Foundational LiteraciesThe Brandeis Core will enable you to focus on learning goals central to your academic and professional success: becoming an effective communicator, researcher and critical thinker. No matter your course of study or professional interests, these bedrock skills will prepare you for a life of learning and mastery.
With the exception of quantitative reasoning, you can fulfill these foundational literacies through courses and/or equivalent experiences within your major.
The writing intensive requirement teaches writing as a mode of learning, not simply as a way to articulate what is learned.
Students become familiar with the conventions and intellectual traditions of the discipline of their major and use writing to acquire knowledge in that discipline. All students will satisfy the writing intensive requirement as defined in the requirements for the major.
Through writing assignments, opportunities for revision, focused writing instruction and review of exemplary writing in the discipline, writing intensive assignments further develop writing skills necessary for successful written communication in specific fields of specialization. Students will learn to evaluate and employ disciplinary writing conventions, styles and formats, and how to convey arguments and use evidence and rhetorical strategies for appropriate audiences. Courses numbered in the 90s are not eligible for a writing intensive designation.
The oral communication requirement (in courses or equivalent experiences) enhances students' ability to present, communicate and listen effectively in a range of contexts, critically evaluate orally presented information and arguments, and consider specific techniques for using oral language as a communication tool with confidence.
This foundational literacy requirement in the major recognizes that students need to be prepared with varied concrete skills for use in communicating effectively in various fields of study, including (but not limited to) oral presentations, interviews, active debate, discussion facilitation and critique. All students will satisfy the oral communication requirement as defined in the requirements for each major. Courses numbered in the 90s are not eligible for an oral communication designation.
The ability to engage in the digital world plays an increasingly important role in intellectual life. Every discipline has been affected by the digital revolution in its own way.
Students will master the critical digital resources and techniques relevant to the scholarly or creative endeavors of their discipline. All students will satisfy the digital literacy requirement as defined in the requirements for the major.
Learning outcomes for digital literacy include acquiring one or more of the following abilities:
- To evaluate the validity of digital sources.
- To create and use digital media.
- To analyze, present and reason about large sets of data.
- To generate or utilize appropriate software in the discipline.
- To become adept at utilizing data bases, as defined by the major.
Courses numbered in the 90s are not eligible for a digital literacy designation.
All students will take one course that is designated as meeting the quantitative reasoning requirement, which was established to develop students’ ability to collect, summarize and analyze numerical data; to make abstract concepts operational; and to think critically about the accuracy and soundness of conclusions based on date or on mathematical models.
Quantitative reasoning courses usually embed methodological training in their subject matter. These courses from different disciplines vary widely in the skills that are emphasized, but they usually include one or more of the following:
- Learning to read, construct, interpret and evaluate tables, graphs and charts.
- Developing quantitative measures of physical, behavioral or social phenomena.
- Using mathematical models to express causal relationships and to explore the implications of changed assumptions or proposed solutions to problems in the physical or social world.
- Collecting and organizing numerical data from archives, surveys, lab experiments or other sources.
- Assessing the limitations of research, such as the reliability and validity of measures, adequacy of experimental design, sample size and quality and alternative hypothesis and interpretations.
- Testing hypotheses using experimental or statistical controls.
Staff at the Quantitative Skills Center are happy to help with introductory math or refreshers on high school math.