiguous, multifaceted problems that they will face throughout their lives and careers equipping them with resources to address such issues, especially the ability to work collaboratively across disciplines and to negotiate competing interests and worldviews. Prerequisites: Successful completion of the Second Year Written and Oral Communication (WOC) Portfolio, and all other Integrative Core requirements.   

    Capstone Courses - Spring 2021

Best Colleges Badge commended Mount Union has been cited by for having one of the top integrative studies programs, securing the  13th spot in the nation in the current rankings, which highlights the institution's Integrative Core. According to, interest in integrative studies has risen as academics, organizations and students recognize the value of engaging in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary learning. These types of degrees equip students with a wide range of knowledge as well as the critical and analytical skills needed to be successful in the workforce.